"Best and Final"--What This Means by Geraldine Santiago
What do the words “best and final’ in real estate/ land assembly mean? In a land assembly, developers work with numbers to see if a project is viable. They look at best and highest use, future land use, and anticipation of future benefits.
Let’s say for instance, you have been countering an offer with a developer. How many times can you counter? They would most likely counter only once. There is also a time frame when the developer would like to see everyone on board in a land assembly so it doesn’t drag too long. Remember, whenever you counter an offer, you are taking the chance that your the previous number is now off the table.
With the counter, I’ve seen the developers come back with a price and the words, ‘best and final’. What does that mean? In truth, it is difficult to say. You will need to discuss with your Realtor as to what this means to your situation. Usually when the say 'best and final', there is no further negotiating, no further room to move by the developer. In other words, you take it or leave it and the developer walks away.
When you look at your offer, how far off are you really, with the developer’s last counter and what you want? Should you counter their best and final? Are you willing to risk it, and the possibility that the developer walks away— and they are known to walk away! Is the offer on the table something you can live with? What exactly is at stake for you? Are developers lined up with an offer at your door, or do you have to wait for the next developer? If so, when?
In general, in real estate, the best and final means that is the highest and best offer you will get from the other party. Should you counter? This is a heavy question. Remember to look at the entire contract as a whole, the terms, conditions, length of subject removal timelines for deposits, etc. These are all part of the contract so it just shouldn’t be the price, even if it is mostly about the price.
It is also lost opportunity. Will you see another offer like this again? What is your property worth if you were to sell it on its own? Look at present, active and recent sales in your area to give you comparable price points if you were to sell your home on your own.
Remember, even if you wait for the next developer to write an offer, you may not get the same terms and your neighbours may have changed their minds about selling. These are things to consider when you hear the words, ‘best and final’.