Thursday, February 5, 2015

Best and Final: Would You Trade Your Word For Money?

Another 'Best and Final' with a promise that we had a deal and there would be no backing out by the seller and still I get a call telling me "the seller has elected to proceed with another deal". Buyer beware, even after you go through a gut wrenching bidding process and receive the great news that 'You won!' it ain't over til the fat lady sings(meaning you close). Yet again we have learned this the hard way. I knew something was up when it had been 3 days and no contract, though I thought they were waiting for the results from our inspection before sending one out. I discussed this with my client however she was confident the seller/broker would honor their pledge to us, hey, they even let us go ahead with a planned inspection that cost my client $800, then pulled the plug on us the following day!

Not very cool to say the least. They were obviously working on this deal while we had an inspection and interior designer visit the apartment. Unfortunately my very rational client had become emotionally attached at this point, imagining her new life in Brooklyn. A sort of reality check on buying real estate in NYC in today's low inventory, strong demand market.

I am 100% for free markets. I'll even go as far as to say I don't take issue with the 'best and final process'. We all know what can transpire and 'best and final' is just a sort of vague idea, not an absolute end. What I do take issue with is when we have what I call a 'cyber handshake' from the seller, when we are given an assurance that we have an ironclad deal, no mucking around once it is accepted. Ivan Boesky  infamously stated that "Greed is good", I don't necessarily agree with that. I think our word is priceless and mine is not for sale.

I'll add that I don't think this is a broker issue, this is a seller issue. For many reasons a broker wants to proceed with the accepted deal. They know this is usually the best course to follow ethically, karmically and financially. Financially meaning that if the newly accepted offer blows up, you most likely will lose the original deal. The saying "what a tangled web we weave" could be inserted here, nothing like a few botched negotiations to throw a listing into the abyss.

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