Driving the ‘Highest and Best’ Term into the Ground


You know…it bothers me when I hear real estate agents or builders talking about ‘highest and best’ in terms of money they want you to pay. That term is NOT meant to indicate your best offer, your strongest offer, the best you can EVER do, or please pay more than you can afford offer. What they SHOULD SAY is, “You have 24 hours to amend/improve your offer.” Amend, improve, change the terms, WHATEVER. But NOT ‘highest and best’. That’s a red flag of ignorance of what you learned (or rather did NOT learn) in your real estate classes.

Here’s what that term ACTUALLY means:

The definition of highest and best use is as follows:The reasonable, probable and legal use of vacant land or an improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible, and that results in the highest value.

So, if you own a parcel of land, or a building or house, and once it was in the middle of nowhere, and THEN the town expands and envelops that parcel, THEN that parcel’s ‘highest and best’ use might not be residential anymore. It might now be best used for commercial. That could mean more money for you and it might mean that once homey dwelling gets bulldozed to make room for a big old gas station, IF that results in a legal use of the property, a more profitable use, supported by the surrounding land use, you get the idea.

THAT’S what highest and best means, and if your agent uses that term in ANY OTHER WAY, fire them.


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