There was an interesting article in the Washington Post about Cash Buyers in the real estate market. The article says nationally, cash buyers make up about 40% of buyers, but in Arlington, that number averages about 18% so far in 2014. In this tough sellers market, being a buyer is hard enough without having to compete against all cash buyers, so how do you beat cash buyers in Arlington? Read on for tips.
The reason all cash offers are attractive is because it’s basically a done deal. Most cash offers don’t include financing or appraisal contingencies, removing 2 of the big 3 “outs” in a contract. Cash buyers can usually close whenever is convenient for a seller, whether that’s a week from contract time or later.
How to Beat Cash Buyers:
1. Use a local lender, of your choice, who is known for closing on time. Because of RESPA, no agent can MAKE you use a specific provider, but I can tell you as a listing agent (someone who represents the seller), if an offer comes in with a letter from Quicken Loans, Bank of America, Lending Tree (see the trend, any big company where they don’t care about your particular loan) it’s highly unlikely a seller will feel comfortable accepting that. Bigger companies have far less control over the underwriting process which can slow up your closing. They want to KNOW that when they agree to a closing date, they will actually close then. Any day after that can cost them more money in interest, taxes, utilities, etc.
2. Have enough cash to put down that waiving an appraisal or financing makes you just as strong as a cash offer. If you’re putting at least 20% down (or have extra cash you’re not necessarily using as a down payment but can come up with the difference if the property doesn’t appraise), makes the appraisal a sort of non-issue for the seller, again guaranteeing them the sale price they agreed to.
3. Put down a large deposit to show good faith you won’t change your mind for no reason later (this deposit is of course secured by other contingencies like home inspection or condo/HOA document review).
4. Give the seller whatever close date they need/want. Quick close? A local lender can do that, some in as few as 10 days, others prefer 21 days (or more). Rentback for a short time? Why not consider giving them a free rentback. If you close in June, your 1st mortgage payment isn’t due until August.
5. Write a lover letter to the seller about why they should sell YOU, and only you, their home.
Those are some of the strongest ways to make your contract as competitive as it can be compared to a cash offer. This market is HARD to be a buyer in, competing against cash offers makes it even harder! Luckily, most of the cash buyers are in the $500k or under range, or the $1m+ range. The area that’s most competitive right now is the that middle ground – $500k – $1M, and that’s where you see most people needing a lender so you’re all in the same boat.