The Inside Scoop: Real Cash Sales & Imaginary Offers

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.36.10 PMCash sales have added to the heat in Portland's real estate market in all price ranges, including the very top.  As I've perceived this even more over the last year both while reviewing offers as the listing agent, and competing against cash with purchasing clients, I decided to do a more definitive search and look at harder numbers. I looked at two search areas, greater SE Portland and SW Portland with the same parameters; $300-900,000 in the last three months. Of the 212 sales in SE during this period, 23% were cash. In SW there were 259 sales and 18% of those in cash.

Why is this important? What does it mean?

With appraisals not able to keep up with rising values in some of our hottest neighborhoods, such as the Hawthorne area, it's safer for a seller to accept a cash offer as no bank appraisal is involved. As a buyers agent, cash will often dominate over a higher offer with conventional funding because of this reason.

That is why I have instituted making a practice offer on an imaginary house ahead of waiting to write once we have found "the one" when time is short and tensions are high. I can go over all the possible terms that can be changed on the offer, giving us the luxury of deciding ahead what the buyer is both willing and able to do.

Many colleagues are reporting their clients will lose the first house because of this unfamiliarity.  While I wish I could wave a magic wand over a client's bank account, this is the next best thing.