9 ways to crush all-cash buyers

Go beyond preapproval

Presenting a mortgage preapproval letter from your lender when you make an offer is the traditional way to show you're a serious buyer. Preapproval is more rigorous than prequalification and gives the seller confidence your financing will come through.

But getting an underwriter's review of your loan application prior to making an offer is emerging as a more thorough first step.

"The loan application is submitted to an underwriter with the property address to be determined," says Richard Airey, a loan officer with PMAC Lending Services in Portland, Maine. "The underwriter reviews all income, asset and credit documents, and actually underwrites the loan. This allows the buyer to submit a loan commitment letter to the seller with their offer, pending appraisal," he says. "This is much more attractive to sellers as they have an actual commitment from the lender to loan the money."

When you can’t outbid a cash buyer, this step puts you on closer-to-equal footing with them.

Not everyone offers underwriter review, though, so you should ask your lender or broker first.