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What is a Cash Offer in Real Estate? [What You Must Know]

If there’s one thing buyers want to offer and sellers want to be offered, it’s a cash offer. The saying “cold hard cash” no longer simply means physical metal coins, it alludes to the fact that nothing makes things happen faster than cash.

This is especially true in the world of real estate, where the majority of purchases are facilitated by a mortgage. While mortgages boost buying power, they also slow the sale process down. Even if a buyer has preapproval there are inspections, appraisals, and underwriting to wait on, and there’s no way to speed it up.

Read on to learn all about cash offers in real estate and what the process of a cash sale looks like.

What is a cash offer in real estate?

A cash offer means that the buyer can pay what they’ve offered from the money they have in the bank. Most buyers have a down payment of 10-25% of the purchase price, and then seek a mortgage for a loan for the remainder of the purchase price.

For example, a normal buyer will have $50,000 in cash and seek a mortgage to borrow the remaining $200,000. A cash buyer has the entire $250,000 in the bank and is ready to pay it once all the legal processes are complete. This makes the process move much faster.

(If you’re interested in getting a cash offer for your home, we can help. We buy homes for cash in Massachusettsclick here to learn more.)

Are cash offers in real estate rare?

They can feel rare, but recent statistics show that cash sales account for 19-38% of all single-family homes and condos in the US. (Recorded from 2000 to 2018.) How likely you are to receive a cash offer for your home depends on what kind of buyer your home attracts.

Cash offers are common if:

  • The home is in a (or appeals to the) retirement community
  • The home is in an area where there is a strong demand for rental properties (and so investors are interested)
  • If house prices in the area are particularly affordable
  • There is high competition and a buyer wants to draw attention to their buying power
  • The home requires renovation and so makes an attractive fix-and-flip opportunity

In 2018, the cities with the highest percentages of cash sales (all around 50%) were Montgomery (Alabama), Macon (Georgia), and Naples (Florida). Interestingly, the former two cities have high crime rates that keep the average house price in the city low, while Naples has a high retirement population, suggesting most of their cash buyers are people looking for a mortgage-free retirement.

If you’re selling a home that appeals mostly to young families who are still establishing their net worth with parents and potentially grandparents still in good health, you’re less likely to see a cash offer.

How does a house sale differ if a cash offer is on the table?

The main difference is that the sale can move much faster than if a mortgage is involved. As we touched on earlier, when a buyer is seeking a mortgage, they’re forced to do things at the lender’s pace.

Cash offers generally come from buyers who aren’t waiting on the sale of their own home to move forward, which helps the process move even faster. If there aren’t any hiccups, the sale of a home with a cash offer generally takes just 2-3 weeks. For comparison, the average mortgage sale takes over a month, at 43 days.

If you attract (or seek) an investor, you’ll often see the following benefits:

  • No, or fewer, offer contingencies – buyers often renegotiate the sale price after inspections, but this is much rarer with cash buyers
  • No appraisal – investors appraise your home using their own knowledge and cash buyers intending to live in the home usually aren’t interested in a formal appraisal (all lenders require an appraisal)
  • Closing is faster because there’s less paperwork involved and no waiting for funds

What are the pros and cons of accepting a cash offer?


  • You can move quickly – with just 2-3 weeks until closing, you can make the move as soon as possible
  • Once that initial contract is signed, there’s very little chance of the sale falling through because a buyer’s financing cannot fall through
  • Sales are rarely held up by selling another property – while some casual cash buyers may need to wait for their current home sale to close, most have the money in the bank and are ready to go, so there’s no delay
  • Many cash buyers are interested in buying a home in “as-is” condition


There really aren’t any cons. Some cash offers are lower, but if you’re going to receive one of these offers, you are almost certainly aware of some issues with the home that are bringing the value of the home down. Besides that, there are no downsides!

(A quick note on scams: make sure you don’t skip any formalities in the buying process and work with a real estate attorney. If you’re working with a cash home buying company like us, do your research and check that they’re reputable. We’re BBB accredited so you can rest assured knowing you’re in safe hands.) 

Get a Cash Offer for Your Massachusetts Home 

When you put your house on the market it’s largely down to luck as to whether you’ll get a cash offer or not, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re looking to sell your Massachusetts home fast, we can give you a cash offer.

All you need to do is reach out to us with a few details about your property and we’ll get back to you with our best cash offer – that means you’ll never have to negotiate to get the offer to a point you’re happy with. You’re under no obligation to accept our offer, but if you do, we can move forward with the sales process and close in just 2 weeks if everything goes smoothly.

To find out more about how selling to us works or to get a cash offer for your Massachusetts home, click here.

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