Why do sellers care if the offer has a loan or is all cash?

Image of $20 and $10 bills with the words "Why do sellers care if it's a loan or all cash?"Why are all cash offers such a big deal?

Buyers who are getting slammed out of the Silicon Valley real estate market due to low inventory and multiple offers are extremely frustrated. Part of the problem may be the amount of cash in their offer. It can be hard to compete with bids with smaller loan amounts or which are “all cash, no loans”.

The question arises all the time: why isn’t my 20% down offer just as good as the 50% down or the all cash offer? Isn’t 20% down good enough? Or for that matter, why wouldn’t a lower interest rate FHA backed loan be suitable?

All cash is better because there’s less risk

Twenty percent down is “good enough” if there are no other offers. If it’s multiple offers, though, it’s probably not sufficient for most sellers provided that the all cash offers are written with realistic pricing. Right now, about 15% of home sales in Santa Clara County are all cash, and sellers would far rather deal with an offer that includes no finance or appraisal contingencies.  For sellers, the fewer contingencies the better and no contingencies is ideal.  Particularly now, when we are seeing a very sudden and dramatic upswing in pricing, appraisal contingencies can kill an offer’s chances of success due to the fear of a low appraisal. With all cash, there is no appraisal at all – it’s a slam dunk on that front. (more…)

The percentage of all cash sales in Santa Clara County

The percentage of all cash sales (all cash, no loans) rose in July, but the actual number of sales, shown immediately below, shrank a little. I pulled this data from the MLS today and it’s reflective of whatever the listing agent entered into the fields for financing.

Number of Cash Sales of Single Family Homes in Santa Clara County

 

Percentage of All cash sales, month by month, in Santa Clara County (single family homes)

Next, the actual percentage of all cash sales in the county for houses and duet homes.

Percentage of All Cash Sales in Santa Clara County for Jan 2013 - July 2023

 

The average for the 11 Julys shown is 13.9%, so July 2023 with 15.7% is interesting to see. Interest rates have skyrocketed over the last 14 months, forcing home prices down in the 2nd half of 2022. It’s a little surprising that we did not see a surge of cash buyers then, but their numbers stayed in the typical range from what I’m seeing.

Now, in mid 2023, we have seen both interest rates and home prices rising – at least for the first 6 months of the year – in most of the valley.

Cash buyers are usually investors, but not always. Sometimes they are homeowners who sold their long held family home and are now downsizing and buying with the proceeds of the larger home that they just sold. We don’t get that piece of data from the MLS, but anecdotally, that’s what I’m seeing with the cash offers I’m seeing and hearing about.

 

What does it mean that cash buyers are an increasing percentage of the closed sales?

  • Rising interest rates not only don’t harm the all cash, no loans buyers, it actually helps them as it weakens their competition
  • These buyers may be feeling more confident with the softened market and easier buying conditions generally
  • My thinking when we saw interest rates rising is that it would help the mortgage free buyer more than anyone else – that seems to be the case.

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Silicon Valley real estate sales to “all cash” buyers: how prevalent are they?

Ten dollar bill (shown in part) with the words "Cash Is King" - all cash offers are preferred by home sellersHow common are “all cash” transactions for Silicon Valley real estate right now?  During the first couple of years after the downturn ended and the recovery cycle began, we had a large percentage of all cash buyers in Santa Clara County and nearby. In recent years, though, that ratio has been declining. Where are we now?

Some areas and some types of sales are more frequently all cash than others.  Here are a few quick stats for the last 60 days  (numbers from MLSListings, crunched by me – disclaimer on good intentions but no guarantee) for single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums (not included are multi-family homes, apartment buildings, mobile homes, farms / ranches etc.). Also, please note that this is for closed sales, not pending sales.

What percentage of sales are all cash?

  • Santa Clara County: 12% all cash
  • San Mateo County: 20% all cash
  • Santa Cruz County: 18% all cash

Few areas in Santa Clara County

  • San Jose (entire city): 10% all cash
  • Los Gatos: 12% all cash
  • Cupertino: 11%
  • Milpitas: 4%
  • Morgan Hill: 13%
  • Campbell: 10%

All cash sales close escrow without a loan. In higher priced homes, some new owners will put financing on the property after close of escrow.  Particularly in lower priced homes, though, these are investor buyers who will be renting out the property.  This is often the case with the lower priced distressed properties in particular.

With the crazy new demands that keep coming at us from banks and new requirements being imposed on appraisers, now more than ever, cash is king.  That doesn’t mean that the cash buyer will get a deep discount, but there will be a slight one in most cases and certainly preferential treatment that will create a great advantage in multiple offer situations.

Learn more about buying and selling Silicon Valley real estate with cash offers:

Cash offers: what do you need to know if buying “all cash”?

Finding Your Next Home

What’s My Silicon Valley Home Worth? Estimating the Probable Buyer’s Value  (financing impacts market value)

 

 

 

In the luxury home market of Santa Clara County, how many properties are bought “all cash, no loans”?

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

The amount of all cash offers in Santa Clara County has been very high for the last couple of years, and I’ve written about it here.  But what of the luxury market?  At one point, I read that nationwide, 50% of all homes sold at over a million dollars were bought all cash, no loans.  So I thought it might be similar here.

Just now I logged onto MLSListings.com to run the numbers for the last 90 days in Santa Clara County.  I ran the numbers with the following criteria:

  • houses, duet homes, townhouses and condos
  • sold within the last 90 days (closed escrow)
  • within Santa Clara County
  • sale price at or over $2,000,000

The number of properties matching this list over the last 90 days was 351 (it was 306 on 5/24/14).

The number of properties matching this list which were identified as having all cash, no loans financing = 108 (it was 111 on 5/24/14)

The percentage of all cash sales identified as such on the MLS for this period is 30.77% (back on 5/24/14, it was 36%).  (For all prices right now, it appears that the average is 16.86% or so. – it was 18% on 5/24/14.)

Disclaimer: for this to be accurate, it requires the listing agent or office admin who closes out the sale on the MLS to accurately represent the financing used.  It is possible that this is off, and the more accurate data could be from the county records themselves. If I can obtain that data, I’ll update this article then.

Back to the ratio of cash sales in the luxury market: why does it matter?  More than anything, it matters because interest rates are rising and this impacts the buyers’ ability to purchase property.  In real estate generally, if interest rates rise, home values are negatively impacted.  We’ll want to see what impact the more expensive loan products have on high end or estate housing, not just here in Silicon Valley, but across the country.

See homes currently for sale in Santa Clara County in the map below:

 

 

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See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 4/15/2024)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

 
 

 

 

 

What’s most important to home sellers: highest price, fast close, all cash, no contingencies, pre-approved loan or what?

When home sellers receive multiple offers on their property, they get to prioritize what they want most. Is it all cash, the highest price, the fastest close of escrow, or no contingencies? This 45 second video of home sales in 2013 may surprise you!  (Per the California Association of Realtors – so apparently home sales in CA.) When writing your real estate contract, it’s good to keep this info in mind – too often, cash buyers in particular don’t appreciate that most sellers are after the #1 item listed in this quick video.

 

 

 

 

Low down payment, conforming loans are back

Low down payment conforming loan is backFirst time home buyers, you have cause to be grateful as low down payment, conforming loans are back.  This means that if you have less than 20% saved toward your down payment, you aren’t stuck needing to utilize FHA backed financing.  FHA insured mortgages can be a wonderful thing for home buyers in particular situations (such as not having enough of a credit history), but they are costly – especially now, with the requirement that the mortgage insurance stay for the life of the loan.  Buyers with FHA financing also are less desirable to sellers and listing agents as FHA has stricter requirements than conventional lenders.

Being able to purchase a condo or house with 5% (or possibly less) using conforming loans will open a lot of doors – at least in theory.  In our crazed Silicon Valley sellers’ market, though, where multiple offer situations are the norm, having a high loan to value ratio may get you on the list of bidders to be eliminated.  San Jose area sellers want large downs, or better, all cash buyers.  It’s hard to compete with that!

The smaller your down payment, the more important it is to either avoid multiple offer bidding situations altogether or to aim at properties with lower numbers of offers.  What may help you most is targeting condos, townhomes or houses which have been on the market a month or more, as these seldom will have more than one contract presented at a time unless there’s a price reduction.  You and your real estate agent may also target the homes which are not offered via the multiple listing service (yes, they are harder to find), whether represented by another Realtor or licensee or sold without professional representation (aka, a FSBO).

Related reading:
First Time Home Buyer with FHA Financing? Make Sure That Your Offer is Well Drafted!

Cash offers: what do you need to know if buying “all cash”?

Ten dollar bill (shown in part) with the words "Cash Is King" underneathIf you are purchasing your Silicon Valley home “all cash”, you will be in a stronger negotiating position.  Most of the time, you will get a slight discount on the price and the escrow period should be smoother as there will be fewer hurdles with no financing contingency.  Sellers always welcome cash offers, especially now.

What do you need to know if writing an all-cash real estate offer?

First, make sure you really do have your funds available or “liquid”.  Sometimes buyers think that because they have stock worth a certain amount of money, funds in an overseas bank account or equity in another property they will have access to that cash almost immediately.  It often doesn’t work that way.

Large sums of money coming from out of the United States may have to sit in a bank account for some time, possibly 30 days.  Domestic wire transfers usually have little or no hold time. Is your money overseas? You may want to consider moving it well in advance of the close of escrow. Speak with your escrow officer and Realtor about the details. (more…)