It used to be that cash was king; a cash buyer could jump to the front of a multiple offer line confident that his/her under-the-asking price offer would prevail. Don't get me wrong, a cash buyer is always appealing to a seller because it usually means a quicker escrow and often no appraisal contingency, but from my experience, unless that cash buyer is offering very close to what a conventional buyer is offering, most sellers will go for a longer escrow period and the risk of a failed escrow with a conventional buyer, in return for a higher sales price.
How can a cash buyer prevail against conventional and other cash buyers? If possible, your agent should contact the listing agent to fish around and ask questions: have any other offers been received yet? Are any of them all cash? Are any of the offers over the asking price? How many over the asking price are all cash? With this knowledge, you can write a good strong offer that has a chance of winning. If there are already cash offers over the asking price on the table, your offer has to be strong: offer over the asking price, short inspection period, short escrow period, no appraisal contingency, no termite inspection, no home warranty, etc. And never underestimate the power of a good love letter from the buyer, telling the seller how much the buyer loves the home, the neighborhood, etc!
We're in the midst of a real estate upswing, and in addition to foreign money investors, there are a lot of home grown cash buyers also including smart boomers with inherited money looking to invest in real estate, not the stock market. Cash buyers are looking for a deal, but the real deal has to be viewed in retrospect; the house you didn't think was such a deal a year ago has increased year over year by more than 20% in some areas, and the same will be said in 2014 of the property you buy in 2013! Don't miss out on every potential deal by not giving every offer your best shot!