Once again, cash buyers are changing the real estate game. Many are investors getting back into the market looking for rental properties. They’ve unsettled the purchase market a bit by swooping in with cash offers and are giving families looking to buy homes via financing some stiff competition.

How can a loan-backed buyer separate themselves from multiple cash offers?

Interestingly, most of the homes these investors are snapping up are the ideal choices for first-time homebuyers. With that said, what possibilities are there for buyers looking to compete against all cash buyers?

Here are five things that I’ve seen help buyers win a loan-backed offer against an investor or cash buyer:

Make sure you have the right approval and right lender

A five-minute conversation with a lender that produces a generic pre-qualifying letter just won’t do in today’s market. Before you are even close to submitting that offer, have your loan pre-approved, contingent upon appraisal of the home’s value. Make sure you have an “automated underwriting approval” – and have your agent relay this to the seller. By doing this, you will be on the same level as cash buyers. The seller’s agent will see your approval ‘as good as cash.’

Work in close contact with your mortgage lender

As a buyer, take the time to know your lender well – and share your current situation honestly. Let them get to know you, too! Your lender is a super important part of this transaction, and as a quality partner will make sure you know exactly what you need to have to make a complete offer.

Have your lender reach out the seller’s agent

I’ve made many phone calls to selling agents (with the permission of the buyers, of course) to let them know the specifics about the borrowers and their qualifications. This phone call right after your offer can give the agent great peace-of-mind. It will bolster your position with the seller and let them know that your bid really is as good as cash.

Make sure your agent presents the seller with a clean contract

The last thing you want to give to the seller is a sloppy offer via the contract. It’s unprofessional and won’t represent you well. Not only that, it creates more work for the seller’s agent – which can and will be held against you. Look at it this way…if an agent is perplexed or slowed down by your contract offer, they’ll reject it and go on to the next one.

Offer slightly more than the listing price

One of the great things about your position as a financed buyer is that you can offer a bit more, and it won’t cost you all that much. For example, if you add $5,000 to your offer, it might cost you $5 to $15 more per month in your payment, depending on your interest rate. That might be a fantastic trade-off to get your dream home right now and separate you from that cash offer.