Depending upon where you live and invest, the local real estate market may be humming right along, sort of ho-hum or downright in the doldrums. Real estate is local. That’s why some markets are white-hot while in other parts of the country it couldn’t be worse. But in those places where the real estatecash offer market is enjoying a nice rally and inventory is relatively low and the days on market count falls very favorable to sellers.

In such a market, what can real estate investors do to get the properties they want for a price that makes sense?

In a strong market, finding a good deal will be more difficult compared to a buyer’s market. Homes sell at or near list price and can receive multiple offers ad buyers pay a premium to get the property under contract. Real estate investors have to look harder and find potential properties in places other than the local multiple listing service. A bank’s REO department, scouring public records or old-fashioned networking can be employed. It will take more work when the pickings are indeed slim. But when you find such a property and there will undoubtedly be competition, how can you craft your offer to get the most attention?

Having your financing lined up is almost a requirement. Without an accompanying preapproval letter from a bank, the seller may decline your offer or at least request you obtain one before moving further. During that time, other offers will be made and the buyers all have such letters. But the hands-down best offer in hot markets is one that includes the word “cash.” A cash buyer doesn’t have to go through an approval process. A cash buyer closes in days, not weeks. A seller doesn’t have to take the property off market accepting “pending” offers only. A preapproval letter from a bank is good, but nothing beats cash. Nothing.