Q: How does the current San Francisco market trade off “all cash” offers with the value of a bid? In other words, if I anticipate competing with all-cash offers, by how much do I have to outbid them (all other contingencies waived and 20% down)?

A: The percentage will vary wildly depending on the particular players in any multiple-offer situation, so it’s something you really can’t quantify. And there’s always the chance that a savvy listing agent will issue simultaneous counteroffers at your higher price to the cash bidders — in order to maximize terms and price.

Go as high as you possibly can and hope for the best, because there will be a price where cash no longer “talks.” Another effective strategy is to carefully watch for listings that don’t sell in the first two weeks. The longer a property languishes on the market, the better your chances of being the only buyer. And this means a return to the good ol’ days of one-on-one negotiations.

Try to resist the validation of choice that competing offers bring: As in, “It must be a great place because 14 other buyers wanted it. Too bad we didn’t win.” If you DO prevail in a multiple-offer scenario, you can be pretty darn certain you overpaid by at least a little. And, of course, that’s okay in San Francisco because it’s only weeks before the market catches up to you.

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit This answer originally appeared on Quora.