Cash may be king, but words are pretty powerful, too: One of the most effective ways to win a bidding war is to write the seller a letter.

All-cash offers nearly doubled a buyer’s chances of trumping others, while waiving a financing contingency—effectively agreeing to forfeit the deposit if a buyer can’t get a mortgage—boosted a buyer’s odds by 57.9%, according to new data. Surprisingly, penning a cover letter came in a close third, increasing a buyer’s odds by 52.2%. The numbers are more dramatic in the priciest 10% of...

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