Published: May 16, 2014 4:52 PM EDT
Updated: May 16, 2014 5:04 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Are you in the market to buy a new home? You might want to have a lot of cold.. hard.. cash. WINK News is learning more than half of the homes bought in Lee County are bought with cash.    

Gene Richards is looking to live in Cape Coral. "We come down here for the quality of life. Vermont is beautiful, but so is Florida, so we really enjoy it," he said. 

WINK News is learning in the quest to conquer your personal piece of paradise, cash is the king. 

In fact, as Realtor Marc Joseph shows us, more than half of the sales in Lee County are conducted with cash. "If you come to Florida and you come to Lee County, and you bring your checkbook? Know that you're going not only use cash to buy something, but you may get into a little bit of a bidding war," he said. 

That bidding war, he says, is one of the reasons so many people today are paying in cash. Another reason: strict lending standards are making it difficult for some to get a mortgage. 

This comes on the heels of a brand new survey ranking Cape Coral as the fifth best place to live in the entire state.
Movoto Real Estate blog in California ranked Cape Coral based on its proximity to the water, low crime, and weather.

It's an exact reason Richards says he can't wait to find a home here. "We like the community. We like the wildlife. We like fishing, and there's all sorts of wonderful things to do down here," he said. 

Joseph says today's cash buyers range from your institutional buyers like hedge funds, to seasonal residents who live up north, and are using their retirement money on a Florida dream home.