Why Is Real Estate Industry Last to Move to Online Payments?

Real Estate transactions have a reputation for being complicated and time-consuming. It’s no wonder that younger generations are finding the process a little overwhelming and even when they’re ready to buy a home the thought brings a bit of uncertainty. Much of this is because of the antiquated way that people are required to make their money transfers in real estate transactions. Most escrow companies still require paper checks, or even wire transfers, for payments to be made for earnest money. While in the past this may have seemed like the best and most secure way to move large amounts of money around for real estate transactions, it has been a long time since this has been the case. Many people no longer even own a checkbook, yet people are still asked to provide physical checks and wire transfers when buying property.

When was the last time you had to physically drive somewhere to make a payment? It seems so time-consuming to need to clear this time in our schedules to make payments for real estate transactions when there are so many other areas of our lives where we are able to easily make payments electronically. It’s not uncommon for a real estate transaction to be held up by waiting on money transfers. When you’re working with delivering a physical check or doing a wire transfer, it can often mean going out of your way during business hours. Not everyone has this time in their schedule which can lead to a delay in escrow. This prolonged process is not only a hassle for all parties, but completely unnecessary considering the technology to simplify the process has been available for a long time.

While in the past it may have seemed secure, using wire transfers in real estate transactions can pose quite the security risk especially when you consider the large sums of money involved. Due to the large amounts of money being transferred between parties, criminals like to target those in the middle of real estate transactions. According to a warning from the FBI, there was a 480% increase in the number of complaints of wire transfer fraud filed by title companies in 2016. A scary statistic, not just for the buyers, but also for all parties involved. Being aware of this possibility is the first step in avoiding wire transfer fraud, but unfortunately it can still happen to anyone who participates in wire transfers.

In modern times it’s rare that we use a physical check. A wire transfer seems even more foreign to most people because in our day-to-day lives the only time these are used is during real estate transactions. With the majority of the population relying on using online payments and credit cards for all other aspects of life, it’s pretty surprising that the real estate industry hasn’t updated its processes and systems to match how people handle money today. Fortunately, the real estate industry is finally coming around and there is now an option to avoid all the hassle related to check or wire transfers in real estate.

Introducing Earnnest

Earnnest is changing the way money moves in real estate. If you’ve been wondering yourself why we can’t start moving real estate transaction payments online, then you’re going to want to learn all about Earnnest. Simply put, Earnnest is a digital platform for the safe and secure transfer of funds from buyer to escrow holder in real estate transactions. Earnnest founder Daniel Jeffords went through the home buying process himself and when his agent, George Clements, asked him what he thought about the real estate buying process he mentioned the inconvenience of having to drive a check around just to pay earnest money. So Jeffords and Clements decided to go into business together to solve this particular issue and formed Earnnest. They are finally putting the antiquated ways of moving money during real estate transactions to rest and helping the industry move to digital money transfers.

Built by real estate agents for real estate agents, Earnnest works with over 12,000 banks nationwide. In creating Earnnest, the goal was to simplify moving money in real estate for all parties. The days of real estate agents chasing down paper checks from their clients is coming to a close. Anyone working in the real estate industry from agents to escrow will tell you that trying to get earnest payments in the form of paper checks and wire transfers can be one of the biggest hassles and hold-ups for the entire process. With Earnnest, your buyers can send money with the click of a button just like they’re used to doing with any other purchase or transaction. Imagine the relief provided to buyers who have been through this process before when they find out that they can use Earnnest to transfer funds digitally and don’t have to take time off work to deliver a check.

We understand that Earnnest can save time for everyone involved, but what about security? Earnnest was built to create the very best platform for faster and more secure real estate transactions making security one of their top priorities. One of the reasons the people don’t mind the use of paper checks and wire transfers is that it’s felt that those methods are the most secure. In the past, this may have been true. But Earnnest takes security to another level making it more secure than the current standard for payment processes. In addition to a system protected with banking-level security and encryption, there are many security checkpoints in place. All accounts are verified, all parties involved in the transaction are verified, and they offer transparency through the entire transaction. Sensitive client information is never collected or stored to ensure top-notch security for your clients. Payment receipts containing key information as well as unique tracking IDs add to that security.

Earnnest is finally bringing the real estate industry into modern times with digital money transfers. With Earnnest, you can say goodbye to running around to hand off paper checks, avoid delays due to insufficient funds, remove the risk of identity theft, and have more transparency for all parties with regards to money movement during a real estate transaction.

Real Estate VC @ Second Century Ventures . Former VC @ Plug and Play Ventures, Partnerships @ Kash (acq.), Analyst @ Real Facilities (acq.), Founder StayTO.