The process of sending and receiving money related to real estate office operations and transactions has been long overdue for renovation. For years, paper checks and clunky online processes have been utilized to collect earnest money deposits, pay commissions and referrals, and collect deposit checks.
But a new day is dawning in real estate brokerage payments. In fact, in T3 Sixty’s Tech 500, the annual list of residential real estate brokerage tech, a new category was added this year for digital payments.
Brokerages, of course, regularly transmit money as part of their businesses. Some of the most frequent brokage money transfers include:
- Collection of earnest money deposits
- Commission payments to agents
- Referral payments on a transaction (if applicable)
- Payments to additional third parties on a transaction (home warranty, donations, or garnishments)
- Collection of fees owed on Agent billing (either via check or credit card)
- Inter-company transfers
Most brokerages still have processes that require paper checks or cumbersome digital payment structures. Building off the growing popularity of general digital payment apps such as Venmo, Zelle and PayPal, a crop of industry-specific applications to facilitate digital payments for brokerages has emerged.
New era of brokerage digital money
This new brokerage digital payment service resembles the modern app-based digital money transfer platforms an increasing number of consumers already use. They leverage smartphone functionality and security to facilitate instant transfers of funds.
Rather than writing a check and handing it off to an agent or title officer to record the deposit, the process uses digital solutions through a simple app interface, removing frictions and simplifying the experience. This makes tracking and recording the deposit easier and provides transparency through the transaction.
By moving onto these platforms, companies are focusing on improving and systemizing the way money changes hands within a real estate company's transaction lifecycle and operations. This effectively removes the disparate and cumbersome systems utilized to transmit money. Moreover, it will speed up transactions, increasingly simplify brokers’ and agents’ lives and stands as a critical step in the end-to-end digital transaction dream.
Each of these started by helping brokerages streamline earnest money payments, but then expanded into the other brokerage use-cases listed above. These companies are either actively testing the services or have launched them.
If you have any questions about any of these suggestions or technologies or would like assistance in evaluating the appropriate solution for your brokerage, please reach out to me, Jonathan Peterson, T3 Sixty's vice president of brokerage solutions, at email@example.com.