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Brokerage admin eliminates wire transfer woes
Case Study

Brokerage admin eliminates wire transfer woes

Market Center Administrator, Corey McDermott, unlocks a seamless transaction experience by implementing time-saving technology.

Russell Smith
June 15, 2022

Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners is putting technology to work to solve traditional brokerage challenges. This willingness to innovate has led to time and monetary savings for their growing business. The Savannah, GA based market center attributes almost half of its $1.53 billion volume to property listings. Because they hold the earnest money on these listed properties, KW Coastal Area Partners tends to have around $2 million in escrow holdings at any given time. With a business that big they’re always on the lookout for ways to improve their processes. 

Corey McDermott has been the Market Center Administrator at KW Coastal Area Partners since 2017. During this time, a problem Corey’s team pinpointed for improvement was the wire transfer of earnest money deposits. Wires add stress to the earnest process and waste time for agents and their clients. Plus, the brokerage was constantly racking up bank fees due to incoming wires. “We asked clients to add the wire fee to the total amount they sent, but only 50% of clients followed through with the instructions.” In the other half of cases, KW Coastal Area Partners was left paying the fees. And with 5-10 deposits coming in each day their bank fees really started to add up.

Another problem with wires was the time lost waiting for confirmation to arrive. The process of coordinating wires with homebuyers was time intensive on Corey’s end and waiting for the wire confirmation to arrive was stressful for the homebuyer who feared their wire wouldn’t make it to the right account. In one case, “a client called in eight separate times to check if the wire transfer had arrived,” McDermott shared. Corey’s team was ready to find a solution and Earnnest was ready to help.

KW Coastal Area Partners implemented Earnnest, a fully digital earnest money solution, in February 2022 with the goal of eliminating wires and their inherent drawbacks for the brokerage. The first obvious benefit of Earnnest was the savings they saw immediately. Because Earnnest’s digital payments are free for brokerages, KW Coastal Area Partners’ bank fees vanished on every transaction handled with Earnnest. Plus, “using Earnnest eliminated the delays around payment confirmations,” Corey explained. Instead of buyers calling in to check on their payment’s status, they now receive automatic updates directly from Earnnest as their payment progresses. Putting a client’s mind at ease about their earnest money payment improves the customer experience KW Coastal Area Partners provides.

When it came to rolling out Earnnest in the office, Corey described the registration and start up process as, “very seamless”. Getting agents on board to use the new tool went smoothly as well. Corey approached his top grossing teams — who generate 20% of the market center’s deals — and presented Earnnest to them as, “something that will mutually benefit all of us.” Once those teams were up and running, KW Coastal Area Partners saw about half of their deals begin to use the Earnnest system. Each new transaction provides an opportunity for brokerage leadership to encourage agents to use Earnnest with their clients.

A key to KW Coastal Area Partners’ rapid adoption of Earnnest has been introducing it when agents request wiring instructions. “We’re not doing wires anymore,” Corey explains and then pulls up the Earnnest app to show the agent just how quick and easy digital earnest money payments are. In addition to these one-on-one sessions, Corey talks up the time saving service at every team meeting and sends monthly reminders to the market center.

Corey and his team have become such strong advocates of the Earnnest product because of the benefits he sees the brokerage reap on each transaction. The savings in time and bank fees KW Coastal Area Partners has experienced in the few months since implementing Earnnest is a game changer for the ever growing brokerage. “This is one of the better things we’ve implemented in a while because it affects what we do on a day to day basis,” McDermott concluded.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell Smith

Russell Smith is the Chief Revenue Officer at Earnnest. Russell has spent his entire career innovating within the real estate technology ecosystem, previously building high-growth teams, culture, and key business channels at HouseCanary, Trulia, RealScout, and National Tenant Network. Russell was named a HousingWire Rising Star in 2020.