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Digital payments increase efficiency (and agent recruitment)
Case Study

Digital payments increase efficiency (and agent recruitment)

Market Center Administrator, Amber Gastwirth, dialed in to technology for her team—making efficiency and agent recruitment soar.

Russell Smith
June 14, 2022

Since 2018 Keller Williams Realty Golden Isles has brought a breath of fresh air to the barrier islands of Georgia. While relatively new (compared to the mom and pop brokerages who’ve serviced the region for decades), the brokerage’s leadership believed they had something better to offer the Golden Isles. One of those leaders is Amber Gastwirth, the company’s Market Center Administrator (MCA). Amber credits the elevated support and guidance provided by the Keller Williams franchise for offering buyers in the region something they were missing — namely technology.

Amber and her colleagues had been in business less than two years when COVID-19 swept in to change the way every home sale functioned. The Operating Principal (OP) at KW Realty Golden Isles moved quickly to make every step of the home buying journey a remote process. That’s where the application of new technologies came in to change the way business was run. As part of the transition, the brokerage rolled out Earnnest for fully-remote digital earnest money payments.

Amber admits that as the MCA she had her systems in place and was initially reluctant to change. But after encouragement from her OP, she gave Earnnest a try and was impressed with the ease of use. From there, the benefits started to reveal themselves and now she is completely on board.

“Ultimately, it’s much easier for me on the MCA side. It cuts so much time out of the earnest money process,” Amber explained.

“It’s more of a cumbersome process to receive the physical checks, prepare deposits in AccountEdge and then drive them to the bank,” she continued. Amber’s entire process of collecting earnest money was transformed from initial receipt to logging the transactions to reconciliation. “With Earnnest it’s just one little journal transaction.”

“It saves me so much time.”

And when the occasional deal is terminated and buyers need their earnest money returned, Amber found she was able to initiate disbursements faster than she could with a check-based transaction (which required 10 days to settle before disbursement could take place). Time savings like these make all the difference when a buyer is ready to make their next offer and needs their earnest money freed up to move forward on the next deal.

The agents at KW Realty Golden Isles benefited from digital payments as well. Because the brokerage covers an extensive area in southeast Georgia, agents live and work at a distance — some over an hour from the office. That makes driving earnest checks in to the brokerage a hassle. By using Earnnest, Golden Isles agents now collect deposits from home or on the go without driving to the office. “Earnnest has definitely been one of those value points that we talk to agents about,” said Amber.

In addition, KW Realty Golden Isles has seen the upside to digital earnest money as a brokerage. Attracting and retaining agents in a competitive market is at the front of every Operating Principal’s mind. In one instance, a top agent at a competing firm was introduced to Earnnest on a transaction the two companies completed together. “Shortly after coming into the office, meeting our staff and getting a demonstration on how Earnnest works, the agent made the decision to move brokerages and join our team,” Amber shared. “That use of technology was a hint of the things that we offer as far as services. Earnnest got her in the door.”

Originally implemented to fulfill a pandemic-led need for remote work, Amber believes digital payments are here with unlimited benefits for the long run. With increased organization added to the Market Center Administrator’s process, time savings and ease of use added for agents, and a valuable tool to attract agents to the brokerage, Amber feels KW Realty Golden Isles’ choice to implement digital earnest money with Earnnest only increases the unique value her brokerage can offer their clients.

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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.