Is your business ready to help when clients are ready to buy?
In the mountains of Western North Carolina, my family recently undertook a home search to reduce my husband’s commute from two hours a day to something more manageable. We found a house and made an offer. Next, it was time to pay our earnest money deposit. Our challenge would be finding an escrow holder who was ready to accommodate our desire for a remote payment option within a short time frame.
Remote payment: an increasing need
A recent study found 63% of homebuyers in 2020 made an offer remotely (up 200% from 2019.) In addition, NAR reported in 2022, “Millennials now make up 43% of home buyers – the most of any generation.” The increase in Millennial buyers and a demonstrated willingness to buy remotely has led to a growing desire for digital solutions.
My husband and I fall squarely in the age range for Millennials (those born between 1981-1996). We’ve been familiar with email since middle school, got used to online banking in high school, and social media has been part of life since college. So speaking for most Millennials, we trust digital solutions to do our daily tasks and are happy to make them part of our real estate transactions as well.
Having used Earnnest to deposit earnest money on a home a few years ago, we were eager to do the same for this contract. Our key benefit (aside from eliminating check and wire fraud) was that we were purchasing the home from more than an hour’s drive away. Earnnest would let us complete our earnest money deposit from the convenience of our apartment four counties away.
Digital payment: the time is now
My first step after submitting the offer was to find a closing attorney. Of the businesses recommended by our agent, one had wanted to try Earnnest — they just hadn’t signed up yet. Unfortunately, we were just days from Christmas and a weekend. Although Earnnest only takes a few minutes to register for, the attorney couldn’t find time in their holiday schedule to get their account registered before the bank holiday and weekend.
To make our deposit deadline, my husband ended up having to drive an hour and a half to meet our realtor in a parking lot and hand off a paper check. If you’ve been considering adding digital payments to your product offering, but haven’t taken action, now is the time to register! Have the tools in place to help homebuyers when the need arises — offering them remote, secure, digital payments.
Digital refunds: easier for everyone
Because my deposit was paid with a check, my earnest deposit refund had to be issued by check when the home purchase was terminated a few weeks later. (Sadly, after inspection the house turned out to be much more of a fixer upper than we had hoped.) The refund check had to be mailed out to us leading to more time delays. (And for many homebuyers not having access to their funds leads to a lot of pain.)
By going digital you will give your clients the benefit of easier refunds. With Earnnest, you can quickly return earnest money to the original account without any action needed from the payer. Plus, you can track each refund from within your account. Earnnest is always free for escrow holders to use with a small convenience fee for homebuyers to move their funds.
Don’t wait until your clients are in a bind before you add Earnnest’s digital payments to your product lineup. Be proactive and give yourself an edge in this competitive market by registering your business with Earnnest today.