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The Efficient Independent
Case Studies

The Efficient Independent

Why Parks has gone from earnest money to agent fees and beyond with Earnnest

Russell Smith
President & Chief Operating Officer
October 22, 2021

The Nashville-area brokerage Parks can name a lot of impressive numbers to showcase its success: Parks captured more than $3 billion in sales volume last year among almost 7,000 transaction sides and currently employs more than 1,100 agents in its multiple offices. But perhaps the most impressive number speaks to Parks’ longevity: approaching five decades of serving buyers and sellers in Tennessee.

How did Parks establish itself as one of Nashville’s long-term real estate powerhouses and one of the most respected independent brokerages in the country? “Our Realtors® bring value to the table,” stresses Carrie Agent, the Director of Finance at Parks, “and they know that because of our training and advanced tools, they are getting the very best in the market.”

In practice, this means that Parks agents are offered technologies that help solve real challenges in the many transactions and deals they’re handling. “We are always looking for innovative ways to make our process easy,” notes Agent. 

Security and transparency

When Parks began using Earnnest for digital earnest money deposits, the brokerage appreciated the security and transparency that are built into the platform. Personal checks are a security nightmare: Not only do they always contain routing and account numbers, but check-holders can also add anything from their home address to driver’s license information and even a Social Security number. Instead of writing, photocopying, handing off, and tracking a paper check for earnest money purposes, Earnnest provides an encrypted app that keeps the payer and recipient’s information private and secure.

Security is a key advantage to working with Earnnest instead of transferring earnest money through traditional methods. Although Parks has never experienced fraud with one of their transactions, Agent notes that a sister company hasn’t been so fortunate. “I couldn’t imagine being the representative who had to call and tell the client their money was gone,” she says. “We have been fortunate enough to catch things before fraud happened here, but anything we can do to alleviate the possibility will definitely be done.”

Beyond earnest money

After their experience with earnest money deposits, Parks wanted to transfer some of that clean-and-simple experience to other parts of the brokerage’s business, including agent fee collection, as well as security deposit and rent payment management. “We believe that by connecting the secure way of processing trust money on a platform that many of our agents recognize—and already use—within our tool arsenal was a no-brainer,” explains Agent.

By switching to Earnnest for agent fee payment, Parks has eliminated time spent wrangling agent credit cards, empowered agents to manage their own payment information however they see fit, and handed hundreds of dollars in saved fees each month back into the hands of their very best salespeople.

Earnnest is also supporting the property management offerings at Parks by providing renters with an easy and secure way to pay their deposits and monthly rent payments. The level of transparency that Earnnest offers here provides another benefit to the property management department of Parks: When a renter makes a rent payment or security deposit, Earnnest requires them to use an account that has the full outstanding amount available to be paid immediately.

This means there’s no waiting for days or over a weekend to make sure that a deposit check has cleared before a renter (and a landlord!) can be certain the deal can move along or that the rent is considered paid for the month. Everybody knows where the money is and when it’s been officially moved.

“Our experience with Earnnest so far has been great,” enthuses Agent. “With any new tool, you have to keep reinforcing it, and we would just keep offering it to our agents when they would call in for wiring instructions. The dashboard is seamless and simple, but effective. And everyone at Earnnest is very informative; they love their product and stand behind it.”

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Russell Smith

Russell Smith is President & Chief Operating Officer at Earnnest - How Money Moves in Real Estate. Russell and his team at Earnnest are on a mission to remove payment fraud from the real estate equation by replacing checks and wires with fast, secure digital payments. Prior to joining Earnnest, Russell held multiple roles leading teams and scaling new ventures at HouseCanary, RealScout, and Trulia. He was named as a HousingWire “Rising Star” in 2020 and a “Newsmaker” by Real Estate Magazine in 2023.