New Real Estate Form:  “Earnest Money Receipt”

“No one uses it.”

“No one’s going to use it.”

“It doesn’t work online.”

The “it” in question is a new Realtor form, titled “Earnest Money Check,” that agents are being encouraged to use instead of faxing or emailing a copy of the Buyer’s actual check (the current practice).

The concern?

That the email or especially fax will be intercepted by someone who will lift the confidential info off the check (ABA routing number, checking account number), and presumably plunder the Buyer’s account.  

Avoiding Prying Eyes

The (would-be) solution:  a form, filled out by the Buyer’s agent, representing that they have possession of the Buyer’s earnest check; stating the check amount; and promising to deliver said check once there is a Final Acceptance date on the Purchase Agreement (i.e., it’s fully executed).

Admittedly, the new form has only been available since October 1.

But, based on the initial comments I’ve heard . . . it’s a dud.

Coke vs. New Coke

Some forms ARE duds, either because they’re unclear, counter to how agents are accustomed to doing things — or both.

When that’s the case, they’re usually just withdrawn.

Why not simply obscure the confidential info on the check?

Because doing so would render it undepositable (real word?) once the Seller’s agent actually receives it.

Which suggests another solution:  1) copy the check; 2) obscure the confidential info on the copy; 3) include the obscured copy with the offer.

Whether or not agents will have the energy to do that at 10 p.m., after spending the previous few hours with their client putting the offer together, remains to be seen.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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