Really, buying a house today has never been easier. I mean, we are not letting Alexa do our work just yet… but so much of the buying process has become digitalized, thanks to technology and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000. Legitimizing electronic business transactions opened the door to companies like DocuSign, a San Francisco-based firm that was the first to introduce electronic signature technology and digital transaction management. That was in 2003. Flash forward to now when you can deposit checks and transfer funds right on your phone. Even Earnest Money, the backbone of the real estate contract, can be wired or transferred, managed from a laptop, tablet or phone.
Does anyone out there remember the days when agents spent all day driving contracts to get signatures from the buyer, then drove them back to the listing agents’ office, or home, check in hand? If something was wrong or not initialed, it was back in the car again.
But today, almost 98 percent of the contract process can be done from your laptop.
Exception: The Option Fee.
“Real estate agents are still spending hours driving to pick up and deliver option fees,” says Renée Pellét, one of the founders of GoOptionPay.com, a company based on proprietary software that is revolutionizing the way the Option fee is delivered and receipted.
“I know agents who have had to put off buyers to be a courier for the option check,” says Pellét. “The Option Fee is really the final frontier of the Real Estate contract that is archaic, still operating like it’s 1976.”
Pony Express when everything else is Alexa.
The Option Fee, for the uniformed, is money paid by a Buyer to a Seller for an option period to inspect the property and back out of the sale, if necessary. Option fees can range from $100 to $300 or more, and are paid directly to the seller to keep, refundable only at closing.
But time is of the essence with Option Fees. TREC contracts require the option fee to be delivered in three days. Chop chop: that Option Fee must be delivered in time or the buyer loses their very important option period!
Enter GoOptionPay. The company was dreamed up by four business partners, three of whom are real estate agents and have experienced the cumbersome Option Fee delivery process too many times.
“We knew there had to be a better way than running all over north Texas to deliver checks,” says Renée. “We approached a software developer, explained what we were thinking and said, ‘let’s bring Option Fees into the 21st century.’” The developers got hard to work and brought GoOptionPay.com to life. The web-based application launched on March 15tt this year and is the ONLY digital way to handle Option Money transactions digitally on your phone, computer or tablet.
The creators thought of everything involved in the Option fee process from delivery to receipt. The Buyer’s agent sets up the transaction through their GoOptionPay.com account. The buyer receives an email notifying them to pay their option fee online.
“The buyer’s agent gets to stay in control of the whole process, able to view their dashboard to see where the transaction is in progress.” says Renée.
Once the fee is paid, the program promptly sends an email to the listing agent to review and receipt the payment. Then an email with a PDF of the TREC contract receipted page is automatically generated and emailed to both agents.
“Signing the receipt page is electronic,” says Renée. “The receipt is generated when the listing agent reviews and approves it all, just like the good old days.”
The Pony Express days.
Once the listing agent enters the seller’s name and email address. The Seller gets an email to confirm their name and email address, for security purposes. Ultimately, they receive an e-Check they print on plain paper and deposit via their mobile banking app or … they can drive it to the bank to deposit.
It’s simple, it’s efficient, it’s four easy steps.
Thanks to GoOptionPay, the notion of collecting a paper check for the Option Fee and dropping it off by car to the Listing Agent, may soon be as archaic as searching for real estate in big, thick books of listings.
For more information, visit www.GoOptionPay.com.
Visit the folks who developed GoOptionPay at the Texas Association of Realtors EXPO in San Antonio this Sunday, September 8, at Booth 700!