When someone is buying a house, there is a deadline in which to deliver their earnest money to the title company. And they’d better not miss it. We don’t care if it’s too hot outside, they overslept, or the dog ate their homework. A deadline is a deadline.

A buyer has three days to deposit funds with the title company. If the third day is a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday, then the last day to deliver it is moved to the following business day. The title company will sign a receipt of earnest money with both the date and time the funds are received.

What happens if a buyer doesn’t deliver the earnest money to the title company on time? The skies will open up and swallow them. Well, maybe not. But there are consequences.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

Business conflicts always seem to revolve around money. It’s no surprise that some of the worst disputes we see at title companies are over earnest money: Who wants it. Who is entitled to it. Who thinks they’re entitled to it. Etcetera. It can get uglier than avocado appliances and shag carpet.

When a transaction fails to close, any earnest money that was deposited with the title company must be disbursed to someone. The provisions for this are in the standard contract put out by TREC – the Texas Real Estate Commission. What happens to the earnest money is spelled out clearly. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from fighting over it anyway.

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

When putting a contract on a property, a buyer can usually expect to write two checks to accompany their contract — an option fee check and an earnest money check. There is no strict rule about how much each of these checks must be. The amount of this up-front money is negotiable between buyer and seller. However, the amount sends a strong signal to either buyer or seller.

A buyer offering too little in either option or earnest money can indicate they are not serious or very interested in the property. Perhaps they can’t even afford it.  A demand of too much option or earnest money from the seller may send the message that they are unreasonable or mistrustful. The state of the real estate market also influences the amount of option fee and earnest money. 

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By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) recently updated the standard residential contracts to now address policies regarding deposits of earnest monies. These changes become mandatory May 15, 2018.

On the first page of the newly updated Texas contracts, it states that “Within 3 days after the Effective Date, Buyer must deliver $___ earnest money to ___, as escrow agent, at ____.”  Previous TREC contracts did not have a deadline for delivering earnest money except to say it was due “upon execution of this contract.” Simultaneous delivery of the contract and earnest money didn’t always happen. Now it is clear.

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Zoccam Phone

Let’s say you’re in hot pursuit of a home that has multiple offers and you want to get your earnest money in and get the home locked down quick. It’s a total pain in the posterior for some agents when they have to race across town to the title company to get that check in the right hands. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just deposit the check using the camera on your smartphone? I mean, you’re carrying it around everywhere anyway. You can’t live without that thing!

Well, ZOCCAM will change all that. The new smartphone app, which just went live in Texas today, will allow licensed agents to send earnest money with ease, and without having to drive anywhere. The app, which uses Jack Henry & Associates to securely process checks, is available to licensed Texas real estate agents for $9.99 a month or for $100 a year.

“We are revolutionizing the way real estate transactions are conducted,” said Ashley Cook, a Dallas real estate attorney and founder of ZOCCAM. “We are improving the agent’s ability to attract and service clients by enabling faster sales cycles. Instead of driving checks to the title company, the agent can spend more time putting deals together. Not only does it minimize their liability, it gives them more time which is something you cannot buy.”

Yes, this is like BUYING YOU TIME! Who wants to spend more time in the car when they could just use their smartphone to get things done? Really, who doesn’t like that? This thing is going to be huuuuuge! Jump for more!

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