Earnnest
Inman Rating

Earnnest app streamlines and protects real estate transactions

A web app and invite-only mobile app, Earnnest is helping brokers make deposits electronic, secure and quick
Earnnest
Earnest money made secure and simple

Buyers can link accounts from up to 12,000 banks across the country using their existing personal login information and even link the specific account to the Earrnest workflow.

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Earnnest is a web app for securely exchanging money for real estate transactions.

Platforms: Mobile-first browser; invite-only app
Ideal For: Brokerages; escrow holders

Top Selling Points:

  • Uncomplicated; true-to-intent
  • Third-party ID verification
  • Users can link from 12,000 banks
  • Only small processing fee
  • Funds receiving account can’t be changed once set

Top Concerns:

There are a number of email exchanges to alert users to completed steps along the way. While very secure and although the receiving bank account can’t be altered, those worried about email-based bank fraud may still be concerned.

What You Should Know:

All money is moved electronically today, unless you’re an action movie villain or drug lord — although they probably use Venmo, too.

That check you’re writing isn’t really any more secure than letting software do it, so the process of visiting a bank to get and pay for a certified funds check is growing more antiquated every day.

Earnnest is a new entry into the real estate funds exchange marketplace, an invite-only app and browser software designed to help buyers send money to escrow holders. Its developers are aiming to eliminate paper checks from the industry within five years.

The interface is designed to ease the learning curve and worry a buyer may have about using a device to move tens of thousands of dollars, and the process backing it ensures the funds end up where they need to, and only those who should be privy to that knowledge are shown the details.

Two-factor authentication sets up the users, and the buyer agent gets moving with their client. Escrow agents can be manually entered or the app will select one based on location.

A tokenized text and email alert is sent to pull in the buyer, who is also two-factor authenticated and verified by a third-party provider Plaid, which develops and publishes APIs specifically for use in banking, ID verification, and other industries dependent on user and data privacy.

Dwolla, another invisible partner, protects the ACH payment.

Once in the system, so to speak, message-ID is used to continually verify the user. This processes leverages a hidden subset of an email address, usually established at the time of registration by the sending party, in this case Earnnest. No two email addresses can have the same message-ID.

Buyers can link accounts from up to 12,000 banks across the country using their existing personal login information, and even link the specific account to the Earrnest workflow.

A “proof of intent” step is built in to demonstrate the seriousness (most of the time) of the buyer, it comes across as an image of a check to accompany offers and early negotiations, and can be downloaded as a PDF.

In traditional buying scenarios, a buyer won’t be using Earnnest all that often. But, because deals do collapse after funds are exchanged, users won’t have to march through the ID and bank process a second time. This makes Earnnest a solid option for agents who represent regular investors.

Notifications are sent to each party with a unique identifying tracking code only for that transaction, which remains linked to the deal until finalized.

All funds are verified to exist before anything is ultimately transferred, and the software also locks the receiving party’s account information, preventing anyone from sending funds elsewhere, accidentally or otherwise.

Brokers and closing agents can monitor from a back-end every deal in the works, viewing property details, status of escrow, and when monies have been transferred.

The company hasn’t yet submitted their app to the Apple store, but plans are in the works. Until then, it’s invite-only.

Earnnest’s developers are also underway with several large-scale partnerships and white-label opportunities.

Inman was told that a number of popular CRMs and deal-management products are working to integrate Earnnest, and that they attended the Keller Williams family reunion last year.

Now live in 20 states after a 12-month beta, Earnnest has grown 330% since the start of this year, having gone live in late August of 2018.

Earnnest has strong goals for the industry, and is moving quickly from their Greenville, SC office. The residential real estate market is no doubt in need of more tools to securely move money, essential to the ultimate, collective goal of making home sales as simple as a Venmo transaction.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe

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