By Connie Adair
Having a deal go the way of the dodo bird because of a late deposit cheque is just sad. And the running around to make sure that doesn’t happen is stressful for all involved. Halifax-based Chris Ryan and Kevin Kline figured there had to be a better way, so they came up with one: ExactDeposit – an online deposit system for real estate that will let homebuyers submit deposits entirely from a computer or mobile device, without ever needing a paper cheque.
Ryan has been a top-producing agent for more than 10 years and Kline has more than 20 years of technology and telecommunications experience.
The salesperson and the tech guy put their skills together to develop an online deposit solution for brokers, agents and their clients. The system eliminates the use of personal or certified cheques and offers an efficient and secure online payment system that takes less than 10 minutes using a smartphone, a computer or tablet in real time, Ryan says. “It’s new to everywhere.”
Once an offer is accepted, the agent emails a deposit invoice to the buyer. Using a secure portal, the client reviews the invoice then submits payment using their credit card. Clients can’t go on the system and make a payment on their own. It must be facilitated by the agent.
Deposit receipts are generated and the process is complete in less than 10 minutes, with documentation provided to the broker, agent and client.
Clients will be happy to save time and frustration. Many young buyers don’t even use cheques, Ryan says. And who isn’t happy to avoid wasting time at a bank branch getting a certified cheque? Debit can be a problem depending on how much can be transferred out per day (having to make payments over several days can be problematic when time is of the essence).
Wire transfers still mean a trip to the bank, plus it requires brokerages to give out their banking information and many brokers prefer not to, he says. There is also no notification about when the money will appear, which means brokers have to constantly check their trust account.
ExactDeposit dashboards keep everyone – agent, broker and client – in the loop by providing status updates. The system also automatically generates FINTRAC paperwork, another time-saver for agents.
The secure ExactDeposit system is connected to a broker’s trust account and the broker has visibility into all of their agents’ files, so they can monitor upcoming deadlines.
Refunds can be made just as easily and quickly. The agent issues a termination agreement and money is returned as designated on the agreement (directly to the cardholder or by cheque).
ExactDeposit was two years in the making and the pilot program started in February. More than a dozen brokerages, representing over 500 agents and accounting for about 80 per cent of Halifax’s (city and surrounding areas) annual real estate sales activity, have already signed up to participate, Ryan says. Those offices include Royal LePage Atlantic, Re/Max Nova, Exit Realty Metro and Keller Williams Select.
It’s been a lot of legwork to create this online deposit system for real estate, with Ryan and Kline doing conference calls and training and meeting with brokerages and regulatory bodies.
They received technology and innovation grants and worked with PhDs and Masters students from Dalhousie University.
Fees for real estate professionals will start at $10 per month for unlimited usage. Buyers will pay a 2.9-per-cent fee. Feedback is that they don’t mind paying for a system that relieves stress, saves time and ensures their deal doesn’t fall through because of a late deposit payment, Ryan says. The points earned by paying by credit card also helps offset the fee, he says.