The iBuyer real estate industry has been quickly digitizing the tedious processes behind buying a home. However, the processes used by brokers and realtors have been more resistant to change.
While a contract can be e-signed online, the process is often then interrupted by an earnest money check that still needs to be hand-delivered.
“Contract and earnest check used to come in together. Now agents just leave a check on a desk thinking it’s easy to match it up to the contract, but often the buyer’s name and their current address is not what’s in the contract,” says Bernardine Drake.
Bernardine and her husband Glenn Drake have been in the real estate industry for the past 30 years, expanding their broker company to eight offices and more than 700 agents.
Bernardine and Glenn often found themselves scrambling to find the right match for a check that was left under the door by one of their many agents.
“That’s when we said, there has to be a better way that we can receive these so that we know exactly where they belong,” says Bernardine.
The husband and wife duo founded Bank Shot to streamline this portion of the transaction between agents and brokers.
The app, available on iOS and Android, lets agents securely enter a buyer’s name and contract details, and then enter the check with a mobile photo.
The transaction is then displayed on Bank Shot’s secure portal under the individual broker’s account. They can accept, reject, or hold the check if they need more details — gaining complete control of when to deposit, in case the timeline changes.
The platform works with any financial institution.
While the process looks much like the deposit feature on a bank app, Bank Shot does not operate like an automated clearinghouse. The startup partnered with fintech enterprise Deluxe to accept the electronic checks, confirm requirements and finalize the deposit.
“Once we realized that we could do this with earnest money, we expanded the options to include other typical checks that a real estate brokerage would handle like commission checks, security deposit, or rent payments,” says Bernadine. “Now we have a great end-to-end solution for our agents.”
The startup operates on a per-transaction fee for most customers, which ends up being lower than the cost of a bank wire. They’ve also recently introduced a white label solution for large title and brokerage companies.
They have customers nationwide including title companies, banks, and brokerages. They’re also growing a customer base of property owners and managers that use the platform to collect rent money.
“The beauty of Bank Shot is that it works just as well for a little company as it does for a gigantic company,” says Glenn.
The husband-wife duo are currently running both the bootstrapped tech startup and their real estate brokerage together. Glenn says that the secret to remaining productive as married co-founders is to not work together in the same office.
“We try to stay physically apart so we have things to talk about the end of the day and don’t get on each other’s nerves,” he says.