It reminded me of the “witch trials” where some people got upset and did not trust things they did not understand.
Trust me when I say no Fax machines were burned at the stake. I promise.
At those times offers were also hand delivered to the other agent by the buyer’s agent. The presentation typically involved all parties to the transaction. The homeowners, the buyers, the realtor for the home buyer and the realtor for the sellers, plus the buyer’s lender, all were present.
Because of that presentation model we were all able to come to an agreement, or not, within a short time after the meeting. Also, the names corresponded to real people. Not just paper renditions.
At that time, a buyer’s deposit was taken via check and that check was deposited into the real estate companies deposit account. It was logged and all was official. The check would make the move from the company’s safe, to their bank, from their bank to the specific escrow company, if all worked out. If the deal did not happen, the buyer’s deposit money would be returned to them via check from the real estate company. “It was cumbersome – but no one stole any money…”
The other “funds” required to close escrow, down payment, etc – those monies were taken care of by a cashiers check drawn from the accounts containing them by the buyer. I remember stating to a home buyer, “you have until five pm to bring a cashiers-check to escrow, made payable to ABC escrow and in the amount of $XXX.xx – make sure you also have the bank put the escrow number and address(if it fits) in the memo portion of the cashiers check.”
No money ever was stolen. Sometimes it was transferred to the wrong account number by a typo but never stolen by hackers.
Today the hacking world is doing a great job at intercepting emails containing sensitive information concerning real estate transactions which are in process. They are doing this by either installing a “coded spy” within a real estate agent, escrow agents, a title officer’s, email accounts.
Then the “spy” keeps watch on when an email containing “wiring instructions” enter’s the email or is typed up. That email is intercepted and held, even though it shows as “sent”.
The attachment related to the wiring instructions is then removed and replaced with the cyber-criminals wiring instructions.
When the home buyer/seller receives it, they trust it because it came from an email address which they know. They then adhere to the wiring instructions without question or concern.
In most cases that money is not recoverable. And in most cases that money is the last of what the buyers/sellers had to use to close their transactions.
Enter the OLD WAY
How about a true “cashiers check”? Not a “bank check”, it will have to be a cashiers check. Verify with the escrow company what other ways, besides wiring, they will accept the money to move from account a to account b.
In addition, if you are someone who will be making money from the real estate transaction, you may want to rethink your having the proceeds wired to your account.
Escrow, at least the escrow companies we work with, will always either send a check per the client’s request or allow for one to be picked up.
OMT – another suggestion, go and pick up the check. I don’t even trust the mail 🙂