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General | Designated Trust Account Holder | Real Estate Agent | Buyers

General

  • Is the system secure?

    We take security seriously. TrustFunds maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with or exceed industry standards to protect non-public, confidential information. TrustFunds utilizes third-party vendors for security and operational audits.

  • What is the Automated Clearing House (ACH)?

    The ACH Network is at the center of commerce in the U.S., moving money from one bank account to another through Direct Payment via ACH transactions. Each year, the ACH Network moves more than $40 trillion and nearly 23 billion electronic financial transactions, and currently supports more than 90 percent of the total value of all electronic payments in the U.S. As such, the ACH Network is one of the largest, safest and most reliable payment systems.

  • How does long does ACH take to settle into the Trust Account?

    The Federal Reserve’s Automated Clearing House (ACH) timeframe for processing and settling payments is the same whether submitting it electronically (online) or physically delivering a check to the bank. It takes approximately four (4) business days (excludes weekends and Federal holidays) to settle and deposit the funds into the recipient’s bank account. TrustFunds makes this process much more secure than carrying around a paper check, and begins the depositing process sooner than checks are typically delivered to the bank. Remember, the 4 day process does not begin until the bank receives the check. This can save numerous days in the settling process by using TrustFunds.

  • Can't I submit an electronic earnest money payment through Paypal, Venmo or my bank?

    With PayPal and Venmo, although payments through a variety of payment applications are electronic, it still requires the buyer in the transaction to ‘connect’ to the trust account holder’s bank account.  It is highly unlikely that a Designated Trust Account holder would connect its trust account to these applications.  With TrustFunds, all of the work is done for you!

    With the bank transfer, most payments made via a bank’s bill pay service are paper checks that are issued by a third-party vendor. Often the amount of time it takes for the payment to be processed and mailed will result in an untimely payment.  In addition, the buyer would have to input detailed information regarding the trust account holder’s account.  With TrustFunds, all of the work is done for you!

MLS

  • How long does it take to integrate TrustFunds in the MLS?

    TrustFunds is a fairly simple integration and, depending on the availability of the MLS vendor, the process is typically 2-4 weeks.

  • Can TrustFunds be used with our MLS platform?

    Yes.  Currently TrustFunds has integrated with all the major MLS vendors and would certainly work with any MLS that may have a different platform.  For the technology to function, MLS data is received via a RETS feed.

  • How can I start the process of bringing TrustFunds to my market?

    We’re excited to help you add more value for your members by adopting TrustFunds.  Click here to schedule a personal call to learn how you can join the electronic earnest money movement!

  • Can any MLS use TrustFunds?

    TrustFunds is available in participating MLS markets.  For a list of the participating markets, click here.  If you are interested in bringing TrustFunds to your market, click here


Brokers, Escrow
or Title Companies

  • Who is a Designated Trust Account Holder (``DTAH``)?

    A Designated Trust Account Holder is what TrustFunds calls the entity that holds earnest money in its trust account(s). These entities may include real estate brokers, title companies, escrow companies and law firms. When using TrustFunds, the buyer’s agent designates the appropriate party to hold the funds, as per the signed purchase agreement between buyer and seller.

  • Who needs to be a member of TrustFunds for the buyer to submit earnest money electronically?

    The MLS and the DTAH must be members of TrustFunds. Membership is not required for companies not holding earnest money in their own trust account. For example, if funds are held by the Listing broker, the Buyer’s broker doesn’t need to be a member for its agents to generate a payment request for the buyer.

  • What is the cost for a DTAH to join TrustFunds and how long is the contract?

    TrustFunds is a month-to-month service with no contract term. DTAHs pay a nominal monthly service fee (tiered based upon volume) and as little as $0.25 per earnest money transaction. All terms and fees are provided following an initial Authentication Process, and if considered unacceptable, simply abandon the registration process at any time with no obligation to join.

  • If a DTAH has more than one office, does it need to register each office?

    No. Registration is for the entire company (per MLS market) and individual office registration is not needed.

  • Can a DTAH have more than one trust account?

    Yes. A DTAH can have any number of trust accounts necessary to operate its business. TrustFunds is designed to direct earnest money payments from buyers to the correct trust account based on the management of the trust accounts. For example, a DTAH may have two trust accounts if licensed in two states; one trust account for transactions in one state and another trust account for transactions in another state. In addition, a DTAH may have different trust accounts for each office.

  • How long does a DTAH have access to transaction data in TrustFunds?

    The transaction information in the transaction table is available at any time. By default, the transaction table with show 60 days of activity and include properties that have not closed as per the MLS data. DTAHs continue to have access to the transaction data and the Virtual Terminal indefinitely, provided they are an active member of TrustFunds.

  • Does TrustFunds receive the earnest money payment?

    No. An earnest money payment is sent from the buyer’s bank account to the designated trust account (typically a broker or title company). The transfer occurs via an ACH account the DTAH opens with TrustFunds’ ACH processor. DTAH does not need to change its trust account(s), nor manage them any differently.

  • How does a DTAH reconcile deposits to the trust account(s)?

    Full reporting and file export is available to DTAHs in the TrustFunds Virtual Terminal.

  • How soon can I use TrustFunds?

    The Designated Trust Account Holder registration process is a simple on-line process. The underwriting to activate the account takes about two business days.


Agents

  • Who needs to be a member of TrustFunds for the buyer to submit earnest money electronically?

    The MLS will integrate with TrustFunds first, and the company that holds the earnest money (e.g. broker or title company) will need to be a member.

  • What is the cost to agents to join TrustFunds?

    FREE! Nothing! Zilch! Nada!

  • Who is a Designated Trust Account Holder 'DTAH?'

    A Designated Trust Account Holder is what TrustFunds calls the entity that holds earnest money in its trust account(s). These entities may include real estate brokers, title companies, escrow companies and law firms. When using TrustFunds, the buyer’s agent designates the appropriate party to hold the funds, as per the signed purchase agreement between buyer and seller.

  • Can a buyer's agent use TrustFunds even if their broker is not a member?

    Yes, all agents of a participating MLS have the ability to use TrustFunds when representing buyers, as long as the DTAH is a TrustFunds member.

  • How does an agent facilitate the earnest money payment for the buyer?

    The buyer’s agent will create an Earnest Money Request for a specific property by populating a few pieces of information. This will automatically generate an email notification to the buyer that includes access to a secure payment form to pay online. This entire process takes just a few minutes, instead of the hours spent getting a paper check from the buyer to the DTAH.

  • Can TrustFunds be used if a property is not in the MLS?

    No. TrustFunds uses the MLS property data for all transactions.

  • How does the agent know the status of the earnest money payment?

    In the agent profile, an agent may choose to enable or disable notifications that will be generated each time the transaction status is updated. In addition, an agent may view all transaction data at any time in their Transactions table.

  • How does the buyer provide the lender with proof of the earnest money payment?

    Previously, a buyer was required to provide the lender with both a copy of their bank statement, along with a copy of the front and back of the earnest money check. With TrustFunds, a buyer’s agent may furnish the TrustFunds Payment History to the lender, which provides all of the details of the earnest money payment.

  • Does a buyer have access to TrustFunds with the ability to submit earnest money prior to the final acceptance of a purchase agreement?

    No. Buyers will only submit earnest money in response to receiving an Earnest Money Payment Request Notification from their agent. Agents must certify as part of the Earnest Money Payment Request that there is a valid purchase agreement between buyer and seller.

  • What if the purchase agreement is canceled after the earnest money payment was made?

    The earnest money is deposited into the DTAH’s trust account and therefore, a cancellation of purchase agreement and the refund of earnest money is processed in the same manner as if the buyer had written a paper check.  One additional benefit of TrustFunds, the DTAH has the capability to electronically refund the earnest money to the buyer.

  • What if the buyer submits earnest money from someone's bank account other than their own?

    In the Earnest Money Payment Form, the buyer identifies the name of the bank account holder for the account from which the earnest money is coming. That information appears in the Payment History in TrustFunds. In such event, a buyer’s agent should confirm whether or not it is acceptable to the buyer’s lender that the earnest money is from someone other than the buyer (e.g. gift funds).

  • Can agent's assistants and team members use TrustFunds?

    Yes, TrustFunds supports the real estate team concept. An agent may simply modify their profile to establish their team. All team members have access to the transaction data in the transaction tables.

  • With TrustFunds, what, if anything, should the buyer include with the offer?

    TrustFunds provides the buyer a much more secure and convenient alternative to the paper check by allowing the buyer to submit the earnest money electronically. The buyer’s agent could certainly include language in the purchase agreement informing the seller that it is the buyer’s intention to submit the earnest money electronically using TrustFunds.

  • Is paying earnest money through TrustFunds different from writing a paper check?

    Yes and no. Both are processed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) and therefore an earnest money deposit through TrustFunds is processed in the same manner and same time-frame as a check that has been presented to a bank. The difference is when the payment is made electronically through TrustFunds, the earnest money is deposited more quickly because the check is not being driven all around town. Plus, the transaction status is immediately available to all parties involved in the real estate transaction.


Buyers

  • How do I pay my earnest money with TrustFunds?

    First, your real estate agent will create a request via TrustFunds which triggers an email to you. Click the button in the email to access your secure payment form and complete with the routing and account number from which the funds should be debited.

  • Is TrustFunds secure?

    We take security seriously. TrustFunds maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with or exceed industry standards to protect non-public, confidential information. Your bank information is encrypted at rest and in transit, and deleted as soon as the transaction has begun processing. If a paper check were used, anybody who sees the check (or a copy, scan, or fax of that check) has access to your account information. With TrustFunds, your account information is kept private.

  • Can I pay with a credit card?

    No. TrustFunds allows payment from either a checking or a savings account, using the routing and account number.

  • How long does it take for my payment to process?

    TrustFunds uses the ACH network to process payments securely, and all payments will fully complete in 4 business days. You may see funds leaving your account as early as the first day, depending on how quickly your bank processes these transactions.

  • Where is the earnest money held?

    All earnest money payments are held by the party designated by your agent when sending the request. Typically, this is a broker or title company who maintains a real estate trust account, and is designated on your purchase agreement. Your agent will be able to provide more information if needed as well!

  • Where can I get proof of payment for my lender?

    Your real estate agent has access to your full Payment History inside their TrustFunds account. This report shows the necessary information to prove the payment has been made, with time and date stamps as well.

  • My purchase fell through. How can I get a refund of my earnest money?

    Please work with your real estate agent to request a refund of your earnest money, if needed, from the Designated Trust Account Holder. This is the party chosen to hold the funds, and TrustFunds is not able to issue refunds on their behalf.

34600
42,772

active agents using TrustFunds

$
23
262.7
million

earnest money transactions completed through TrustFunds

489561
714,130

miles saved by not driving around paper checks.

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