For real-estate agents in Dallas who often drive in rush hour to drop off checks to title companies at the onset of their clients’ home-buying contracts, life just got easier.
In early December, local real estate attorney and SMU graduate Ashley Cook launched Zoccam, an app for licensed agents that allows them to deposit those checks with just a tap on their smartphone.
“We’re trying to empower agents to have better technology than for-sale by owners and people who aren’t using agents, who have online sites to help them,” Cook said.
The app, available on Google Play and in the iTunes App Store, offers two features for now, with more in the works. ZoccaPay allows real estate agents to deposit checks by taking a picture, much like the mobile banking apps available to the average consumer.
“Our biggest hurdle, I would say, is both a blessing and a curse,” Cook said. “This is the first expansion of mobile third-party remote deposit capture technology, and we’re having to educate the financial institutions as to how the risks in this business model are extremely low.”
Now, with the checks passing through fewer hands, the liability risks for both the real-estate agent and the title company are lower, according to Cook, and prevent the accidental misplacement of checks. Currently, the app is linked with Republic Title, Texas Premier Title, Capital Title, Elite Title, and Providence Title companies.
“Some real-estate agents don’t think they would use it and then all of the sudden people are out of town and you are having to wire money and it just gets crazy,” said Kristine Graves, an agent with Allie Beth Allman & Associates who uses the app. “It’s great because it just makes everything so much easier.”
The app also offers ZocTalk, an innovative sharing platform that allows agents to share what their buyer is looking for, before the perfect property is listed on the market.
“If you have a buyer who is looking for a piece of property, there is no other platform to put that to see if there are any sellers that aren’t listed yet,” Cook said.
An agent with a buyer who is looking for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Lakewood can alert other agents in the zip codes the buyer in which the buyer is looking.
A notification is sent to agents in the area, who can then choose to contact the buyer’s agent to set up a conversation about properties they are listing soon.
“This app allows agents to network and communicate with each other on neutral ground. They can meet based on their mutual needs, without having to market themselves, just their buyer,” said Anita Bouldin, Zoccam chief operating officer.
The app, at $9.99 for a monthly subscription, saves time for all parties, allowing agents to cut drive time and title companies to stop waiting for late agents to arrive at closing.
“Ashley’s mom is a realtor also, and so she understands the family restriction of having a parent as a real-estate agent and how precious that time is,” Bouldin said. “We’re providing tools to make agents’ lives easier and show that their skills and work is of a specific and special value.”