Why do I have to send a wire transfer and how do I do that?

Linda S., a buyer in recent transaction, wrote in to ask about wire transfers. She wondered what they were, why we required them and how she went about sending one to us. Here’s a quick story and then we’ll answer Linda’s questions.

Wire Transfers in Florida Real Estate Transactions

Once upon a time we received a cashier’s check for $350,000 from someone who, according to their REALTOR® and their email exchange, intended to buy a particular property for just under that amount. We deposited the check remotely when we received it and the buyer signed an offer to purchase the property cited.

After the REALTOR® had submitted the offer to the seller’s side, we received notice from the REALTOR® and from the buyer that he wanted to cancel that purchase. He would, of course, be buying something else soon but had soured on the current property. And, by the way, could we send him a check or wire transfer for the $350,000 which he had sent us? [RAISE RED FLAG HERE].

We called our bank to check the status of the deposited item. Had it cleared? What do you think? It hadn’t cleared and our bank would follow up. We notified the buyer and REALTOR® that we would refund his money as soon as it had cleared and actually hit our account. Well that, of course, was unacceptable. He called repeatedly and pressured the REALTOR® by suggesting that if she couldn’t get us to send the money, he would certainly never use her for his next deal.

Eager to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and suspicious of the circumstances, we began making calls to the bank that had purportedly issued the check. They had never issued such a check according to their records and, after 20 minutes or so with their fraud department, it became evident that the check in our possession was a complete fake.

So, this fraudster intended to give the impression of a deposit of a large sum of and to pressure us into refunding money which had never been deposited in the first place. Obviously, had we succumbed to the buyer’s insistence and pressure we would have had a big problem on our hands. This story epitomizes why we require wire transfers.

The Benefits of Wire Transfers in Real Estate Transactions

Wire transfers are what we call good funds and there is no need for them to “clear”. We even have to wait for cashier’s checks to clear our account (for obvious good reason). By requiring wire transfers for payments, we add a layer of protection to the funds we hold in escrow. So how do you send us a wire transfer?

  1. The first step is for us to provide you with our wiring instructions. Wiring instructions give you all of the account information (Account Number, ABA or Routing Number, Address and Beneficiary Instructions) required to send a wire transfer.
  2. The next step is to take these instructions to your bank and to instruct them to initiate the wire in the amount required. Most consumer accounts require wire transfers to be initiated in person. You may, however, be able to initiate a wire transfer using online banking if your institution permits.
  3.  Once you have confirmation from your banker that the wire has been initiated, please call (239) 985-4142 or email us to confirm that it has been sent. We will confirm with you as soon as we receive the wire (we get emails when a wire is received). It’s as easy as that.

Let us know if you have any questions.

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Serving Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Naples, Florida.

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