Welcome To The 20th Century or .PDF Means "Please Don't Fax"

Real Estate Agent with I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group

Hi All,

I entitled this post "Welcome To The 20th Century" for a reason, its because I can't believe how many agents I run across who are still firmly mired in the functional equivalent of the 19th, the fax machine. 

Come on folks, fax machines were cutting edge technology and truly have revolutionized how business is done.  But don't you think it might be time to step up to the newer, better, faster, cheaper and easier to read .pdf?  Everyone has (or darn well should have) an email address.  And, everyone has (or, again darn well should have) a computer and a printer.   Of course if you don't have computer then I really am wondering how you are reading this, and if you don't have a printer to go with it, how do you print off your coupons for Borders?

I just recently submitted an offer for a hotly contested REO (aren't they all) and because the agent only offered a fax number I had to send it that way.  Now, I have been known to drive my offers to an agents office, but as seems to be the way of the world nowadays, this is a seriously out of area agent and I wanted to get my client's offer in theoretically faster. 

I say "theoretically" because, despite my burning the midnight (OK it was more like the 10:45 PM, so sue me :-) oil, and despite my sending all 32 pages (none of that "just send the 8 page contract" bunk for me, you may not want to see them all, but by gosh I'm going to send them, because our contract here in California hasn't been only 8 pages for decades) and waiting around to receive my confirmation that all went through, on my end with nary an error, I came to find out that the listing agent "never received it". 

Well, it darn tootin' went through and it turned out that they got "part of something that looked like an offer" but they didn't know what it was for or who it was from so they just threw it away.  It sure is a shame that WinForms doesn't put footers on the contracts that we print out which have the originating agents info on them... Oh, wait... they do... oops, my bad :-).

The upshot of it all was that instead of getting my client's offer in first and having it taking pride of place in the beginning of the que, we were dead last to have our info arrive.  By the time they finally got the offer they had already sent the "first" group off to the bank.

On the other side of the coin, I have received offers on my own listings from agents who "don't use email and don't have a scanner" that were blotchy to the point of resembling a Rorschach test.  Now, seriously, how am I supposed to present an offer to my client when I can't read the boiler plate let alone the amount and the terms.  And don't even get me started on the folks who are still using the triplicate forms - what the heck's that about anyway?

Not only is sending and receiving information via email easy to do, it truly doesn't require any equipment that an agent or brokerage working in today's market shouldn't already possess.  All in one printers are easy to use, easy to find and downright cheap.  And email is free. 

If you are worried about receiving spam in your personal email, I have a quick and easy fix for that one, don't use your personal email.  Set up a business account and only use that address for business related correspondence.  Yes, you will still get the occasional offer to help some poor Prince in Nigeria steal some dead guy's money before his corrupt government steals it first, but the "delete" button is easy to use and downright cathartic.  If only all problems could be dealt with so swiftly!

Please folks, when you think of .PDF try thinking of it as "Please Don't Fax".  Embrace the 20th Century, there's a whole lot of good stuff here (Be sure to check out the little glass fronted boxes with pretty pictures inside - we call them "TV's"), and when you're ready, take the leap into the 21st.  Trust me, the water's fine.

Take care all, help lots of people and have a wonderful day!




Comments (20)

Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

Marvelous post Tisza.  I have often thought of the same when I email the contract and the agent asks it to be faxed.  It does feel out of fashion to me and makes me think how most get by w/out emailing all the time.  Makes it a heck of a lot easier to pull up from various places and print from if the fax is  waiting for you at the office and you are across town.  Kristin. 

Aug 23, 2008 10:58 AM

32 pages? Sounds like California needs to get into this century

Aug 23, 2008 10:58 AM
Carol Knott
RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring - The Woodlands, TX

Great job! I much prefer scanning a pdf but I do have clients and agents in my area that solely fax. And I even have clients every once in a while who do not have access to a fax machine at all and they think having to pay at Kinko's, Office Max, etc is a ripoff! Let's move forward, folks

Aug 23, 2008 11:00 AM
Jamie Dumaine-Russell
RE/MAX Alliance - Branford, CT

Great post Tisza - I prefer to scan to email at every opportunity. It makes things so much simpler.  When an agent asks me to fax a contract, addendum or disclosures I cringe.  By the time it gets faxed to them, to their client and back to me I need a magnifying glass to read the darned thing. 

Aug 23, 2008 11:02 AM
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Tisza, but wouldn't you miss the fun of trying to decifer faxes?  Some people don't have PDF writers but everyone can (or should be able to) receive PDFs-----WAY better than faxes that seem more 18th century than 21st century PDF's or scans.  Are lawyers switching away from faxes?  That might be useful to know----they seemed to really be stuck on them:)

Aug 23, 2008 11:12 AM
Double End Domains
21st Century Websites, LLC - Brea, CA

The thing I hate about Faxes is the distortions that start appearing when you're faxing offers back and forth or work requests. I'm shocked these documents could hold up in court because they're almost unreadable. Great post.

Aug 23, 2008 11:26 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

What?  Your contract is only 32 pages?

Aug 23, 2008 11:27 AM
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

PDF = "Please Don't Fax" ... LOL!  Now that's funny....

Aug 23, 2008 12:00 PM
Anthony Stokes-Pereira
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Nanuet, NY

Hi Tisza;

Great post and thank you for sharing......Keep Posting!!!!!!!!!


Aug 23, 2008 12:14 PM
Tisza Major-Posner
I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group - Claremont, CA

Hi All,

Well, as appears to be my habit, judging from the response I seem to have hit a nerve :-) I am always surprised to find that the random ramblings of my overactive cerebellum are of interest to anyone but my hubby and me - but, I sure am glad and grateful that they are!

Kristin - Thank you.  It does seem a bit outdated, kind of like a cellphone with a rotary dial.  I spend a considerable amount of money doing everything possible to keep paperwork out of my hands.  That is one of the many reasons I employ a very conscientious Transaction Coordinator so giving me fax pages is really just asking for trouble :-)

Blank - Trust me we are SO THERE, if we weren't we wouldn't NEED 32 pages :-)

Carol - Thank you and... Here, here!

Branford - Thank you.  Yes, I so know what you mean.  We are talking about a half million dollar transaction here and by the time it has slogged through their one page every 10 minutes thermal fax it looks like it was dragged by a truck down Mt. Everest.

Charles - Yes, archaic is a good word for it.  And the lawyer's I know are abandoning the fax machine like rats abandon a sinking ship.

Double End - I wonder about that myself.  Hopefully I will never be able to share personal experience about that :-) Thanks.

Lenn - Yeah, I know... I'm slacking :-)

Cheryl - Glad you enjoyed it - sometimes it just "works", you know what I mean?

Take care all, help lots of people and have a wonderful day!


Aug 23, 2008 12:22 PM
Tisza Major-Posner
I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group - Claremont, CA

Hi Anthony,

Glad you enjoyed it and I will...

Take care,


Aug 23, 2008 12:23 PM
Paul Jones
Kansas City Regional Homes - Olathe, KS
PIC Properties - Kansas & Missouri
No kidding! I feel your pain. I just hate it when I send a PDF and they tell me sorry I can't open it please fax.
Aug 23, 2008 12:42 PM
Tisza Major-Posner
I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group - Claremont, CA

Hi Paul,

Sort of makes you wonder doesn't it?  Gee willikers, adobe reader is free! And, in my book few things are better than free!

Thanks for stopping by!

Take care, help lots of people and have a wonderful day!


Aug 23, 2008 12:53 PM
Mary Warren
Las Vegas, NV

Great post Tisza!  Like you, I only use .pdf....only when absolutely necessary do I fax and then I do that using e-fax - not sure if that comes out clearer on the other end but it sure makes it easier for me than standing over a fax machine.

Aug 23, 2008 01:02 PM
Tim Maitski
HomeAtlanta.com - Sandy Springs, GA
Editor of MaitskiREport.com

Tisza,  The only thing you need to worry about with email is it getting sent to the "junk mail" folder automatically.

Faxes and email both have their frustations.  I like email because the other agen can pass it along to their client so much easier.  And any comments I might make on the email are forwarded also.

I like the post so I reblogged it on my blog of my favorites articles "Just Real Estate"

Aug 24, 2008 12:56 AM
Tisza Major-Posner
I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group - Claremont, CA

Hi All,

Mary - Glad you enjoyed it.  I do the same thing and it is a darn sight faster than faxing as well.

Tim - Once again, thank you for the compliment of the reblog.  It is for that very reason - the junk mail peril that I have my email set to segregate possible spam but not to delete it automatically.

Take care all, help lots of people and have a wonderful day!


Aug 24, 2008 01:04 PM
Jean Powers
Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002 - Alameda, CA
CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California


I agree. I have fax to email and an agent can fax to my number and it then converts to pdf and goes directly to my email. The California Association of Realtors offers this service at a discount.  I also have Docusign which enables customers to electronically sign documents from Winforms (Zipforms) or other documents in my computer and then it automatically sends back to my email. CAR also offers this at a discount. Faxes other than efaxing is obsolete. I don't care how many years we have been in the business, we all need to learn and be on the cutting edge. There could be other technology that I am not even aware of and I do want to keep on learning.

Thanks for the post!!

Aug 24, 2008 01:19 PM
Debbie Small
Long & Foster Realtors - Martinsburg, WV

Great topic! Now, if we could just get agents to check their email.

Aug 27, 2008 02:12 PM
Tisza Major-Posner
I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group - Claremont, CA

Hi All,

Jean - I couldn't agree more.  Thanks for the comment and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

Debbie - What do you mean we actually have to check the email... ourselves... really?  Kidding, just kidding :-)  I would be even happier if the answered their phones and/or returned calls!

Take care all, help lots of people and have a wonderful day!


Aug 27, 2008 02:24 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Just today, my client wanted to send me his financial docs via fax...I have one in my work office, but I rarely ever use it. 

Mar 31, 2016 06:46 AM