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Death to Faxes

By
Real Estate Agent with McGrew Real Estate

I'm nearing the end of a transaction in which I haven't sent or received a single fax and I couldn't be more jazzed about it.  Simply put: I hate faxes.  As nearly every part of my work life becomes digitized, fax machines have kept an analog stranglehold on the preferred method by which signed documents are transported from one location to another and I'm sick of it. 

Let's get with it agents; scanning a document to a pdf is the way to do it!  Who doesn't like a clean fresh email instead of a jumbled splotchy replica of a document?  Easily to read, and a snap to save and store, electronic documents are the way to go.   And if you don't think you have the software available, you're wrong.  There's all kinds of free pdf software out there.  I'm a fan of CutePDF.  You can literally turn anything you can print into a PDF.  I use it ALL the time. And it's FREE.

And to take this one step further, I propose that a file naming convention be established in the real estate industry. When I get a document and the file name is A019_00067156.PDf, I have to open it up just to find out what it is. And how in the heck am I ever going to remember it a year from now when I'm looking a particular document from a particular transaction.  Give your files names that are relevant to what they are.  Here's what I propose:

AddressDocumentTypeDateAddeddecriptor

Example:

1401MaplelnInspectionRequirements2008.12.04SIGNEDBYBUYER .pdf

Or

1401MaplelnInspectionRequirements2008.12.06FULLYEXECTUTED.pdf

Notice how you can much information you can decipher from just the file name.  It's a breeze to manage the myriad documents that clutter up a transaction. Come tax time, I'm going to easily be able to send a copy of my client's HUD statements because I've scanned then stored them with recognizable names.  All that I have to do is open the transactions digital folder and find 1401MaplelnHUD2008.12.29FINAL and I'm golden.  If all agents did this, we'd all be off a lot better.

So, here's to you, agent on the other side of this transaction who hasn't sent me a single fax. I praise you.  I wish more agents would show the digital propensity that you have.  Once this transaction is over, I might even send you an e-card thanking you for the smooth transaction.

Nicholas Lerner
www.NicholasLerner.com

Comments (12)

Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Nicholas,

It amazes me how infrequently I use my fax cover sheets nowadays.  When we got our super duper copy machine that scans it changed my work life.  When ever it needs repairs I'm lost without it.  I use a similar naming convention but a shorter one - house number, 1st initial of street, and an abbreviation of the document type such as "insp" - same general principle though. 

To tell you the truth I'm a bit of a snob about the type of scans I get too - I hate the ones that sometimes show up that are a bit rinky dinky - I don't know if they come from a fax/scanner or what. If I had one handy I could describe it better.  The image shows up in the middle of the screen I think. Ugh.

Liz

Feb 04, 2009 02:40 PM
Sheri Smith
Long Realty, A Bershire Hathaway Affiliate - Tucson, AZ
Designated Broker

You look to young to remember (maybe you discovered in a history class) but we use to have party telephone lines (you would pick up the phone to use it and your neighbor would be talking) and pay phones in public!  Good ideas Nicholas.  I like the uniformed idea of everyone sending attachments in the profession in a similar manner.  The way technology is evolving, I would not be a bit surprised if however by the time we all started doing a uniformed format, this too will be outdated!

Sheri Smith ABR CRS GR

Haddonfield, NJ

Feb 04, 2009 02:40 PM
Robert Menchaca
Prudential California Realty - Tulare, CA

I will agree with you on the whole scanning and naming your file.  It makes it a lot easier to read not only that but to store.   That way you don't have to guess the file name.  I think we should do away with fax machines.  You risk that fax machine not having or running out of ink, but I guess goes that some with printers.

Feb 04, 2009 02:45 PM
Brent Johnson
Chase International South Tahoe Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA

Technology is amazing, and it is important for us agents to stay up to date. Fax machines are going to be dinosaurs in a year or so.

Feb 04, 2009 02:49 PM
Matt Nuzie
RE/MAX Right Choice - Connecticut - Trumbull, CT

I support the pdf.  I also like when every part of the offer is typed out including the price, financing, etc.  Our MLS has a form filler feature which allows us to type in the variable information of an offer.  It allows for allot "cleaner" transaction.

 

-Matt

Feb 04, 2009 02:50 PM
Michelle Tucker ~ Pooler Real Estate
!Daley Real Estate - Pooler, GA
Rincon~Savannah~Richmond Hill

Nicholas:  Congrats on doing your transaction w/o the fax. I would agree that after 10 faxes the contract is not readable.  I have wondered why so many have not moved towards the PDF files!  May girlfriend is actually using a transaction manager.  She uploads all her forms and organizes them within the software.  Clients and the other agents are able to access all the documents online.  She is really liking it.  *** Thanks for being an Eco-friendly Realtor ****

Feb 04, 2009 02:52 PM
Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA

I remember when we had a mandatory office meeting to discuss the business of purchasing a fax for the office...

Times have sure changed.

Feb 04, 2009 03:20 PM
Marlene Pellegrini
Norwich, CT

Scan to email is the way to go.  Now we need a way to transmit that deposit check from one office to another via scan to email.  Don't know about you but in my area, I am still driving to other RE offices to pickup/drop off that deposit check. As you know, we are limited on the time to when that money needs to be deposited in my agency's escrow account.

Feb 04, 2009 03:34 PM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

I'm also getting ready to finish with an almost paperless transaction.  But what is annoying is that I had to deliver docs signed in blue ink personally or fia fedex... and they are scanning them and sending them to the bank... and shredding the originals. 

Why can't I scan them and send them to them... and not create the originals? (I love my tablet).  The answer is "Because we haven't done it that way."

Feb 04, 2009 03:49 PM
Brian Lee Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Lone Tree, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Kenna Luxury Real Estate

Yeah, we are all for no faxes (or paperless) everytime somebody insists on us sending a fax -something goes wrong with the fax machine LOL. Maybe they are not up to speed on this century. We have a transaction going on now as well that we have not yet used the fax! Sweet. ~Rita

Feb 04, 2009 03:56 PM
Martin E. Kalisker, Esq.
Natick, MA
Real Estate Law From A Practical Perspective

I receive all my faxes via my private fax number which goes directly to my I-Phone as a pdf attachement.  In addition to being able to view an incoming fax from anywhere, I can also print it out from anywhere.  Also, once the fax has been received, I can "file" the incoming e-mail/fax in a specific client directory so that I have a permanent electronic record of the correspondence.

I say to everyone "fax me anytime".  I also digitize incoming voice mail messages in the same fashion.  As a broker, everything is kept on file...

Feb 04, 2009 04:04 PM
Christine McInerney
Great Life RE - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

I hate faxes also, so much wasted paper.  I just can't wait till everyone else picks up on this.

Aug 16, 2009 03:42 PM