I often think of technology as a wave that washes everything before it away. The reality is a little different.
Years ago when I was working as a higher education rep for Apple Computer, I covered Va. Tech. One of the tools of my job at that time was a fax machine. I often had to fill out several bids a day and fax them to the procurement people. This was in the late eighties. I would get the bids by mail and have to fax them back. It was not a lot of fun.
I moved up the ladder at Apple, and I suspect purchasing from the universities also moved beyond paper bids. When I went to work in real estate, I expected that I would find some technology resistant people. I had no idea that I was headed for the last stand of the fax machines.
Real estate law does require some type of signature on documents. There are some acceptable electronic signatures, but most older clients are highly resistant to anything that requires anything but basic computer skills.
The net result is that we often work with contracts which have been faxed multiple times which results in the contracts being almost unreadable.
It is not like there is no technology to help us from this situation. Unfortunately few people make the effort to get away from faxes. From the beginning of my real estate career, I have been fax resistant. I have seen clients struggle to get an eighteen page document sent.
So here is how I have been proactively trying to cut down on the number of faxes. First of all if my client has a computer and not all do, I sent any documents that need to be signed as PDFs with detailed signing instructions. The real estate software that I use, RealFast, has the ability to convert documents to faxes, but typically I use CutePDF writer on my Windows 7 laptop to turn the forms into PDFs.
I then give my clients the choice of faxing them back to me and then mailing the originals or immediately sending the originals by FedEx.
Once I receive a signed, written and complete contract I convert it to a multiple page PDF. I have a HP AIO 6180 fax, printer, and scanner. It is hooked to a Mac running OS X and VueScan. VueScan has this wonderful option of automatically scanning documents through the document feeder on the HP AIO 6180. It saves each page as an individual PDF.
Once VueScan is done, I open the first page of the scan using Preview on the Mac. I save it under an intelligent name and make certain the page sidebar is open. Then one after another I drag the scanned PDFs in order to the page side bar.
Then I save it, voila I have a multiple page PDF which I send by email to the bank and the law offices. They greatly appreciate a document that they can actually read.
I have tried eFax, but I like my system better. I just wish more people would figure out that the fewer faxes we have, the clearer things are in this world.