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My Favourite Real Estate Tools and Tech – Part 1

I am a child of the electronic age.

I had an Atari, and then a Nintendo (the ORIGINAL one). I even had a Commodore VIC 20. I loved science kits growing up. I Had a microscope, walkie-talkies, and my parents had to keep a supply of old junky telephones, etc. in the house so I wouldn’t take apart their stuff. I was AMAZED with this new innovation of the PC back when only the rich kids had them at home (I didn’t). In short, I’m a geek.

I’m not sure what kept me out of pursuing computers as a career. I could certainly work in computers. I like solving problems, and have a knack for understanding electronic issues.

So it’s no surprise that I combine my career in real estate with my geekdom and seek out new ways to apply technology to marketing and selling property.

In this series, I’ll fill you in on what a true real estate geek loves the most, and on what can help you in your day-to-day business.

Today: Internet fax services.

Dump the Fax Machine!I hate faxes. And in today’s electronic world, I’m not sure why they’re still so popular. Think about how inefficient a fax machine is. It requires a phone line, when you’re probably already paying for a broadband (high-speed) internet connection that could be used to scan and then e-mail a document much more quickly, and to multiple recipients. Faxes are slow, too. Especially when you’re faxing an agent that’s been in the business since, well, God was a boy, and still has his Model X-2000 fax from 1984. And don’t even get me started about thermal paper faxes. Alas, I suppose they are necessary until we can ween ourselves off of this old technology.

Enter Internet faxing. Internet fax services have been around for a number of years. The basic premise is this: You get a dedicated fax number just like any other fax number. Any faxes to that number get converted into an electronic document (usually a .pdf) and e-mailed as an attachment to whatever e-mail address you choose. To send a fax, you can do one of two things. 1: use your old fax machine as normal. 2: Scan the document, attach it to an e-mail, and send it to the fax service, which will convert it into a fax and send it to the fax number of the recipient. Of course if you were creating the document on a computer, you could just attach it to the e-mail and send it away. No more printing and then walking to the fax machine; you’ll save paper too (hug a tree!)

How convenient is that? And that’s just the surface! Think for a minute about how much better this is. Anywhere you can access your e-mail, you can access your fax. It’s like lugging the office machine around with you in your pocket! In a mobile industry such as ours, this is invaluable. Print counter-offers at your client’s house. Forward documents to conveyancing. The possibilities are endless.

And one final note about internet faxing. It creates an electronic paper trail. You can print a log of your faxes just like any other fax machine. And any fax you receive is archived on your computer. You can save them all to a special folder, and keep them for posterity – you never know when your diligence with your documents will be questioned.

For more information on internet faxing, check out E-fax, MyFax, or Telus

-Tim