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April 18, 2014

Real Estate Prices are like an elevator

Filed under: General Tips — Tags: — admin @ 11:10 pm

Real Estate prices are like an elevator
If real estate prices go up, people will have more equity to borrow on. It is only a matter of time.

Right now, we are on the Mezzanine! Going up! Let’s hope there’s no 13th floor! But, prices are strange. Arizona doesn’t seem to follow the rest of the country. They have bizarre extreme highs and lows. Tucson hit bottom and you can get beautiful 3-bedroom homes for $170,000. I just came back from a trip there. If you like cactuses and bedrooms, you can get a combo deal today!

On the other hand, real estate in Napa just got uncorked. There used to be a large supply of inexpensive housing in the 200k to 400k range. Those days are over. San Diego County’s inventory of affordable housing just went out with the tide as well. Although certain real estate markets behave differently than others, in general, the United States will have more business for notaries if housing prices go up. There will be more equity to borrow on and more loans. Even if interest rates go up, Americans insist on borrowing money whether they can pay it back or not. That is a fact you can bank on!

Me: “How is life as an elevator operator”
Operator: “Oh, it has its ups and downs!”

(1) Real Estate prices are rising which is good for the refinance & home equity market

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April 17, 2014

Hi Tech fax backs are easy.

Filed under: Ken's Blog — Tags: — admin @ 11:17 am

Hi Tech Fax Backs are Easy

Fax Backs, to most of us they are a real annoyance. Receiving an enema during root canal is preferable to the processing of Fax Backs. Unless they are truly required for an immediate funding situation; their purpose is to do some “quality control” checking of your work. But you have been doing signings for years (some of you for many years) – and your work is predictably error free. Well, let’s be honest; that is not always the case. We are human, the forms are often complex and have areas the require sigs or initials in virtually hidden places. So, they want to “take a look” prior to your shipment – “just to make sure”.

Listen up fellow signing agents, this blog is going to have lots of “meat” and provide a ton of really useful information. Unfortunately, to follow my example you are going to have to spend some money. But, as is often said, “in the long run”, it will payback handsomely. The first aspect of dealing with fax backs is to accept them as having a genuine purpose in verifying our perfection. Look at it that way. Quality control or just plain checking others peoples work is something you do every day. When you cash a check at the bank, don’t you count the currency given to you by a money handling professional? Get over the mental aspect and read on how to make those fax backs quick, easy, and actually become a source of protection for you; really, no kidding. Well, read on; by the end of this blog you will no longer think is full of hot air!

The first item has the big price tag. It is the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac, it is about $400 from Amazon. It is a magical device. I scans very quickly, double sided (eliminating blank pages), and can process interspersed letter and legal. You just drop in the package. The hopper holds 50 pages, but you can set an option to “wait” for a second feeding and continue. The output of this scanner can be a PDF. Ready for a “biggie” – the resulting PDF is formatted to print both letter and legal! Thus the PDF that you ship back is exactly the same PDF that you received. The only difference is that the PDF that you email back has the sigs and initials and will print on both letter and legal – exactly as it was sent to you! Now you have an exact copy of the documents you will be shipping, and, at a later time; can see exactly what you sent. Note: mine is USB connected to my Win 7 PC. It will also connect to a PC via WiFi – without any wires!

That’s great, but they are insisting that you FAX, not email the file. That is a silly requirement; but one that you can easily meet – without a fax machine. Just sign up for the Efax service. It cost about $170 a year. They give you a dedicated fax phone number – that saves monthly phone charges (which would probably cost more annually than their charges). An incoming fax can be automatically converted to a PDF and mailed to the email address of your choice. The FAX number on my business card is my Efax number, and it has been for many years. I can pick up FAXed edocs at any Kinkos, just by logging into my email. As to outgoing – just fill in the screens and attach the PDF that was created by the above scanner and specify the FAX number to receive it.

The Efax system will automatically “Un-PDF” the attachment and send it just the way you would want it to. You get a receipt and proof of transmission, the same as if you had sent that PDF by email.

So should we now do fax backs at no extra charge? Of course not. The ones gaining the benefit of this technology are going to pay the bills. You are not going to be schlepping that scanner with you – if you really want to they offer a rather nice carrying case…. However in the real world what we have is an extra trip fee. You still have to go home to feed the docs into the scanner. Take care to not feed in staples. You will have to have a procedure to process documents that have a loose ack attached. Perhaps scotch tape it (but no tape into the machine). In any case that page will have to be scanned twice so the underlying document is not obscured. If you don’t attach it, but just have it “in stream” it will feed and become a separate page!

As promised this blog entry has a lot of “meat” and some of my processing methodology. I REALLY want a lot of comments posted about this blog! If only a few respond that would tell me that this type of information is dull and not worthy of your time to post a comment. Using the iX500 and Efax turns a chore into a speedy and profitable delight; with a file to prove you did it right! Now, not later PLEASE post a comment to this blog.

(1) Fax backs are for signing services to inspect your work just to be sure!
(2) Fax, but don’t email? What about scanning & sending the docs back!

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April 16, 2014

The AcuNotary: an acupuncturist becomes a notary!

An acupuncturist became a notary.

She found us on our acupuncture directory, and found out we ran 123notary. She decided to become a notary. She’s the only notary who accepts insurance. I asked her to notarize a loan, and she asked if she could prescribe a course of treatment. She asked me if I needed some herbs with my affidavit. You’ve heard of Oaths & Affirmations… well now there is Herbs & Affidavits!

This acupuncturist turned notary got her first loan signing. After a lengthy interview with the borrower, we quickly learned what had happened and what had gone wrong.

Signer: “I showed her my ID and she started to take my pulse. I asked when my first payment was due and she asked me to stick out my tongue.”

Signer: “What about a full physical?”
AcuNotary: “Stick a pin in it buddy”
AcuNotary: “Now here’s the APR”
Signer: “Boy, you get right to the point! So, how long have you been a Notary?”
AcuNotary: “I feel like you are using me as a sounding board”
Signer: “Well, I feel like you are using me as a pin cushion!”
AcuNotary: “Normally when I work, my patients like relaxing music. How about wave sounds from the beach or soothing sounds of the sitar?”
Signer: “Listen lady, I just want to get my loan signed without all the drama. I feel like I’m on pins and needles over here!”
AcuNotary: “You know you might get writer’s cramp signing all of those documents. I have a cure for that. We can just leave the needles in for 45 minutes and you will be as good as new.”
Signer: “Let’s just get this signed so I can get out of here!”

Finally, the signing was over and AcuNotary left our signer with some chewable American Ginseng. I guess with this notary, patriotism knows no bounds!


April 15, 2014

A Notary Arrest – a sequel to the notary bank robber

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:04 pm

Here is an arresting story about a notary who was arrested.

The notary arrest!
Police: “Freeze, put your hands in the air.
You are under arrest. Anything you sign can and will be held against you.
Let me pat you down to make sure you’re not packing any pens, seals or embossers.
Congratulations, now you are on the FBI’s 10 least wanted list!”

Notary: “I didn’t do it I tell ya, you’re making a big mistake!”

But, on a brighter note, the notary who was arrested was gainfully employed in jail. He did thumbprints for all the new arrivals. His notary skills came in handy, and he didn’t have to worry about not being paid on time by signing companies. The baked beans weren’t that bad either!


April 14, 2014

The Flip Side (of your business card)

Filed under: Ken's Blog — Tags: , — admin @ 11:13 am

The Flip Side (of your business card)

John Wayne said “Life’s Rough, and it’s Rougher if your Stupid”, what’s that got to do with this blog and notary work? Nothing at all – I just like the quote. Now it’s time for me to stop being silly and write something worthy of your time to read. The subject this time is the humble business card. Every aspect of it. Before proceeding I’m putting in a plug for Vistaprint – they have super tools to design business cards, and if you order the maximum – really low price per card. OK, now you know where I am going with this installment – I’m going to cover the humble but o so essential business card.

Every business knows the maxim that it is hard to get a new customer and so very easy to lose them. I’m going to ignore the “lose them” and concentrate on the “get a new” aspect of client relations. To my eternal surprise I have found that some notaries do not have a business card. That is an astonishing oversight on their part. You not only must have a business card – you need a great business card. Take the time to design a superb one – one that reflects the excellence you put into everything you do. Never use a cookie cutter quickie template – are you a tree in a forest of similar trees? Of course not. You are professional offering skills like no other. Your card IS you.

Not only must it have an eye-catching design, it must be easily readable. That is a must. I don’t understand why my doctor uses a type font and size that requires reading glasses (for me) and probably many others. It also must say what your areas of expertise include. Just your name and “Notary Public” is so far below the minimum, it borders on the silly. That does not even cover the areas where you make the most income – being a mobile notary and going to the client. While avoiding the temptation to “crowd” the card, you must stress the services that you offer – the ones that bring in the most income. That is why you had the cards printed, right?

Cards are one of the cheapest forms of advertising. They can be “dirt cheap” if you order them that way. Go at least for the glossy color ones, well designed and carefully populated with contact information. You certainly want your direct cell number to be very prominent. Useful information obviously includes your FAX number and your web site. Be careful to not include information that is subject to change. Those cards circulate for a very long time. If you include “by appointment only” – many will be turned off. Better is to say “call for availability” or something a bit more positive.

Now for my secret weapon: It’s the “flip side” of the card. The face of the card is about you, what you do and how to reach you. But what if they don’t think they will need your services in the foreseeable future. You have to give them a reason to keep your card WITH them. Enter the back of the card. This is not new, others before me have discovered this truth. Many put an appointment schedule – typically done by doctors, on the back of the card. Problem: when the back is full, the card is pitched. It works for the doctor but that will not work for you. Better is a calendar, but only slightly. When December 31st rolls around your card goes in the bucket.
I have a street guide on the back of my card. It helps people to find the location of a specific building on the streets of Manhattan. Others that I did admire have tables that equate English measurements to Metric. I have seen perpetual calendars, local emergency phone numbers, and European to American clothing size conversion tables. All share the common feature that the information is useful and never goes out of date.

Now that you have a fantastic card designed, order lots of them. I order 5000 at a time from Vistaprint and select their slowest service; for fabrication and shipping. The price tumbles, they cost about a penny each. At that price I can afford to never give ONE to someone, always a few. You want as many as possible in circulation. When you go to a building always give a few to the lobby staff. The concierge at a hotel is one of the best places, for several cards. It’s easier for them to hand one of your cards to a guest then transcribe the information onto a sheet of paper, which would be thrown away by the person who will be calling you! You do yourself a great disservice if you do not have a superb card and distribute them to everyone you meet.

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April 13, 2014

A Notary Bank Robbery

A notary bank robbery!

Notary: “Stick’em up and raise your right hand.. I mean raise your right hand and your left hand… and put’em where I can see’em!
Do you solemnly swear…”
Staff: “I thought this was a bank robbery.”
Notary: “Well, I’m a notary… I’m a creature of habit. When someone raises their hand, I have them swear under Oath.
Never mind… hand over the bags in the vault. I prefer small unmarked bills. You see, I was working for this signing company, but they never paid me, and then went out of business. So, this is the only way I can pay my bills. Of course with a Felony on my record, I won’t be able to be a notary anymore… I should have thought about that an hour ago!”
Staff: “Well, maybe you can have a rewarding new career in jail. I heard that they need good librarians. Are you good at indexing?”
Notary: “Just hand over the bag…”
Staff: “Here it is”
Notary: “Do you need me to sign for this?”
Staff: “I thought this was a robbery!”
Notary: “Well, don’t you need a record of the fact that I actually received what you are claiming to give me? Otherwise you might be the one being blamed for this crime!”
Staff: “Hmmm, never thought of that. Just sign here.”
Notary: “Okay…”
Staff: “Can we see some identification sir? We need to know you are who you claim to be, otherwise the signature means very little.”
Notary: “Good point, I forgot about that.”
Staff: “That’s good enough for me Mr. Hoover J. Smith”
Notary: “Have a nice day and oh, let me give you my business card, in case you need a notary in the future.”
Staff: “You are the most professional bank robber I have seen — with the best customer service skills too!”
Notary: “We aims to please! I suggest indicating my license serial number and expiration date next to my signature.”

Fortunately for this methodical notary, he had used a fake ID with a false name. The police spent several years looking for Hoover, but never found him because he didn’t exist. Meanwhile, our notary friend went through the money he stole very quickly, and went back to his old job of notarizing loan documents. The good news is that the staff at Grand Central Bank enjoyed being robbed so much by such a gentleman, that they had a film made about their experience and became famous, not to mention all the fun they had making that movie (and all the residuals they made too.)

The End!

(1) Notary Bank Robbery: Put your hands in the air & swear under oath!
(2) The Notary Bank Robber showed his ID & gave the bank his biz card when he was done.

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April 12, 2014

Mating rituals of the West Sierran Notary Publics

Mating Rituals of the West Sierran Notary Publics

Male: “May our seals never part. I’d like to emboss your lips.”
Female: “With you I feel like my term will never expire.”
Male: “May our love never end. Oh, sorry. When did you say your commission expiration date was?”
Female: “Oh, I’m from Louisiana, we are commissioned for life, or until we run out of ink, whichever comes first!”
Male: “I saw this on MASH. Over hill, over dale, our love will never fale.”
Female: “I remember that episode too. Now, which county should we put on the Venue for our marriage?”
Male: “Let’s not rush into things.”
Female: “Oh, you must want a prenup. I understand.”
Male: “Can we notarize our own prenuptial?”
Female: “I think that would defeat the point of a notarization, but sure!”
Male: “Let’s do it anyway!”
Female: “Which will expire first, our marriage or your term?”

Note from the scientists studying this species…
The females of this species typically go for the males with the longer embossers.
The females have an uncanny intuition. They can smell which of the males is farthest from their expiration date. They typically choose someone who has a few years on them — enough to enjoy them, but not too long. The females have this saying:

Love is like a violin, when the beautiful music is over, the strings are still attached.

That is why they only want a few years left before the expiration date. They know ahead of time that it will get old…

(1) Male: “May our seals never part. I’d like to emboss your lips.”
Female: “With you I feel like my term will never expire.”
(2) “Oh, I’m from Louisiana, we are commissioned for life, or until we run out of ink, whichever comes first!”
(3) Notary Love is like a violin. When the music is over, the signings are still attached.

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April 11, 2014

Notary Stress

Notary Stress
“I’m stressed out”. That, and similar statements are common. Such comments can often be viewed as being very positive as the person making the statement is aware of the problem. Many are not, or choose to ignore stress. However, the stress that affects them will not ignore them. Admitting to stress does not make one a hypochondriac, if it is in your mind or your body, it is real; and you need to manage it. Manage is the key term, for you probably can do nothing to totally eliminate stress. It just exists, to varying degrees in all of us.

We are all aware about the unauthorized practice of law; it’s been hashed over on many times. Well, I’m not a doctor and nothing in this blog should be taken as medical advice – I’m just discussing the subject to raise the consciousness of my readers about the subject. Nothing in this blog is specific to anyone.

Broadly speaking the effects are both physical and mental. One form of physical stress might be taking part in the New York City Marathon – if you are totally out of shape and have not trained to gradually condition your body for the exertion to follow. Other physical stress can be hard to avoid. The elevator is out of order and you are bringing home foods that need refrigeration. Suburban home owners – no problem; however, city folks living on the 14th floor would probably be at extreme risk if they undertook to climb those stairs…..

Mental stress gets more press. Some prefer the term “worries”; the effect is the same. Social relationships and money seem to top the list as stress causing factors. Even these seemingly insurmountable problems can be mitigated with some careful attention to reduce the stress level. I was once notarizing some documents for a psychiatrist. Dr. Shrink asked if my work was “ulcer producing”. I replied “I don’t have ulcers; however I might be guilty of giving them to some other people”. Doc Shrink told me that I had a very healthy attitude. Of course one should not make an objective of causing illness to others. Rather, it is good for me to allow any hostility directed at to “bounce off” and return to the sender!
Economic stress can be debilitating. Bills and obligations can seem overwhelming. Just as there are doctors for mental stress there are professionals who can help with economic stress. Perhaps the lifestyle you desire is not being realistic. On a typical notary income living in an opulent home is probably unaffordable. A frank talk with a Financial Planner or Accountant might be just the thing to settle your mind and financial future.

Stress Reduction is not achieved by a “one shot” methodology. There can be many forms of formal treatment and some simple changes in lifestyle. Accepting that health goes beyond the physical and includes the mental is the starting point. If you feel you have severe stress you must act. Many of us give our car a routine annual tune-up but fail to take an annual physical exam. “I’m fine and don’t need it”, really? Early detection and treatment applies to all afflictions – physical and mental. A mental checkup might also be called for.

Are you working like a power plant, 24×7; and your sole relaxation is watching the nightly bad news on TV? You know that’s not healthy. You need occasional real relaxation. When is the last time you just took a walk in the park or spent some time with a relaxing hobby? Photography, chess, reading a good book, whatever. I have a “Lava Lamp” and the flowing “goo” is soothing to watch; especially useful when things are going wrong. As a nation we take far too many pills. However, properly prescribed stress reduction medication is important when prescribed by a competent medical professional, for physical or mental stress.

Our Notary work provides a rich source of both mental and economic stress. You need to keep the right “mind set” to deal with it. Your current stress situation typically relates to just the current notary assignment. That job is just one of hundreds that you will process annually. Is it worth doing damage to your body or mind? I doubt it. Keep in the back of your mind that the notary job is trivial in the overall scheme of things. Getting excited or upset works against your powers of logical and deductive reasoning. Do not let others or situations manipulate you. Read the classic there is much wisdom in those few words.

(1) Stress Reduction for notaries is not achieved by a “one shot” methodology.
(2) Don’t let others or situations manipulate you. Be your own Notary!

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April 10, 2014

People always believe what others say about you

Filed under: Marketing,Reviews — Tags: , — admin @ 9:32 pm

People always believe what others say about your biz more than what you say about it.

When writing your notes section and talking to others, remember the golden rule of online marketing. People always believe what others say about your business more than what you say about it. Don’t claim to be all that and a cat in the hat. Just be pleasant, helpful, and give intelligent sounding answers to questions. That way, others will say how great you are instead of you tooting your own horn!

Take heed of this when writing your notes section too. Too many notaries are saying how responsible, punctual and helpful they are. This is bragging. Nobody wants to hear it. The most irresponsible and innately idiotic notaries claim to be responsible and knowledgeable. Don’t claim to be great, show that you are great.

But, now with the advent of review systems on online directories, others can say how great you are. The problem many notaries have, is that they can’t get others to write a review about them. But, there is hope. Make a list of ten things you can do to improve your service. If you truly are one of the best notaries they have ever had, they are much more likely to write a review about you!

(1) People believe what OTHERS say about you. Let your reviews do the bragging.

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April 9, 2014

Industrial Strength Notaries

Filed under: General Tips — Tags: , — admin @ 9:39 pm

In the 90′s, notaries were always whining about not getting paid, and dealing with signing companies who micromanaged them. This was before the advent of industrial strength notaries. It was around 2015 that everything changed. Too many people just couldn’t cut it and there was a shift in consciousness as well as a genetic shift. A new breed of notaries was born.

One notary was on the brink of death. The doctors said, “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him — better, faster, stronger, and better at collecting from dead-beat signing companies!” They created the bionic notary. But, with the other notaries, there was a genetic shift that created a breed of super-notaries.

The notaries of the 90′s complained if you called them on Sunday
“Why are you calling me on a Sunday?”
Then, if you called them at night they would also complain
“Why are you calling me at night?”
If you called them during a signing they would answer the phone only to tell you they couldn’t talk.
Why bother answering at all if that is your attitude.

But, these new industrial strength notaries were not like that. They could function on two hours of sleep. They carried water-proof cell phones into the shower. They went out on jobs at all hours of the day or night. They had their attorneys on speed-dial in case signing companies wouldn’t pay them. They had electronic monitoring so that they could query which signing company was up to their credit limit with them. Last, but not least, they purchased very expensive listings from 123notary without complaining about the price and wrote really snazzy notes section.

The moral of the story is that you all need to be more like these industrial strength notaries, otherwise they will take your market share!

(1) Industrial strength notaries can function on 2 hours sleep, carry waterproof phones in the shower, etc.
(2) Industrial strength notaries are never too busy to talk & always accept jobs.

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