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March 4, 2015

Deceptive Fax Backs: The good ole’ bait and switch tactic

These days notaries are complaining about many things. There is the good old, “They never paid me.” Then there are those who got paid late. Cattle Calls with low-ball offers via email or text are a new source of notary exasperation. But, deceptive fax backs are another source of annoyance and grief.

Did I forget to mention the fax backs?
Notaries have been complaining about fax backs for a long time now. But, the types of issues I have been hearing about have been getting worse. It is common for companies to simply not mention fax backs, or to lie and claim that there are no fax backs. Then, later on, the notary will read the instructions and see that 50 pages of fax backs are required. What should a notary do at this point? Should they demand more money? Even if the signing company agrees, the notary will not likely get the extra cash. Should the notary just cancel the job knowing that they will never get paid for their extra 30 minutes of work? In my opinion, the way you handle this type of situation should be contingent on one fact — do you want to ever work for this company again? If yes, press 1 and do whatever they tell you to. If it is just not worth it in the long run due to bad past experiences, or it is below your well thought out standards then press 2 and tell them to forget about it because they did a bait and switch.

20 pages of fax backs will be necessary!
When negotiating fees, notaries want to know how many pages of documents will be in the package, and how many fax backs. It is typical for a notary to be promised a package of “about” 100 pages with 20 pages of fax backs. When they get the actual package it is 178 pages with 50 pages of fax backs. This happens more than you might think. The key to dealing with this is to have a policy that is well thought out that you create beforehand for how to deal with these types of situations.

If you are flexible, you will just do whatever the companies ask and deal with it.
If you have a lot of other things to do and time is tight, you can have your rate be based on a particular size of package, and then charge an additional rate for each additional page and each additional fax back. If the company signs a contract with you regarding your additional fees (which they will not likely do) then you are in business. However, many companies won’t pay your additional fees after the fact, so incorporate that sad fact into your policy.

Sample Fee Structure for notaries with 1000-3000 loans signed
Signings: $100 (eDocs not included)
eDocuments: $20 for first 100 pages per set; 12 cents for each additional page per set.
If the package is 200 pages, you charge them $32. And refused to work for them again until they pay this.
Fax Backs: $5 for first five, 50 cents for each additional.

Beginners Sample Fee Structure
Signings: $60
eDocuments: $15 for up to 200 pages per set
Fax Backs: Up to 25 included, additionals are 40 cents a page.
Beginners should price themselves low to get at least 500 signings worth of experience, and then consider raising their rates by $5-$10 if the market will tolerate that.

In real life, fax backs are mostly for complete beginners. And for them, I recommend that they just do it without complaining. Signing companies have no other way to ensure that the package was signed correctly. There are many notaries out there who don’t know what they are doing, and they have no way to know that you are the one notary who really does know what they are doing without fax backs, otherwise a half million dollar loan could be ruined which is not worth their risk.

Don’t work for them if they don’t pay the incidentals
If a company won’t pay for incidentals on extras that they didn’t tell you about up front, then don’t work for them again. If you lose too many customers, it is time to increase the number of pages and fax-backs that you will accept for your base fee. There is no right or wrong in rate structures. It is about charging what the market will bear, and not trying to charge based on what you think is fair.

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Signing Companies that require lots of fax backs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13088

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January 12, 2014

I go over the HUD-1 first

I go over the HUD-1 First

Some notaries public start the loan at the beginning and go in the order that the documents are in. Ninja notaries call this following the order of the universe. But, other notaries public start with the HUD-1 Settlement Statement first. It is sometimes helpful to go over the most critical figures in the loan. That way if there is a problem, you will know at the very beginning.

On the other hand, you could call the borrower up before you leave your home and go over the numbers. That way you can stop a bad signing right before it even starts! That is sort of like reading the weather report online before you drive two hours to the beach. After all, do you want to go to the beach while it is raining?

One of our notaries public likes to go over the bottom of the 3rd page of the HUD and get to the really critical information first. To each their own. Just remember — either follow the order of the universe or follow your own inner order (if you have one). Good luck!

Think ahead — go over the HUD-1 Settlement Statement

Tweets:
(1) Some notaries start the loan at the beginning and go in the order the docs are in.
(2) You could call the borrower up before you leave your home & go over the numbers
(3) One of our notaries likes to go over the bottom of the 3rd page of the HUD & get to the critical info 1st.

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November 15, 2013

123notary Elite Certification, what is it all about?

Filed under: Signing Tips — Tags: — admin @ 9:53 am

123notary Elite Certification is not for everyone. It is for the cream of the crop. Although we recommend it only for those with over 750 signings under their belt, any serious notary who loves to learn might be a good prospect for this course.

Our Elite Certification is currently $179 and comes with a Ninja Notary Marketing Course that covers higher aspects of notary, signing agent, and notary marketing knowledge, interesting stories, interviews with Title companies, and more… Please read our summary of the Ninja course to learn if it is right for you!

Why get our Elite Certification?
Those with our Elite icon typically get somewhat of a monopoly on jobs, and get more than their fair share of higher paying jobs as well. Those who have a generous budget want to hire the best notaries, and on 123notary, it is easy to identify those notaries with their little yellow icon!

Are Elite Notaries really better?
Yes! I spend a lot of time with notaries on the phone. I will vouch for the fact that regular 123notary certified notaries know roughly DOUBLE about signing agent work than their uncertified counterparts. On the other hand, Elite certified notaries typically have a very deep knowledge about the industry. Although they might be fuzzy on some of their facts, they typically have in depth knowledge about many aspects of signing agent work since they have done so much of it. Although some of our Elite members are a bit snobby and argumentative, I will vouch for the fact that they are much more sophisticated as signers than the remaining 97% of the crop!

How much more work do Elite notaries get?
Regular 123notary certified notaries get roughly 2.5x more work than non-123notary certified notaries. Elite certified notaries get roughly 1.5x more work than regular 123notary certified notaries. That translates into roughly 3.75x as much work as someone who isn’t certified by 123notary at all!

Is it worth it?
You pay once for the course, and it keeps paying off day after day, year after year. It is like a goose that lays golden eggs! You can think of it as paying for itself after less than two signings! For those who want to get ahead, it is a huge bargain…

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October 23, 2013

What makes a mobile notary a mobile notary?

We get calls everyday from notaries around the country who want to be a mobile notary. They always ask, “What do I need to do to become a mobile notary?” I tell them to become commissioned as a notary in their state and then get in you car — then you are a notary, and you are mobile.

But, you should really learn how to be specialized in mobile notary work. Notaries who work in an office notarize simple forms all day long. Mobile notaries have to deal with very different issues. Loan signing is no easy task, and there are many snags, delays, and complications along the way. You should take a loan signing course from 123notary.com to learn the ins and outs of the entire procedure from A to Z as well as how to market your service.

But, non-loan signing mobile notary work is complicated too. There is a lot of work going to places where they can’t drive themselves such as hospitals, convalescent homes, jails, prisons, movie sets, busy offices (too busy to drive), and late night visits to people’s homes for last minute travel or school documents.

Mobile Notaries also need to know what to do if people don’t have the right ID. After you have driven 40 minutes to a job, you are invested in the completion of the job. You need to know how to get your trip fee before you see the signer & documents (takes being pushy and negotiating in advance), you need to negotiate your waiting time, and you need to know how to use credible witnesses to identify a signer if there is no ID. Most states allow credible witnesses, but you can research whether yours does or not.

Have fun becoming a mobile notary public. It is a rewarding profession, and 123notary can help you a lot in your pursuit of a profitable mobile notary business.

Tweets:
(1) You just need a notary commission & a car to be a mobile notary, but signing agent training really helps!
(2) Anybody can become a mobile notary, but to be a good one, you need training!

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Compilation of Notary stories
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21898

He made $35,000 a month his first year!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3894

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June 15, 2013

Hey, do you have a real story about cross-outs?

“Yes”, said one of our friends who works for a signing company.

I had a closing many years ago that created a huge issue with cross outs, because we lost the rate lock.

The notary crossed out on the legal docs and had no idea that this was incorrect. I can’t think of anything dramatic, but I’ve had so many of these over the years. That is a rare occurrence now with so many Short Sales that the docs are faxed prior to the notary leaving so you can catch more mistakes.

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Signing agent best practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Tutorial on Cross-Outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14406

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May 17, 2013

Why do I have to sign with my middle initial?

Filed under: SEO,Signing Tips — admin @ 11:03 pm

Do you get asked this question?

If your name on Title has your middle initial, is that the reason? I think so. But, what if your drivers license doesn’t have your middle initial? Then, you can not be notarized with your middle initial. When signing loan documents, if you don’t sign exactly how your name is typed in the signature section, then you probably won’t get your loan.

But, as notaries, you need to watch your signers carefully. Remember, you are there to babysit the signers. Unfortunately, most notaries are so unprofessional that they need to be babysat as well. But, you should know what you are doing.

At a signing, you should tell the borrowers exactly how they are to sign and have them practice on a piece of paper that is not part of their loan. Watch them. Make sure they don’t leave out any initials.

Good luck

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Initialing tutorial: Industry standards in the notary business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4370

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May 15, 2013

Cross-out happy; Not a good idea

Some lenders allow cross outs. Others will fire you after the first cross out. Some signing agent courses recommend that you cross things out without a second thought. Others don’t. Even our loan signing course teaches you to cross out wrong dates in the right to cancel document. But, if you work for Provident or other lenders who don’t allow cross outs — you’re fired! Gulp?

Don’t worry, just read the instructions. Many loans have an instructions sheet. If there is no letter of instructions, then ask before you cross, okay? Don’t assume that you can just cross anything out. First of all, remember the golden rule of cross outs. Don’t cross out unless: (1) you have permission and (2) it is a last resort.

What about the 1003? The 1003 loan application has endless wrong information. It is my personal belief that the clerks they hire are required to make endless mistakes — otherwise they will be fired on the spot. If they get your social security number right they will be laid off immediately, right? In any case, the 1003 is not binding in the loan, but has to be sent back signed. Borrowers whine endlessly about this carelessly prepared document. What is the solution? Cross out and initial? Hmmm. Not sure…

My take on the 1003 is that you will cost yourself 30 minutes of wasted time if you call your contact person about anything, so don’t call unless you really need to. Otherwise you will never get out of the signing. If the lender allows cross outs, you will not endanger your loan by crossing out in the 1003 or for wrong dates on the right to cancel. If the lender doesn’t allow cross outs, then don’t do it.

Trick question

Q. What is the only document the is in a completed loan package that REQUIRES cross outs?
A. Acknowledgment certificates require the notary to cross out the his/her/their, etc.

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March 23, 2012

Notarization Dates, Document Dates & Signature Dates!

Document Dates 

We had this question as a Facebook competition question. It was fun, but we got too many wrong answers which is a little bit disconcerting.  There are different dates you have to be aware of as a notary. Some are more important than others, and each date has its own function.
 
Signature Dates
The date the signer signs the document is the signature date of the particular signature.  There are cases when a husband and wife will sign the same document, but on different days.  People are busy, and two notaries could handle the same paperwork on two separate days with two separate signers.  Those loans are tricky, and are more likely to have to be redrawn.  Just as long as you get paid, don’t stress!
 
Notarization Dates
The date you notarize someone’s signature is the notarization date.  The date corresponds to the signature, not the document.  A document could be signed by more than one party on different dates.  Or an addendum could be added and signed on another date as well.  Its complicated.
 
Document Dates
This is the question that 90% of the notaries got wrong.  I had very few choices of contestants to put in the drawing to win Starbucks!  The document date is NOT necessarily the date the document was drawn up, although it usually is.  It generally should not be dated after the signing to avoid confusion.  It is often dated the day the signing is intended to happen on, and is often dated the day it was drawn, or sometime in between.  There is no rule governing when the document date can be.  The function of this date is to be an identifying mark on the document to distinguish it from other documents.  Of course, if you have ten documents all entitled, “Affidavit“, to be signed by the same two parties, and all having the same document date, it really doesn’t narrow it down.
 
Your Journal
If you live in a state that doesn’t require journals, please don’t read this paragraph.  Actually, do read it, and get a journal anyway.  Your journal of official notarial acts is your record of all notary acts that you have done in your commission. It is evidence if you ever have to go to court, or if you are ever questioned about a particular act. It adds to the integrity of the notarization and safeguards against fraud, especially when you take thumbprints for all documents (optional, but recommended).   If a fraudulent notarization takes place with someone impostering you, without your journal, you will never have proof that you didn’t notarize that person. Journals keep records in sequential order, so you can go back to July 3rd, 2003, and see that you indeed never notarized Shelly Deeds and her Deed.
 
Backdating
In your career, you will most likely eventually be asked to put a fraudulent date on your notarial certificate which is refered to as backdating. This is illegal, and you can lose your commission as a result, if you get caught.  A lender might need you to date the certificate for the 27th, when its the 28th, so that the borrowers can keep their lock. Its their problem, don’t get involved.  Lose the client and keep out of jail! Please see our blog article entitled “Backdating from A to Z

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Leave a few spaces open in your journal

The transaction date = the signature date: Feb 2013 Phoninar
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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1725

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January 12, 2012

Backdating from A to Z

Backdating from A to Z for Notaries 

Backdating is the act of putting a fraudulent date on a notarial certificate such as an Acknowledgment Certificate or Jurat Certificate, etc. Backdating is illegal and you can lose your commission, and perhaps face fines or even jail time if your crime is serious enough.
 
It is common for Lenders, or people who work in Title offices to have to close a loan by a particular date, or they will lose their lock and lose the interest rate that was agreed upon.  If the loan MUST be signed by the 5th, but there was a delay in getting the paperwork ready, or the notary couldn’t come until the 6th, then the notary might be asked to backdate!  Gulp!  You will feel pressured to do it to keep the client happy. You will/might lose your pay, and the client if you don’t do what they want — but, if you comply, you could get into legal trouble which could ruin your career or life, and perhaps your afterlife as well.  So, what are your priorities?  Do you want to oben the law and lose a client, or risk it all for a bunch of nitwits who don’t have their act together?
 
If a loan is signed on the 6th, and the journal entries for the signatures on notarized documents are on the 6th, then the date that goes in the journal and the 6th, and the date that goes on the notary certificate wording is also the 6th.  If the signing is close to midnight of the 6th, then you might be able to legally date it the 7th if part of the notary procedures went past midnight.  

Please keep in mind that the document date might be the date of the signing or earlier. The document date can be whatever the document drafter chooses, and it serves little purpose other than to identify the document and distinguish it from other similar documents.

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Notarization Dates, Document Dates & Signature Dates!
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Seal Forgery — it happened to me!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=724

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November 18, 2011

Notarizing multi-page documents

Issues with Notarizing Multipage Documents / Documents with multiple pages
 
Most notaries can barely function doing the simplest of simple notary jobs.  When confronted with anything harder than doing a simple Acknowledgment or Jurat signing where the signer has acceptable identification and can easily sign — will throw most notaries off guard. There are many situations where you need credible witnesses, subscribing witnesses, have a power of attorney signing, attorney in fact signing, or other issue which can become a snag to many notaries.  Multi-page documents (documents with multiple pages) seem easy to notarize, but are they really? There are issues, but is the notary you erroneously hired aware of these issues?
 
Page swapping after the fact
Most notaries think they are there to notarize signatures on documents, and that is it.  The bigger function of a notary is fraud deterance, and to identify the signer.  If a notary does the minimum of what their job description requires, they might be acting within the law, but are they really being helpful to their clients, or to society as a whole?  If a notary notarizes a ten page document or multiple page document, and the document custodian (whomever is in charge of the document after it is signed) decides that page four needs to be edited, then what? 
 
In some circumstances a corrupted signer or document custodian will substitute page four with a newly written page four.  He/she/they will unstaple the document, hopefully as cleanly as possible, remove page four, and add another very similar looking page four, and hope nobody notices.  If there are two signers to the document and both have a copy, then there is evidence of tampering, but what if you don’t have copies, or you lost your copies.  There is no way to prove that the document was tampered with other than the faulty looking stapling job which would make any judge say, “hmmmm” and raise his eyebrows (judges often have bushy eyebrows by the way).  
 
Should you have the notary come back?
One signer asked me to kindly give them a new notary certificate for the new page they were adding to an already notarized document. I told them that documents are notarized as a whole and that if you change even one word, that the whole thing needs to be re-notarized.  They didn’t like that since they had already paid a travel fee. I made them redraw the signature page too, since I wanted fresh signatures which reflected the fact that they were signing in agreement to the whole document.  All of my prudent behavior aroused tremendous resistance, “oh come on’s”, and other complaining. The law is the law.  If you want to screw around, you shouldn’t be hiring a notary in the first place, right?  So, I made them start all over again with a complete redraw despite their complaining, and we notarized everything, and it was kosher.
 
Safeguards against fraud
In the case of multipage documents, the most effective way to safeguard against fraud (page-switching) is to emboss all pages of every document notarize.  If someone protests your embossing, tell them that you don’t have TIME to go to court after they do something fraudulent with their document, therefor, you take precautions against any tampering by embossing every page.  It is hard to forge an embosser, and hard to use it in the same way a notary uses it.  It might be easy to spot a false notarization which is important to get you out of court fast.  Imagine how many hundreds you would lose every day you were hijacked by a court case!
 
Initialing changes?
Initialing is a technology that I don’t like much.  If someone adds a new page to a multipage document, the initials “prove” that all signers agree to it, and safeguard against page-switching after the fact.  But, initials lack the same characteristics as a well established signature.  People don’t initial that much, and it is easy to forge them without detection. I think that initialing is better than nothing, but a poor safeguard against fraud.  I feel that if a signer gives a thumbprint on all pages of a document, that is much harder to forge.  I see no harm in signing all pages of a document. That is better than initialing since a signature is usually consistant (more or less) each time you sign.  Initials might not be, and it is yet another mark with it’s own characteristics.
 
Notarizing multiple pages without initials?
Not all multiple page documents require initials.  It is up to the company who drew the documents if they want initials or not. There is no law requiring that documents have initials, but Deeds of Trusts and Mortgages normally have places for the borrowers to initial at the bottom of all pages.
 
Forging initials
It is common for Title companies to forge someone’s initials on Deeds if the signer forgets to initial.  Forged initials on date changes are common as well.  Illegally forging someone’s initials on a name change happens all the time.  It is very hard to know for sure if an initial is forged, but the people who illegally forge signatures, are usually overworked clerks in large companies who have very little time — and they are sloppy how they forge initials. The forged initials don’t look at all like the real ones.  These workers need to know that they might have to go to jail for a crime like forgery, so they should refuse to do it!

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Sending loose certificates is illegal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2470

Fraud and Forgery related to the notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

Loan signing process and pitfalls
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2780

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