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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


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

(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.


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…


November 13, 2013

FREE certification? Since when does 123notary do anything for free?

123notary does lots of things for free and always has. We help people with their notes for free, give free advice, and many other things as well in addition to our blog and other social media offerings which are free entertainment and education for notaries! In fact, we wrote a blog entry entitled:

6 FREE things 123notary does for its clients –

So, what are the terms for this “free” certification?
It’s free right? Not just a come on? Yes it is really free, but only for those with p#13-20 listings. We figure that you have paid enough already (and suffered enough too). How long will this last? There is no set date this offer will expire, but act fast before you forget, and before we change our minds.

Get a free LS#3 loan signing combo for Christmas
If you have a low placed listing, you can upgrade. In fact, since it is the holiday season, I will offer a FREE loan signing combo LS#3 of your choice if you upgrade to a high placed listing with p#13-20 before Christmas 2013. Please keep in mind that this offer is NOT automated, so you will have to remind me of my promise and not treat me like a con-man if this offer doesn’t immediately come to mind. When I make special offers, generally only a handful of people take me up on my offer, so after a week, I completely forget about it. I will have to MANUALLY send you your LS#3 course after your upgrade, so please remind me by email and give me 72 hours after your email is sent before you start harrassing me!

How do I proceed in getting my FREE certification materials?
Just email me at Mention that you have a p#13-20 listing and you want your certification prep book and test password. You might have to email me a second time for the test password. Sometimes there are technical issues (sorry). Just study a few hours from your prep book. Remember, that the test is based on Jeremy’s view of the world, and not yours (nothing personal). There might be a few marketing and practical questions on the test too which are above and beyond basic signing knowledge (be prepared). Some people have technical problems during their test. Don’t press the panic button and don’t get too upset. Just email me and you get another test password at no cost!

Why bother?
Those certified by get 78% more clicks and 2.5x as many new clients as those do in similar positions on the search results who are not certified by us. So, if you think you don’t “need” our dumb certification, then you don’t “need” 2.5x more business. So, if you are crying that you are not getting enough business, then yes indeed, you do “need” our certification. If you have enough business, please consider that business can dry up (already did for many), and also please consider that it is nice to have more offers than you can fulfill so that you can pick and choose your clientele. Keep the ones who are fun to work with, and dump the ones who are a pain in the rear!

The reason behind 123notary’s certification is partly to help you learn a little bit more, but mainly to see if you can function under time pressure and answer basic questions without looking up the answers. It is verification of your capabilities. Most notaries claim to know it all, but by passing this test you can prove that you know your basics. If you want to claim that you know it all, then you need to talk to us about our Elite test! Much harder!


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 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.

(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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The Mannequin Signer

He made $35,000 a month his first year!


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

Tutorial on Cross-Outs


June 12, 2013

The signer won’t sign the disclosure?

I am brainstorming to find situations where the notary is challenged. Many notaries think that you don’t need to know much to be a signer. Just go to the signing, and if there is a problem, just cross out and initial. It is so simple in many people’s minds. But, in real life, there are complications and most notaries haven’t a clue how to handle even small complications.

What if you go to a signing, and you have a single contact person — the lender. You have their phone number. You are instructed to call them and only them if there is a problem. So, you go to the signing equipped with the magic phone number. You meet the borrower. Everything is fine until you get to that one disclosure that they refuse to sign. The borrower is named as a seller in the document by accident. Ooops. A careless lender to blame — no doubt. So, the notary calls the lender, the lender doesn’t pick up… So, what do you do?

Common responses that are wrong:

(1) Most notaries say that you should bring the entire signing to a halt just because the signer won’t sign a single document.

(2) Other signers carelessly advise to cross out and initial where it says seller, and rewrite the word borrower — very unprofessional and messy. Do you really think it is okay to do cross outs on a legally binding document?

(3) Still, a few insist that you should call the Title company to find out what to do even after you were specifically instructed only to call the lender.

(4) Smarter notaries commented that the document should be sent back to the lender unsigned

All of these answers are wrong

Many notaries say that you should call the lender but, omit the fact that you should LEAVE A MESSAGE. Should I just assume that the notary would leave a message when they do everything else wrong? I think not!

The correct solution — a bit involving:

(1) Call the lender and leave a message stating that you need them to call you ASAP for instructions on how to handle the XYZ disclosure that the borrower won’t sign because they are named as a seller

(2) Look for the LETTER OF INSTRUCTIONS. Many lenders include this type of document in a package so that notaries will know how to resolve sticky situations like this. This letter will state whether cross outs are allowed or not. Remember, that many lenders absolutely refuse to accept cross outs on ANY document no matter what! Don’t take liberties with cross outs unless you are sure the lender won’t mind and unless it is a last resort!

(3) WAIT for the lender to call you back. He might if you are lucky. In the mean time finish signing and notarizing the other documents, put them in the Fedex and then …

(4) Call again, and this time leave a message stating that you didn’t hear back from him and that you are sending the XYZ disclosure back to him UNSIGNED.

(5) Put the XYZ disclosure at the TOP of the package with a note paperclipped to it stating that the document is not signed — and why. By putting it on top with a note, whomever opens the package first, will instantly know that there is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately so that the funding date will not be affected.

I have asked this question to about 100 notaries, and not one of them has gotten it right. Some get bits and pieces of the what I call the best practices that are applicable here. In my opinion, this type of situation happens frequently and notaries should know how to handle it like a pro. Don’t you? Are you a pro? If not, then please become one, otherwise you are a danger to society!

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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

March phoninar — also has a section on initialing and many other topics


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.


August 18, 2012

One of the best ways to help at a signing

Notary Public Arizona – some helpful hints from a local

“Of course, one of the best ways we can help is by thoroughly summarizing the documents people are signing,” says an Arizona notary. “This is what I am known for. People know that I will be honest. I do not give legal advice, ” smiles the Arizona notary public, “but I do tell them what’s what. Being a notary is a great profession. I get to meet all kinds of people, see how they live, and give them a little sunshine. What goes around comes around. That feeling that I have done my job right makes me happy. And I get plenty of good reviews and extra work.” This notary in Arizona recently opened her own company–and she was backed by everyone in her community who knows her.

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