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April 14, 2021

Signing Agent questions answered

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 7:42 am

Here are some basic questions that people have with quick answers.

1. Should I start a notary website?
Quick Answer: No!
Commentary: It’s very expensive and time consuming. Probably not unless you’re really serious.

2. Should I sign up on Notary directories?
Quick Answer: Yes!
123notary, NotaryRotary, Snapdocs, and NotaryCafe are the best, but they are all different and attract very different clientele and varying amounts of business. 123notary gets more title work, while Snapdocs gets a high quantity of low ballers.

3. Do I need to understand the documents I notarize
Quick Answer: No!
Commentary: Your job is to fill out forms correctly and identify people correctly. The document doesn’t need to even be in English in most states. But, the signer should understand it.

4. Does 123notary have quizzes with yes/no answers
Quick Answer: No!
Commentary: We prefer multiple choice or open ended questions

5. Should I get certified?
Quick Answer: Yes!
Commentary: Notary2Pro has the best teaching. 123notary’s has the highest testing standards. LSS is the most up to date as to the current market conditions. NNA is the most widespread but their graduates do the worst on my test. We like the NNA in most ways, but not in terms of their testing standards.

6. Should I backdate?
Quick Answer: No!

7. Should I read Notary Blogs?
Quick Answer: Yes!
Commentary: Read your state notary manual and take some courses as well.

8. Should I put care into maintaining my notary profile?
Quick Answer: Yes!

9. Should I sell my van and buy an expensive high spot on 123notary?
Quick Answer: Yes!
Commentary: We prefer to wait until you have signed at least 500 loans, have a good notes section and a few reviews or 123notary certification before you invest big bucks in a high placed listing. That way you will be likely to get a good ROI and be happy with our service.

10. Can I notarize a photograph?
Quick Answer: No
Commentary: Notaries notarize signatures on documents. Even if a photo had a signature, there is no document making any type of statement.

A final note — you also cannot notarize your cat unless it is an oral statement of meao!

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April 12, 2021

10 things you need to know as a Signing Agent

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 7:28 am

Most people are confused when they begin their career as a Notary signing agent. They don’t know what they need to learn or do, or how to get clients. Those in the business for many years have the opposite problem. They think they know everything while they know very little — at least when I test them. Here is what I think Notaries should learn and how to learn it.

1. Be a good Notary. What does that entail?
You need to know the rules for each notary act and how to fill out forms. You also need to know how to administer Oaths correctly and few Notaries do this well or take it seriously. You can lose your commission if a judge finds out you didn’t give an Oath on any particular Affidavit, Jurat or sworn statement that you notarized. It is easy to learn how to do this, but few make it their business to know their job. Read your state’s notary manual regularly. You can also read blogs from NNA, 123notary or other Notary agencies. But, your state notary division is gospel, and the agencies are sometimes wrong — so treat their information as commentary. Keeping a journal is also imperative, because when you are in court, and 15% of serious Notaries end up before a judge sooner or later, your journal is your only evidence. The more thoroughly you keep your journal, the happier the judge will be with you. If you identify someone incorrectly or carelessly you might be empowering an imposter to steal a house from someone or commit fraud. We teach all of these points on our blog on Notary Public 101.

Summary of point 1.
Understanding All applicable Notary Acts, Identification procedures, Journal procedure, and Oaths are the bedrock of being a good Notary.

2. Understand The Right to Cancel
Residential owner occupied Refinances typically have a Right to Rescind document. Understanding how to date this document properly is not rocket science, but experienced Notaries flake and goof and get the dates wrong when I test them on a regular basis. It is not rocket sciencem, and no, the NASA website doesn’t cover this, it is a matter of counting to three and not counting Sundays or Federal Holidays.

3. Understand FAQ’s about loan signing.
When is my first payment due?
Where is my rate, APR?
Do I have a prepayment penalty and where is it?
Where are my closing costs and fees itemized?
Do I have to send a check or other documents not included in the package?
How long can I read my borrower’s copies before rescinding
How do I cancel my loan?

Many Notaries feel that they need to be experts at all of the documents. As a general rule, you should know the difference between the Correction Agreement LPOA and a Compliance Agreement, although there are so many variations in these documents that they are all different and you have to read each one — but, being familiar and knowledgeable about these document variations pays off as this is a FAQ that people are concerned about. Most loan signing courses go over this information and you should memorize this as people at signings will ask about it.

4. Understanding Reverse Mortgages, TRID, Helocs, Purchases, etc.
LSS’s course seems to do the best job teaching these types of loans (or documents) that are new in popularity over the last few years. Most signing courses were written ten or twenty years ago when Reverse Mortgages either didn’t exist or were not a popular item. Since as a Notary, you are not allowed to explain the terms of a person’s loan, but only allowed to help signers find information within the loan, it is NOT critical to understand these loans or documents, but make you look good if you did. So consider point four to be a plus, but not a necessity.

5. Explain or don’t explain
In our various blog courses we go over point by point what a Notary should explain or not explain. The 30 point course discusses this in detail. This is critical because otherwise you might get yourself in trouble talking about what you have no business of talking about. Or you might talk about something you know nothing about. Or, you might not answer a question which you should know the answer and express the answer about. Boy, this is complicated.

6. How to find new clients
There are many ways. We write about this in the marketing section of our blog, but you might have to scroll.

7. How to background screen clients
Not all clients are pleasant or pay on time. Use the 123notary or Notary Rotary forum to see which companies are worth working for. Please be informed that in the last two years there has been a drastic decline in forum commentary on our forum and on NotaryRotary’s, although theirs is much more well trafficked than ours. There is less quantity of reliable information about the various signing companies. But, still do your research.

8. How to collect from clients
Some people don’t pay on time, so you have to know how to keep records, how to bill people, and how to threaten them the right way if they keep you waiting for payment. We go over this in our courses.

9. Where to learn about general information
You should read the various blogs out there. NNA and 123notary have interesting blogs where you can learn and source information from antiquated entries on particular topics.

10. How to handle tricky situations
In Notary Public 101 we go over many sticky situations and explain how to think about them and how to handle them. Understanding this content makes you a more confident, trustworthy and safe Notary! It’s like a vaccine made out of knowledge!

Further Reading
As a general rule, I recommend getting certified by various entities, not just one. I recommend Notary Public 101 and the 30 Point Course in our blog as well as reading our blog articles about marketing and notarial issues in particular. LSS offers a very practical course that is more sensitive to what is going on in the industry now. Notary2Pro seems to churn out the best trained Notaries of any certification. 123notary has the hardest certification test and passing it will prove yourself better than the other certifications.

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January 2, 2021

How long do you wait if nobody is home?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:54 pm

If you go to a signing, and nobody is home, how long do you wait? Some people will wait all night while others will leave immediately. Try to take into consideration that there might have been a delay coming back from work or the market. Allowing ten or twenty minutes might make sense. Or you could try to see if your next client of the evening wants to sign early and then circle back afterwards to the original place as you don’t know how long they will keep you.

The best thing to do first is call the signer and see what is up. If they do not call back within ten or fifteen minutes, you can go. But, keep the phone by your side. They usually call the minute you drive off. It is Murphy’s law and it seems to be accurate.

But, on a brighter note, if you are religious about confirming appointments, you would have gone over the times and if they were on a tight schedule they would be likely to reveal that to you during the phone conversation. Yet another reason to be more adamant about confirming signings rather than just showing up.

So, how long you wait depends on what else you have going on. But to be fair, I would wait at least ten minutes and call the signer.

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November 22, 2020

How long does it take to get through a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — admin @ 11:52 pm

Most Notaries allow around an hour for a signing. But, for a HELOC, Reverse Mortgage, or other longer packages, the timing can be unpredictable.

I did a huge construction loan for someone. I was in and out in 20 minutes with a 180 page package. He was a business professional and knew the drill. He didn’t read. He just signed. There are others who read all day at your expense.

One Notary claimed her average signing is 45 minutes. But, it depends on the lender and the type of package, type of borrower, number of pages, etc. Another Notary on Linked In claimed 45 minutes to an hour. A third Notary claimed 45 minutes as well. A forth Notary kept track of her signings over the course of a year and came up with the figure or 45-75 minutes unless there are multiple signers in which case it might take 15 or more minutes longer.

Older clients (the kind that leave their left blinker on for half an hour in Florida) might need 90 minutes for a signing. They can barely see their pen, so how can they possibly know what they are signing?

Summary
The considerations for how long a package will take to complete should be thought about in this order.

Age
Age determines how long a package will take to complete more than any other factor. Elderly people cannot see well, can’t hold a pen well sometimes, and get very tired. Allow a lot of extra time for Reverse Mortgages, Hospital signings, etc.

Experience
Professional businessmen can get in and out of a signing quickly, unless they make you wait for their busy partner to arrive which might take an additional ninety minutes without waiting time unless you negotiate well.

# of Signers
If you have five signers, you might be there for a while. They will have more bathroom breaks, more showing up late, and if even one doesn’t have proper ID, that throws the whole game off.

# of Pages
A fast signer can get through a long package quickly. But, a “reader” will take forever. The type of sign(er) is more important than the type of sign(ing) as a professional signer can whip through a 300 page loan faster than a nit-picky suspicious “reader” can get through an 80 page signing, especially if they have to call their lender.

Prepared Lender
If the Lender on the loan prepares his borrowers well, the signing will go fast. But, what if you get a Lender who waits until the last minute to fill in the blanks. You will be at the signing over an hour with a Lender like that. I had a best client who never prepared his borrowers well. The money was not bad, but they really took advantage of my time. Most Lenders have a few screws loose, and the Notary is the one who pays for that.

# of Notarizations
I was a fast Notary and could do 11 notarizations for two people = 22 notarizations in less than half an hour. But, it is a lot faster to do one notarization especially if the signer whips out their ID quickly (use a stopwatch for measuring that.)

Ending Joke
Here is a Maine joke for you guys.

TEXAS NOTARY: I once had a signing so big it took me three hours to complete

MAINE NOTARY: A-yup, I once had a printer like that

.

You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

The grace period after your signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19465

10 ways female notaries can protect themselves
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19196

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January 30, 2020

Do you hire notaries? What do you ask them?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 11:36 am

Are you a title company, mortgage broker, loan officer, escrow officer, Attorney or other entity that hires notaries? You can’t just hire any old Notary. You need to ask them questions. But, what would you ask them?

Should you ask questions about how they would handle particular situations? Or should you ask more cut and dry technical questions about notary procedure? How about asking them to describe certain documents?

Many title companies I talk to judge a notary based on the first twenty seconds of interaction. They can tell right away by a person’s tone, demeanor, and style of communication how the discussion is going to go and how the work is going to go.

For me, I prefer to judge people based on multiple layers. Interaction, competency, motivation in maintaining their profile, etc. Only looking at their initial phone demeanor says a lot, but that is not enough to size someone up in my opinion.

If you are hiring Notaries, think carefully about what is important to ask them. What you ask a Notary reveals a lot about what the notary knows, how they think and how cooperative they are about answering questions.

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January 14, 2020

Where do you get your Notary information from?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 9:29 am

Carmen tells me regularly how Notaries get information from random sources on the internet or from other Notaries who don’t know what they are doing. This is dangerous. You are legally responsible for the notary work you do. If you do your work wrong, you can get in trouble with your notary division or in trouble with the law. Therefore, it makes sense that you get your information from reliable sources.

NNA and 123notary publish a lot of notary information online. We are generally well informed and well intentioned. But, there are instances when our information is out of date, unclear, misinterpreted, or just plain wrong.

Getting information from Facebook groups, or other Notaries is a horrible idea because I test Notaries, and most of them score about 30% on Notary knowledge. If you are getting your information from others who would probably score 30%, how reliable do you believe their information would be?

Get your information from your State Notary Division. They are legally responsible for publishing information regarding your state’s notary laws, procedures, forms, etc. Even getting information by phone from the notary division is risky, because they could tell you anything. Look for what is in writing for the safest results.

And remember, even the best Notary teachers out there are wrong about one or two things. I know this because I test them and they are not always right on certain hard to understand or nit-picky things (such as credible witnesses for example.) I am sometimes wrong about notary issues as well, although my track record is quite good overall.

So, get your information from the source itself because you could get yourself and others in trouble if you don’t. Additionally, many states have horrible handbooks with very incomplete information about certain topics. In that case, you can refer to other more reliable sources like well established notary organizations which might do a good job explaining some of the less understood notary acts such as Oaths!

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December 26, 2019

Scheduling and Rescheduling

We all schedule appointments, but how good are we at it? Things have changed since I was a Notary, but the basics are fundamentally the same. Here are some issues to consider when scheduling.

1. The risk of cancellation
Most Notaries keep information on their clients. A good business knows as much about its clients as possible. If you are a hotel, you should know who wants a newspaper, who likes a single room, who has breakfast and when, and especially who is a trouble maker. That can help the hotel to make decisions about how to conduct its business. If a Notary has clear notes on cancellation rates of clients, who pays late, and who lies about how many pages are involved, that can help you make decisions.

Overbooking or booking solid might not be a good idea if you have reliable clients. But, when I was in business there was a 25% cancellation rate, and that cancellation is when you squeeze in that burger. On the other hand, if you book too solidly and then you hit traffic, your entire night will be set back and you will get complained about.

If you have high paying clients that you don’t want to lose, allow more cushion time before and after appointments. But, for cheap jobs you have to focus on volume and cramming them in makes more sense. But, that is up to you, and if you goof, you might lose clients.

2. Rescheduling techniques
If you reschedule an appointment for a future date, try to avoid scheduling it at a time when you will have conflicting job requests that haven’t come in yet. Remember — you don’t know who will want you to do what or when. But, you can calculate based on what is normal, regular, or likely based on past data of job requests. So, if you are normally busy week nights around 7pm, do your rescheduling earlier or later than that or on the weekend. Remember, that rescheduled jobs sometimes don’t even pay you even if they agree to. If you need to go back to a job for a mistake other than your own, since it is so hard to get paid traditionally for those revisits, it might make sense to get paypal-ed before you set out if you can.

3. Waiting for a call from the LO, Lender or Signing company
Sometimes you can’t reschedule until you get the go ahead. In that case, wait until you get the magic call, and then decide. But, don’t let these guys bully you around. Once again, when you sell your time, you have prime time, shoulder hours and off hours. The type of time you give them should depend on what they are paying you. Don’t sell the filet minon for the price of chuck otherwise you are a chump!

4. Confirming
Don’t forget to call the hiring party, and the signers to confirm the appointment. Make sure that names on the ID match the names on the document, and that the date, time, place, where to park, if they have a table, and that the dollar amounts match up. Most signers don’t do a thorough job confirming, so have a check list of everything you need to ask or could ask that makes sense.

You might also like:

Notary Public 101’s guide to confirming the signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19976

Discounts for early booking? Hotels do this, why shouldn’t you?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19072

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December 22, 2018

Do you take control at a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:43 pm

Many Notaries just get kicked around in this business. They don’t bother to learn their technical information or document information. But, more important, they don’t know how to manage a signing. I just talked to someone in title. He doesn’t care if you are certified or know a lot. He wants someone who will make sure the signing gets finished and documents sent back fast.

So, if the Lender asks you to start the signing at page four, and the borrower doesn’t want to do this, how do you react? Most Notaries will be wishy washy and try to explain why they should start at page four. This invites a debate, insubordinance, and perhaps a no sign. Carmen’s advice is to just place page four in front of them. Have them read it and sign it. Keep the other docs on your side of the table under your control. If the signer protests, inform them that this is what you were asked to do. This is called following directions and maintaining control.

Getting the job done on time means confirming the signing thoroughly, introducing yourself, introducing the documents and staying in control in a polite way.

Some Notaries even dictate who is going to sit where. This can be for the Notary’s safety, or to facility the fast signing of documents especially if you have a husband and wife – they can sit next to each other on the long side of the table to do an assembly line signing of a long package and get it done in minutes.

Those Notaries who let the signing just happen will not do well in this industry. Learn to be polite and firm and take control — and get the job done.

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You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

Following directions, what’s the big deal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19600

Following directions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20770

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January 1, 2018

Following directions is more important than you think

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In,Popular on Twitter — admin @ 3:55 am

We quiz people on all types of topics ranging from Notary questions, loan signing questions, to situational questions and following directions. The problem is that only 50% of our seasoned Notaries follow directions and the newer ones only about 25%. These are not good odds if you have something to lose.

People who use 123notary are often title companies or brokers who could lose thousands in commissions or fees if you goof on their loan. Knowing what you are doing (not claiming to know what you are doing but actually knowing) is part of the equation. But, following directions is the other part. Many Notaries just ignore what you say and do what they normally do rather than following directions.

I have two recent stories of brokers who lost large amounts of money because the Notary did not follow directions. One lost $5000 because the Notary did not show the pages in the order he was instructed to. The result was that by the time the signer got to the document that the broker needed signed to get a commission, he no longer wanted to sign. In another case, a broker lost $3500 because the Notary did not follow directions about something else.

Then there are the Notaries who don’t bother to learn how to fill out a certificate form. If you forget to initial a change, the entire loan might be ruined or put on hold. I get so many complaints of Notary mistakes that it isn’t funny. Then there are the Notaries who do not fill out the additional information on a loose acknowledgment, and then the acknowledgment gets attached to a different document. Next thing you know you could end up in court.

So, sloppy work, incorrect work, and not following directions can get you in big trouble fast. Not keeping a good journal could also get you in trouble, but the trouble might not come for years. But, errors on certificates will get you in trouble fast!

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You might also like:

The Chad question about following directions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20009

Marcy overlooks the instructions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

The green pen question revisited
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20146

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November 15, 2017

The way you treat Jeremy might be the same way you treat Title

Many Notaries think they can be stubborn and difficult with me during our interactions. The fact is that I assume that if you are rude to me, that you will also be rude to title companies. Then the Notaries say that because they are paying me, they have the right to be rude to me. What an attitude! These are the same people who think they have the right to claim to know what they are doing when they don’t.

Then I talked to Jen who confirmed my theory. She had many title clients and she said that if a Notary is rude to me, they will be rude to others too. I was thinking that since Notaries get paid by title they will start out polite. But, if anything goes wrong, that the rudeness will come out fast.

My spiritual master says that if someone is rude to one person, then they are just rude and will eventually be rude to everybody. I have no way of proving this true. But, I have seen behaviors of friends who were hostile to strangers. This hostility came to me too, but not right away. I had to wait six years to see that hostility come back to me, but it came loud and clear.

So, if you see red flags, don’t discount those flags. They are real, and the consequences of the behavior is real too.

123notary is a directory that caters to Escrow and Title. We need professional Notaries who take their job seriously. Otherwise, the end users will get a bad impress of me, and I can’t afford that. So, treat me professionally, otherwise I will assume you are unprofessional towards everyone sooner or later.

.

You might also like:

Bad customers are a pain in the liver
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20005

Why are older notaries so argumentative?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19579

Do you talk back to people?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20003

Compilation of posts about Notary etiquette
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20505

What are Jeremy’s favorite blog entries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18837

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