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April 16, 2020

Double dipping

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 9:16 am

Recently, I got a disdtubing call from a title company. They had previously wanted my services but I was unavailable so I referred her to a couple of others in the area on 123notary.com. She used one of them I rhad ecommended and emailed her the information and documents for printing. I assumed all was well. But unfortunately, a subsequent call a few days later provided otherwise. It seems that this notary I referred had doubled dipped in th e cookie jar. She had invoiced tille and when the signer/borrower offered to pay her on the spot sat the table she accepted a check then as well. Needless to say, title was not happy in the least. The borrower noticed after the fact. SO this notary was paid twice fo the same job. 400.00 to be exact. Title waswas very upset and told me not to EVER refer this notary to anyone in the future. She said she was not a truthful honest person. I am shocked to say the least. I know this person and I was very disappointed with them.

To make it even worse title wanted me NOT to say anything to the notary, I was like “ Why in the world not she unquestionable needs to be reprimanded”. I have got to say something” but she swore me to secretary. She didnt want a big confrontation with the notary, themselves or their borrower. So to this day I have not said a word. I do think if the notary in question read this blog they know who they are. This was nothing short of being shameful. Her behavior says allot about this persons character. We are supposed to be above reproach, trustworthy and honest. This should just come with the territory of being a notary public, You are after all a sworn government official. She needs to act like it. I know it has been slow at times but come on. This is stealing. Plain and simple.

One day after some time has passed I WILL mention it. I need to. This person made me and 123notary look very bad. Thankfully this title company still uses me.

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April 9, 2020

Do you know what you are getting yourself into?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 9:08 am

It never ceases to amaze me how many folks get into this business and don’t know ANYTHING about it. All folks seem to know is that someone came to their house with their loan paperwork and on the surface it looks easy enough and they burst out, “Hey, I could do this too! And then proceed to ask; “How do you get into this business?”. And they actually expect you to give them all the little details of the ends and outs of how to get into the business so they can TAKE all of your business. Never, once thinking that this might be improper because why would any of us really want to train our own competition? But some of us do (being nice and all that) but end up regretting it later due to our own demise.

I was reading a notary forum post about how easy we make it look and that we need to stop this because all we are doing is saturating our areas with more and more notaries. It’s all about supply and demand. Lets face it there is no real demand for us notaries in this profession. There is some work but it is being spread to thin and the pay is at an all time low. And those of us that have been in it awhile refuse to work for peanuts. Many have taken part time jobs to supplement there incomes. Many have just thrown in the towel altogether and moved on.

The other contributing factor in over-saturation is that you have several places that offer loan signing classes with no regard that they are consistently over saturating the market with notary signing agents that will NEVER see any work. Just this week alone I have spoken with notaries in various parts of the county that have been at it for months and still no work. Or if they do have any at all it is in limited supply and the pay is paltry to say the least.

Moral of the story is that you need to check out whether there is a real need for signing agents in YOUR area. And whether this is a professional you can grow and profit from BEFORE you lay out the cash to get started.

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April 7, 2020

Lose the attitude…

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:46 am

Many notaries come to me for advise and assistance with notary and loan signing procedures. On occasion I get folks that have a chip on their shoulder for whatever reason. I know this ’notary signing agent business’ can be perplexing and just plain hard to break into. The main problem is that most folks that come into to this profession are not sufficiently trained in their states notarial procedures. So when notaries reach out with questions it is for some of the most basic notarial acts. Things truthfully, they should just know. This is the Secretary of States job which most have failed miserably. Many states don’t have any examples of where to place their stamp or even how to fill out an acknowledgment or jurat but many do and its worth it to look into their handbooks to check.

On this particular occasion, a notary texted me a copy of a jurat and had no clue as to where to place her seal despite the fact to me at least it was obvious that these was a ton of space to the left of her signature. She asked me if this is where she ws to affix her seal. I wrote back 2 word only; ‘Ummm, yes’. I mean where else would you put it. It was the most basic part of her job that she should know. She wrote back quite annoyed that how was she supposed to know this?, blah, blah, blah. Well, how about for starters, getting your notary handbook out and giving it a try, Most folks just focus on loan signing without preparing for what’s really important. THE NOTARIZATIONS!!!

She went on to rant in a text that this is why folks are afraid to ask questions. Well guess what?, you better ask questions. Being a notary can be costly for you and the person you are notarizing signature on documents for. She stated that I sounded annoyed and she was sorry to bother me and that was that. Folks getting an attitude is not helping the situation at all. You had better get all your questions answered and know what you are doing BEFORE you touch anybody’s documents for your sake and theirs. If you don’t ,you will pay the price in more ways than one. And if a little “Ummm”, was enough to set you off then maybe you need to rethink this whole notary signing agent thing.

Why anybody wants to get into this profession without knowing everything about it is beyond me.

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April 5, 2020

The no show, no go!

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 9:00 am

For the life of me, I just don’t get making a commitment or accepting an assignment and not showing up or not answering the phone. Why not do the decent professional thing and call and just cancel. Why take a job and just not show up. Very tacky to say the least.

I was sitting down with a new client at a funeral home. She was profusely thanking me for showing up and asked for more cards.

I told her it was my pleasure. She went on to tell me that It seems her experience had been that that in her quest to find notary that even though there are quite a few notaries advertising traveling and mobile services but they don’t bother calling back or showing up at all. She told me that one of the notaries actually did call back but 3 days later. Unbelievable! She told this notary that she had left the message 3 days ago and the she had find someone that responded with in minutes the same day and that her notarization was scheduled and that she may want to re-evaluate how she handled her businesss in the future that is if she wanted to work. But what is ironic is that then many of your complain there is no work or not enough work. I think there is plenty of work for those that want it.

Remember, if you are trying to build a notary business (or any business for that matter) you need to answer your phone, check your email and return all correspondence in a timely manner. Your business should be important to you if you are serious if not get out it is not fair to those that would potentially use you.

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April 4, 2020

What documents can I notarize?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:52 am

What documents can I notarize?

This is written about frequently but it does require repetition given the penalties associated with it and the # of requests received for unauthorized notarizations.

WILLS – Unless prepared or directed by an attorney, wills are generally witnessed by two disinterested independent third parties.

VITAL DOCUMENTS – Birth and Death Certificates and Marriage Certificates. The Secretary of State has specific laws preventing public Notaries from notarizing vital documents primarily because the Notary cannot verify the validity or authenticity of such a document. In cases such as this, the Notary needs to refer the client over to the agency who issued the document which in many cases is the County Recorder.

INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS – A notary should not complete any documents that are fully completed at the time of notarization.

DOCUMENTS WHERE NOTARY IS AWARE THERE IS FALSE INFORMATION IN THE DOCUMENT – If you overhear conversation between people talking about the false information contained in the document they are signing, don’t notarize it. If you suspect that the person signing appears to be overly nervous or if it looks like someone else with a beneficial interest is forcing the person to sign the document, don’t notarize it. Always remember that the signer must sign the document willingly and present proper identification and must be able to communicate with the notary.

PERSON SIGNING CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH THE NOTARY IS SPEAKING. You cannot use an interpreter because you don’t know what is being translated and if the translator has an interest in the transaction. Do not confuse this with notarizing a document in a Foreign Language. You can always notarize a foreign language document and don’t need to speak that language as long as the person signing can communicate with you in English or another common language in which both the notary and the signer can communicate.

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April 3, 2020

Can you Notarize a document that contains the following pre-printed language?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:51 am

Notary: Please complete the following. No other acknowledgement is acceptable (see instructions).
The person who signed is known to or was identified by me, and, before me, signed or acknowledged to have signed this form. In witness thereof, I have signed below on this _________ day of ___________, ______________.

My commission expires:________________Notary Public Signature: ______________

While this appears tricky and may leave you second guessing, the short answer is YES.
You can notarize the document even though it does not comply with the exact or substantially similar notary language for 2 reasons.

1. The document is not asking you notarize the capacity or title in which the signer is signing the document.
2. The document is not being filed in California.

This is true for all out of state documents that have preprinted notarial language on it that requires an acknowledgment. If the notarized document is being filed or recorded in California, you MUST complete the California All-Purpose Acknowledgment.

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April 2, 2020

How Much Can I charge for a mobile notary assignment and be sure that I will get the job?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:48 am

There is no easy or definite answer but based on my experience over many years, I have the following suggestions.

First and foremost, don’t immediately say YES when you are asked if you are available to do a notary signing.

The first question should never be, “how much are you paying”? Instead ask informative questions.

When (day and time) do they need it, what type of signing is it (Loan, refinance, POA etc), where is it and how many signatures are being notarized?

If you are comfortable with the answers you get on the above questions even if you don’t get all of the answers, then proceed with getting further details.

Who has the documents? If they are going to email them to you, when is the latest you can get it? Do you need to print one or 2 sets? Do they want you to fax or scan & email them back or drop it at a FeDex or UPS office? I always tell them to email the borrower a copy of the loan documents so they can review them ahead of time and not waste your time reading all of it and ask you questions when you get there for the signing.

After going through your questions, now is a good time to ask them how much they pay for the notary signing and for you to negotiate. You know the distance, date, time and hopefully number of signatures to be notarized. You need to know how much your time is worth and is it worth driving 1 hour for $75 or $150. Be prepared to let them know your reasons for your fee. In Los Angeles, the traffic can set you back 2 to 3 hours depending on where and what time you are traveling. What revenue are you giving up during the travel time otherwise known as Opportunity Cost?

I was recently blindsided when I accepted a notary signing for $250/-. On the surface it seems like more money than the average signing. The two critical mistakes that I made are not finding out definitively if the loan signing is for California or out of state and total number of signatures to be notarized. Out of state loan documents especially New York require more notarizations which require that you prepare California Acknowledgments or Jurats. Never assume that the number of signatures notarized are generally the same at around 4 or 5 for loan signings. The number of signatures I notarized was 30, not including numerous signatures and initials. Without the traveling fee alone, I could have charged up to $450/-. The signers wanted me at their house on the west side of Los Angeles at exactly 6 p.m. because it was convenient for them. That is rush hour and I spent an hour and one half on the freeway and only got there at 6:30 p.m. and offered my apologies to the signers.

As I drove back at 8:30 p.m., I reflected on how I can avoid repeating my mistakes. Although I asked for the number of signatures to be notarized, they told me that they did not know. Going forward, if I was told that they did not know the number of notarizations, then I would confirm via email that the mobile fee is good for up to 6 signatures and anything more they will be charged an additional $15/signature notarized. Next, I will not accept any assignment that will force me to drive during rush hour. If they insist, I will charge an additional fee depending on how long I expect to be stuck in traffic. If they don’t want to pay, that is fine. They can find another notary but at least I am valuing my time and they will know it.

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March 30, 2020

Do you know what you are getting yourself into?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:46 am

It never ceases to amaze me how many folks get into this business and don’t know ANYTHING about it. All folks seem to know is that someone came to their house with their loan paperwork and on the surface it looks easy enough and they burst out, “Hey, I could do this too! And then proceed to ask; “How do you get into this business?”. And they actually expect you to give them all the little details of the ends and outs of how to get into the business so they can TAKE all of your business. Never, once thinking that this might be improper because why would any of us really want to train our own competition? But some of us do (being nice and all that) but end up regretting it later due to our own demise.

I was reading a notary forum post about how easy we make it look and that we need to stop this because all we are doing is saturating our areas with more and more notaries. It’s all about supply and demand. Lets face it there is no real demand for us notaries in this profession. There is some work but it is being spread to thin and the pay is at an all time low. And those of us that have been in it awhile refuse to work for peanuts. Many have taken part time jobs to supplement there incomes. Many have just thrown in the towel altogether and moved on.

The other contributing factor in over-saturation is that you have several places that offer loan signing classes with no regard that they are consistently over saturating the market with notary signing agents that will NEVER see any work. Just this week alone I have spoken with notaries in various parts of the county that have been at it for months and still no work. Or if they do have any at all it is in limited supply and the pay is paltry to say the least.

Moral of the story is that you need to check out whether there is a real need for signing agents in YOUR area. And whether this is a professional you can grow and profit from BEFORE you lay out the cash to get started.

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March 29, 2020

Two notarizations same document..yes or no?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:45 am

As I often do, I read the notary discussion boards. It’s often entertainenlightening and full of situations that we are faced with to deal with almost on a daily basis. Most of them you share personally with me but this was a new one. A few days ago, the topic was about a notary that had a document that had one signature but two notarizations on the same page; One, was an Acknowledgement and the other a Jurat. The notary choose to notarize only one (don’t know which one they choose and they shouldn’t have done this but that is another issue) and the underwriter rejected it and sent it back for completion of the other notarial certificate. It seems that they wanted BOTH the acknowledgement and the jurat completed. The notary said NO and stated that it was one signature per notarial certificate. And since they had only signed once she refused to notarize both. And, although it sounded about right because most of us feel that it is one signature per notarization. After all, that is how we charge clients. In this case the certificates are different. One requires a sworn oath to be given and the other is just an acknowledgment on the part of the signer. I still wondered about this. Where is written in anybodies handbook that states that you can’t do one signature and have two different type of notarial certificates?

In my opinion, It seems that the lender and/or title was covering there rear end. Perhaps they couldn’t choose so they just decided to put both.The problem would have been easy if they had the signer sign one for each certificate. What ever the case its a decision that you have to make. It seems the notaries are split on this. I personally have seen this a couple times and I just notarize both. And enter into my journal.The question is what would you do?

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December 17, 2019

“Oh, just shut up and do you job!”

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:37 am

As a notary public myself, I can not tell you how many times I have heard, “Just shut up and do your job”. Other notaries over the years have expressed hearing the same. Usually, this will come form an uninformed loan officer or realtor. Or just someone that wants you to break the rules for them with little regard of the consequences for the notary. But what is more disheartening is when one notary says it to another.

I recently got a call from a notary friend who had such an experience. This notary was asked by a lender to notarize a document in a spousal state that the other spouse was instructed by the lender that they didn’t need to sign. My notary friend knew this was not legal and since she was aware of the law she refused to complete the assignment. The notary then reached out to one of her other notary friends, who told her to just ‘shut up’ and notarize the documents and also added for good measure; “Who do you think you are?”, ‘“You are just a notary?”. This upset my friend greatly, hence the call to me. I let her know immediately IMHO as far as I am concerned she had done the right thing.

Listen, we are government officials and IMHO, if we know something to be illegal (or unethical) you cannot in good conscience continue with the process of notarizing. We are supposed to be protecting the public. Not aiding and abedding folks trying to pull a fast one. And sadly, we eventually all come to realize, the mortgage industry is riddled with deceit and fraud. So, my rule of thumb is to think about how would I answer and defend my actions, if I were ever called to court and had to get on the stand and a judge asked me, if i knew something to be illegal, or unethical, how would I defend my actions?

And for another notary to insult another because they did what she/he thought or felt was right IMO was not fair. We are all responsible for our own actions. We all have to do what we feel is right and must be able to defend our actions if comes down to that. And for me the bottom line will be if I can live with what I have done and can I sleep at night.

I would love to hear with some of the rest of you feel about this.

You might also like:

Carmen’s guide to the Signature Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22541

Show me the money
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22537

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