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December 2, 2020

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section

Originally posted Feb 1, 2016.

Most Notaries underestimate how critical it is to have an amazing notes section on your listing on 123notary.com. They just write how they are background screened and have E&O insurance. They stop there. Yes, this is important information and it can be a deal breaker if you don’t have the right background screening from the right agency, etc. However, the Notaries who get lots of work from 123notary tend to have 123notary certifications, reviews from satisfied clients and a very thorough notes section. So, what is the secret? The secret is to be specific, unique and well organized in what you write about yourself.

(1) Selling Features
The top of your notes section should stress selling features. What can you say about yourself that others might not be able to say that would make someone want to hire you. “I’m reliable.” Everyone claims to be reliable, and then they show up late making a mockery out of their claim. Try something that you can put your finger on. But, I really am reliable? Yes, but your notes section can’t prove it — so skip it. Instead, let’s think about what types of loans you know how to sign. Don’t just say, “all types.” List them one by one. Do you have some unusual qualifications? Were you Notary of the year? Do you do jail or hospital signings? Are you fluent in Uzbekistani hill dialects? These are things that help you stand out. Were you a CEO of a Mortgage company? That helps too. If you have Escrow, Title, Underwriting, Processing, Settlement, or general Mortgage experience, that is a huge plus on your notes section. Make sure to indicate that high in your notes. Remember — the first 200 characters of your notes show up on the search results for your area, so digress to impress! (actually don’t digress, but use that space to squeeze in as many selling features as possible)

(2) Specialties
One of the most valuable pieces of information you can include in your notes are your specialties. Instead of bragging about how you are error-free or dependable (which nobody wants to read,) instead list the types of loans you know how to sign, types of major documents or procedures you are familiar with. Do you go to airports, offices, or jails? Do you do Weddings or Apostilles? People are very impressed when you have highly specialized skills, so mention them.

(3) # of loans signed
Most Notaries up date the # of loans signed once in four years. When I mention that their profile says they signed 200 loans, they say, “Oh, that was five years ago. I must have forgotten to login — I’ll go in there.” You need to “go in there” and update your info every few months or you will have information that is collecting cyber-dust.

(4) What is hot and what is not?
Radiuses are hot. If you have a wide radius, tell the world. 100 mile radius shows you are serious (or crazy.) Last minute signings are a good thing to mention. Do you accept faxes or are willing to do fax backs? That narrows it down. Are you background screened? Is it by NNA or Sterling or someone else — if you’re screened by the wrong agency, you don’t get the job! Do you know how to do eSignings? That will make you stand out!

(5) Professional memberships and certifications
Are you NNA Certified, Notary2Pro certified, 123notary certified, or trained by some other agency. It is impressive especially if you have four or five certifications. Mention these as well as your memberships. But, please don’t say you are an NNA member in good standing. The only way to be in bad standing with any agency is by not paying your bills or perhaps being convicted of a felony.

(6) What is unique about your service?
Is there something unique about the way you do your work? Or do you have a catchy unique phrase about yourself? It is very hard for most people to think of anything unique about themselves. But, if you really put some thought into it over an extended period of time you might come up with something good. We have two blog articles below with some of the best unique information we’ve ever seen.

(7) Avoid vagueness
Did you work for 10 years in the legal industry? What does this mean? Were you the company president or did you mop the floor for an Attorney. State your job title or what you did very clearly. If you were a legal secretary of Paralegal, that is good to know. Not a selling feature. Additionally, try to be specific about your claims. Rather than saying how good you are with people, give a concrete example of how you are good with people, or what experience you have that proves you are good with people.

Also read:
General (vague) vs. specific information in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4602

(8) Avoid restating information
Many Notaries restate their company name, their company mission, phone and email in your notes. Your notes is to give additional information about your service, and not to restate what the reader already knows. Remember, those top 200 characters go in the search results, and if you say, “We are here to serve” nobody will click on you.

(9) Counties served
There are 12 boxes where you can indicate your counties served. If you wish to restate this info in your notes, put it near the bottom as this is not a selling feature. If you want to indicate which parts of which counties you serve, the notes section is the only place to go into such detail. Others choose to mention specific towns or cities served. Please avoid stating which zip codes you go to as that is too nit-picky.

(10) Writing about your mentor
New Notaries always want to bend my ear about how they don’t have experience, but their mentor has signed 10,000 loans and they have been to many signings with their mentor. After hearing ten minutes about their mentor I say, “I’ll hire him — I’m convinced — But, I wouldn’t hire you in a million years because you don’t stand on your two feet!” Don’t talk about your mentor. Talk about what training programs you have passed.

(11) Writing about your Real Estate background
Notaries regularly write, “I am a Realtor and therefor am familiar with the documents.” But, when I quiz them on the documents they fail almost every time. Also, many Notaries will write three paragraphs about their Real Estate business or Process Serving, etc. People are coming to 123notary to find a great Notary, not a Real Estate agent. If you want to quickly mention in the middle of your notes that you are a Realtor, that is fine, but don’t make it the central point of your notes.

(12) Educational background
If you want to write about your degrees or former professional experience, unless it is Mortgage related, it should go in the middle or lower middle part of the notes as it is not critical information in the eyes of the reader.

(13) Equipment
Yes, you can write about your equipment. Sometimes we recommend using bullet points for quick points such as E&O, certifications, and equipment. You can mention what type of printer, scanner, fax, or mobile office you have. Just don’t put this up top. It belongs in the middle or lower middle of your notes.

(14) Closing statements
Some Notaries choose to have a closing statement while others don’t. We like it when Notaries do. You can say, “Thanks for visiting my listing.” Or say something a little more unique.

(15) Don’t jumble everything in one paragraph
A good notes section is divided into several logical sections. We normally like to see an intro with selling features, an about you paragraph, some bullet points, and a closing statement. There are many formats for winning notes section and you can decide what is best for you.

(16) Ask for help
123notary gives free notes makeovers. However, we cannot write the content for you. We can filter and reorganize it though. When we redo people’s notes sections they average an increase of 55% more clicks per day to their listing. So, ask! And get some reviews on your listing while you’re at it!

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Other Great Notes Articles

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

10 quick changes to your notes that can double your calls
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

Unique phrases from people’s notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

Stating the obvious in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14146

A Notary included a copy of her testimonial in her notes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4680

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November 28, 2020

$300 in 13 minutes. How Carmen cleans up in the Notary business

Originally posted in 2017

Carmen has always realized, or at least since 2005, that you can’t just do Notary work only. There are not enough high paying jobs to keep you busy. Those who try to be full-time Notaries end up taking a lot of low paying work just to stay busy. Carmen has always believed that you should combine signing agent work with another profession that is flexible, so that you can take an hour or so off during the day to do a signing.

Carmen normally makes about $150 or $175 per signing, and since she only accepts close jobs, she is often back home within 40 minutes. She preps her borrowers over the phone so she can get in and out without any delay.

But, a few weeks ago she got a job. The lady was a repeat customer and asked what Carmen wanted to charge. Carmen said $200. But, the lady was feeling generous, and wanted to be in good hands next time around, so she offered Carmen $300. Talk about being popular or having good signing karma.

Carmen printed the documents, went to the job, and was in and out in 13 minutes. The signers knew what they were doing. It was a construction loan or investment loan for seasoned investors who were fast at signing documents and had their lawyer prep them on what it all meant BEFORE the signing rather than detaining the Notary for two hours while they read every word of every page. So, Carmen got everything signed and notarized in minutes and was out the door. The signers were impressed and happy that it was such a painless experience.

Had they hired some other Notary, it might have been sluggish, incompetent, and the Notary might have shown up late, or dropped the package in a drop box rather than a staffed Fedex station. There is a reason why people pay extra to hire seasoned pros. But, you don’t find too many seasoned folks at SnapDocs. For the best Notaries in the biz, you need to visit 123notary.com!

$300 jobs don’t come every day. However, if you sell yourself short, you will never get any. If you can afford to do so, charge more, and take only jobs from people who value you. Otherwise you will be calculating your gas expenses and how much a ream of paper costs for the rest of your life — should you live so long!

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Winging it as a Notary
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How long should you wait to get paid?
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123notary elite Certification Study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

Here is an easy way to make $4000 more per year
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14162

Do you take control at a signing?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21104

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November 7, 2020

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

Originally published in 2016

Are you a Notary? Do you want to join some Notary organizations? There are many of them out there. Some help educate Notaries while others have helplines or hotlines. Some sell Notary supplies while others help Notaries advertise their services.

123notary.com
http://www.123notary.com/
123notary.com has been around since 1999 and helps Notaries advertise their Mobile Notary services online. Title, Escrow, Signing Companies, Attorneys and individuals love using 123notary to find some of the best trained and most experienced Notaries anywhere. 123notary also sells loan signing courses and has a very entertaining and informative blog. Check out their list of signing companies with reviews to see who you should and shouldn’t be working for.

National Notary Association
https://www.nationalnotary.org/
The NNA has been around since 1957 as a California Notary Association to help Notaries with educational resources and tools. In 1964 it became a National Association. NNA sells Notary supplies, errors & omissions insurance, education to help pass the Notary exam and become a signing agent, andmore… Advertise your signing agent services on signingagent.com

Notary Rotary
http://www.notaryrotary.com
Notary Rotary has been around for decades and offers a very potent way for Notaries to advertise their services. They also sell seals, and E&O insurance. Signing Agents can place an add and get found based on how close they are to the zip code being searched for.

SnapDocs
http://www.snapdocs.com/
This organization makes it easy to find newer Notaries who work for cheap as well as providing a system for downloading documents. More seasoned Notaries are complaining that SnapDocs is contributing to the lowering of fees in the industry. We recommend this organization for newer Notaries who want to get their foot in the door.

American Society of Notaries
http://www.notaries.org/
ASN offers a phoneline for technical support just in case Notaries have a question while on the job. They also sell Notary supplies and more.

American Association of Notaries
http://www.notarypublicstamps.com
Buy your stamps from the AAN!

Notary Café
https://notarycafe.com/
Notary Cafe is a smaller directory of Notaries that seems to specialize in the more serious Notaries. We do not have records to show how popular their directory has been in the last few years, but they have been popular for a long time.

Pennsylvania Association of Notaries
https://www.notary.org/
Need help becoming a Notary in Pennsylvania? Try this organization.

California Association of Notaries
http://www.calnotaries.com/
This is yet another Notary directory.

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Snapdocs — see our feed for posts about this company
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

The Towles Booth (pronounced Tolls)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9456

Why the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

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November 1, 2020

Names for Notary businesses that can get you in trouble

Filed under: Advertising,Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall — admin @ 7:25 am

Origionally published March 29, 2017.

In general, we recommend certain types of names for Notary businesses.

Geo-Keywords
The name can include a geographical keyword such as the name of your city, state, or region such as Los Angeles Notary Services or Koreatown Mobile Notary.

Professional Keywords
It can also be more professional oriented such as Karen’s Signing Services, or Notary Pro to Go. One successful Notary used the name After Hours Notary, At Your Service Mobile Notary, Notary at your Door, etc.

But, what if you got yourself in trouble picking the wrong name?
Many Notaries use generic business names that nobody will associate with the profession like LMT Services. I would not want to hire them to be my Notary because their name doesn’t gel with the profession. You need what I call anchor keywords to tie in your business with the work being done and/or the area it is being done.

Names that might get you in trouble!
You could also name your business First American Notary and probably get sued by one of our nation’s largest title companies. If you used the same name a signing company used, that causes trouble too. Many companies pick names that are very similar to other company names and get mistaken for each other. National Signers, National Signing Solutions, National Notary Service, Signing National, etc. You can see. So, if you pick a name, try to avoid using words that other services use. Be unique, classy, and relevant to your profession and perhaps to your area. You could use a hotel-like strategy for naming your business like Comfort Notary, Quality Notary, or Holiday Notary. I don’t think those names would serve you well, but who knows. Then there is USA Notary which is too generic and national and not specific to a particular area. Canada Notary would be in the wrong country. Inuit Notary would be good in Alaska, but not anywhere else. Hopi Notary might be good in Arizona, but the tribal leaders might object — just make sure they don’t put a curse on you! Star Notary Service is too generic, but what about Celebrity Notary Service? Royal Notary doesn’t make sense because we have no royalty in America.

Here are some names of Notary businesses our Notaries have:

A1 Notary Services — Will get you up high in the yellow pages. But, might get you confused with steak sauce.
Bay Area Notary — Great name, and has been in business for over a decade.
SOMA Mobile Notary — What does SOMA stand for?
Golden Gate Mobile Notary & Apostille — Sounds like they definitely go to Marin County.
Affordable Notary — Will they be classy enough for my needs?
The Notary To Call — This one has 33 reviews. Sounds like they really are the Notary to Call.
TheBestNotary.Net — He did well with his business.
Arden Mobile Notary Service — It’s a name, but not flashy.
Diamond Star Notaries — Okay
Sunshine Notary Service — Warm and inviting, but do they do late night service?
Dash Notary — Sounds like a good bet if you are in a hurry.
CA Notary Services — They did well in business, but California is a huge state. I prefer a more pinpointed regional name.
One-Call Closing Services, LLC — Exciting. You just call them once and the job is as good as done.
On Call Closing Services — They are waiting for you. Sounds like they take their phone to bed with them.
Denver Metro Notary — A geographically informative name. I know their coverage areas just by the name alone.
Signed-N-Sealed — Very professional sounding.
I & S Notary and Wedding Services, LLC — I’d prefer IB + SD Notary & Wedding; sounds more romantic.
D & D Document — Easy to remember and gets to the point.
1-2-3 Spanish Notary — I prefer 1-2-3 Notary en Espanol if you want to appeal to the prospective clients.
Mobile Notary Services — Very generic; bad name! Probably not even registered with the county clerk.
The S and S Group — Sounds like they don’t do notary work as their main forte.
Indiana Mobile Closers — Statewide coverage? Cool
Notary Mobile Plus — Gets the idea across.
C & S Mobile Closers — Sounds like a generic name like JB Trucking.
Drive by Notary — Sounds like they do notary jobs but do drive by shootings on the side.
DJ Mobile Notary — Someone’s initials at use here.
Emily The Notary — Classy and charming.

So, what are my favorite names?
Emily The Notary — This is a personal and easy to remember name that connects you with the person’s name and what they do. It is simple for the brain to process too.
Dash Notary — This name captures the character of our industry. We live on the edge, always ready to rush off to a signing at the last minute. It is not so different from the term Minute Man which is popular in Massachusetts where we used to have Minute Men.
Golden Gate Mobile Notary & Apostille — This name incorporates a world-class local geographical icon with the notary business. Very classy and relevant to our profession, but with a $6 toll going South (ouch.)

What are your favorite names? Feel free to comment!

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Choosing a name for a business license
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7103

You could get sued if you don’t have a business license
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7100

The notary profession is a profession – act like it is!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19598

When did Notary Cafe become decaffeinated?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20770

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October 17, 2020

13 ways to get sued as a Notary

Originally posted in 2017

Many people become Notaries to make a few extra bucks and don’t realize there are liabilities in this profession. Here are some ways you can get into trouble as a Notary.

1. You name your business a particular name, advertise with that name, but the name is not registered with your county clerk. Someone could sue you for using their business name.

2. You notarize loans in an Attorney state and the local bar association sues you. This has happened to a few Notaries in Massachusetts, and in Georgia the bar association antagonizes Notaries from time to time.

3. You make a mistake on a signing and your E&O doesn’t cover you. E&O is for NOTARY MISTAKES and not for business mistakes you make with loan signing. If a document is not notarized, your E&O will not cover your mistake. For example if you sign the note wrong, that is not a Notary mistake, that is a document signing mistake.

4. You return documents back late and the Lender sues you because the borrower lost their lock.

5. You make a comment to the borrower about their loan, they cancel, and then the Lender blames you and sues.

6. You decline to Notarize someone whose name on the ID does not match or prove the name on the document. One Notary did exacty this and got sued and lost because her communication skills were so bad, but judge could not understand her side of the story.

7. You get in a car accident on the way to a signing and get sued as a result of the accident.

8. You make a mistake in a loan signing and then don’t answer your phone or email for days after. The Lender is pulling his hair out and sues you for his bill with Bosley hair transplants.

9. You don’t follow directions on an assignment. You don’t show the documents in the order the client asked you to. As a result, the client changes their mind about signing the document that will get the client their commission. The client loses $5000 because of you, sues you, and wins.

10. You forget to administer an Oath and your state fines you for malpractice. In California there is a $750 fine for each Oath you forget. Fining and suing are different, but the end is the same — you lose. Or should I say, I swear you will lose!

11. You give legal advice or something that can be construed, misconstrued as legal advice. Then, you get sued for UPL. If you give legal advice to a courier company you could get sued for UPL by UPS.

12. You put the wrong date on the Right to Cancel, the borrower thinks they have an additional day, and find out after the fact that they don’t. Good luck. You would be surprised how many Notaries do not know how to date a Right to Cancel.

13. You misrepresent yourself as an immigration expert and defraud some poor and helpless immigrants. Or you advertise as a Notario. You will be cracked down upon by many state governments for this.

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10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

A Notary gets sued because of a scrambled ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19443

You could get sued if you don’t have a business license
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7100

Help, I’m being sued and E&O won’t help!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3570

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

Find Notary Services Near Me
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=notary-services-near-me

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October 13, 2020

10 rules for negotiating Notary fees

Originally published in Nov 06, 2017

Many Notaries complain about how little they get paid. And then I complain about how little they know. The two tend to go together and the pay is not going to go up before the knowledge does. However, there are negotiating techniques that can help.

1. Let them name their price first
In a bargaining game, it is better to let the other person bid first. You can always raise your ask price if they don’t offer enough. But, if they offer far too much, you would never get it if you asked first and asked too low.

2. Start with a high ask price
If you ask for $125, you can always go down on your price, especially if the job is close or fast. You can ask how many pages, fax backs, and notarizations are in the package. If it is quick, then give them a quick price.

3. Never whine
If you whine about the condition of the industry or how low the fee was, people will think you are a low life. Professionals don’t whine. Professionals operate! So, if you are offered $60, ask for $85 and see what happens.

4. Decline the low-ball offers
If you spend all day working for peanuts, then when the good jobs come, you won’t have time. Decline bad offers so you are free for good offers.

5. Answer your phone
If you only offer when you are not in a signing and not driving or cooking or thinking, you will miss 80% of your calls. How can you negotiate a good fee if you don’t take the call in the first place?

6. Act professional
Try to impress them without trying to impress them. Most Notaries try to do a snow job and brag about how great they are. Seasoned operators don’t do this. Smart professionals will engage you in an intelligent conversation about the job, the industry and the state of the union. Ask them questions about the job, where it is, who it is for, what type of loan it is, and about their career and industry working in title or escrow. But, whatever you do, don’t talk about your zero percent error rate and how reliable and experienced you are — nobody can verify your claims and nobody wants to hear it.

7. Never say hello
Unless you work for an aloe vera companies, don’t answer the phone saying “aloe?” Answer stating your company name and personal name. It sounds professional. If you have screaming kids in the background that sounds horribly unprofessional. Have a quiet place to answer the phone and if you are in a noisy place, try to go to a quieter place and apologize about the noise. Just because you don’t mind noise doesn’t mean the title company enjoys barking dog and screaming three year old.

8. Talk about real life
Sometimes I talk to Notaries who tell the Title company that you can call me to clean up the mess after you hire one of those $50 signers. Over half my work is clean up work. That sounds real to title companies unlike all the nonsense about how experienced and knowledgeable you are which just sounds like fluff. Tell real stories about how you handled complicated situations that others might have goofed. Mention that split signing where you did some complicated manouver on the Acknowledgment certificate and how you went out to sign the wife at 3am because she could only see you at that time due to her busy schedule as a nurse. This is impressive and much better than fluff.

9. Negotiate timing
You can offer a better rate if they get you late after rush hour. They might prefer to just offer you more and get the job booked.

10. Double book and get a bad review
Yes, you’ll get bad reviews from this, but double booking makes sense. People cancel jobs all the time when they hire you, so why can’t you cancel a few jobs. If you book jobs tightly, the other person will cancel 20% of the time — at least. So, if you book a job for $60 and someone else offers you $150, you can ditch the first job and take the other. You will probably get a bad review that will last for three years, but you will have $90 extra in your pocket. It’s a dirty technique. Not recommended, but food for thought and great blog material.

11. Never let them see you sweat.
Appearing calm and collected are the way to go. If you seem flustered, that is bad. Oops, that was eleven rules and I promised ten. Okay, disregard point eleven and just use antiperspirant.

You might also like:

How to negotiate fees like a pro
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19198

Can you negotiate prices with SnapDocs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16236

Notary Marketing 102 – Negotiating Fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

A complete guide to getting paid
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19794

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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

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Penalties for Notary misdeeds and misconduct
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2067

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

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November 1, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Real Life Notary Scenarios

Return to the table of contents of Notary Public 101

Knowing how to be a good notary is all fine and good. But, if you don’t know how to handle scenarios, you might get into some sticky situations.

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1. Confirming the signing
When you call the borrowers, go over the:
Date, Time, People Signing, Location, if there is a check or wired funds, if they have 90 minutes to complete a signing, and any fees that seem critical in the CD or HUD. Additionally, you should have them read the names in their ID to make sure they match, …read more…

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2. The name on the ID says John Smith
Q. The name on the ID is shorter or not matching the name on the document? What do you do?
A. Ask for other ID. If they don’t have it, if your state allows credible witnesses, use them to identify the signer. You can always… read more

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3. Rectify errors on Notary certificates
Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross-outs look like tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag … read more…

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4. The signer would not sign the flood disclosure.
If you go to a signing at 11am and the signer signs everything except the flood disclosure, what do you do? You call the contact person or people in title or lending. If they do not call you back, you cannot stay at the borrower’s house all day long. Let’s say you leave …read more…

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5. The green pen scenario
You go to a signing, open the package and the instructions read:
Sign in GREEN, don’t call unless it is an emergency, get it to Fedex on time or you are fired.
It is 5:30, last pick up is at 6:00pm. Nobody has a green pen. There is a stationery store in the same complex …read more…

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6. Ten grant deeds.
If you have one signer signing ten grant deeds, you need to do the following:
Create ten journal entries, one per person per document. Put thorough information about who the grantor and grantee is, a thumbprint, and …read more…

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7. The FBI is at your door.
What piece of information will they want from you if someone gave you a fake ID?
A journal thumbprint. If you don’t keep one, start now… read more…

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8. What types of pads of forms should a Notary keep in his/her bag?
Acknowledgments, Jurats, Copy Certifications. Skip the POA forms. Have them consult an Attorney. I carried permission for minors to travel. I created my own very thorough form with room for thumbprints. The Mexican authorities loved my form!… read more…

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9. Chad assigns a job to you. He says if there is a problem, call him and only him. If you can’t reach him, then email him. You get to the signing, the signer signs half the documents and then has a question. What do you do? Call Chad and if he doesn’t answer then email him. Many Notaries just don’t follow directions… read more…

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10. Frank does a loan signing on Monday and drops the package in the drop box at 3pm, calls in the tracking number and then wants to go camping. How many days should Frank wait before embarking on his camping trip and why? I think that Frank should wait until he confirms with the Lender that the package has been looked over in its entirety or… read more…

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11. What entities might want to see your Notary journal?
I have gotten in hundreds of arguments with notaries from states all over the county. Those who live in states where journals are not legally required think they will not get into trouble if they don’t have one. If you end up in court, your journal is your only evidence of what happened. You might become a witness for a long case or a defendant if … read more

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12. Hospital signing issues
Have you ever done a signing in a hospital? You should be prepared, because one day you might do it. There are many issues that come up in hospital signings. First of all, it is common to have to decline service because the signer has been medicated, or has lost their mind. As a Notary, you should be aware that you can easily be subpoenaed for hospital signings as it is common … read more

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13. How do you notarize a document with no signature line?
If you have been instructed to notarize a document that doesn’t have a signature line, that is a cross between a quandary and a conundrum. You cannot notarize a document without a signature. Notaries notarize signatures on documents, not documents, and especially … read more

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14. Sixteen year old Samantha calls a Notary to notarize an Affidavit for her mom who does not speak English. The Notary arrives only to find out that he/she cannot communicate directly with the signing who is the mother. Samantha offers to translate as she does that on a daily basis for her mom. What do you tell Samantha? In 49 states, direct ORAL communication with the client is required REGARDLESS of whether the document is in English, has been translated, or whether the Notary understands the document. You cannot use an oral translator except perhaps in Arizona (check AZ handbook for an accurate answer). Refer Samantha to find a Notary who speaks their language.

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15. John appears before you to sign a loan as an Attorney-in-Fact. He knows two verbiage variations for signing as an Attorney-in-Fact and wants to know which one to use. There are no written instructions. What do you do next? In this situation you have to call for instructions because POA verbiage is a matter of preference as there are eight legal verbiage variations for signing as an AIF. So, call the Lender or Title company in this case as the loan will not close if you did not use the verbiage of their choice!

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16. Credible Witnesses.
Jim appears before you to sign an Affidavit. But, he has no ID. What do you do? Many states allow for credible witnesses. Some states require two CW’s who must both know the signer while others allow for one that must know the notary and the signer. You can read up on your state specific rule on this convoluted subject of credible witnesses.

Also read – http://blog.123notary.com/?s=credible+witness

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17. Name two situations where you might need subscribing witnesses. Subscribing witnesses are witnesses that watch someone sign their name on a document. They are used for Proofs of Execution (look this one up in our Notary Acts section) and for Signatures by Mark or Signatures by X which is allowed in certain states (look up in our glossary.)

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18. The document is written in a language that the Notary does not understand. All states except for AZ require direct oral communication with the signer. However, written comprehension is a different ballgame and is very state specific. California only cares that the Notary notarizes the signature and doesn’t care if the Notary understands the document although the signer must understand what they are signing. However, other states can vary. Does your state require you to be able to read the language the document was written in? Look this one up in your handbook as we cannot help you in this matter because we don’t know!

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19. You have been instructed to notarize a form that does not have a certificate.
You are at a notarization and the instructions say, “Notarize this page.” However, there is no certificate wording on the page. What do you do now?

The Notary may not choose the Notary act as that might be construed as UPL. So, just ask the client or signer what act they want and then attach the corresponding certificate to the document. That’s all.

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20. Deeds of Reconveyence.
You go to a signing and one of the documents is a Deed of Reconveyance. Under the signature line has the word Trustee. Who is the Trustee, and do you notarize this document?

The Trustee is normally the Lender, but could also be the borrower if he has a company and is lending money to himself in another capacity. The Trustee could be anyone, so without specific instructions you should probably not have this form signed or notarized.

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You might also like:

Do you take control at a signing?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21104

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

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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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Quiz Questions

Return to Table of Contents for Notary Public 101.

QUIZ QUESTIONS

If you have studied our short but sweet Notary course, you might be ready for some sample questions. We alternate questions on our real test, but these questions will help you learn the knowledge concretely so you do well should we ever quiz you.

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1. What is/are the difference(s) between an Oath and an Affirmation?

2. What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat?

3. Name all Notary acts allowed in your state.

4. Who has the final authority to decide what goes in the venue for an Acknowledgment certificate?

5. Can a borrower initial in an Acknowledgment if there is a change?

6. If you add a loose certificate, what precautions do you take to make sure it does not get added to a different document by accident or fraudulently?

7. If the FBI comes knocking on your door because you notarized someone with a fake ID, what piece of information will they want to see?

8. Which Notary act can the signer sign ten years before appearing before the Notary Public?

9. What is the difference between an Oath for a document (such as an Affidavit with a Jurat) and a purely oral statement?

10. If you are using a preprinted Acknowledgment filled out by the lender, after you inspect the boiler-plate wording with the he/she/they, the date, and the venue, what other things do you need to check on the acknowledgment form before signing and sealing?

11. What is wrong with the following Oath? “Do you affirm that the information you provided is true?”

12. Can you give an Oath that says, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that your name is Mickey Mouse?”

13. Name two Notary acts that do not have a written document.

14. Name several Notary acts beginning with the letter A as their first letter.

15. What does, “Subscribed and sworn to before me” mean?

16. If you see the words, “Subscribed and sworn to before me BY,” then whose name goes after the by?

17. What is an affiant?

18. What is the technical term for state and county?

19. Name several situations where you might add a loose certificate.

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October 16, 2017

Notary Public 101 — POA, DOR, Dates, X

Return to the table of contents for Notary Public 101.

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ADDITIONAL TOPICS

These are really more loan signing topics, but I will include them in this basic Notary course since these are Notarized documents.

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POWER OF ATTORNEY

Notaries need to know the terms for the people involved in a Power of Attorney signing. The principal is the main person who signs the document who is the Grantor. This is the person who gives power of attorney to someone else to do tasks for him/her while he/she is incapacitated or out of the country. The Grantee is the same person as the Attorney in Fact or otherwise known as Agent. It is important to know these words and yes, we do test on them. However, at loan signings, people will do what is called a Power of Attorney signing. This happens when there is a completed Power of Attorney document and the Attorney in Fact will sign a loan on behalf of the principal. In these signings, they get rejected half the time for technicalities, so pay attention.

There are various ways for an Attorney in Fact to sign in their capacity.

John Smith as Attorney in Fact for Mary Smith
Mary Smith by John Smith, her Attorney in Fact.
John Smith POA for Mary Smith

There are more variations, but those are some common ones. The key thing to understand her is that:

The Lender decides the verbiage when you do a POA loan signing. The Notary might know the “correct” verbiage. However, legal information sites cite at least eight ways an AIF could sign in a POA signing that are all not BAD. The signing will be rejected if you do not sign exactly how the lender wants it. So, if there are no written instructions, ask the Lender.

How can I get a Power of Attorney Notarized?

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DEED OF RECONVEYANCE

The Deed of Reconveyance (DOR, not DOA by the way) is often signed by the Trustee and often has the term Trustee inscribed in the signature area instead of someone’s actual name which is very confusing and leads to trouble on a regular basis. Many Notaries have the borrower sign where it says trustee. Usually the trustee is a Lender, or might be the borrower in one of his capacities. If you are not sure who the Trustee is, then ask before you have someone sign there. It is safer to leave this form unsigned than guessing, otherwise you might cause a delay to the Lender and get fired. So, if you are not sure what to do, don’t have anyone sign where it says Trustee.

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DOCUMENT DATES

In the Notary world there are four types of dates. Transaction dates, rescission dates, document dates, and signature dates. The day you sign is the signature date and generally the transaction date. The rescission date is the last day to rescind. But, the document date is arbitrary and is created by the document drafter. It is normally either the day the document was drafted, the date it is intended to be signed, or an arbitrary date. There is no rule for what that date can be.

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SIGNATURE by X

If a signer is partially incapacitated and cannot sign their full name, many states will allow a Signature by X procedure. The procedure can vary state by state, but the way I was trained is as follows. The principal signs an X on the document and in your journal. There should be TWO SUBSCRIBING WITNESSES who witness the person sign. Witness #1 signs the person’s first name to the left of the X and witness #2 signs the person’s middle and last name to the right of the X. Do the same in the journal. Add a note to the document to let the readers and custodian know what happened as they might not be familiar with this procedure. Keep the phone numbers and ID info of the witnesses in your journal just in case.

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