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October 18, 2016

FASS has a brand new app

FASS has a new Faxing App you can download. This app is so important since so much faxing is required. I don’t know how the app is used since I don’t do faxing anymore. But, the following banks below require fax backs on many of their documents. See the list.

Ditech Financial, LLC Investment, Second-Home, and Non-Rescindable properties or when notated in special Instructions, 100% of the entire package MUST BE scanned/faxed back immediately and you would need to plan your schedule accordingly.

Freedom Mortgage- certain critical documents on all Freedom signings must be scanned/faxed back immediately.

Bank of America- certain documents on all Bank of America signings must be scanned/faxed back immediately and you would need to plan your schedule accordingly.

Wells Fargo- CRITICAL DOCS on all Wells Fargo signings MUST be scanned/faxed back immediately and you would need to plan your schedule accordingly.

All other lenders: Some lenders might require critical or all documents to be faxed back on case by case bases.
***Please be sure to review the Signing Agent Checklist for faxback requirements. Documents should be scanned/faxed back within 4hrs of completion of signing.
*** You must upload all documents to the order prior to closing/completing out order. If you complete the order prior to uploading the documents, the upload feature will not be available and a traditional faxback would be required at that time. (Quality issues will not be voided.

Will this app change your life? Has anyone used it?

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Apps that Notaries have never heard of that could change your life!
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May 23, 2016

My interpretation of how the Notary industry went South

It is sad to see what has happened in the Notary industry. Notaries who were getting paid a comfortable living are now working for peanuts or have left the field alltogether. Some people blame signing companies for lowering fees. Others attribute the problem to SnapDocs. A few claim that the lack of volume of jobs in the Notary industry combined with too many signers has caused a drastic lowering in fees.

Why are fees so low?
If you ask me, there are several things going on here. Yes, SnapDocs created an automated way to get Notaries for cheap which involves very little work for the signing or Title company. Additionally, in the old days, Title companies used to pay a lot more than signing companies. These days, many Title companies are paying low fees as well. Yes, there are too few jobs and too many Notaries. And yes, the interest rates haven’t changed much in seven years since the Mortgage crash. The bigger fact is that due to the Mortgage crash in 2008, banks cannot lend money unless you have good credit. Since our government is eating up so much money by borrowing it to fund its insatiable hunger for cash — that might be the reason there is very little left over to lend to homeowners.

Low interest rates caused by artificial market conditions
I feel that low interest rates are artificially maintained because the government will go out of business if interest rates rise even one percent. That means there won’t be any more America, no more USA flag, no more hamburgers — okay, there will still be hamburgers, but nobody will be able to afford them. By preventing people with average credit from borrowing, that leaves more money available for the banks to lend the government. The government refuses to lower its spending on wars, military, jails, interest payments, education, infrastructure, etc. If we would cut military spending and put the people in jail in a penal colony where they could work for a living, we could pay off our debt, and not go out of business as a nation.

Reasons for lowered fees:
(1) Banks aren’t lending much >> too few jobs
(2) Too many Notaries
(3) SnapDocs facilitates low-balling
(4) Low skill of most Notaries

Low skilled Notaries
I spent four months in 2015 testing Notaries over the phone. We got our total count of Notaries from 1600 to 2000 which was a huge victory for 123notary and for those who passed our test. However, I noticed that most Notaries had no clue what they are doing and didn’t understand Notary law, signing agent knowledge, and couldn’t even follow directions properly not to mention not having much common sense. For signing companies hiring Notaries, if you limit yourself to hiring good Notaries, your selection will be really small. So signing companies got smart and started planning for incompetence. This is why they prefer to hire unskilled Notaires, and then have them fax everything back to double check their work. Instead of hiring a pro like Carmen for $175 per signing, they can hire a complete novice for $40, double check the faxes themselves, and make a huge profit. I don’t like what the signing companies did, but this is the fault of Notaries not knowing what they are doing. Had Notaries educated themselves, this fax back system probably never would have evolved. It evolved through dealing with incompetent Notaries who in my opinion should not even be Notaries. The state Notary divisions are run by fools who don’t test or double check their Notaries’ work for the most part outside of CA, NY and LA. And the Notaries in the states with testing are not that proficient either. In my opinion a skilled Notary is worth $100+ per signing. But, an unskilled one (unskilled by my standards not yours or NNA’s) is worth $40 per signing and don’t even deserve to work. So, there you have it, that is my point of view which you might not like!

Unfortunately, many of the high skilled Notaries have had to lower their fees or leave the industry alltogether (which was horrible for 123notary) because of the lowered fees and fax back system. Many are still around, but they have to charge $85 to $100 instead of $125 to $150 which is probably what they are worth.

The future of America
As I mentioned before, the government seems to have manipulated the banking industry to make huge amounts of cash available to borrow at low rates. This is actually not a bad thing, because it prolongs the amount of time that America can be a nation. The bad thing is the stupidity that led up to this huge 19 trillion dollar debt is the thing that should borrow you (or bother you.) In real life you cannot keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing. It has to end sometime and when it ends, you could lose some, most or everything you have. As an individual you can recover, but how can a country recover? Are we going to click the reset button? It is not China and Japan that lent us most of the money — they lent only 15% of the money. The majority is from banks and some local investors. If America can’t pay its debt, the banks will be insolvant. That means not only no more America, but no more financial system like we know it today. Sure, we will still be here, and hopefully won’t starve, but it is not predictable what will happen.

My spiritual guru predicted that America would experience some devestating natural disasters, go broke, and fail to be a nation. We would be fifty states. These fifty states will not have much of an ability to borrow money to function after the big crash, so expect massive poverty. Whatever problems you have now are nothing compared to what is going to happen.

The future of Notary work
It looks like Notary work will continue on being slow for the next few years since there is not much money lying around to lend to house buyers. Sure, there might be blips and temporary fast times, but for the most part slow. This will continue until our country goes off the waterfall, or has a huge war or financial restructuring. After the crash, it is completely unpredictable how the world’s financial system will be. I’ll have to meditate on that one. In the mean time, just do your best, and try to be more of an expert at what you’re doing.

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You might also like:

Best Marketing Resources for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16322

The Notary Industry is Getting more Professional
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15987

David Schwimmer on The Apprentice
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16024

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May 14, 2016

Trusted Signing, Inc.

Here is what the Notaries have to say about this company
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6833

ollile
“On 02/12/2016 we posted comments about Xome Signing. We also said that if they remitted we would let you know. Well, today they remitted! We received the balance of the agreed fee.
By-the-way, we used the letter that is available to us via 123–worked like a charm.
Will I work for them again, yes I think I would, if they offer?”

Fuzzy1955
“Xome just shut me off from receiving business not because of problems with files but because I raised a potential security issue with them. Xome solicited me to sign up for direct deposit. I did so by Faxing them my personal account information as I did not want it to be sent across the internet via email. Sending unsecured information across the internet is the very reason we go to various internet sites to pick up documents – SECURITY of personal data!

Once they connect your direct deposit they send you an email (in my case 2) in which there is a link to a PDF attachment of the document I filled out, which includes my account information!

They did not seem to understand that this is an issue to me. I tried several times to explain why this was a problem but the lady on the other end kept insisting all the big companies have audited them and they are in compliance for security. While I appreciate the notice that the connection has been made, there is NO reason to INCLUDE THE ORIGINAL FAX I SENT SO AS TO AVOID THIS VERY ISSUE!”

BucksMSA
“First, even though 123Notary’s own blog has aptly informed it that Trusted Signing is now XOME, the newest signing company lists this as “Trusted Signing” instead of XOME.

Second, when they switched to the XOME App, my app did not work on my iPhone initially since it was a iPhone 4S. Now that I upgraded phones and reinstalled it the app does work but it has no ringtone or chime I can associate with a new signing. But that did not even matter because one day while I was looking at my iPhone I saw an order came in and immediately replied. But I did not get the assignment. Obviously, there may be time delays die to cell phone transmission delays.

I used to do a brisk business with them. Since they switched to the XOME app, my business has declined to ZERO. I have easily lost over $1000 in signings since they did this. ”

BigLar
Xome has been sending me offers regularly via their mobile app.
Having said that, there is a fee offered which you can readily accept (and get the signing, btw) or you can reject it by saying that the fee is too low, or you’re busy or whatever.

Their fees are low, IMHO, although they claim that they pay us 72% of the fee but they’re trying to keep their fees low to their customers.
I have accepted some, but rejected others for low fees. I never hear from them in that event, apparently someone is willing to work for less.

It’s clear to me that they do not value the service we provide, nor do they truly realize what it costs for us to maintain our services. I just repaired the water pump on my car to the tune of $672 so I feel the pain right now.
I will say this, they pay quickly, I did two signings for them in December and got paid already for both. ”

retiredkop
“I got a request from them last week for a signing today in a neighboring town for noon today. The day before the signing I didn’t have the documents, I also got another call on an assignment from National loan Closers. I said I was busy at noon so I said It would do it t 2:00 PM, the agreed. I thought it would be a good afternoon with two signings in the same town each paying $150.00. I got an e-mail from National Loan saying the documents were ready, still nothing from Trusted Signing on their appointment. As I printed the documents I noticed they had the same Title 365 number on it as the one from Trusted. I called trusted and they called me backing saying the mistake was the borrowers fault , they applied for two refinances. I know the borrower for some time, they said they only applied with one company, title 365, and couldn’t figure out why they got a call from Trusted, and National Loan wanting to move my signing time to 2:00PM.

I finished the assignment for National and still had no paperwork from Trusted, just lame excuses. From now on if Trusted Signing had a refinance at my next-door neighbors house and offered to pay three times my normal rate I still wouldn’t work for them. Trusted Signing, can not be trusted!”

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April 25, 2016

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews

To do well on 123notary, you need our certification (not someone else’s,) a good notes section on your profile, and a few good reviews. You don’t need a million reviews (although Ken in NYC thinks he does and has close to a million now.) But, at least one solid review every quarter will keep you far ahead of the game. The catch is how to get reviews, how to ask for them, who to ask, when, and what else to do? Here are some pointers, and then the articles listed below will keep you entertained for the rest of the evening!

1. Get a new review at least once per quarter.
You don’t need a new review every week, just once every few months. This will keep you ahead of the competition in most cases, or at least not far behind if you live where the real review sharks are. Ken has over 400 reviews now, so competing with him will be impossible. But, doing your best will impress all.

2. Understand the 8% rule
Only 8% of people you ask will give you a review. You might have better luck if you deliver stellar service, show up on time, and offer to do extra at no cost. You get more by giving more without asking for return, so give to charity, help thy neighbor, and do extra for your Notary clients.

3. Only ask those who praise you
It is a waste of time to ask for reviews from those who didn’t like your work. Ask those who liked your work and ask right after they say how much they liked your work.

4. Individuals are easier to get reviews from than title & escrow or signing companies.
Signing companies and big companies that hire many Notaries are bombarded with requests for reviews. Yes, ask them, but don’t base your success at getting reviews on the big guys. You stand a 3% chance of getting a review. If this means you should accept a few jobs from regular clients who just want an Affidavit notarized, it might be a good idea as reviews are life and death.

5. Email a link
It is difficult for people to maneouver 123notary. There are too many pages, and too much going on. Make their life simple and email a link to your review page. Ask for their email and send a link. If they can’t find the review page, they won’t write a review.

6. Don’t get three reviews the same day
Many Notaries do this and it looks tacky. They get three reviews within hours of each other and then no reviews for years. If you ask a list of people for reviews, then spread it out over time. If we think your reviews are fake or that you posted them yourself, you are in trouble!

7. Old reviews lose their steam
If you have all of your reviews from 2012, and no new ones, you will get as much business as if you didn’t have any reviews. Keep your reviews current if you want to get business.

8. Five or Six reviews doubles your business!
What? Oh my God! Only five or six? That might mean asking eighty or so people. But, the benefits of these reviews will last for years. Imagine paying 123notary the same amount of money, but getting double the output from your listing, plus having more pride!

Review oriented articles you should read

5-6 reviews doubles your business!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8484

Do you have reviews? Are they old?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15889

Don’t ask for a review at the wrong time!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15800

Testimonials about how good our review system is!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3902

How to write an email to ask for a review
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15800

He got 7 reviews the same day and I suspected fraud!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14186

Removing a negative review for a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13622

If movie reviews get up to four stars, why not Notary reviews?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8714

Word of mouse is important
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8827

How many reviews makes a difference?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1148

Fake reviews, how do I know they are fake?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4211

Reviews from Title companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4176

The technique — getting reviews
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2625

—————————————–
Tips for your notes section
—————————————–

What to write in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6651

You’re Unique — you don’t say (in your notes section)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13170

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

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February 8, 2016

Snapdocs, this is what we’ve learned about their Notaries

I recently visited Snapdocs to see how good their Notaries are. I called a dozen or so to sort of dip my toe in the water so to speak. Here are some quick facts based on my experience:

1. Snapdocs mostly brand new Notaries. New Notaries are often very enthusiastic and excited about learning.

2. The # of signings listed on Snapdocs is not an accurate number. It reflects how many loans were signed through their affiliation with Snapdocs and not in total.

3. Many of the numbers I called on Snapdocs were disconnected

4. Many of the Notaries on Snapdocs do not answer their phone.

5. Most of the Notaries on Snapdocs are not listed on other Notary directories which is refreshing.

6. Information on profiles on Snapdocs is very limited

7. Snapdocs has a very good document downloading system and we’ve heard they have a good loan assignment dispatch system as well.

8. Snapdocs is very popular and has thousands of Notaries on their site which is unusual for such a new notary directory (except for the new directories that copied all of our listings and then went out of business.)

I don’t know if I would recommend for or against Snapdocs, but they are the only Notary directory that has caught on since 123notary became popular in 2002 — and that is exciting! Let’s see where their newly found success takes them.

You might also like:

More on Snapdocs, the Uber of the Notary industry
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16236

Has anyone used Snapdocs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15831

State of the Notary Industry Union Address
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16244

October Signing Company Gossip
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15327

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November 16, 2015

Should travel fees be flat?

Should anything be flat in the world of pricing?

Any notary who has a flat travel fee doesn’t understand that their time is not for free. Sure it is easier to have a flat notary travel fee, but what if a job is scheduled during rush hour, or is far away? You’ll spend all day long for a small travel fee. Keep in mind that most notaries on 123notary are loan signing agents and don’t do non-loan mobile notary work. However, if you want to do regular mobile notary work, there is cash to be made. No waiting for companies to send you checks, no invoicing, no fax backs, and no excuses!

It is easier when you have a flat travel fee for the first 20 miles, or some type of a radius. You could shorten the distance during rush hour to be more fair to yourself if you like. Or just keep it simple. I used to charge $35 travel fee and people would pay it. I learned that others would charge $50 and get it. Customers were desperate and would pay anything if you would just get there and do the job right away.

But, for longer commutes, many notaries don’t have a formula. Some have a mileage rate they stick to. Others just don’t have a plan. Mileage rates are good for highway driving, but not for in-town jobs. 30 miles in an urban area can easily take over an hour and wear down your brakes, while 50 miles on the highway can go by quickly.

In my opinion it’s easier to charge based on estimated time. Your formula will be complicated if you have separate rates based on how many miles, and then compensate if they are in a metro or on the highway, and then another adjustment if it is during rush hour. It is easier to say that the driving will take 75 minutes total for the round trip and that you will charge $50 for that. Your rates are up to you, but this is my suggestion.

Charge a fixed fee for the first 45 minutes of travel for your round trip.
Then charge extra for every additional estimated minute.
If you estimate wrong, then as my mechanic friends say, “eat it” meaning take the loss gracefully.

You might also like:

Best excuses why the signing company didn’t pay their Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1922

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May 11, 2015

Here is an easy way to make $4000 more per year

Most notaries are complaining that there is not enough work to go around. They are right — there isn’t. However, there are certain people who get most of the work when there is work. The trick is to become one of those people. The listings that get the most work have a few reviews from satisfied clients, a great notes section, a company name, high placement, and last but not least — 123notary certification.

But, I don’t “Need” your certification. I’m already “certified!”
Unfortunately for you, the people who use our site do not reward notaries for being NNA certified. This is not my decision, it is theirs. NNA certified notaries on 123notary get no more or no less business than any of our other notaries. However, those certified by 123notary get 78% more clicks and more than double (2.5x) the new jobs (generated from our site) than those who aren’t. More than double sounds good to me.

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day
A few years ago when the economy was better, one notary raved to us that the minute he passed our certification test, he went from getting three jobs per week to three jobs per day. That is phenomenal, and a true story. His luck was considerably better than most other notaries, but statistically, the other notaries did quite well too.

15-100 jobs a year is average
Although the industry is slow, notaries with a p#10 preferential spot on 123notary get around 15-100 jobs per year based on people who we talk to in those positions. Those who get less than that either have already dropped out or will soon drop out. Consider that you are on the low end of the totempole getting 15 jobs a year and our certification helps you get 36 jobs per year. You would be making an additional $2000 per year as a result of your two hours of effort studying and taking our test. That is $1000 per hour assuming you drop out after a single year.

How would the average notary benefit from 123notary certification?
Let’s assume that the average notary stays on 123notary for three years which is somewhat true. The actual number of years for paying listings is around that level although free listings sometimes get removed prematurely if they have bad stats. Let’s say that our average uncertified notary gets 30 jobs per year from our site. Getting certified would raise that total statistically to 75 jobs which is 45 additional jobs which would account for around $4000 extra income in a year. So, multiply three years by $4000 and you get $12000.

Your time is worth $6000 per hour studying for our cert test.
Over the life of your career, the average notary would get $12,000 more income as a result of passing our test which takes about two hours in study time, plus a 6.5 minute online test. Two hours of your time will net you $12,000 in the next several years. It is like a goose that lays golden eggs.

But, you are busy.
What else are you doing that is more important? Many notaries are too busy to do something worth $6000 per hour and get offended when I mention that what they are doing “might” be slightly less important or valuable than studying for our test. What are you doing and what is the value of that work?

Studying for our test: $6000 per hour in long term financial benefit (before expenses)
Doing a notary job: $15-40 per hour (after expenses)
Daydreaming: Zero
Going to a birthday party: Zero
Cleaning house: Zero
Browsing Facebook: Zero

The bottom line is that you clutter your life with tasks which are not optimally valuable, so when an important task needs to be done, you simply don’t have time. My suggestion is that you schedule your other work around your important tasks, rather than putting off the important tasks, otherwise you’ll never get ahead. Schedule your study time in your calendar, make sure your passwords work, and just do it. It might be safer to schedule three non-consecutive days just in case you need more time or have technical difficulties.

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You might also like:

Compilation of certification posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16264

NNA signers who failed our test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=892

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April 21, 2015

Augmenting your skill set to make more money as an NSA!

Notaries are complaining that there isn’t enough work out there! But, what can these notaries do about it? The answer is that there are many avenues to make extra money without compromising your career as a mobile notary! Here are some ideas:

Get More NSA Certifications
Notaries are all over the boards stating opinions about having more certifications is not necessary and just makes money for those selling the certifications. Even some people who hire notaries don’t care about certifications as they care about skills, not badges. My experience has led me to believe that getting more certifications helps notaries to be more knowledgeable, and also helps them to prove their knowledge. If you rant and rave on the phone about how smart you are, nobody will believe it. But, if you can give smart answers to questions and show your badges, then you get real credibility! Otherwise, just studying up on your skills will help too even though it doesn’t get you a badge!

Reverse Mortgage Training
Signing Refinances is relatively easy. But, there are other specialty loan signings that require additional knowledge. Many people do Reverse Mortgages without any formal training. However, imagine how much more trust you would win if you were one of the few notaries who did have training and experience at it? The more you know…

TEA
The NNA offers a Trusted Enrollment Agent program. Those with TEA designation can do additional tasks that get additional jobs. TEA agents are trained to understand digital certificates which are used heavily in the biopharmaceutical industry. They also are trained to understand how to apply to obtain a digital certificate and do identity-proofing. They must also learn to identify and distinguish between different types of identification documents. Word on the street is that TEA jobs don’t always pay well. But, any designation you can get will help. Personally, I feel there should be a choice between an Earl Gray TEA, and an Oolong TEA.

NNA TEA Program
http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/445209/nna-trusted-enrollment-agent-program

123notary notaries share opinions about the TEA Program
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2416

More E&O?
In real life, E&O is mostly a fashion statement. Unfortunately, the more you have, the more you invite law-suits since the Plaintiff will know that they might be able to collect. Fancy clients such as some of the nation’s larger Title companies have higher standards for how much E&O a notary should have. So, how much is enough? The number keeps changing. In 2014, half a million was enough to please the most picky Title companies. But, many notaries preferred to have a million just to be a notch better than the others!

Background Screening
The NNA’s new Certification and Background Screening seem to be very necessary, but not for everyone. More seasoned notaries have told me that they get jobs because people know and trust them. But, for newer notaries, you might be missing out on work if you don’t pass their extensive background screening and testing! If you are serious about this business – just do it!

Inspections
Notaries claim that inspections don’t pay much. But, on the other hand, you can go when you like, take a few pictures, take some quick notes, and leave. It is not nearly as demanding as a loan signing which involves rigid scheduling, difficult borrowers, and tons of documents. If you want to augment your income, I suggest that you at least try out doing inspections. You never know — you might like it!

Weddings (I do)
Florida, South Carolina and Maine allow designated notaries to officiate at weddings. I don’t know if you need to be in the clergy to do this or not, but you can inquire. Many notaries get a lot of extra income doing weddings. Or maybe it is the other way around that Wedding Officiants make additional money being notaries.

Process Serving
Every time we write a blog about how notaries can make more money, process serving is always on the list. This is a slightly dangerous way to make extra money as you are serving court documents to criminals. But, if you have bills to pay, it is worth looking into. You can fit this into your schedule, and we all know that notaries have many holes in their schedule, especially during the beginning of the month!

Fingerprinting
The rules for fingerprinting keep changing. In my day (I’m sounding old) we used FBI fingerprint cards and rolled each finger, and then did flat impressions. If you made a mistake you had to do the entire card all over again. Live Scan became the norm in the early 2000’s. I don’t know what is used these days or how expensive it is to get into this, but many people make a good supplement to their income doing fingerprints. Plus it is fun. You get to meet interesting people and book them!

Hospitals & Jails
Many notaries are intimidated about going to a jail, and are not fond of going to hospitals. Newsflash — there’s money in muck. The desirable notary jobs include doing highly paid signings for Attorneys and $200 loan signings. But, honestly, how often do you get those types of jobs? In real life, the jobs that pay the most are often jail and hospital jobs. You need to read our blog’s hospital and jail signing sections to learn all of our free tips on the subject first. But, you can make $100 plus per assignment doing these less pleasant and more hairy notary jobs.

Being a Birthday Clown
If you choose this route, just don’t forget to completely remove your clown makeup before going to a notary job, otherwise the borrowers might get the wrong impression. “Hi, I’m Bozo the Notary!”

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You might also like:

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

Best Marketing resources for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16322

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March 22, 2015

Point (13) Call The Lender? Finding the Prepayment Penalty

Marcy had been studying up. She didn’t want to make a fool of herself anymore. She went to her next signing prepared.

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy, and I’ll be your Signing Agent tonight.

GLORIA: Oh wonderful. It is so nice to see a well prepared Notary.

MARCY: We can start here with the Deed of Trust and I’ll explain the documents as we go along unless you want to start with the HUD and work our way back.

GLORIA: Oh, very sophisticated. You sound like one of those really experienced Notaries who has signed 3000+ loans and advertises on 123notary.com.

MARCY: Well, I’ve signed about 20 by now, and I’m only 2980 short of 3000. I am working on the 123notary course, but haven’t finished it yet, but I’m almost there.

GLORIA: Great. The Deed is fine, the Note is fine, now, why is my APR higher than my Rate in my Note?

MARCY: I just studied this… I know the answer. The APR is the annual percentage relationship between the payments and the amount borrowed, minus the fees. This rate is often used to compare the different loans borrowers have to choose from. The APR is almost always higher than the rate. The rate, on the other hand, is a monthly percentage relationship between the payments and the total amount borrowed, including fees.

GLORIA: Wow, very professional. You are even better prepared than the notaries who signed 3000 loans. They just told me, “It is the cost of the loan expressed as a percentage rate.” Your answer was so professional.

MARCY: I spent two hours memorizing it and I practice daily so I won’t look like a fool.

GLORIA: Oh, no, you don’t. I’m going to tell your boss that you are the best Notary I’ve ever had, and we refinance every five years. Now, where is my prepayment penalty?

MARCY: Oh, just look on the Truth in Lending.

GLORIA: Okay… It says that I will, won’t or might have a prepayment penalty. I’ve gotten more decisive answers from a magic 8 ball. Can you do any better than this?

MARCY: Oh, hmm. I thought it was there. Do you want to call the Lender?

GLORIA: Sorry to lecture you after I complimented you, but aren’t YOU supposed to know this?

MARCY: We could call the magic 8 ball? Better yet, let’s call the Lender.

(ring-ring)

FRANK: Yeah, Frank here.

MARCY: You are the first Lender in human history to actually answer his phone.

FRANK: Glad to be of help.

MARCY: Your customer wants to know what the terms of her prepayment penalty would be.

FRANK: You mean my BORROWER. Never call them customers. Gloria DiStefano. She doesn’t have one.

MARCY: Where is that documented – In the Prepayment Rider?

FRANK: No, if there is no prepayment penalty, then there definitely won’t be a rider. Check the Note. Anything else?

MARCY: We’re good. That was fast. 45 seconds exactly not that I’m counting.

GLORIA: I’m on it. I thought we went over the Note. I guess I skimmed it too fast. Here it is. It says I don’t have a prepayment penalty. Great. I’ll pay the whole thing off tomorrow. That was easy.

MARCY: Sorry, I’ll study harder. But, I am doing so much better than three weeks ago when I first started. I hadn’t a clue then, but now I get most of the questions correct.

GLORIA: That’s good, but you need to get ALL of the questions correctly and handle all situations like a pro if you want my business!

MARCY: Sadly, you are right. I’ll finish my course and review it regularly. I might even take a few other courses too.

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Point (13) Calling the Lender
Notaries are often confused about when to call the Lender. Some Notaries are over-confident and never want to call the Lender while other Notaries call whenever the borrower sneezes. A high quality Notary knows when to call the Lender and when not to bother the Lender. You have to understand many of the common situations that arise when you have a small problem. If you call the Lender, leave a message, and wait 20 minutes and then call again. Call other entities related to the loan too if you can, such as the Signing Company, Escrow, Title, etc. If the Lender does answer, the borrower might talk to them for 45 minutes while you are running late to an appointment. You will save a lot of time and aggravation if you ONLY call the Lender when you absolutely need to.

The 1003
The 1003 Universal Residential Loan Application is the one document that is universally wrong. There are always mistakes on everybody’s 1003. I’m not sure if there is a law requiring it to always be wrong, but it seems like there is some sort of cosmic law mandating that. Since the 1003, and the Good Faith Estimate are not final documents, don’t worry too much about it. Just make sure that the HUD Settlement Statement is correct, otherwise you’ll have to redraw your loan!

The APR
Many borrowers ask why the APR is higher than the Rate. If you study and rehearse explaining the APR, you can save yourself the time and aggravation of calling the Lender only to find out they are not able to answer their phone. The borrower will feel a lot better, and you will have one less problem at your signing.

The Prepayment Penalty
Borrowers ask about their Prepayment Penalty all the time. Look for it either in the Note, or the Prepayment Rider if there is one (and once in a while there is) The borrower can read the terms themselves instead of being frustrated that they can’t find it.

Letter of Instructions
Consult the letter of instructions before beginning any loan. That way you will know what to do if there is a problem. There might even be phone numbers in the instructions.

Specific Questions
If a borrower asks a question that is specific to their loan, call the lender. If they ask a general question about what information is in what loan document, you should know. Study up!

The RTC
What if the borrower signs in the wrong place on the Right to Cancel? Just go to the borrowers’ copies and get a fresh copy. You just saved yourself a lengthy discussion with the Lender.

Errors on Certificates
If there is an error on a Notary certificate, this is purely for the Notary to resolve. Don’t get the Lender involved in your job as you should know your job.

When is my first payment due?
Look in the TIL, HUD, Payment Coupon, but don’t call the Lender unless you have to.

Power of Attorney Signings
Call the Lender regardless. Even if you know exactly how to sign, call the Lender to confirm. Power of Attorney signings are rejected 70% of the time in my experience even if they are done correctly.

If the names printed on the documents are spelled wrong
If there are any problems with names of signers on the documents, you should call the Lender. If the ID doesn’t match the borrower’s name printed on the document, you have a problem. The Lender might not care about what Notary law says, but does want to get the loan signed. If the signer is not comfortable signing the way their name is typed on the document, the loan will probably not fund otherwise, but you can call the Lender or read our section about the Signature Affidavit.

Missing docs or docs the borrower won’t sign
If you are missing any of the loan documents that normally appear in a package, sign the ones that are there, send them back, and call the Lender immediately upon discovery that you are missing a document. Or, if a borrower won’t sign a particular document, call the Lender. You can send it back unsigned at the top of the stack. Or, if the borrower wants to keep it and send it back after talking to the Lender, that is another common option.

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You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

30 Point Course (14) Explain or Don’t Explain
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14440

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

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March 4, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You might also like:

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

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