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August 7, 2014

A signing at a TV football party.

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 7:48 am

So I had a weekend signing to do which is rather unusual for me to do. I usually send my female colleague to do signings on the weekend, but on this particular one, I was the one to carry out the task since she was not available.

I pulled up to the street where the house was where I had the appointment, and noticed a plethora of pick up trucks parked on the street. I found this to be rather unusual as I walked up to the door of the house, and rang the doorbell. I walked in the house and find myself in the middle of a party of about 30 ladies sitting in front of the T.V. watching football. The majority of them wore mullet and football jerseys. They were drinking as well, and I suddenly realized that I was the only male in the room, and also the only one not into football! They were a bunch of middle aged divorcees who were now lesbians enjoying their time at the football party.

I completed the signing quickly, while at the same time being completely aware that there was absolutely no attention focused on me at all except for the dog that started humping my leg. Definitely one of the more interesting signing I had ever done!

When we finished the signing I said, “Touchdown.” They finally acknowledged me and said, “What?”
Then, I said, “Made you look — we finished the loan!”
It is dangerous to be distracted while signing documents for a half-million dollar loan, don’t you think? Especially in the 2nd inning!

(1) All attention was on the football game during the signing. The lady barely even noticed her APR.
(2) At the end of the signing I said, “Touchdown!” loudly & all 30 of them looked!
(3) There were dozens of pick up trucks next to the house & everyone wore football jerseys.
(4) I walked in the house to find myself surrounded by 30 ladies watching football.


August 6, 2014

A frustrating 4-hour signing

This was by far the MOST FRUSTRATING closing I have ever done. This should have been a very easy job – a standard purchase loan. However, the real estate agents dragged this on for 4 hours! Unbelievable! They were just making trouble with every detail even though nothing was wrong with anything on the documents themselves. One of them kept repeated everything I said. She questioned everything on the document. They were bad mouthing the title company in front of the clients. They were cussing in front of the clients and being extremely unprofessional. They made the entire situation extremely unpleasant, lengthy, and unnecessarily difficult.

Note to self : do not work with these realtors ever again, and do not ever let the realtors take control of the situation. Lesson learned!


August 5, 2014

He needed to fly to Florida right after the signing

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — Tags: — admin @ 7:43 am

So, I am a notary who works 24/7 and this was one of the more unusual jobs that I have had. I got a call from a guy at 4am in the morning. He had just gotten his car towed, and had to leave to catch a flight in Manhattan early that morning so he was on a time crunch. He didn’t want to leave the car in the tow lot for the weeks that he would be gone. He had to get a document notarized so that his wife could go pick it up for him. It was winter, and it was cold, freezing, and snowy, but I drove in from Brooklyn and met him near Penn Station at around 6am so we could get it done quickly so he could dash off to grab his flight. He was beyond relieved to get this done quickly, and I was happy it got done!

(1) He had to get his car towed, and fly to Florida right after being notarized!


August 4, 2014

The Alta Dena Dairy Signing

The most unusual signings I’ve done occurred at the Alta Dena Milk dairy complex in the City of Commerce, California. There were some important depositions that needed to be signed by the truckers for the company, but I needed to be there with a couple other notaries to have the documents signed when they arrived at work before they left on their jobs. The truckers get in to work around 4-5:30am so I had to be there super early, and we ended up making 3 separate trips to be sure we got signatures from everyone we needed!

I was going to ask them if their signatures could be pasteurized and homogenized. I told them to keep the Right to Cancel refrigerated because it had to keep for three days.


August 1, 2014

Loan signing at a high school reunion

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — Tags: , — admin @ 7:36 am

So one of my more interesting signings occurred at a high school reunion in a loud nightclub. The man I was meeting HAD to get these documents done that night. So we got the signing done amidst compromised lighting, loud music, and loud people! There’s nothing like shouting over the noise to make sure everything gets done correctly!

Borrower: “So, where do I sign?”
Notary: “What?”
Borrower: “So, where do I SIGN?”
Notary: “I’m feeling FINE too!”
Borrower: (leaning over and talking into the Notary’s ear) “So, where do I sign?”
Notary: “Can we find a quiet place to do this signing, it is a bit loud in here.”
Borrower: “I have to stay here because my wife is coming and she’ll get worried if I’m not here.”
Notary: “Got it. Let’s find a nice table, with no liquids on it!”
Borrower: (gestures to the table on the right)

Cindy: “Like Oh my god! Didn’t we make out at the prom like 10 years ago?”
Borrower: “I was so drunk at that prom I don’t remember much. But, I’m married now, so whatever happened then happened then.”
Cindy: “I’m married now too, my husband is the OTHER guy I made out with during the prom.”
Borrower: “Lucky guy (I guess)”
Cindy: “Gotta go, I want to mingle”

Notary: “Okay, here is the Deed of Trust, you need to initial here…”
Borrower: “Judicial?”
Notary: “NO, INITIAL!”
Borrower: “Oh, okay”
Notary: “Here is the Occupancy Affidavit”
Borrower: “I’m not David, I’m Paul”
Notary: “No, see, follow my finger… it says Af-fi-da-vit”
Borrower: “Oh, I thought that you thought that I was (belch) David”
Notary: “A little less beer, a little more medication…”
borrower: “What?”
Notary: “Never mind, just sign here please!”

Chuck: “Hey, you’re the guy that was flirting with my girlfriend at the prom ten years ago!”
Borrower: “What? Oh, you must be Cindy’s husband. Congratulations”
Chuck: “No, I’m Jan’s husband. She didn’t go to school here. But, my girlfriend was Samantha. I’m still pissed at you!”
Borrower: “Sorry, I was stone drunk at the time. I don’t remember a thing.”

Gary: “Hey Paul, did you ever get into Yale, like we talked about?”
Borrower: “Let’s just say that it didn’t work out. But, I have a successful plumbing practice now. The average plumber makes more than a Yale graduate by the way.
Gary: “Just make sure your pipes don’t freeze, gotta catch up with Cindy”
Borrower: “You didn’t also, did you… at the prom?”
Gary: “Didn’t what?”
Borrower: “Never mind… back to the signing”

Notary: “We’re almost done… just sign these last three and I’ll drop this in the Fedex box”
Borrower: “I’m so glad I have three days to rescind. When I’m sober, I’ll look these babies over again!”
Notary: “Oh, you mean the borrower’s copies? You must have been seeing double. You’ve had a few too many drinks!”
Borrower: “You mean there are no borrower’s copies?”
Notary: “I’m just pulling your leg. Your borrower’s copies are right here! Hang on to them.”
Borrower: “What?”
Notary: “I think I see your wife looking for you to the left!”
Borrower: “How do you know that’s my wife?”
Notary: “Let’s just say that I went to high school with her!”

(1) A signing at a high school reunion at a loud nightclub. “Initial here!” “Judicial?” “No, INITIAL!”
(2) Paul was doing a signing at his high school reunion that was interrupted by all of his ex-girlfriends.

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February 6, 2014

Help! I am getting married, my husband is in Jail and I need a Notary!!

“I am getting married and my husband is locked up in jail. Please…(sobs heard on the phone) I need your help. I have money and you are in the business. Let’s talk.”

I got the above message on my phone literally word for word from a desperate woman at around 11:30 p.m. on a week night. Given the tone of the message, I sensed some urgency and decided to call her back the same night to give her some options.

The first thing out of her was, “Hurry Up and meet me at Men’s Central Jail now”. Somewhat taken aback by her unusual demand at that late hour, I asked her to explain the situation. She started sobbing and said that she needs to get married and her husband is at Men’s Central Jail, getting ready to be transported out of state to another facility. I paused and asked her how I could help her because I am not a lawyer, a priest or even a Notary authorized to perform weddings. She said that she needed a document notarized that would allow her to get married without her spouse being present. Wow!! Cool beans but what about conjugal visits was my next thought, which of course I kept to myself.

Having done a number of Jail house notarizations, I was aware of the type of documents that are generally permitted in different jails. When I asked her the type of document she needs notarized, she said that it was an “Inability to Appear” form. We arranged to meet in jail the next morning after she agreed to my fees.

Next morning, I made my calls to the Warden’s office to check if the inmate was at the facility and if I could notarize the particular form that my client wanted. Receiving the approval, I contacted the Client and told her to meet me at the Jail lobby at 10 a.m. and asked her to bring me the inmate’s state issued ID that was current and valid. She told me that she had to retrieve it from the property room and that should not be a problem. Immediately a red flag went up in my head and I asked her to call me when she got the inmate’s ID. I told her that I would make myself available until 2 p.m. that afternoon.

Long story short, she could not retrieve the inmate’s ID because she herself only had a copy of her ID and could not establish to the satisfaction of the guards her relationship with the inmate that authorized her to get his personal property. She called me frantically at 12:30 p.m. and said that she could not get the inmate’s ID but had 2 witnesses, one of whom did not have an ID.

Here is a valuable lesson for those who want to be jail house notaries or notaries who use credible witnesses. In California, the notary can use 2 credible witnesses to identify the signer if the notary does not know either witness or one credible witness who knows both the notary and the signer. My client out of desperation grabbed two people off the street and probably paid them something to act as witnesses. The problem was that these witnesses never even saw the inmate (signer) before and were doing it because they were offered some money. I immediately told my client the reasons these witnesses were not qualified to serve as credible witnesses. By now it was 2 p.m. and she now tells me that she needs to drive back to Irvine and bring 2 witnesses with proper Identification who actually know the inmate. I told her that I could only wait till 4 p.m. and after that time I could not help her. If you have read through everything so far, you probably guessed it. I got a call at 4:45 p.m. from my client who found 2 credible witnesses pleading with me to come to the jail. I politely but firmly said “NO” to which she replied, “I have money and I can call another Notary who will bite on it”. I said, Go ahead……

Look for my next blog on JAIL HOUSE NOTARIZATIONS which will be ready to be published as a blog on 123 notary and on my website, www.a1livescan.com by the end of this month.

Muthiah Nachiappan

(1) Help, I’m getting married and my husband is in jail (sob) It was 11:30pm. She had cash and was desperate.
(2) Hurry up and meet me at Men’s central jail now.

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August 29, 2013

Don’t Do These Things: CA Notaries Who Have Done Wrong

Becoming a notary in California means taking on an awesome responsibility. And, like most awesome responsibilities, this one comes with lots of very strict rules that must be followed exactly. No, really — exactly. There is no wiggle room when it comes to being a notary public in California.

You would think that, with all of that responsibility and all of those extremely strict rules, every California notary would be very closely supervised. Nope! In fact, it is largely the opposite.

As a California notary public, you work almost completely independently of any state-sanctioned watcher type person. It’s understandable, given all that freedom, how someone who is a notary in California might be tempted to let some of the rules slide. Without someone watching your every move, it’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll take care of that later,” or “Meh, good enough.”

Do not give in to this temptation! If you don’t see to every single detail and follow every letter of the law, you could wind up in huge and terrifying trouble.

For instance:

If you fail to properly identify one of the signers of the contract you are notarizing, you could face a civil conviction and have to pay a fine of up to $10,000. That is not a cumulative $10,000 over the course of your California notary career. That’s up to $10,000 for every time in which you, acting as a notary public in California, fail to identify a signatory to the satisfaction of the rules set forth by the Secretary of State. Yikes!

Let’s say that someone comes in and says they are working on an Intelius removal and need you to notarize some papers verifying the request to have the information removed from the system. The person wants the notary stamp to prove the time and date on which that person submitted their completed forms.

Your California notary public stamp tells a court (should the matter go that far) that you are vouching for the person, that he or she has met every legal requirement he or she needed to meet, and that they performed the deeds they say they did.

Let’s say you had to notarize three signed forms. You charge the person $45 for the service.


It turns out that, as a notary in California, you’re only allowed to charge people up to $10 per signature. You have overcharged the person by $15. Fifteen dollars doesn’t seem like that big a deal, right? You can just refund the over-payment, right?

Maybe. But if the person complains or brings suit against you for overcharging them for the duties you performed as a notary public in California, you’re going to be in trouble. The Secretary of State can suspend your California notary public commission for as long as six months, and you can be fined up to $750 — for every instance in which you overcharged that person!

Becoming a California notary is a huge responsibility, and these fines are steep and really scary. This is why, as part of the process of becoming a notary in California, you have to pay for “insurance.” This usually means paying for a California Notary Public Surety Bond. You can buy these bonds in a variety of increments. It depends on how much coverage you need. If you are sure that you can abide by every detail and follow every law involved with having your own California notary commission, you can go with a smaller bond.

The fact is that being a notary public in California makes you a very important person, and that means you have to take your important responsibilities seriously. Besides, can you really afford to have a criminal record and fines totaling thousands of dollars because you overcharged someone by a few bucks? It’s better to follow all of those annoying rules, don’t you think?

Erin Steiner was an Oregon notary public for one term. She now writes about everything from small business to pop culture topics all over the web.


August 26, 2013

California Notaries Who Get Themselves in Trouble

In 1999, a California notary public was fined $750 and had to perform 200 hours of community service after being caught and pleading guilty to forging a notary stamp and using it in a public office within the state of California (and then lying about). SOURCE: http://www.lastwordedits.com/unlawfulnotary.pdf

Since then, the instances of notaries public in California have gone way, way down. So down, in fact, that a Lexis Nexis search turned up only two cases in which a California notary had suits brought against him. In one of those cases, the judge found that the California notary public had done nothing wrong. In the other, the judge ruled that the statute of limitations (six years at that point) on filing a complaint had expired.


Because the laws and penalties for breaking them are so strict that there is no way any notary public in California is going to break them.

For example, a notary in California has to keep her seal under very strict and exclusive control. If she fails to do so, while it has to be proven that she “willfully” disregarded this rule, she is guilty of committing a misdemeanor crime. The Secretary of State (who is the boss of every notary public in California) can also suspend her commission.

It gets worse if she lets people use her seal to perform notary duties under their own name and even worse if they perform them under her name. In addition to having her commission revoked, she can be fined up to $1500 — for every instance (and every individual notarization that someone else performed).

It is also a misdemeanor for a notary public in California to fail to properly maintain his journal. There are very strict rules about which details a California notary must include in his journal. Every single one of those details must be recorded for every notarization performed.

If the California notary public misses even one of those details one time, he has committed a crime. There is a statute of limitations on this rule. After four years, a mistake in the journal can’t be prosecuted. Still, do you want to be prosecuted three years and 364 days later for misspelling a person’s name or leaving out a date on something?

These are just two (of many) instances in which a notary in California can quickly build up a criminal record. It’s important that, should you want to go after your California notary commission, you’re prepared to follow every rule down to the tiniest detail.

Remember, on the surface, being a notary public in California looks more like fun than something responsible, but it is a duty that is incredibly important. When you become a California notary public, you are becoming an officer of the court — and that comes with incredibly high standards to meet.

Erin Steiner is a writer who writes about business, legal, pop culture, and general topics (like waterhog mats) She served as a notary public of


July 23, 2013

Interview with Jennifer: From Zero to 40

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 10:19 am

From Zero to 40 Loans Signed–part time–in Seven Weeks: No Longer a Newbie

123: I’m happy to hear that things are going so well! A few months ago, you had done zero signings! What happened? Did you take our advice?

Jennifer: Yes– I did my Notes section as you suggested. I highlighted my background as a notary for a venture capital firm, and my experience with documents and technology; also, I described what kind of person I am. I took a chance. Once I got that first signing, it all changed. For a few weeks, when I would tell a company on the phone, “This will be my first one,” they would say, “No thanks.” But finally, one escrow company hired me. I told her, in desperation, “I just need someone to give me a chance.” I guess she heard the sound of my voice, and she said, “I’ll give you a chance.” That’s how it started.

I was terrified. I didn’t sleep the whole night before. I arrived a half an hour early for the signing. The people said, “You could have come to the door early. We saw you sitting there in the car.” It went ok, although I made a few mistakes. I made quite a few mistakes at the beginning. I did not write my name on the acknowledgement…and one time I forgot to write my commission expiration date…once, on the Right to cancel, I put the transaction date instead of the rescission date. The escrow company fixed it for me.

I had six signings from that company. Then, I had some from a signing company that contacted me–from 123notary. All they asked me was how many signings I had done. I exaggerated a bit (not recommended), and got the work, fifteen jobs over the course of a month. The documents were different from what I had been signing. Sometimes there are new documents I have never seen– a Loan Summary. I called the company that hired me. The company ended up calling Wells Fargo, and they said “Oops, that was not supposed to be in there.” The biggest challenge I have had is that some lenders wait until half an hour before the signing to get the documents. I have to print the docs, put in signature flags. Once, there was no Note! I called and said, “There is no Note. I am at a signing. Did I screw up?” They checked–and they had not included it. Also, the signing co said, when I asked about payment, “YES– we are going to pay you. But what notaries do not realize is that sometimes notaries do not show up and that costs us money.” They pay in 60 days. But I checked their reputation and got all their policies in writing when I signed up. I am willing to wait to be paid in order to start out.

If the signing is far away, I barely get the documents before I have to print and leave. Some places require copies of the IDs, and borrowers do not always get these. Somehow taking pictures with my phone does not come out well. I am going to try a different method to get this done.

The hardest thing, I think, for me was I didn’t realize how much prep work I would do before each signing. I may be one of the few who do so much prep, but I feel that’s the only way to really be prepared at a signing. The prep work includes printing docs if needed, (which also reminds me that I go through much more paper and toner than I thought I would), going through and dating everything, putting signing stickers in appropriate places, logging all notarized pages in the journal and then the business tracking aspects. For example, I have a log to keep track of all mileage – and it took a while to train myself to look at the mileage reading BEFORE I left for the signing, sending invoices to those who require them, sending out confirmation messages that closings are complete when required, or going to designated sites to update the status of closings, etc. And then finally, staying on top of who has paid and who hasn’t, tracking supplies, advertising and other expenses for taxes.

You have to learn to NOT have expectations when you do these signings; you have to not be afraid to ask questions (of the company I work for). I have seen at least 5 or 6 different forms of signature affidavits. And you have to be prepared for everything. How do you treat the borrowers? How will they treat each other, and how will I handle that? I have tried not to call the company at a signing, so I go over all the docs before I get there. And you never know who you are going to run into: I did a signing for the brother of a college boyfriend, someone I had known many years before. It was fine with him, but I did give him the option of using another notary.

But it is working out! One of the companies I found out about at 123 calls me practically everyday now!

I also met someone at a course I was taking. He said, “Oh, you’re a notary? My son works for a title co; here is his card.” They gave me quite a bit of work, and I worked very hard. One time, the wife said she did not know the husband was supposed to sign, and I went to meet him at a baseball game to get his signature. The company offered to pay me $125 (more than I had asked) because I went the extra mile!

40 signings in, I had a signing where the person was not very friendly. I would not have done well with that 30 signings ago. But by the end, the person told me how much personality I had and how much she appreciated my comments! I feel so much better now about the whole process. Seven weeks– and I am getting one job a day by now! It’s great. If I hadn’t started following the advice of 123, who knows how it would have gone?


June 17, 2013

California Notary laws that you need to know

CA Notary Laws that You Need to Know

There are lots of reasons to want to become a California notary. The fact that it is a resume booster is just one of them.

Notary Public California: Basics

By now you know just how easy it is to become a California notary public. Because the process (though lengthy) is so easy, a lot of notary hopefuls believe that the job itself is going to be easy. For the most part this is actually true…provided, of course, that you follow the letter of the law. The laws surrounding California notaries are strict, and it is important that you know them inside and out.

California Notary Laws

Here are just some of the laws that you need to follow when you are a notary in California.

Proper Identification Required

It used to be that if you personally knew the person whose documents you were notarizing, that person wouldn’t have to present any ID. That law is gone. Now—even if you’ve known them since preschool, they have to show you ID.

Your Journal Is Important

You know that journal the Secretary of State says you have to keep? You really have to keep it. It must be perfectly updated, and you really do have to know where it is at all times. More importantly, you have to know that it is safe at all times.

If you fail to keep the journal updated, secured, and protected, you could get charged with a misdemeanor!

NOTE: The same rules apply to your seal!

To this end, if anything happens to your journal or notary seal — if you lose them or they get stolen or damaged, you need to notify the Secretary of State immediately. Do not simply hope that it will turn up! You don’t want your seal to be used on fraudulent actions without your knowledge and without the Secretary of State knowing that it was not actually you who performed those actions!

To Thumbprint or Not to Thumbprint

As of January 1st, the state requires every notary in California to get a journal thumbprint for any notarizing involving “real property.” What does that mean? There is a partial list of what constitutes “real property” in the California Notary Law Primer.

Webcams Are a No-No

Notarizing something via webcam is not the same thing as being there in person. This means if someone wants you to perform a notarial action through a webcam, you could get in big trouble if you say yes!

Double-Check the Wording

There are some situations (like jurats) in which the wording in the document must exactly match the wording required by the Secretary of State. Make sure you know which situations require exact wording and which will let a “close enough” slide through.

Every year, the Secretary of State makes changes and tweaks to the laws for what California notaries can do, can’t do, and how they are required to do things. It’s okay to have questions and to feel unsure. When you aren’t sure what you can or can’t do, ask!

The 2013 Notary Public Handbook is available for free online. If you don’t find what you need there, contact someone in the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento and ask.

Erin Steiner writes full time in Portland, Oregon, and has covered a wide range of topics from gutters to personal finance.

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