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March 16, 2020

Book knowledge vs. real life knowledge

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:20 am

At 123notary we think people not only need book knowledge, but real life knowledge. The problem is, you can get book knowledge from a book, but where can you get real life knowledge from? Also from a book!

Notary Public 101 has a section called Real Life Scenarios that discusses real life situations that are snags in signings that can cause a lot of trouble if you mishandle them. We teach you step by step how to understand these situations intimately and not screw up.

You can also get a lot of real life experience from doing lots of jobs or talking to other Notaries out there. You don’t have to learn the hard way unless you want to.

So, how much is this valuable knowledge that we are selling that covers the majority of sticky signing situations? It is free and it is only our blog and it was created for your benefit.

Notary Public 101 is a free course that all Notaries should read. It does not cover state specific rules or all rules for Notary Public. We go over information that is commonly confused by Notaries that can cause ignorance or confusion and trouble down the line. You will fee like a safer Notary if you master the contents, so invest zero dollars today and become an expert.

Investing your time in education has a payoff much larger than doing actual work. So, devote a small percentage of your professional time to mastering knowledge, reading blogs, and taking tests. You won’t regret it, but your competition might.

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January 30, 2020

Do you hire notaries? What do you ask them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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January 19, 2020

How to be a cool Notary and why it is so important

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:37 am

Are you a cool Notary? Have you ever wanted to be? We have a Notary in San Francisco whose clients describe him (in reviews) as being young and hip. I think he is the only successful notary on our site who is both young and hip, not to mention articulate. But, what about the rest of us. What makes a Notary cool, and how can you become cool. Or is this a zen paradox and you become cool by not trying to be? Hmmm.

1. Knowledge
I think a cool Notary would be one who either knows his stuff so fluently that he can spout out information in a calm tone of voice without breaking a sweat. Most Notaries get flustered with easy questions like, “How many loans have you signed?” To most that is a trick question.

2. Coolness
A cool Notary would be too cool to care, but would also never miss deadlines for Fedex. It would be kind of a James Bond type cool where you are responsible and cunning in your coolness.

3. Savoir Faire (That’s French for being able to handle tough
situations gracefully) The “cool” Notary should know martial arts and swordsmanship (speaking of James Bond) and be able to go to a signing, fight off intruders using num-chucks, wipe the sweat off his brow after a stunning victory and then say, “now where were we?”

4. Dress
A cool Notary should dress the part. Smart Italian shoes, slacks that fit impeccably, and a leather jacket that says bad boy all over it. For women, a snazzy outfit, not sure what type because I’m not a woman, but definitely flashy and with high heels with an accompanying noticeable hair style.

5. The Car
You cannot be a cool Notary without a cool and hip car. New is usually hip. But, a classic car would work even better. Just tell them you’re a Leno fan and everyone will understand.

6. Poise and Posture.
The proper gentleman stands up straight. But, the cool Notary casually leans on things and holds his head at an angle to show style and perhaps a little bit of attitude too. But, not too much attitude, because too much attitude is edgy which is just as cool as cool, but not the same thing as cool — I guess. How would I know anyway, I’m neither. Just kidding — I’m both, baby!

7. Smoothness
If you are able to work your way smoothly through the package anticipating and answering their every question before they even ask, that is cool. Dealing with all the snags and changes of plans in your signing schedule without even blinking? Yes, once again, that spells cool.

Being a cool notary may sound like it is merely cool. But, think about it from the borrower’s point of view or title. Do you want to deal with a Notary who is awkward and doesn’t know how to handle things or would you prefer someone like Carmen who is the most graceful Notary alive who can handle anything seamlessly without even trying? There is a reason why Carmen gets paid triple what the rest of you get paid. That is because she is a flamboyant, and polished Notary who is cool in her own way — and yes, she has a cool sporty car to match as well. Being cool attracts good clients, so if you think being cool doesn’t matter — turn down the heat because it does!

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January 18, 2020

Jeremy’s tips helped a Notary with title

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 9:32 am

I just talked to a Notary in San Diego about an upgrade. She was the star of the show and I gave her a huge discount as a result. She said that she used to think I am mean, but now realizes that all of the tips I gave her personally and gave via my courses really helped her with title companies and helped her to be a better Notary (and a better person.)

1. Using clean acknowledgements instead of doing cross-outs helped her be a lot more popular with her title clients. Not all companies appreciate clean work, but her clients did. Cross-outs are messy and can lead to complications when financial companies sell loans, and can also cause confusion if a loan ever goes to court which is rare, but happens.

2. I reminded her many times to get reviews, and she followed that piece of advice and all of my other advice and has the highest points in my points algorithm of almost any notary on the site. The reviews got her a lot of business and she keeps getting new ones too which is key.

3. My tips in general made her a better Notary because she is never sloppy about anything, understands the intricacies of all Notary and signing procedures, and always asks for clarification when necessary. Being meticulous as a result of her education with me made her more popular with her title clients.

So, if you are in doubt about what to do with your Notary situations, listen to what Jeremy and Carmen say as a general rule because we are experienced and know how to handle most situations cleanly and effectively.

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January 14, 2020

Where do you get your Notary information from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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January 4, 2020

10 reasons to get 123notary certified

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:02 am

Back in 2004 to 2012, many people wanted to get 123notary certified and studied hard to get this designation. In the last few years, we retested our certified members and found that the overall skill level of people on our site had declined a lot and that most people were not willing to study. This is a huge mistake. Title and signing companies care about experience above any other qualification. However, they still reward people for knowledge and the clicks and jobs dispatched prove my point. If you want to have an edge over the other Notaries, 123notary certification is one of the most effective investments of your time — the other two being reviews, a stellar notes section and accumulating mass amounts of experience the old fashioned way. Below are some significant benefits for 123notary.com certification.

1. Get more clicks (but, not on route 66)
123notary certification currently gets Notaries an average of about 30% more clicks to their listing. It is one major factor of several that determines whether or not your listing will even get looked at. More clicks typically translates into more jobs, however, this relationship is not directly proportional. 30% more clicks in real life would translate into 40-50% more jobs. Many people will click once on your listing during a query. But, if they give you extra clicks, that means they are strongly considering hiring you which is why the click to job ration is disproportional and in your favor.

2. Get more jobs from Title
One Notary wrote to me after he failed his certification retest audit. He said that calls from title dropped altogether the minute I took his certification icon away from him. This is not true for all Notaries, but was his case which is why he studied many hours to pass the scrutiny of my questioning. People who work for title want solid Notaries, and they look at a number of factors including certification — and for God’s sake, please don’t have any spelling mistakes in your notes section on your listing or you can expect your phone to be dead.

3. Feel more confident about yourself
Many Notaries who master our materials like the fact that they know what they are doing. At the risk of sounding more like a deodorent commercial — many signing agents have told me that the feel happier and more confident talking to title and going to signings. Yes, they spend many grueling hours studying for our test, but they feel it was worth it and I respect their diligence.

4. Be one step closer to elite certification
You cannot just become elite certified at 123notary. You need to have a solid understanding of Notary procedure and vocabulary as well as a 123notary basic certification. Certification brings you one step closer to being ready to study for the elite test which is very different material and much more obscure.

5. 123notary certification is sought after by particular companies
I have gotten correspondence from Notaries who claim that 123notary certification is informally recognized by 1st American Title among others.

6. You will be a safer Notary
Many Notaries put themselves at legal risk because they do not know the legal significance of how they handle situations. Not keeping your journal correctly could end you up in trouble with the FBI or a Judge in court. Not keeping thumbprints could get you named as a suspect in an investigation as it looks like a cover up. Doing cross-outs when it is not necessary can get you in trouble with certain county recorders or Lenders. Knowing what you can do, and knowing what you can do that is prudent are two different questions. Learn how to please your client without creating liability for yourself by mastering our Notary materials. We have written blog articles where Notaries have gotten into legal trouble and had to pay up to $20,000 to defend themselves when they were innocent. Imagine how much easier it would be if you kept proper records and acted prudently at all steps along the way.

7. Multiple certifications make you look serious
As someone who deals with Notaries all day long, I can attest to the fact that I have a higher level of respect for Notaries who have three or more certifications. Those who just get the NNA certification and say, “That is all I need.” seem like underachievers to me. I have a higher opinion of those who took notary2pro, NNA, and 123notary certification, or Loan Signing System. When I was a Notary I got certified by five organizations to give you an example of someone who takes this business seriously.

8. Make $8 more per signing.
We did a poll many years ago and learned that our 123notary certified members average income made per signing (according to their claims after a mass email was sent asking them how much their average signing netted) was $8 higher than people not certified by 123notary. Elite members made $14 more per signing. Making more income per signing means that after expenses, you will be making a lot more per year. The extra income could add up to $5000 to $10000 extra per year for a busy Notary which might be $200,000 in their lifetime. It only takes ten hours to do a good job studying for our test. Is your ten hours worth $200,000? That’s $20,000 per hour. What else can you do that is worth that much even if you do brain surgery (or are a hitman) on the side?

9. Get perks from 123notary!
If we notice you are 123notary certified, you would be more likely to get opportunities for free or paid upgrades that the others might be overlooked for. Stop being overlooked and get certified today! If you are late paying your bill, we might give you a little longer grace period. And in general we will value you more because you represent knowledge, quality, and come across as being a serious Notary. Over all you will get better treatment from 123notary if you pass our test.

10. Be more fluent explaining things to borrowers
In real life there are certain things you can and should explain to the borrowers while there are others that you should refer them to a professional about. If you pass our test you will know where to find the prepayment penalty, how to explain the APR, what is on the HUD or CD, and when their first payment is due. You will have this information memorized. You will know that a signer can legally presign an Acknowledgment (in most states) whether the Lender “prefers” that or not and how to administer an Oath without falling on your face. You will be more professional and smooth in all of your transactions.

SUMMARY
Certification will help you get more clicks, get more work, make more per signing, be smarter, feel better, be a smoother Notary, and get on the good side of 123notary. It only costs a few hours of study and a small fee, so the only thing holding you back is lethargy. Get off your assets and get 123notary certified today!

You might also like:

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

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16290

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

Unique phrases from the Ninja course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

The lady who studied 30 hours for her elite test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21238

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December 26, 2019

Scheduling and Rescheduling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You might also like:

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

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

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December 24, 2019

Notary IQ Test: 123notary is to Snapdocs what…

Here is yet another Notary IQ test to test your Notary knowledge and thinking skills.

1. A Jurat is a Notary act that:
a. Has to be sworn to.
b. Has to be signed in front of the notary and sworn/affirmed to as opposed to an Acknowledgment which doesn’t have to be signed in front of the notary.
c. Has to be affirmed to. It is bad to ask people to swear as that might offend certain people.
d. Requires a Jurat certificate and an Oath or Affirmation.

2. Acknowledgment is to Jurat what:
a. A pre-fab home is — to a home that is built on site.
b. A chicken that has an egg inside it and then lays it — to a stork that brings your baby.
c. An Oath — to an Affirmation
d. A venue — to a certificate.

3. An Oath is to an Affirmation what:
a. Traditional is to politically correct.
b. God is to your personal honor
c. A New Yorker says in traffic to what a Millennial in California says at a formal appointment of office.
d. Choosing God to Choosing your diety of choice (pick option 4 for Lord Krishna).

4. A Mobile Notary is one that
a. Lives in Mobile Alabama
b. Used to live in Mobile Alabama
c. Travels to jobs
d. Charges a travel fee.
e. Prefers to book jobs at Starbucks… his “office” so he can have mocha-java while waiting for clients to show up. Sounds like the modern day Fonz having an “office.”

5. 123notary is to Snapdocs what
a. Source of information about real Notaries — to source of information about sad excuse for Notaries.
b. Directory is to Portal
c. Old school vs. High Tech
d. Public reviews vs. Thumbs up or thumbs down.
BTW, I just had a glass of 14 hands Merlot at a restaurant. The waiter asked me how I liked it and I said, “14 thumbs up, but not necessarily from the same seven hands.”

6. NNA is to 123notary what
a. One stop shopping is to advertising and signing agent training
b. Conferences are to blog articles and phone sessions with Carmen
c. A good source for ammunition is to a good source of higher paying Notary leads. (or am I confusing them with the NRA? — sorry, old joke.)
d. A big company where you don’t get to know the staff personally vs. a small company where everybody knows Jeremy & Carmen, but not Raymond.

7. The additional / optional information section on an Acknowledgment is critical because
a. It is good to show you are thorough
b. Jeremy says so
c. You can identify the document in multiple facets on the certificate so that it would be obvious if the certificate were swapped out to a different document.
4. To prevent someone from using the certificate on another document.

8. The most effective use of an embosser would be
a. To create a raised impression on all pages of every document you notarized to detect page swapping after the fact. Also, to prevent page swapping onto other documents that were not notarized by you.
b. To create a really large Oreo cookie.
c. To look hype when you arrive at a notary appointment — check out my embosser yo! Stainless!
d. You could use it as a weapon in case the signer tries to attack you — hey, it happens.

That is all for today students. I hope you enjoy our quiz. You can discuss potential answers in the comments or read Notary Public 101 to learn how I would answer some of these.

You might also like:

Testing Carmen on a bridge in 2003
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21264

The lady who studied 30 hours for her elite test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21238

Notary Aptitude Test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15853

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December 2, 2019

Lies and deceit that Notaries engage in

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 6:01 am

Oh, such drama — lies, deceit, treachery, and more. Yikes! Here are some things that Notaries BS about. See if you see your own behavior anywhere here and then fix it!

1. Experience
When I ask Notaries how many loans they have signed, the answer normally comes in years. That is a bait and switch. I ask one question I get an answer that is completely unrelated to the question. 16 years of notary experience doing one signing per year is not much which is why I want number of loans. But, when I ask a Notary on Monday how much experience they have and then again three months later, often the number goes down, not up. Doesn’t # of loans signed mathematically have to go up with experience? It is kind of like age, most people I know don’t get younger.

2. Familiarity with the docs
If you are so familiar, then why can’t you pass our certification test? You say that you are a Realtor and therefore you are familiar with loan documents, yet you can’t explain more than 20% of them. This is a snow job once again.

3. Bragging
If I ask a question, most Notaries have to answer the question and then insert a lot of unasked for additional information which just sounds cheap and cheesy. If you are from Wisconsin, I can understand cheesy, if you are French, then perhaps a Brie, and if you are from Nebraska I can understand corny. But, the rest of you have no excuse. Just answer questions as they were asked.

4. Saying you dropped the package.
Some Notaries claim to have dropped the package at one time when they really did not. Hmm.

5. Drama
Sometimes a borrower will be rude to the Notary and then the Notary will be rude back. When the complaint comes in, sometimes the Notary will discuss mainly all of the terrible things that the borrower did and not be honest about what they themselves did.

6. Certifications
Many Notaries who are not or who are no longer 123notary certified will say that they are in their profiles. Hmm. It’s hard to prove your 123notary certification when you don’t have the green icon, isn’t it?

7. Error Rate
Bragging about your 0% error rate is stupid, because anyone can claim it and there is no way to prove it. We all make mistakes. The same people who brag about their perfect performance are the ones who make spelling mistakes in their profile.

8. Vagueness about their Mortgage experience.
It is sometimes a bad thing to be a Mortgage Broker as that can indicate that you are a competitor. So, many just claim to have been in the Mortgage Industry for ten or twenty years. This is really beating around the bush. It is better to state what position you had or leave it out.

Summary
Notaries are notorious for snow jobs, smoke screens and all out blatant dishonesty. In a profession that is based on integrity this is really outlandish, but reality. Trying to pass yourself off as an expert when you know very little or hiding information about yourself is just not honest or straightforward. Very few Notaries can just stick to the facts, but those are the ones that buyers like. So, try to think of how they feel on the other side of the table.

You might also like:

When a title company lies to you
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19349

Protecting yourself with a contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

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December 1, 2019

What do successful Notaries do that you don’t?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 6:00 am

We all want to be successful and we all think that we are experts at our job. But, are we really? Here are some things successful Notaries do that the others don’t do.

1. Keep your profile managed regularly.
What does this mean? You have to login, make sure your hours, counties, notes, and reviews are as current and thorough as they can be.

2. Keep your knowledge up and keep reading.
Serious Notaries read the various blogs and forums. They also take courses and get certified by more than one agency. Instead of claiming to be so great, they get a reputed third party such as the NNA, 123notary, Notary Rotary, etc., who has an impartial test, passes the test and then has credibility. Serious Notaries keep reading and have a never ending thirst for knowledge.

3. Knowing who to extend credit to
This is one of the hardest aspects of being a Notary. The tendency is to get as many jobs as possible. But, smart Notaries say no to bad jobs, jobs from companies that have payment issues, or jobs that pay too little. As a Notary it behooves you to have standards, but try to keep the standards reasonable as well, especially if you are new or if business is slow.. Don’t let companies rack up a huge bill. If they owe you more than $300, then ask them to pay up before you do more jobs, or Paypal you for future jobs.

4. Setting terms and having contracts
This is for the very advanced Notaries but some people do have a contract for others to sign. This is taking the upper hand and others might not be willing to sign your contract unless you are a top notch Notary — after all, why should they if you are a slouch?

5. Scheduling
Successful Notaries know how to schedule their day and get rid of packages fast so that they are not late.

6. Equipment
Good Notaries have top notch equipment and fix it fast if it breaks. They know how to download anything, anytime and anywhere and don’t make excuses. A good dual tray laser printer is a good place to start although you need good scanning and faxing equipment as well

7. Watching your email
Jobs can be dispatched through apps, email and by phone. So, a good Notary keeps a constant watch of all of these mediums.

8. Other sources of income.
Relying on Notary work when times are slow doesn’t make sense. Smart Notaries realize they need to diversify. We have a handful of full-timers who make a full living at this job. But, the majority cannot, so try to be realistic and have multiple streams of income.

You might also like:

How to become a successful mobile notary from scratch
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13340

Beginner’s Notary 103 Reading List (Resources)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21120

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

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