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May 14, 2018

Clear communication is essential

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 11:04 am

If you quiz with us for certification, read this. We will be quizzing you on a clock, and if you give roundabout answers, or make us repeat ourselves many times, you will run out of time. So, practice answering questions with concise and accurate answers that are completely clear and do not require clarification.

Many Notaries quiz with us. However, when they describe notarial acts, I cannot make sense of what the Notaries are saying. Here is an example.

ME: What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat.

NOTARY: In an Acknowledgment you Acknowledge that the person signed and that the document is true.

ME: First of all, WHO is the YOU who acknowledges what person? Second of all, in an Acknowledgment, you are not verifying that anything is true, but only that it was signed. Here is a better definition:

In an Acknowledgement, the SIGNER acknowledges that they signed the document. The Notary does not acknowledge anything, but CERTIFIES (by virtue of filling out the certificate) that the signer acknowledged signing the document, personally appeared and was positively identified.

NOTARY: Oh…

ME: If you have two signers each signing three notarized documents, how many journal entries would you create?

NOTARY: If you have three signers signing how many notarized documents?

ME: We are really not paying attention here. What you did is called scrambling information here. Two signers each signing three notarized documents.

NOTARY: Are the documents all the same?

ME: No, there are different documents, hence the fact that there are three of them.

NOTARY: Oh, then one for each.

ME: One for each what? I asked for a number not an inconclusive statement.

NOTARY: One for each document.

ME: Once again, I asked for a number and did not get one.

NOTARY: You’re mean.

ME: Well you don’t answer questions the way they were asked which is exasperating for the other person who is trying to fill out a form with room for a number, not a story. For the last time, how many journal entries would you create?

NOTARY: Can you repeat the scenario.

Do you see how stupid this question and answer session is. If you act this stupid, nobody good will hire you. If someone asks you how many — give them a number. If someone asks a yes or no question, give them a yes or no, and not a long ear bending story.

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May 9, 2018

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 8:19 am

It sounds ominous, but could be good too. Like if it were a goose that laid golden eggs. How can one possibly get such a goose? Easy — from 123notary!

Many Notaries say, “I studied already, why do I have to study again?” The answer is that in any profession, to keep you up to the highest standards you have to keep studying. And we have raised our standards and want to raise you with our standards. In the old days, we only asked a few questions to elite certify people because we were not organized about that particular test simply because so few people would take it. Now, we are giving it for free to many, and asking several dozen well organized questions falling into several categories. But, let’s do a cost and benefit analysis.

Cost – Free, but you need to invest 5 hours
It might take a few hours to study for the elite quiz. However, it does not cost money now. We used to charge $179, but now it is free, and lazy Notaries are not jumping at the opportunity because they want to get paid for services when they don’t understand what they are doing (despite their claims of being an expert.) I quiz people all day long and only 3% of you guys know what you are doing regardless of how many decades you have been doing Notary work incorrectly or illegally.

Just review basic notary acts and procedures. Review which documents cover what topics. Review the advanced elite topics in our study guide. It is not that hard and you can learn it.

Benefits
1. Elite Certification is something you can keep for life. We might want to do brush up quizzes from time to time, and you might have to review, but it is given with the intention of being a life designation. Whatever studying you do will benefit you with this icon for the rest of your career — day after day, month after month, year after year. You will get more money and jobs for the rest of your career.

2. Make $14 more per signing.
A poll of three hundred Notaries revealed that those who passed our elite certification made $14 more per signing than those who were not 123notary certified. Most Notaries complain that they don’t get paid enough and that they want to find a way to get paid more. Meriting the pay by proving your knowledge is the key. Our elite certification is highly prized and will get you more pay

3. Get more work
Those who are elite certified get a lot more clicks to their listing and a lot more work. I would estimate that they get close to double the work and more money per job. That translates into perhaps triple the income after expenses are paid such as car, printing, phone, etc.

4. Get favors from 123notary
We don’t always do people favors, and sometimes we do unfavors if you don’t login for 120 days (I’m sure you heard about that.) But, Elite Certified Notaries are a special breed, and if we can find a way to raise them up the list, we will. I am not promising anything, but we regularly reward Elite Certified members.

5. Get more respect from title companies
Title companies prefer our Elite members. If you are tired of signing services, get elite!

6. Legal safety
Most Notaries are not aware that being a Notary has legal liabilities. Some of the liability comes because of fraud or misunderstandings that can happen to you that is beyond your control. However, a lot of the danger that happens to Notaries happens because they do not take safety precautions in their paperwork, nor do they follow the law in many instances. Our elite program helps you be cautious and law abiding which could save you from being a witness or defendant in court. Being subpoenaed to court happens to 15% of full time Notaries eventually and is more common that you think. Reduce the chances of this happening to you by being safe and taking all the possible precautions.

7. Knowledge and pride
Most Notaries are proud of themselves thinking that they know it all when they know close to nothing. Having our Elite Certification proves that you are in the top 2% of our Notaries and really know your stuff up to a very high standard. You can feel pride based on real knowledge and not on an arrogant misconception of knowledge.

Elite Certification can change your life. It only takes a few hours of study. I assure you that it is more than worth it.

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May 7, 2018

Attention 123notary Certified Members

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:54 am

123notary will be retesting several hundred certified members in the next few months. We will be retesting all of our certified members between now and 2020, but many will be tested in April, May and June. Please study from Notary Public 101 and the 30 Point Course so that you will not be caught unprepared. The quiz will be by phone, unannounced (other than in this blog and some automated phone calls) and timed. Questions will not be hard, but most of you don’t know the answers to the easiest questions yet claim to “know what you are doing.” Once again, here are some pointers about the quiz.

1. Timed.
We will be asking several dozen questions this time around. The quiz will be longer than the previous questions we asked. However, the time limit given will be short. If you don’t know answers with away, we will fail you and you will lose your certification for at least half a year.

2. Several Sections.
This quiz will be composed of several sections. You need to get a passing score in each section otherwise the quiz is over and you lose your certification indefinitely.

3. Sections Involved.
Intro (several quick basic questions)
Basic Notary Knowledge
Following Directions
Handling Unusual Situations
Loan Documents

4. Date of Quiz
Unannounced. However, several hundred of you will be quizzed between April and June 2018, so be ready at all times. You never know when the call will come. But, if we can’t reach you four times in a row, or if you are unprepared you will fail.

5. Study Recommendations
Study from Notary Public 101 on our blog which is free and requires no password. The 30 Point Course is also a good study guide. Study and go over all the information until it is memorized. To pass under time duress you need to know this information inside out and not in a wishy-washy way.

Conclusion
Notaries who are self-proclaimed experts who have a wishy washy knowledge of Notary and Loan Signing Procedures are bad for our reputation. Nobody will take our certification seriously if people who can’t explain basic Notary procedures have it, and that is unfortunately almost all of you. So, we would prefer to give all of you a chance to learn what you should have known all along and test again. All I can say is take this seriously, because you will lose if you aren’t prepared and there is no second chance this time. Please be at the top of your skills at all times because you never know when the quiz is coming.

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April 4, 2018

123notary 2018 Certification Standards

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills,Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 2:26 pm

Due to the fact that the Notary industry has changed, and the values of people hiring Notaries have changed, we have changed the requirements for being certified. In the past, people valued our certification and gave our certified members a lot more clicks as knowledge was a commodity with a price tag. These days, knowledge is less valued and the type of knowledge that is valued changed from being more document focused to be more about manners, following directions, being business-like, and being good at Notary work. Additionally, those hiring Notaries either want someone who is very knowledgeable or don’t care about knowledge at all. The Notaries who were simply mediocre with a certification or without a certification seem to get the same amount of business. However, those who do not know how to function at all as a notary get substantially less clicks on our site. By passing our online test you can get a temporary certification. However, the over the phone test gives a longer term result. We feel free to retest people as often as we find necessary. Below are our new elaborated requirements for regular 123notary certification.

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NOTARY KNOWLEDGE

Note — we require an 80% on general Notary knowledge. Topics included are listed below and are taught thoroughly in Notary Public 101.

Notary Acts
Intimate knowledge of Notary acts such as Acknolwedgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations and Proofs is necessary to pass our test. You need to be able to distinguish between the details of the characteristics of each act and explain each act thoroughly and accurately which is harder than most Notaries realize.

Form & Journal Filling
Detailed knowledge of how to fill in a Notary journal and certificate forms based on good practices and NOT based on your state’s particular rules.

Oaths & Affirmations
Detailed knowledge of administering Oaths & Affirmations that are worded correctly for a variety of situations.

Identifying Signers
A basic knowledge of how to identify signers under varying circumstances.

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SITUATIONAL KNOWLEDGE

We require Notaries to know how to handle curve balls before, during and after signings. This information is taught in the scenarios section of Notary Public 101.

Common points include:

Confirming the signing
There are many things you need to go over with the borrower when you confirm a signing. Do you know them all?

Handling Power of Attorney Signings
There are many ways a signer could sign in a capacity of an Attorney in Fact, but do you know the right way you need to have them sign so as not to get in trouble?

Dating the Right to Rescind
Many Notaries on 123 Notary cannot count 1, 2, 3, which is why they need to review dating the Right to Cancel.

A list of other situations
A variety of other situations that could really vary and could be based on questions that stress following directions which cannot be taught. Read about these on our scenarios page in our Notary Public 101 course.

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DOCUMENT KNOWLEDGE

We require Notaries to know the basic characteristics of the following documents with an 80% accuracy under time pressure. We teach most of this knowledge in our 30 point course on our blog.

Deed of Trust / Mortgage
Note
Right to Cancel
Closing Disclosure & Closing Statement
Truth in Lending (semi-antiquated)
HUD-1 Settlement Statement
Compliance Agreement
Correction Agreement
Occupancy Affidavit
Signature Affidavit & AKA Statement
Owners Affidavit
Automatic Funds Transfer Disclosure
Various Riders
Subordination Agreement
Quit Claim & Grant Deeds
Understanding the APR (listed on the TIL or Closing Disclosure)
Initialing

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Also see — Elite Certification Study Guide

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Documents you need to understand for Elite Certification

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 11:50 am

I published a study guide for our Elite Certification. There are a handful of documents you need to understand and be able to answer questions about. Here they are.

Recorded Documents
How many recorded documents can you name? I can think of a few…

Grant Deeds
Quit Claim Deeds
Warranty Deeds
Deed of Trust / Mortgage
Subordination Agreement
Riders to Deeds
Power of Attorney (not sure about this one)
Deed of Reconveyence
Tax Liens
Wills
Deed in Lieu
Assignments of a Deed of Trust
Declaration of Homestead
Rescission of Notice of Default.
Substitution of Trustee

Riders
How many riders can you name? I can think of these ones
Prepayment Rider
Family Rider
Condominium Rider
Rider to Mortgage
Rider to the Note
Adjustable Rate Riders
Co-op Rider

Subordination Agreement
The subordination agreement creates a pecking order for which lender gets paid first should there be a default.

Owner’s Affidavit
This document discusses many aspects of ownership and often addresses whether the owner will reside in the property as well as whether or not the owner has conducted particular maintenance tasks on the property.

Deed of Reconveyance
The main point we want you to know about this document is that it deals with Trustees, and the Lender is most commonly the one who signs this document as a Trustee, although in theory it could be any party.

Deed of Trust
You need to know the Deed of Trust intimately to pass the Elite Test. Please study this on your own.

CD & HUD-1
You need to be able to recite many particular points about these documents to pass the Elite Test. Please study on your own.

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November 30, 2017

Why are older Notaries so argumentative?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 3:44 am

One of my clients who hires Notaries says there are three types. The new ones who know nothing but want to learn. Those who are six to twenty-four months in the business who know a lot and are still trying. That client thinks that after two years people stop wanting to learn. My take on the situation is that after four years people stop learning. So, what happens after people’s will to learn atrophies? They get worse and forget things.

Older Notaries forget more every year and their attitude gets worse too. I just had a Notary with 24 years experience argue and argue and argue by email with me. If she wants to get ahead on 123notary, you get ahead by proving your knowledge and good attitude, not by fighting. The other problem is that with age, people get a little nutty in the head and cranky. So, old Notaries can sometimes be some of the worst.

So, what is the solution? Old Notaries cannot become new Notaries. However, can an old Notary learn the spirit of a New Notary? Can they make a new beginning?

This reminds me of the saying that there are old pilots and bold pilots but there are very few old bold pilots.

Carmen and I are trying to get the older Notaries to go back to the books and study more. It only works when we spoon feed people, because Notary old wants to study. But, during a discussion with Carmen I realized that we are part of the problem.

I started this business when I was thirty with great dreams, spirit and a desire to make a huge impact on the world. I had no idea what would happen, but I had a ferocious work ethic that kept me going 70 hours a week every week. I am 48 now and believe me I do not have the energy to do more than 40 hours a week. At my age I have learned the art of efficiency because I don’t have the energy or the will to do what I did when I was thirty. I admire the person I used to be and I admire the skills I have learned in the past eighteen years. I have really grown up, but I have also become a cranky old man in the making. So, how can I too learn the spirit of young Notaries?

Our whole site 123notary has the spirit of old Notaries. Our high placements are almost exclusively owned by cranky old Notaries. Carmen and I are cranky and old. We need some hard working new people with some spirit. Where are those people? Oh, and by the way they have to pass my test too which narrows it down.

The Notary profession is one that appeals to those who cannot get a real job. That is why we have so many apathetic people who don’t cooperate. To succeed in this business you cannot be that way. You have to be responsible. Where are the people who are responsible, and study and succeed?

Maybe I need to take some time off and try to re-become what I was when I was thirty. Do something by going out on a limb not knowing what the final outcome would be but basing my risk on pure desire, commitment and hope. It’s not a bad way to begin. America began that way.

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November 5, 2017

People can’t get it through their head — you have to study

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 3:57 am

I am in the process of retesting a lot of our certified members. Many are avoiding me while others are ready to test. But, most can’t get it through their head that they need to study to pass our test. Notaries think they can just wing it and pass. Notaries try to sell me on the fact that they have been in business for 20 years with no complaints. But, people with that much experience normally score about 40% on our test. Those who study instead of trying to sell me on how great they are normally do better.

When I became a Notary I studied 35 hours to pass our state exam. I studied from multiple sources including NNA materials, California Handbook, etc. I passed the test the first time with a 92% because I studied hard. It was not easy in the beginning because all of the terms and concepts were alien. The NNA materials really helped make sense of everything and the course I took from California approved teachers helped a lot too. I remember a lot of what I was taught twenty years after the fact which is fantastic.

123notary is now requiring that our Notaries score 70% on our Notary test. We are a Notary directory, so therefor the people we list should know how to be a Notary. Being commissioned in some backwards state doesn’t cut it because they don’t scrutinize you. You have to pass my test. It’s not rocket science, but I doubt you will pass if you don’t study.

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November 2, 2017

Some of you people have a few screws loose.

When I ask people questions to test their competency, it is remarkable how many people have screws loose.

Repeating
When I talk to my psychic, I talk to him for an hour every week or two. I do not ask him to repeat anything in an hour. When I talk to Carmen or Adine on the phone, I never have to have them repeat anything. It is remarkable how many of my clients have me repeat myself multiple times in a very short conversation. Do they not understand the confusing technical language I am using with terms like, “Venue, Notarial Act, Acknowledgment, Journal or Affiant?” If you don’t know Notary language, time to look up some terms in our glossary. That is your jour to know!

Scrambling
Normally when I ask people, “If you have TWO people each of whom is signing THREE notarized documents, how many journal entries should you fill out.” The Notary repeats back to me, “Okay, so you have THREE people each signing how many documents?” First of all, it is two people, how can you scramble that? Additionally, they are not signing three documents, they are signing three NOTARIZED documents. If the documents are not notarized documents, you don’t need to fill out any journal entries.

That would lead me to a great trick question — if you have two signers signing three documents, how many journal entries would you need to create? None! Because the documents were not designated to be notarized!

Changing the Scenario
When I ask, “If the ID says John Smith, but the name on the signature of the documetn says, John W Smith, without changing the scenario, can you notarize the signature?” Most people immediately say they would ask for another ID. But, asking for another ID is what I told you specifically not to do, namely, changing the scenario. I am trying to test your skills on saying yes or no to questions with limited parameters, not your skill at changing the question to a completely different quesiton that you prefer to answer. Answer questions as asked or you lose points. It is not rocket science — and the answer is NO. You are a Notary, yet the word you have the most trouble saying is, “NO.”

Talking endlessly
When I ask quick questions I have thousands of people to ask. If you talk endlessly and I have to ask you to stop talking, that is a huge headache for me. Just answer questions quickly without rambling and we can finish our quiz quickly.

Sluggish
Some people take forever to think of answer to questions. The most relentless question is when I ask people which Notary Acts are legal in their state. Most people have to think for a long time. You do Acknowledgements, Jurats and Oaths daily, why is it like rocket science for you to open your mouth and spit it out? Do you not know that those are considered official notarial acts in your state or in most states? A few states don’t have an official Jurat, but they have other acts similar to it such as Verification under Oath or Affidavits or Sworn Statements.

In short, the behavior of Notaries always seems somewhat mentally impaired. Less than 10% of Notaries on 123notary can just answer simple questions without asking me to repeat, scrambling information, changing the scenario, giving round about answers, rambling endlessly or taking a lot of my time. I just want to test your competency. I don’t have all day for nonsense. Try to discipline yourself to answer questions the way they were asked because the business world doesn’t have the patience for this type of nonsense. It is purely unprofessional.

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June 22, 2017

Jeremy takes his own cert test and got tricked

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 9:05 am

I put a few trick questions in the cert test. I created this years ago and is it hard to follow as there is no spacing between the questions and LONG answers with multiple choice. I got the hard ones right. But, you will never guess which one I got wrong.

How many days does a borrower have to cancel a refinances.

I put 3 days not including Sundays and Holidays. WRONG!!! The correct answer was 3 days not including Sundays and FEDERAL Holidays! Gotcha. I guess I got myself. But, I passed the test in three and a half minutes with only one wrong which is still better than almost all of you guys!

So, the moral of the story is to know your stuff well so you don’t fall for trick questions and so you have time to review your answers.

If you haven’t taken our test yet, arrange time in your calendar to study. You will need several days of an hour or two per day to study. Also, make sure you have a test password. Email us if you don’t have one.

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April 25, 2017

Brush up on your skills and fill in the blanks

Most of you already know how to do loan signing. You know what you are doing or at least you think you do. You must know what you are doing because you’ve been doing this for twenty years. Unfortunately, number of years in business is not proportional to your knowledge.

There are people who read up on all of the blogs, who study their manuals and took many loan signing courses. Some of these people even review their knowledge. Others talk regularly to Escrow and Title workers to brush up on their knowledge. On 123notary, 2% of our members are Elite 123notary Certified. Those are the members who really know their stuff. In fact, their knowledge is so deep, that they know more than five times as much about the business as those who are not 123notary certified.

People who have been “doing this for ten years” usually don’t do too well when I ask them simple notary and signing agent questions. This is why I suggest a brush up course. I know you have already paid for a course. But, brush up anyway.

You can study from our 30 point course at no cost.
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

Then, you can pay us for a password to take our test at anytime. Studying makes for more knowledge than mere experience!

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