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October 24, 2018

The test from heaven

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 8:18 am

Yesterday I tested a Notary who did not have time to study much. We decided to wing it. Most people who wing it lose a wing in the process. But, this lady from California got 100% on the Notary Questions 94% on the loan signing and 100% on some complicated scenarios. I could not believe it. It was fast, pleasant and accurate. I wish more of our notaries would be so good. Maybe with some training. If you have not yet passed our basic notary competency test, please study from Notary Public 101 and let us know when we can quiz you.

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October 1, 2018

What would our certification mean if everyone had it?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 11:31 am

Our certification used to mean something five or ten years ago. Certified members used to value knowledge, study and get more business as a result of having our certification. In the last several years, the industry has changed, and Carmen pointed out that I was not in touch with the new collective attitude of the industry. There is less of a concern about education, knowledge, and more emphasis on micromanaging and low-balling. With the poor quality of notaries out there in 2018, it seems that the hiring parties have no other choice.

The average 123notary certified member had a reasonable knowledge of loan docs back in 2012. But, when I retested people in 2016, the knowledge level went down from around 65% to about 45%. I do not have exact records, and the percentages mean nothing unless you know who was tested and what position they were in, what the questions were, if it was timed, by email, phone, etc. To me, this is a significant drop in competency.

It is because of this drop in knowledge that I requizzed everyone. But, during my first round, I only asked eight questions, and was very liberal in grading. I did not want to decertify 99% of those who had the icon. I felt bad that so many were not passing. But, the not passing was because most Notaries did not know their job. They do their job wrong all day long but nobody caught them, except in a few cases that I heard about. So, I quizzed people again and again with free study guides hoping that people would study more and hoping I would get readings on how they did at notary, documents, and scenarios questions.

The results were that some people studied, but most ignored my emails or did a half-assed job answering the questions. Despite all the chances I gave people, most people did not take the certification seriously and lost it.

Many people got mad at me for all this testing. Some claimed it was demeaning and that they were a professional and knew their job and didn’t need to be tested. Others thought it was a nuisance. However, so many people did so badly, that without testing someone, I can only assume that they are failing in basic knowledge. I apologize for bothering everyone, but I did not have a very forward thinking plan for recertifying people in the past. Now, I am much more masterful about the step by step processes that are necessary. I know my audience better.

The reason I am doing all this testing is because:
(a) I want to screen out those who refuse to study or cooperate, or don’t know their stuff
(b) I want to not screen out too many people otherwise nobody will have our certification.

If I did it the old fashioned way, back in 2017, I would have had a comprehensive timed oral test by phone. I would have sent out two emails, the follow-up would be a week after the first. You would be required to not only answer the email but answer three questions based on material embedded in our course to force you to read our course (few will read it unless forced.) If I went out 1000 emails of this nature, I would probably get 150 qualified responses from those that read the materials. Then, I would test those 150 people on a timed phone test with the hardest questions first. That way I could end the test early if they had not studied. I would probably pass only about 20 people, and we would have 20 certified notaries. The others could study and retest.

Such a harsh way of doing business would have been too much of a shock for me back in 2017. However, it would have gotten the job done in three weeks flat instead of doing the job in wishy-washy stages like I did.

I wanted my certification to mean something to those hiring notaries. If idiots had my icon, then the certification would not mean anything. But, if I took it away from too many people, then nobody would have it and it would once again not mean anything. So, my strategy has been to try to get people to study so I could increase the quantity of deserving people who would have this icon. My strategy was very time consuming and caused too much grief to far too many people.

If I did it all over again, I would make it a lot harder to get the certification in the first place, because taking peoples’ certification away causes a lot of grief to all parties involved. I am older now. I am 49 now. I started certification when I was a starry eyed 32 year old with very little experience in the real world. Young people don’t think about the long term.

Many people who had our certification gamed the system and memorized the answers, had other people take the test for them, or simply forgot their knowledge because they stopped reading, took drugs, or got old and senile. I did not think of any of that when I was 32, but that is the first thing I think about now — mental decay.

Reading, thinking, walking, and grape juice is the best way to preserve your brain.

In the mean time, we are down to less than 200 people who have our certification and the users are starting to appreciate it because the quality went up.

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September 28, 2018

How can I get a goose that lays golden signings?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 8:23 am

Everybody wants a good that lays golden eggs. Coca-Cola stock is like this except the dividends are a very small percentage of the investment. But, at least it is one of the safest stocks out there.

123notary’s Elite Certification is proof of the very highest standard of Notarial knowledge out there. We have recently refined our study guides and testing standards to make it comprehensive and of great benefit to the notary in terms of safety precautions, knowledge of documents and procedures, and also knowledge of less common notarial practices.

Those who pass our test get more signings, more money per signing, and more favor with 123notary and title companies. We are letting people take the test for FREE in the mean time. It only requires a few hours of study and will reward you for the rest of your life — should you live so long. So, what is taking you so long?

Elite Study Guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

30 Point Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

Notary Public 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=4561

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July 12, 2018

Studying to be Elite Certified is worth $533 per minute

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 8:21 am

Most Notaries don’t want to bother studying. They are lazy, not well educated, and have a bad attitude in general. Additionally, most of them do not care about their work, don’t care about safety precautions, and most of all don’t care how they treat me. The purpose of being Elite Certified is to prove that you are one of the good Notaries who does care and who represents the top 2% of Notaries in terms of knowledge.

It is unclear how long it takes to study for the elite test. That depends on how much you already know. Let’s say it takes 10 hours to study — what are the benefits if you will be in business for another ten years?

$14 more per signing.
Elite Certified Notaries get paid $14 more per signing based on a poll than uncertified Notaries.

Double your work
I cannot say how much extra work Elite Certified signers get, but their clicks are far higher than the rest, so I will estimate realistically that it is about double.

Before vs. After
If you were getting five signings per week at $100, and you get ten signings per week in the long run at $114. that means you go from an income of $500 per week to $1140, but your expenses don’t go up. Over the course of ten years that is $570,000 in income compared to $250,000 which is $320,000 extra income. So, your ten hours of study netted you $320,000 extra income. Ten hours of study is 600 minutes which means that each minute of study is worth $533 in the long run.

Most Notaries typically make very bad financial decisions. Most of them chose not to get educated. Most of them chose not to try hard at their job or career. Most of them chose and choose not to study hard for my tests. They would prefer to spend time at a birthday party or working for $20 per hour rather than to study for the elite which is worth $533 per minute! If you are having trouble making up your mind, just ask yourself —

Do you prefer 30 cents per minute or $533 per minute?
Most Notaries actions suggest they prefer 30 cents which is exactly what they get if they get paid at all.

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You might also like:

Why you should consider getting 123notary elite certified
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20094

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

The elite certification study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

Cramming and forgetting before your quiz
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19959

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June 16, 2018

$14 more per signing

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 8:20 am

We have learned through a poll that we administered a year and a half ago that 123notary Elite Certified members make $14 more per signing than those who are not 123notary Certified. They also get more title company work and get close to double the work in general. If you are tired of not getting paid well and want to up your education, 123notary is currently offering free education for signing agents. You can read our study guide.

Elite Certification Study Guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

30 Point Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

Notary Public 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=4561

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May 31, 2018

Cramming and forgetting before your quiz

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 11:02 am

I learned this the hard way. I thought that because I do not forget notary knowledge that the rest of the world also does not. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Notaries who passed our certification test in the past passed either by having someone else take the online quiz for them, or by gaming the system taking the test multiple times and memorizing the answers without understanding the concepts.

For my purposes, I want 123notary certified members to always be at the top of their knowledge. If you are in business for 12 years, but only know what you are during the night before a quiz and the day of the quiz, but not for any of the other days during that time period, then your knowledge is virtually useless. I want you to be an expert at all times.

So, now, 123notary will be quizzing certified members every year or two, or how ever often is necessary. The problem is that people are not studying enough, and in many cases, not at all. So, if you are 123notary certified, keep studying. Notary Public 101 is a great free course to study from.

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May 9, 2018

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life

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.

You might also like:

Why you should consider getting 123notary Elite Certified
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20094

Studying to be elite certified is worth $533 per minute
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20774

The elite certification study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

Attention Title Companies – what you need to know about our new certification standards.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21065

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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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You might also like:

Index of information about Documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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

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