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August 9, 2017

A sluggish Notary industry affects commenting on Facebook & Forums

Filed under: Social Media — admin @ 10:04 am

What is happening in the Notary industry? I remember the old days when tons of Notaries would comment on our forum all day long. They would discuss so many interesting topics to no end. But, it just started slowing down around 2009 after the lending bust. Many of our best signers have slowly been weeded out of the industry. Low-ball companies became the dominant force of the industry capitalizing on untrained newer Notaries who have the absolute worst stats on our site. SnapDocs became the ringleader of the art of low-balling.

We knew starting in 2009 that our forum would be a thing of the past, but that Linked In, Facebook and other mediums would grow in its place. This didn’t work out to be exactly true. The forum remains an effective and organized way to discuss signing companies by querying strings with keywords relating to particular companies. So, people still use the forum, but only for one purpose.

Facebook commenting is sluggish too. Back when we had 2000 followers we had lively conversations. Now we have 25,000 followers, but few posts get good interactions and creating discussions without posts is generally a losing proposition. Even our competitor Notary Rotary is slower, although they are the dominant force in Notary discussions, but the quality of the discussions isn’t necessarily good enough for me to want to read all the lame commentary.

I think it just shows that the dominant players in notary discussion groups were the seasoned players in the game. Half of them have been weeded out. The newbies comment at a rate of less than 1% per capita of how the experienced folks commented. This leads to an across the board decline in commenting on Facebook, Forums, Linked In, and anywhere else Notary discussions happen.

I hope that as a group, you can put a little more effort into making informative and polite comments to the various posts and discussion topics that we and others post. It makes the industry much nicer for society as a whole!

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July 31, 2017

When a Title company lies to you

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 10:46 am

In real life, people lie. It is unethical, and should be avoided. After all, your actions determine the type of world you live in. Every time you perform an action, you should ask yourself, if everybody did what I am going to do, would that be the type of world I want to live in?

But, what types of lies do Title companies tell you? You would be surprised.

One Notary had an incident where she was told she forgot to put a stamp on a particular acknowledgment for a document. After checking her records for that particular loan, it turned out there was no document by that name in the package — she had been lied to! (gasp)

Another Notary was told that they did not need to have the borrowers sign the 1003 Universal Loan Application. There are multiple places to sign. After the fact that Notary got in trouble for not having it signed. If you get unusual instructions that don’t seem right, better get them in writing, or perhaps just rely on your instincts (if you have instincts — what am I a cat?)

One Notary keeps a copy of all the documents in a package on a flash drive to prove if a document wasn’t really in a particular package.

Once an Escrow officer with bubbly handwriting forged my signature and made a photocopy of my seal. I explained to the investigating officer that I don’t make bubbles to dot my i’s, and that it must have been done by a 19 year old girl in his office who goofed on something and had to get something notarized fast!

I heard that once a Title company claimed that a copy of the ID was not included in the package. Keep in mind that multiple hands touch loan documents at title companies, and it is possible for one of those hands to misplace a document in the shuffle.

Lost cashier’s checks? I always attach these to a piece of paper and put it in the front of the package so they won’t get lost. But, title companies still lose $10,000 checks. You just can’t just Mortgage professionals. Half of them are a bunch of dummies! And they normally fail my test too after they convince me how smart they are!

The truth is that you might be asked to go out free of charge to redo the document that you “missed.” What a corrupt way to con a Notary. I missed two seals in 4000 signings in my signing career. So, I might not believe them if they claimed I missed something. I triple checked my work. Only when there was a confusion on a day I was tired and running around like a chicken with its head cut off — that is the only time I might have made a mistake of some sort.

And by the way — it is illegal to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail if it is stamped. It needs to be stapled to the document it is associated with.

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July 26, 2017

Most of what Jeremy & Carmen at 123notary offer all day is FREE.

Filed under: Social Media — admin @ 10:54 am

People complain that prices on 123notary are expensive. But, they are complaining that the top placements are expensive. They should be. There can only be a single #1 spot in any particular area, and lots of people want it. Limited supply, and plenty of demand. But, lots of other things on 123notary are free. Here are some free things that 123notary offers.

Helpline
We have no official helpline, but customers call in and talk to Carmen, and write in seeking help with technical Notary and signing agent issues as well as marketing strategy. We are happy to help because that is our reason for being (in addition to having the sea bass tempura sushi roll at Robata Grill down the street — my other reason for being.)

Free listings
People who are not sure about 123notary can usually get a free listing. We restrict free listings in busy areas, but we do make exceptions if you write a great notes section for your future listing. Whomever said there is nothing for free out there doesn’t understand the directory business. Most online directories offer most of their listings for free, but not the good listings at the top. Your free listings also offer you freedom — another way to be free, as you can write what you like in your notes section as long as it is appropriate, topical, and as long as big brother doesn’t mind.

Notes Makeovers
Jeremy is happy to give your notes section a free lookover and make suggestions on what to add, or reorganize it for you. People who get makeovers get about 50% more clicks on average simple because their listing makes a much better impression after the fact and is so much easier to process the data when organized well. Notes makeovers are free — get one today! (eyeliner and foundation sold separately)

Blogucation
Most Notaries have to pay to get courses so they can learn something. However, at 123notary, we feel that what people learn in courses is not enough. If you take a course, your brain will close up after you finish studying. It is better that you keep learning and learn a broad diversification of Notary and Signing Agent topics. Our blog covers marketing, technical, industry news, Notary comedy and much more to keep you at the top of your game. Many Notaries learn more from our blog than they learned from any course — and it’s free! We should probably create a test based purely on blog topics to make sure people are reading! Just don’t get your mind “blogged down” by overdosing on our content!

Contacting Delinquent Listings
Jeremy contacts people daily who have not logged into their free or paid listing. We also contact people with blank notes sections. If anything is wrong with your listing, we will eventually contact you. We are always watching. It’s easier if you just login to your listing more than a logger named Tim Burr does logging in to his listing (if they have listings.)

Answering dumb questions for the public
Since we have such a comprehensive list of signing companies, and since our number is on the left site of the page template, we get dumb people calling in all day assuming we are FASS, or Nation’s Direct. It takes a lot of reasoning to convince them that we are not, and that if they want to sue a particular signing company for not paying them, to have their Attorney find the correct signing company to sue and to stop bothering us. This work is courtesy of Carmen. Part of the problem is that we don’t always list the phone numbers for the signing companies on our listings, while we do list the address and web address. Maybe we should be more comprehensive.

In short, most of what Jeremy and Carmen do all day is free for the public. So, how do we make our money? People buy fancy top listings from us. Ask us if a top spot is available in your area. And remember, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody heard it fall, it didn’t really make a noise. And if you have a listing at the bottom of the list that nobody sees, it is as good as not existing until you upgrade to the top spot!

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July 24, 2017

How does pricing work for top placements on 123notary?

Filed under: Advertising — admin @ 10:50 am

Why get a top spot on 123notary? Do you really need one?
Top spots on 123notary get more calls on average than listings below. A top spot gets 30% more clicks than the #2 spot and double or triple than listings far down the line. But, quantity of calls is not all. Top listings get better quality calls too. People offering big bucks start calling at the top of the list. They only go down the list if nobody at the top answers, or if the top people make a bad impression (which is why we try to put our best folks at the top.) You will get more high paying business if you are at the top — isn’t that what everybody wants?

But, what does it cost and is it worth it?
Experienced Notaries on 123notary average about $110 per signing. Newer Notaries make less than this and I don’t have an average for them. If you pay $300 for a listing and you get three jobs, you have paid for your listing. And yes, the listing is a business expense and is tax deductible. How much of the revenue of new sales should you put into advertising? I say between 2% and 10%. So, if you pay $300 per year, that advertising should yield you $3000 to $15000 in new sales over the course of the term of the advertising. If it doesn’t, then you should discontinue whatever you did with that advertising.

How much do top listings cost?
Top listings are not always available. But, if we don’t have a #1 in a particular area, we might have a #2 or #3. EMAIL us for a quote at info@123notary.com if you are interested.

Remote areas:
$250 and up for top spots, but we do discount if you are 123notary certified or have a good track record with us which can bring the price down to $120-200 depending on conditions. Email us for a quote if you are sincerely interested.

Moderate Areas:
$350 and up for top spots. But, we have #2, #3, #4, etc. spots for $150-$300 in most cases. Once again, discounts are given to those who passed the 123notary certification test which only 20% of people pass.

Big Cities:
$500 and up for top spots which are rarely available. However, we normally will have something available, perhaps a fifth spot, or seventh spot. If you buy a fixed spot a few notches down, if people above you drop out due to non-renewal, injury, death, moving out of state, etc., you can take their spot. The proven method for getting on top on 123notary is to slowly but surely move notch by notch up the list. Many people have done it and you can too. We recommend this method because strangers cannot normally buy a top spot straight off as those spots are almost never available, and we give those spots only to people we trust as the service given by those top people affects our reputation.

What should I do before purchasing a top spot?
123notary wants you to get your money’s worth so you will renew year after year. Most of our business is repeat business. Some of our clients are repeat users who have been with us for up to fifteen years. To get a good return on a top listing it is imperative that you pass our 123notary certification test. You should also get some reviews on your listing (ask for them and send a link to your review page.) Additionally, you need a well written notes section — ask for help and we will give you a free makeover and tips. On top of making your listing look good, you should be at the top of your game in Notary knowledge and skills. If you have the right foundation as we call it, your top placed listing will normally be a profitable investment. If you don’t do the proper groundwork, it is a toss-up.

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July 10, 2017

2020 – How the crash of the EU will affect the Notary Industry

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 9:48 am

2020 — the year the world begins to see straight about finance.
Abraham Lincoln once said that a house divided cannot stand. A house divided cannot stand for long — this is a true fact. The EU has about 28 economies within it, many of which are heavily in debt. Greece, Portugal, Iceland, and a few other countries are in a permanent state of being near the brink of default. Germany has been giving Greece some subsistence support in exchange for a little “austerity” or financial responsibility on the part of the Greeks. The fact is that many of the socialist countries, particularly in the Mediterranean do not like the idea of being financially responsible. They want to have extravagant benefits, and pay more out than they take in. In the real world, governments that wish to stay in business need more revenues than they have expenses, and they need savings. The same applies to individuals.

The debt scenario is likely to put a handful of EU countries in default, I estimate by around 2020. The problem is that France, Italy, Iceland, Portugal, Greece, and Spain are all on the list of potential defaulters. Three of the countries on that list are large and owe more than a trillion per piece. This default will cause some sort of a chain reaction and affect the economies of other European countries and world financial markets. The problem for us, is that our careers are based on services for the financial market — namely notary services on loans.

If the EU crashes financially, that could mean several possibilities for the Notary industry.

1. Lower Interest Rates >> More Refinances
World financial organizations will STOP lending to governments since governments will be found to be so unstable. Currently, financial institutions still have tremendous faith in most governments, but that can come crashing down like dominos the minute countries start to default one after the other. Financial institutions will either not lend at all (their business model is based on lending) or will lend to shoe with collateral, namely, people with houses. With many world governments out of the picture as competitors for loans, interest rates could fall, making a lot more work for Refinances possible.

2. A Housing and Oil Crash
It is also possible that the financial panic that results from multiple defaulting nations could stimulate a crash in the housing market leaving home owners with insufficient equity to borrow money. This would result in a slow-down in the already slow Refinance market and could kill the Reverse Mortgage market. Additionally, a crash in financial markets in Europe could lead to a bad depression in Europe. That could lead to a higher dollar due to a lack of faith in European currencies, lower oil prices due to lower world demand, and lower oil prices relative to the dollar due to a higher dollar. It would not surprise me if in 2020, gasoline is sold for $1.20 per gallon. Cheap petroleum could also lead to a spike in US airline profits. I

3. Recession & Lower Interest Rates
However, the depression in Europe which is a market for US goods could cause an economic slowdown in the USA. If there is a slowdown then businesses will not be borrowing as much money for expansion which means that home owners will have lower interest rates which means more Refinances.

What does Jeremy think?
I am not a psychic, although I use my psychic skills on the stock market and my accuracy has been aroun 57% if I meditate before I make predictions. 57% is great because that means I’m right almost 6 times for every 4 times I’m wrong which is good enough for regular profits.

A housing crash, low interest rates and a refusal to lend.
I believe that there will be a housing crash as a result of European financial crashes around 2019, 2020, or 2021. I cannot predict the exact year as each event hinges on another event preceding it causing a domino effect. I also believe there will lower interest rates combined with a paranoia of lending money to anyone. The paranoia that banks had from 2009 until the present about loaning to home owners will continue. Anyone without perfect credit or a high down payment or high equity will probably be denied a loan. Banks will be super picky about who they lend to. Gold could fluctuate quite a bit as people desperate for cash sell their gold and investors paranoid about security buy more gold.

1. Low Interest Rates >> A spike in Refinances to well qualified home owners
2. A Housing Crash >> A downturn in Reverse Mortgages due to low equity in homes after Real Estate downturn.
3. Low oil prices
4. Fluctuating gold prices that end up being higher than $2400 per ounce after 2022.
5. Debt ridden Mediterranean countries will default on loans one after the next. Other more stable governments will crash starting around 2025-ish too like Germany, Japan and possibly the USA (let’s hope not.)

Summary
My worst fear is an government financial collapse in the United States. That means your social security check will not come, you might not be able to retire, and all types of economic instability could come. This reality is the result of years of irresponsible financial behavior. If even half of the governments of the world would save instead of being permanently in debt, this global domino effect of government collapses wouldn’t be possible.. Hopefully humans will learn that usury is not a sin because some old guy with a beard who lived 4000 years ago said it is, but because out of control usury causes economic slavery, governmental dependency on other countries, as well as global economic crashes which ruin so many people’s lives. And as far as Notaries are concerned, the future of signing agent work from 2019 to 2030 is very shaky and uncertain. It might be more, less or about the same volume of work.

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July 3, 2017

Snapdocs’ Business Model Doesn’t Add Up

Filed under: Advertising — admin @ 9:15 am

SNAPDOCS’ BUSINESS MODEL DOESN’T ADD UP

It was the best of times, and the worst of times. SnapDocs has the best technology but the worst notaries. Their business model should last as long as the careers of the accountants who gave Warren Beatty the wrong envelope. A chain of Notaries is as good as its weakest link. Just ask the crummiest McDonalds about that. So in the long run, how good can SnapDocs’ service be?

Two out of three notaries interviewed can’t stand them. And these weren’t SNAP decisions! Will SnapDocs’ ship come in, or did it never leave the docks? Hold on – I’m getting a text. Let’s see… thirty dollars for a signing a hundred miles away, with two hundred pages and 120 fax backs… no thanks! Four out of five notaries surveyed agree that one out of five notaries… is an idiot! And recommend sugarless gum for the borrowers who step in it on their way to a signing.

On the other hand (apologies to the amputees) one out of three notaries (and I was never great at fractions) really like the convenience and quantity of work they get from SnapDocs. And the signing companies love the technology and the convenience. But the love won’t last any longer than the rescission period if they don’t maintain critical mass. The question is… with such a small number of notaries who like them, can this business model last over the long haul? Another factor to consider is that out of SnapDocs’ roughly 6000 notaries, only about 800 of them have logged in in the last thirty days. SnapDocs’ technology can text dozens of nearby notaries, but if each area averages only 7 notaries that actually log in, how effective can this technology be if a critical mass of notaries aren’t cooperating with it?

We also notice SnapDocs’ web stats were down 70% in December, while 123notary was only down 25%.How long before their business model SNAPS?

Whoops, I’m getting another text. Can’t you see I’m driving??

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June 28, 2017

$300 in 13 minutes. How Carmen cleans up in the Notary business

Filed under: Marketing Articles,NSA Pricing, Fees & Income — admin @ 9:07 am

Carmen has always realized, or at least since 2005, that you can’t just do Notary work only. There are not enough high paying jobs to keep you busy. Those who try to be full-time Notaries end up taking a lot of low paying work just to stay busy. Carmen has always believed that you should combine signing agent work with another profession that is flexible, so that you can take an hour or so off during the day to do a signing.

Carmen normally makes about $150 or $175 per signing, and since she only accepts close jobs, she is often back home within 40 minutes. She preps her borrowers over the phone so she can get in and out without any delay.

But, a few weeks ago she got a job. The lady was a repeat customer and asked what Carmen wanted to charge. Carmen said $200. But, the lady was feeling generous, and wanted to be in good hands next time around, so she offered Carmen $300. Talk about being popular or having good signing karma.

Carmen printed the documents, went to the job, and was in and out in 13 minutes. The signers knew what they were doing. It was a construction loan or investment loan for seasoned investors who were fast at signing documents and had their lawyer prep them on what it all meant BEFORE the signing rather than detaining the Notary for two hours while they read every word of every page. So, Carmen got everything signed and notarized in minutes and was out the door. The signers were impressed and happy that it was such a painless experience.

Had they hired some other Notary, it might have been sluggish, incompetent, and the Notary might have shown up late, or dropped the package in a drop box rather than a staffed Fedex station. There is a reason why people pay extra to hire seasoned pros. But, you don’t find too many seasoned folks at SnapDocs. For the best Notaries in the biz, you need to visit 123notary.com!

$300 jobs don’t come every day. However, if you sell yourself short, you will never get any. If you can afford to do so, charge more, and take only jobs from people who value you. Otherwise you will be calculating your gas expenses and how much a ream of paper costs for the rest of your life — should you live so long!

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June 27, 2017

# of loans vs. # of years or using “since”

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 8:57 am

We crunched some numbers to help find out which types of notes sections attract the most clicks and we have some answers.

Years vs. # of Loans
When I create a notes section for someone, I prefer to stress number of loans verses number of years. Since many Notaries do signings on the side, the number of years doesn’t give you an accurate idea of how experienced you really are. I signed more loans in one month than many people do in several years. If you were full-time, then number of years is a more informative statistic about you. But, number of loans (assuming you are not fibbing or off by a large margin) is a very accurate way to know how experienced you are. It doesn’t tell us if you are smart about signing loans, but at least we know you have done a few. But, what do the stats say?

After crunching some numbers for an hour, I came up with some stats for our top placed people on the site. Those who mentioned number of loans got roughly 40% more clicks than those who mentioned years, although those who mentioned years did fairly well compared to the average Notary as readers do identify with that statistic. Additionally, the top of your notes section shows up in the search results, and you can fit the number of loans signed using fewer characters leaving room for more critical information (selling points) about yourself. So, the number of loans is a better statistic to use (by far).

Since (year)
If you want to let people know how long you have been doing signings, if you use the word since, you don’t have to keep changing the number of years every 12 months. You can say three years of experience or doing signings since 2014. Since also does well in the stats.

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June 26, 2017

How do Notaries decide what a fair fee is?

Filed under: NSA Pricing, Fees & Income — admin @ 9:54 pm

Unfortunately, Notaries rarely think like business people. There is no such thing as a fair fee. Fees are based on supply and demand. Sometimes the quality of the Notary is not even considered which makes it hard for seasoned Notaries to survive in this low-ball world unless people swear by them. But, here are some erroneous ways of thinking that Notaries engage in.

1. The fee on the Closing Disclosure is $250, so therefor I deserve more than $50 which is what they offered me.
WRONG: You are worth what the market will pay you. If you are a new Notary, and $50 is the best you can do, it is better than starving.

2. I am a seasoned Notary and someone offered me $50. I feel insulted.
WRONG: If you are a seasoned Notary, you should be only worried with how much the top four offers per day are paying. You have time for four jobs per day unless you want to work overtime. If your top offers pay you $125, then it doesn’t matter what the other offers pay you as you won’t have time for them. The problem is you don’t have enough good offers, and the problem is not how many bad offers you get.

3. I got paid $90 per signing ten years ago, therefor, I should be making at least that now.
WRONG: Market conditions and interest rates have changed. There are too many Notaries (particularly of the low-ball variety who work for clearing house agencies) who will work for cheap. Additionally, with interest rates higher than they were before (which is still low comparative to the 70’s and 80’s) there are few refinances going on. You work for what the market will pay you.

4. I am using my toner, gas, paper, and wear and tear on my car, therefor I deserve at least $x per signing
WRONG: You can only get what people are willing to pay. If they don’t offer enough, you can consider alternate things you can do to make a similar or greater amount of money.

Summary
There is no right or wrong in what you are offered. Getting better offers is based on your experience, skill, desirability, negotiating skills, and how well you advertise. If you are getting “enough” job offers, but they don’t pay enough, you are not getting enough job offers. You need to get twenty offers per day so you can take offers either from the nicest companies, the best paying jobs, or the closest. Getting five offers of which you take four guarantees that they will be mostly not good offers as most offers are not. If you don’t take the cream of the offers you are not getting good offers, so advertise more and make sure your advertisements look good as well — that means having reviews!

There is no fair price or right price. Having a fixed price schedule is stupid too. You need flexibility. The market determines what you get paid, so learn to play the market instead of getting played like a Notary chump.

Rebuttal: Who you callin’ a chump?

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June 21, 2017

I am a Notary in good standing with the NNA

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 9:02 am

I see so many Notaries (really lame ones) who don’t know what to put in their notes section. Many write that they are an NNA member. That is basically as valuable as saying that you buy bananas at Albertson’s. Anyone can buy a banana, but does that make you a good Notary? Then there are other Notaries who boast that they are in good standing with the NNA.

The NNA is not a regulating authority for Notaries. They offer training, courses, supplies, insurance, and more. The only way to be in bad standing with the NNA is to fail to pay your renewal bill. It is your state government that you have to be in good standing with. They are the ones who can suspend, revoke or terminate your commission!

Yes, background screening is good. But, without the dates that the screening is valid, it is useless info in your notes section as it could be outdated. NNA Certification is a bit more valuable on your listing though as it proves that you passed a test or claim that you did.

So, put something of value in your notes such as what types of loans or documents you are familiar with. What is your professional background?

Having one professional membership such as NNA membership is better than zero. But, to look professional (rather than claiming to be professional with no basis) it is better to have a list of companies you are associated with.

A notes section should have all types of sections, each containing good information. Here is what your memberships section could look like.

(1) Professional Looking
Memberships:
NNA, 123notary, Notary Cafe, Notary Rotary, Association of South Carolina Realtors, Charleston Notary Association, and The Southern Entrepreneur Society.

(2) Looks like a new Notary who hasn’t a clue
I am an NNA Member in good standing.

It is good to be a NNA member. They have a lot to offer — and I stress the word THEY have a lot to offer. Being a member of theirs doesn’t prove that YOU have a lot to offer. So — what’s in your wallet (or notary bag?)

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