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September 3, 2017

Common complaints we get about Notaries

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Popular on Facebook (A little) — admin @ 12:08 am

I spent some time with Carmen reading through complaints about Notaries. For years, the NNA, 123notary and others spent a lot of emphasis on educating people about loan documents. However, the complaints we get about Notaries are never about loan documents. Then, we learned that most Notaries listed with us do not understand the basics of how to be a Notary Public. However, we rarely get complaints about people’s Notary work. So, what type of complaints are we getting?

1. Leaving the customer high and dry.
Did you finish a signing and then turn your phone off? Did you not answer your emails because you did not have any notary jobs that week? Did you go on a camping trip where phones don’t work? Or did you get angry with a vendor and just decide not to answer calls. After a signing is over, you are responsible for being available for 72-96 business hours. If the Lender or Title company doesn’t get their documents back and needs a Fedex # and you conveniently are unavailable, what are they supposed to do other than write a negative review about you? If you made a Notary mistake but are not available to fix it what to do? If there is some reason they need you to go back, but can’t reach you then what can they do? If you are not going to be available for four days after you finish a signing, warn people so they know ahead of time.

2. Being rude
I realize from all the Notaries I talk to that many Notaries are just down right rude. And those are the people who call me rude. I am impatient, but not normally rude. I get upset when people either won’t answer a question or give stupid answers or when people don’t care about doing a good job. I learned to combat my own impatience by writing people up who are rude or uncooperative. That way I gain some critical information on the person being rude and often remove them from my database as they are a detriment to society and dangerous to hire despite their claims that, “I’ve been doin’ this for 20 years and therefor know what I’m doin’.” even though they scored 20% on my easy quiz.

3. Not following directions
Many Notaries who I quiz do even worse following directions than they do on loan document questions. If you don’t do what is asked of you, you will get in trouble. So READ instructions, call when you don’t understand something and obey the law and those who hire you in that order. Beginners tend to have a much more difficult time following directions than old timers by the way, and beginners make outrageous notary mistakes a lot more too as they haven’t been scolded (much) yet.

4. Notary mistakes
In the old days we had more complaints about Notary mistakes. Although our notaries typically do not know what they are doing, their mistakes and knowledge omissions don’t seem to get them CAUGHT which is the main thing. If you seal over wording you get caught. If you use your stamp wherever you see the word “seal” in a context where seal means signature, you will get repremanded. If your stamp is smudgy your local county recorder will get you in trouble. But, if you are unable to explain the difference between a Jurat and an Acknowledgment, or forget to do your Oath, then I am the only one who will catch you — and you can bank on the fact that I will, so study up!

So, the bottom line here is that it is good to do a good job as a Notary and even better to know how to distinguish between the various documents in a loan. However, being nice, cooperative, following directions and getting back to people in a timely manner count more than being a good Notary. As a directory owner, I am weeding my directory and weeding out the worst Notaries. The rude ones get weeded out much more quickly than people who are bad Notaries with good attitudes. Someone with a good attitude can learn, but an uncooperative jerk will never learn. So, be advised.

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August 5, 2017

Oaths and the art of improvisation

Jazz musicians are famous for their ability to improvise. Con-artists know how to ad-lib. Notaries are also required to know a little about improvisation. The problem is that the states require Notaries to know how to administer Oaths when those very same states do not instruct Notaries on the art of Oath giving.

Beginnings and endings
A good Oath begins with some formalities. Remember, that Oaths are by definition formal, and should be formal. Lying to a Notary Public under Oath is an act of perjury and should not be tolerated!

“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear… (body of Oath) so, help you God?”

There is a beginning of an Oath which must include the word “swear” otherwise in my book it isn’t an Oath. Then, the Oath should ideally end with so, help you God? For those who want to leave God out of it, you can administer an affirmation instead of an Oath which uses the word Affirm and refers to no God. However, you must NOT use the term affirm in an Oath. You cannot mix and match notarial acts and their respective verbiages. Oaths use the term swear, Affirmations use the term affirm, state, or perhaps attest.

Bodies of Oaths
The body of an Oath would really depend on the context. As an Oath creator, you have to create Oaths that are useful, and make sense based on the situation. Sometimes there is some prescribed wording that you must use. Using prescribed wording does not let you off the hook for understanding the Oath. You must understand the Oath and its parts otherwise you won’t know if the prescribed Oath makes sense or not. If there is no prescribed wording, you can ad-lib or use a cheat sheet. But, if you lose your cheat sheet and cannot perform, people will think you are an idiot, and I run into this problem with Notaries a lot. Below are some examples of how I would create an Oath for various purposes.

PLEASE RAISE YOUR RIGHT PAW!

Marriage
“Do you solemnly swear to take this man/woman as your lawfully wedded husband/wife for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in smartness and senility (let’s be realistic), until death do you part, so help you God/Godess?”

Oath of Office as a Notary Public.
“Do you solemnly swear that you will uphold all of the laws relating to Notaries Public in the state of California, and faithfully discharge your duties as a Notary Public for the duration of your term, so help you God, the Secretary of State, and perhaps the NNA Hotline (if they still have one?)”

Oath for Military
“Do you solemnly swear to defend the constitution of the United States for the duration of your term as a Military Officer in the United States Army and defend the USA against all enemies foreign and domestic, and not abandon your duties for light and transient causes (or loophole clauses), so help you God?”

Rental Oath for Agnostics
“Do you solemnly swear to be a good tenant in this apartment for the duration of your year lease, and thereafter if you should stay beyond the contracted terms of this agreement, so you help you God… if there is one?”

Jurat Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and that you agree to and will abide by the terms within if any, so help you God?”

ID Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that this is a true identification card for you as an individual and that it was not forged, counterfeited or falsified in any way, shape or form, so help you God (and the DMV?)”

Court Oath
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” (standardized wording here and not ad-libbed in this situation.)

COMMENTARY
Please notice that my Jurat Oath included the requried word, “swear” and refered to a particular document and not just to thin air. You swear to something particular and not to thin air.

Please also note that my Notary Oath included the term, the state in question, the act of defending the laws of the state and being dutiful in discharging your duties. It is important to mention all of the relevant components of what a person is swearing to. Can you picture a Notary Oath where the new Notary is only asked if they swear they will be a good Notary for an undefined period of time? Ludicrous!

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June 26, 2017

How do Notaries decide what a fair fee is?

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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May 29, 2017

Instead of asking for reviews, write a few

We train our Notaries to ask for reviews from their clients. Individuals are easier to get a review from than a title company or signing company. But, what if you turned the tables? Let’s think outside the box for a moment.

Most companies deal with a bunch of whiny Notaries who may or may not do a good job, and might not be so easy to reach by phone. What if you were a pleasure to deal with, answer your phone professionally and …

What if you write a review on the forums about companies you like? Many Notaries do this, but perhaps people should spend more time praising the good companies rather than complaining about the bad ones? The point is that companies will notice you more if you are nice to them and give them good press. There are no guarantees in life except for death and taxes. However, you raise your chances of getting a review if you do the same for other deserving people, and entities.

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May 21, 2017

How to Explain Accrued Interest

Let’s talk about interest and how to explain it to a borrower during a loan signing.

What you’re about to watch is exactly how I would explain to a borrower if they thought the closing statement is wrong because they made their October payment.

(Insert YouTube Video)
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PknYiNUNJ4
Embed Code:

Allow me to dive into it deeper now.

First understand that this is important is because interest is a line item on the closing statement and without fail, questions comes up during a loan signing about interest. In my Loan Signing System course, the closing statement is the first document you should review with the borrower so you should be sure to understand this concept.

Once again, To make interest easier to understand let’s talk about the difference of renting and paying a mortgage. When you rent, you pay on the 1st and the covers you for the next 30 days. You’re paying those 30 days in advance. Essentially you pay rent and you are good for the next 30 days.

A mortgage is different. You pay in what is called, arrears. Meaning when you pay on the first of the month, you are actually paying for the previous 30 days that you lived in the home. Essentially you live for the 30 Days then pay for the 30 days behind you. Hence why it is called arrears.

So, let’s say you paid your september mortgage payment, you are actually paying for the month of August. And That is where it can be a little confusing for a borrower because most borrowers don’t know that.

Remember when your explaining it, when you rent, you pay for the 30 days in advance. When you have a mortgage you pay for 30 days in arrears.

So why is this is important to understand as notary loan signing agent? Because when you go over the closing statement with the borrower, they almost always will have a question on the interest they owe their current lender they are paying off.

Frequently, If the payoff says that the borrower owes interest for October 1st to October 16th, a lot of borrowers will gawk and tell you they made their October payment and the closing statement is wrong.

Remember, the first part of this video since their October 1st payment is paid in arrears, they’ve paid interest for September, NOT for October. So they still need to pay owe to the current lender for October that hasn’t yet been paid.

And since the closing statement does not say they owe interest from September 1st to October 16th, you know that escrow has accounted for their October payment being made because there is no september’s interest showing on the closing statement.

On that same vein, if you see that the closing statement says interest they owe on their payoff from September 1st to October 16th, you should be able to come to the conclusion that have not made their October payment.

But now, let’s talk about interest on the new loan.

Regardless if it is a purchase or refinance, there will be interest that is being collected on the new loan on the closing statement.

Now that you understand that interest is paid in arrears, this should be easier to understand. Using the same dates above, if the new loan is going to close on October 16th, the borrower will have to pay interest from October 17th to October 31st. At closing is the only time the borrower will pay interest in advance. The reason this occurs is because the lender does not want to collect a partial payment in arrears on November 1st.

That’s why the first payment is a month out and this example it would be December because that is the first opportunity to get one full month in arrears. Remember that the December 1st payment is for all of November.

If they collect a November 1st payment, it would only be for October 17th to October 31st. They don’t want that. Therefore, they have the borrower pay the October interest upfront and set their first payment date for December 1st.

So, if you see that the lender is collecting interest for October 17th to the 31st on the closing statement, you should be able to conclude that their first payment is December 1st.

sometimes when you go over a closing statement you will notice overlapping interest on the closing statement. Let’s say you see interest being collected on the old loan for October 1st to October 17th and interest on the new loan being collected from October 15th to October 31st. The borrower may ask why they are paying double interest on the overlapping days.

They are not. The escrow company has to estimate the closing date of escrow. So in order to not be short interest (for the payoff or the new loan), they show overlapping interest.
When the loan closes, the dates will match up perfectly and the borrower will get returned any unneeded interest directly from escrow.

Lastly, sometimes the borrower knows that the loan is suppose to close on the 15th. But yet the closing statement shows interest to the 18th. This is done on purpose. While the loan should close on the 15th what happens if it closes on the 17th for some unforeseen reason. If they didn’t over estimate they would be short interest. Just like the overlapping interest, if escrow over estimated any interest the borrower will get it back at closing from the escrow company.

Accrued interest is a topic that comes up frequently in your loan signings. Knowing how quickly answer simple questions will separate you from other signings agents who can not. Not to mention it will cut your signing time in half.

Remember our job is to be impartial not uneducated.

I’m Mark, I teach the Loan Signing System, and I’m looking forward to helping you become a top loan signing agent.

If you’re interested in learning more about these concepts, go to www.loansigningsystem.com!

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May 15, 2017

Instead of people finding you on Facebook…

Filed under: Popular on Facebook (A little),Social Media — admin @ 7:37 am

I used to think that Facebook is a place where Notaries wanted to advertise their services. Facebook is not a good place to advertise. However, you should periodically put that you are a Notary just in case someone who follows you who is nearby needs one.

On the other hand, people who visit 123notary or other directories want to know a little more about you. If you include a link to a website that makes for great reading material, particularly if you have an interesting site. I recommend against spending lots of money on websites. However, if you can get something cheap that looks good, you might impress clients. I got picked many times back over a decade ago because I had an interesting feng-shui site. It was not even related to Notary work, but they liked the art work and liked how intricate and well planned the site was. The site impressed them.

What if you use your Facebook as a place where people find you somewhere else, but then get routed to? This is a social media strategy that actually makes sense. Some people are sloppy about what goes on their Facebook page. They post photos that are not appropriate. Then their boss goes snooping around, finds inappropriate content and fires them — or doesn’t hire them in the first place.

The face is that you don’t know who is viewing your Facebook, so keep it professional and personal. Post interesting content, and keep it mixed up. If you post interesting content about what you did over the weekend and then some facts about a controversial notary request and how you handled it, you will attract. People like to get to know the personal and work sides of your life. However, if you post nothing about work other than complaints and post raunchy photos of you and your friends drunk or practically naked, you might turn a few people off.

Try to connect your networks in a logical way. The flow of traffic is always from point A to point B. The question is, which direction of traffic makes the most sense. For 123notary it is from Facebook

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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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April 24, 2017

If everyone complains about Snapdocs, why do they continue to grow?

Filed under: Advertising,Popular on Facebook (A little),Popular on Linked In — Tags: — admin @ 7:07 am

Despite constant bickering on the part of Notaries, Snapdocs continues to grow. Perhaps it is the convenience. You can send a message to twenty people simultaneously. But, it’s not convenient for the Notaries, and they don’t get paid well either.

Should Notaries continue to be signed up on Snapdocs? If they are desperate! It just seems like a huge headache. But, if you thrive on quantity of low paying and annoying jobs, it sounds like low-ball heaven.

The fact is that Snapdocs grew all year. They had a slow month in August or September according to some webstats I saw. I have no idea why. Perhaps some technical issues? Or perhaps their competitors (me) did something good!

How long will Notaries put up with cattle calls, low fees, fax backs and micromanaging? And how much will Snapdocs continue to grow?

123notary is going to have to compete a little harder and add some new high-tech features to regain some of the market share lost to Snapdocs. But, what type of features will we use? Find out!

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You might also like:

Snapdocs is a bigger operation than what I thought
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19192

I felt like I was being used (Snapdocs assignment)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18852

The Uber principle at Snapdocs — new blood
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18868

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March 7, 2017

When you really don’t wanna take the job

When You Really Don’t Wanna – Jackpot !!
Most of the time, like you, I look forward to the phone ringing with an assignment. But, not all the time. Today I had some reserved theatre tickets and really wanted to see the show. I had intended to shut off the cell phone, but reconsidered as I was hoping to hear from someone regarding personal matters. The tickets were for early afternoon, and the show was relatively close by.

Ring, Ring. We have an emergency, the assigned notary did not show, and our client is furious, can you be at their location within the hour? The CD is with the client. Please help us. OK, I say, I understand. But, I have theatre tickets for today and did not plan to work today. If I accept your assignment I will miss the show. This is a very high priority client – forget about the show – we need you!
They offer an amount at the high end of the normal edoc range. I tell them their offer is fair but I would have to add an additional xxx$ for the lost use of my tickets. If you have not been to a NYC Broadway show – tickets are much more than an edoc fee. Any edoc fee. Somewhat stunned, I get the “we will have to get back to you”.

About ten minutes later another call for a structured settlement. Again the “urgent” routine – and, much to my surprise – another story of a notary “no show”. The conversation goes exactly the same way as the edoc discussion. Fortunately, they want a time slot toward the end of the show. The same fee discussion takes place – again with a gasp about the high cost of NYC Broadway shows. But, this one was different – they wanted to close the deal immediately. I told them the fee was in advance and once paid I would only then be committed to their assignment. Within five minutes the fee was in my account, bye bye Broadway. They email me the slim package immediately and I confirm that the documents were printed. Previously, as with the edoc job, the ID requirements were discussed and guaranteed.

Ring, Ring. It’s the edoc job calling back to accept the way greater than normal fee. Hmmm, both jobs are now paying for my “not to be used tickets”. And again, as per my requirement; the fee is in my PayPal account. It’s good that the edoc and the structured settlement times did not conflict; and there would be adequate time to go from the edoc to the other.

This is getting really weird. Will there be a third “emergency – notary no show” in the same day – with the caller having Very Deep Pockets? Nope, that did not happen. But, two did, much to my astonishment. The tickets I had in hand went to some very nice neighbors, who were delighted to change their plans for the same day. They would see the show for free, and so would I; as I was being paid twice for the same tickets!

So, what’s the “take away” from my rantings? Well, my message is that if you “can” do the job – but, for some reason – “don’t wanna” – let the caller know your situation. Tell them honestly and frankly that logistically you are able – but have a specific reason to not want the assignment. Of course some reasons cannot be bought for any amount of money. Family commitments, medical plans, and similar obligations are not for sale. But, the tickets were going to be available again; it was not a “now or never”.

Sure – I got lucky. Rare is the windfall that creates a high dollar “double dip” fee expansion. But the concept of being “flexible” is my theme message. I know, our clients use that word to, in lieu of more pay, compliment us for waiting 5 hours for the docs to be ready. Stranger still is their inability to, in New York City of all places; not to find a base fee notary. Perhaps because it was a “go away” Friday of a holiday weekend?

Whatever their reasons, nothing would have happened if I brushed them off with a “Sorry, I’m booked”. That was not the case. I had something that I “wanted” to do; but did not “have to do”. Letting the caller know, frankly and honestly your situation (within reasonable limits) – allows them the option to bail out or to “work with you”. It was obvious to the callers that a routine fee would not work. Though very extreme, both were willing to cause me to change my plans, without incurring a severe financial hardship. A week later I will see the show, have earned two fees; and have enough left over to purchase a pair of tickets for a different show!

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You might also like:

When to refuse a Notarization – a comprehensive guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18974

Are you a Yes-tary or a No-tary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16626

$300 in 13 minutes. How Carmen cleans up in the Notary business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19284

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January 21, 2017

National Debt Direct

Here is what Notaries are saying about this company. I rewrote some of the commentary to condense and simplify it.

(1) Abbondanza claims they used to be a good company to work for that paid within 30 days, but then got stiffed for seven jobs.

(2) esnotary was called to drive 50 miles for a last minute signing for a debt consolidation. They promised payment in 45-60 days but the notary bargained for 30 days. Later on the Notary found out that the guy who promised 30 days admitted to not having authority to get payment out that fast. People will say anything to get a Notary for a loan. So, they Notary feels lied to and will never work for Nationwide Debt Direct again!

(3) 17408 is still waiting for a payment done two and a half months before and is not happy.

(4) wponsot started with them in mid 2015 but stopped working for them because of a non-payment issue. The manager was completely unsympathetic when the Notary announced he had not been paid.

(5) 21008 claimed he/she had done three signings for them, but back in 2013 which got paid quickly. However, things seem to have changed in the meantime — at least for other Notaries.

This company’s reviews are typical of a good company gone sluggish in the payment department. I’ve seen this too many times which is why I will stress — don’t have faith in a company just because they have been reliable so far. You don’t know what stunts they will pull in the future which is why you should limit the credit you offer to companies. Once again, it is not bad to demand money up front as you are a Notary, and not a pawn shop.

You might also like:

Nationwide Debt Direct on the Forum
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6682

The 90 days no payment list of signing companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15887

Global Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16673

National Loan Closers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16663

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