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November 18, 2016

10 things Notaries can do to screw up a notarization

1. When walking into a house where the borrower’s have large dogs, remember to not wear a suit of meat, as you will most likely get mauled ferociously

2. Always remember to have a small spare small container of vicks vapor rub, use just a little bit when entering the domicile of a hoarder or, of the special person who hasn’t figured out how to connect their ostomy bag

3. Under no circumstance should you ever bring your 175 lb ferocious rottweiler to a mobile appointment and let them attack your customer.

4. If you’re trying to conserve paper and think it is prudent to duplex (print on both sides), please don’t use that copy for the borrower’s to sign.

5. It’s common sense that if you don’t have your own solution, to print docs as in your own printer, don’t go into the borrower’s home and ask to use their printer to print their docs, and even more especially so, if they happen to be the respective secretary of state in your jurisdiction… remember to swear them in.

6. Body modification is great, and it is completely fine if you want to be an individual…. but if you look like you just bought the hardware section at home depot and affixed it to your face, maybe that isn’t the best way to impress a perspective client….

7. Always remember, the set of documents that the borrower’s signed, is the one you’re supposed to send back to the title company, If you have sent back the blank copy to the title company, you might not get away with stating you used invisible ink.

8. Always be prepared for almost every scenario, make sure you have extra stamp pads for when the ink starts to fade, blue or black pens depending on your jurisdiction, a writing or signature guide for the nearly blind or elderly goes a long way and you can be certain they’ll sign in the right spot. if you have a mobile printer, extra toner and always have extra paper.

9. If you plan on adding a piece of new technology to your equipment list, make sure to test it, find the faults, search the solutions, before you bring it out on the street. Also, before you go out for the day that your devices have a full charge. It’s great if you have a mobile scanner, but if something goes wrong, as things do… its even better if you have a solution or back up plan in place.

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October 10, 2016

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

Are you a Notary? Do you want to join some Notary organizations? There are many of them out there. Some help educate Notaries while others have helplines or hotlines. Some sell Notary supplies while others help Notaries advertise their services.

123notary.com
http://www.123notary.com/
123notary.com has been around since 1999 and helps Notaries advertise their Mobile Notary services online. Title, Escrow, Signing Companies, Attorneys and individuals love using 123notary to find some of the best trained and most experienced Notaries anywhere. 123notary also sells loan signing courses and has a very entertaining and informative blog. Check out their list of signing companies with reviews to see who you should and shouldn’t be working for.

National Notary Association
https://www.nationalnotary.org/
The NNA has been around since 1957 as a California Notary Association to help Notaries with educational resources and tools. In 1964 it became a National Association. NNA sells Notary supplies, errors & omissions insurance, education to help pass the Notary exam and become a signing agent, andmore… Advertise your signing agent services on signingagent.com

Notary Rotary
http://www.notaryrotary.com
Notary Rotary has been around for decades and offers a very potent way for Notaries to advertise their services. They also sell seals, and E&O insurance. Signing Agents can place an add and get found based on how close they are to the zip code being searched for.

SnapDocs
http://www.snapdocs.com/
This organization makes it easy to find newer Notaries who work for cheap as well as providing a system for downloading documents. More seasoned Notaries are complaining that SnapDocs is contributing to the lowering of fees in the industry. We recommend this organization for newer Notaries who want to get their foot in the door.

American Society of Notaries
http://www.notaries.org/
ASN offers a phoneline for technical support just in case Notaries have a question while on the job. They also sell Notary supplies and more.

American Association of Notaries
http://www.notarypublicstamps.com
Buy your stamps from the AAN!

Notary Café
https://notarycafe.com/
Notary Cafe is a smaller directory of Notaries that seems to specialize in the more serious Notaries. We do not have records to show how popular their directory has been in the last few years, but they have been popular for a long time.

Pennsylvania Association of Notaries
https://www.notary.org/
Need help becoming a Notary in Pennsylvania? Try this organization.

California Association of Notaries
http://www.calnotaries.com/
This is yet another Notary directory.

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You might also like:

Snapdocs — see our feed for posts about this company
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

The State of Notary Advertising in 2015
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13625

The Towles Booth (pronounced Tolls)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9456

Why the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

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July 11, 2016

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner

We wrote a similar article on this aspect of Notary advertising a few years ago. I think it was very helpful. But, let me structure this article as a quick tips article with itemized things to add to your notes section. The basic idea is that if you have no experience, you cannot talk about what you’ve already done. So, talk about what you are willing to do, where you go, or what training you have had.

Don’t write three paragraphs telling us how many years of experience your mentor has otherwise we’ll stop looking at your profile and start looking at your mentor’s profile. Remember, you are selling yourself, not your mentor.

Don’t write six paragraphs telling us about your Real Estate career as nobody is hiring you as a Realtor on 123notary.com. That is something to write a single line about LOWER in your notes.

Don’t waste space telling us how you respect the integrity of the transaction and how confidentiality of the transaction is of utmost importance. That tells us nothing except that you are claiming not to be a conman.

Don’t tell us how important it is to hire a Notary who is experienced and knowledgable. You think the browsers don’t already know this? They have hired tens of thousands of Notaries and are hiring Notaries daily. They know what is important, the question is, are you the kind of Notary they want?

Don’t write two paragraphs about how you are a new mom. People will assume that when they call you they’ll hear screaming in the background. Focus on Notary work.

Don’t use adjectives. people who claim to be reliable, responsible, experienced, professional, accurate, etc., are people who have nothing good to say about themselves who compensate by using a bunch of unverifiable claims about themselves which are usually not true. Experts who hire Notaries see through the nonsense faster than you can say, “skip my listing.” So, don’t use adjectives unless you can back them up with real information. So, what should you write about?

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BASICS

Basic information should go at the top of your notes section. If you bury the most critical information where nobody can find it, they won’t hire you. Pertinent knowledge, radius, and special services are what people need to know about first. Don’t bury this in a long paragraph about how wonderful you are!

Last Minute Signings — It is sometimes hard to find someone who accepts signings at the last minute. If you do, that really helps.

Hours — Letting the world know how early you start and how late you finish can really help.

Languages — Fluent in Thai? Let them know. There is more demand for Spanish and Vietnamese though based on word on the street. Also let us know if you are fluent, or only conversational. If you cannot get through a signing with your language, save us the trouble and don’t mention it.

Hospitals & Jails — Most Notaries aren’t experienced with these types of signings which are more demanding. Let people know if you do.

100 mile Radius — Most Notaries are wishy-washy about how far they go. They have three paragraphs of information about exceptions to the rule like if their coffee wasn’t good that morning, they won’t go too far into Morgan County, but if you pay extra they might consider Strantom County. Just list your radius and your counties without all of the hype please. Nobody has time for this.

Counties Covered — List as many counties as you can if you want to get lots of jobs. If you cover counties that nobody else does, even if it is a long drive, you might get a lot of new clients as a result.

Loans & Documents — List all types of documents or loans you know how to sign including types of loans. Most Notaries say they are familiar with most legal documents. This is vague. It is better to list the top several legal documents you see a lot of.

Catchy Phrase — Sometimes a catchy phrase about yourself, your business or service can win the game. Often it is a one-liner that is artfully phrased and catches people’s attention. Don’t bore them with fluff, dazzle them with class!

About You — What is unique about your service or about you that the reader might want to hear?

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EXPERIENCE

All of us have some type of experience. Mortgage and Escrow are the most valuable. Real Estate experience doesn’t translate into being a better Notary, and doesn’t make you that familiar with the documents despite what you may think or claim. However, you can mention it in a one liner. Mention other experience, but don’t write paragraphs on it. Keep it short. Military and Police experience are actually very helpful if you are a signer. That way you can keep the peace and use real bullet points in your notes sections!

Mortgage Experience — List any pertinent past experience, particularly if it is in Mortgage, Escrow, or Legal. Don’t be vague about the experience either. If you say you have experience in the legal industry we’ll assume you were a janitor or secretary. If you were a legal assistant, then say so.

Unrelated Experience — You can mention what you used to do for a living. It might be impressive if you were a bank president or dictator of a small country.

Military — If you were in the military, say so. That might prove that you are careful or on time.

Police — If you were in the police, that proves you know how to deal with difficult situations and crazy people. Mention it.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The bottom of your notes section should list all of your “other” information in an easy to read format. Some people use bullet points, and others just list it clearly so it is easy to read. Do NOT put this information in a long jumbled paragraph please.

Certifications — Are you NNA certified, Notary2Pro Certified? Say so

Memberships — Are you an NNA or AAN member? What about PAN or NotaryCafe? List all memberships.

E&O Insurance — Tell us how much you have. Some people only have $15,000 while some have a million.

Equipment— Is your printer a specific brand? Is it dual or triple tray? Does it print 200 pages per minute? Say so.

Closing Phrase — Thanks for visiting my profile on 123notary. I hope to hear from you soon. But, put it in your own words so it sounds a little more unique.

Uniqueness — Uniquess really counts. People who hire Notaries have read through thousands of profiles. If yours is unique and factual, you will stand out in a very positive way as most other people’s notes are jumbled, disorganized, and have no interesting information. Additionally, many of the others ramble on and on about how they value integrity which is a useless and unverifiable claim that is a waste of the readers time. If you waste the readers time, they are statistically less likely to use you. Give them unique and factual information and win the game. Many beginners do quite well on 123notary, especially those who express themselves well.

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You might also like:

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16074

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

2014 Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

2011 Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1043

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June 9, 2016

A comprehensive guide to Notary Pricing

It’s been a long time since I have written an article on pricing, so I feel it is high time! Most Notaries want to have a fixed fee and make tons of money. This is not always possible. The Notary market is a market with lots of little ups and down that a smart Notary needs to constantly adjust to. It’s smarter to have systems and formulas worked out ahead of time so you know how to react to these fluctuations.

There are fast days and slow days, monthly highs and lows, as well as changes in the market that happen over the years. There are also changes in who is competing with you in your area at a particular time. The key is to be flexible and learn how to charge accordingly. Here is how I would set my prices.

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1. Time Involved
A smart Notary should charge based on how much time is spent. Notary jobs during rush hour involve more time. Jobs that involve printing more than the average amount of pages should be billed accordingly. Smart Notaries ask who the Lender or Bank is. This is because the name of the Lender can determine with some accuracy the size of the package. Signing companies lie about package sizes which is why smart Notaries ask. Additionally, there are many loan types and some require more time. Refinances are faster, while Construction Loans are longer but have more professional and businesslike signers. Reverse Mortgages, VA, and FHA take more time. Piggy Backs are double signings and have double the pages and double the Notary work. Time for doing a signing is based on these components:

Negotiating Time — Some companies are easy and pleasant to deal with. If it is fast getting assignments faxed or emailed to you and easy to confirm with the borrower, take notes of that time. It can differ from company to company.

Printing Time — Notaries should charge by the page for e-documents. Printing takes time, and often involves waiting for documents to be ready which can be hours if you work with irresponsible companies.

Driving Time –Factor in how much time it takes to get from point A to B. Keep notes so you’ll know how to charge for jobs to particular cities in the future.

Signing time — Some Lenders have loans that get signed quickly. Some Lenders answer the phone and get situations handled quickly while others don’t.

Loan Type Influences Time Spent — VA & FHA signings are just plain longer. Reverse Mortgages are for the elderly who are less businesslike and might need a lot more time to sign. Power of Attorney signings are the most likely not to fund, so take that into consideration. Piggy Back loans are double the signatures and double the notarizations. But, once everyone has sat down and you have your journal out, it goes quickly.

Fax Back Time — Fax Backs are a pain in the rear, but they serve a purpose. Signing companies can hire newbies and get away with it, because the signing company can check your work before it gets sent back to Title. They no longer need experienced Notaries. However, fax backs take time, so if your time is worth something, charge for each page faxed back.

Cancellation Rate Time Waste — Factor cancellation rate and billing time into the price.

Billing Time — Some companies pay on the first request while others require hounding.

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2. Expenses Itemized

Printing Documents — is not only time consuming but costs money. You are using up paper, toner, cartridges, ink, and using up your time to restock what you used up. Charge accordingly.

Car Expenses — Driving a car is not free. Tires wear down, brakes wear out, plus you need to change the oil, filters, shocks, transmission, and more. So, in addition to time, try to work a mileage fee into your pricing in addition to charging for time.

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3. Track Record & Risk of Not Getting Paid

Late Documents — If the signing company or title company was late getting your edocuments in the past, make a note of that. Keep detailed records of each company. Record how fast they paid you on each job. Recalculate their average days to payment every month just to keep records updated. Also, keep records for how late they are sending edocuments or how incompetent they are about keeping their borrowers informed. If you are dealing with a flake, charge more.

Unknown PartiesIf you accept a job from an unknown lender, or one with a bad reputation online, you might charge more, or make them pay up front. You should always charge extra when there is any type of risk involved. . These signings assume risk. Some of the risk is spending an unpredictable amount of time or not getting paid at all.

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4. Payment Terms
If a Lender will only pay you if the loan funds, you need to charge more. Some Lenders will not pay your printing fee if the job gets cancelled, so make sure you know what the terms of the agreement are. Some will pay part of a travel fee if the job gets cancelled mid-way. However, the signing company booked your time, and you can’t give your leftover time to some other company at the last minute just because they needed to cancel. You have to commit your time to them, but do you make companies commit to paying you?

I personally feel that Notaries should set their own terms. You are not a bank, and it is not your job to gamble on whether or not a loan funds. You should be paid before, or within 72 hours of a signing in my opinion. But, you can make your own terms. Beginners have to accept the terms dictated to them, but old pros can make their own terms and get away with it. However, if you do accept terms that limit your ability to guarantee payment, charge a lot more.

Recommended Reading:
Issues to consider when creating a signing agent services contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

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5. Travel Fees for Non Loan Signing Work
Most Notaries charge $25 to $50 travel fee, and more if it is for jails or hospitals. You also charge by the signature on top of the travel fee. Charge based on how valuable your time is worth. If you are desperate for work, charge less. If your time is limited, charge more. If you have lots of other things to do, you have less supply of time so you can charge more — this is a strategy to consider — so stay busy my friends.

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6. Jails & Hospital Notary Jobs
Charge more for jails and hospitals because these are the jobs where there is a lot more that can go wrong. You also will not be dealing with the cream of the crop. You can get stood up at a jail. Inmates do not have ID and your credible witness or ID carrier might not show up. ID’s might be expired. Hospital patients are often drugged making it impossible to notarize them. Half of them can’t even hold a pen, so how can they possibly sign? Consider this when deciding upon your jail & hospital travel fees which should be $60 to $150 depending on how greedy you are! Some Notaries are afraid to go to jails, but it is safe, and that is where you can make money fast. Just make sure you have them read their ID to you over the phone including expiration date or you will be very sorry. Also, get your travel fee in cash at the door BEFORE you see the signer. They might not be available or might not want to sign! Be prepared!

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7. General Pricing Models
Keep in mind that a few years ago, Notaries could get paid a lot more. With Snapdocs and lower demand, companies can pay a lot less and get away with it.

Situations where you charge more or less
(1) Charge less during the first 17 days of the month. It is slower, and you have more time.
(2) Charge more during the end of the month. Additionally, you can charge more if you schedule a job several days in advance because you might miss out on a better offer. Additionally, jobs scheduled in advance in my day had a 25% cancellation rate which will wreak havoc on your schedule.
(3) Charge less if you are having a slow day and someone needs a last minute signing. If you are doing nothing, why not sell that time.
(4) eSignings have less physical pages, but often take longer because the signer and their spouse need to take turns looking at the computer screen not to mention the chance of delays due to technical issues.
(5) Charge extra if there are three or more signers on a loan.
(6) Charge more if the company cancels a lot
(7) Charge less if a company has a good track record and is easy and fast to deal with — or pleasant!
(8.) Charge more if there are lots of signatures to notarize.

Pricing Recommendations For Beginners. 0-500 signings

Basic Signing $60-$80
E-Documents: $10-$25 extra per double set or 7 cents per page
Pickups: $25 extra
Dropoffs: $20 extra — there is less waiting time during dropoffs
Reverse Mortgages: $100
Piggy Backs: $100
Regular Notary Work Travel Fee: $30 if within 30 minutes
Jail & Hospitals: $50

Pricing Recommendations for Intermediates. 500-3000 signings
Basic Signing: $80-$120; E-Documents: $20-$40 or 10 cents per page; Pickups: $30 extra; Dropoffs: $25 extra; Reverse Mortgages: $125; Piggy Backs: $125; Regular Travel Fee: $40 if within 30 miles; Jails & Hospitals: $70

When to charge in advance
You are not a bank and you should not offer endless credit to any signing company. Some of them will string you along and not pay you or play games with payments making it unclear which job they are paying for. Decide in advance how much credit to give each company and keep records. If you have a six month track record with a company and they pay you on time, you might offer them credit for six jobs. For all others, do one or two jobs, but don’t do any more until you get paid. It is not a bad idea to charge up front with Paypal, but few companies will pay a beginner up front. Ken, our seasoned Notary always gets paid up front, but he is a pro.

(1) New Companies — do one job, but don’t do a second until you get paid for the first unless they have a stellar record for payment on the forums.
(2) Some Track Record — do two jobs, but don’t do a third until you get paid for the first.
(3) Good Track Record — Watch out: good companies can turn bad if they experience financial difficulties or labor shortages. Do not offer credit for more than six jobs no matter what. A good track record should be over at least six months.

Don’t complain
There are many Notaries who have gone out of business because there is too much competition for too few jobs. If you are getting paid, getting experience, and staying afloat, you are ahead of the game. Many Notaries have this idea that they should get $125 per signing ever time. Unfortunately, it no longer works like this. So, take what you can get and just do your best! If you get more experience, you will be worth more in the long run. Additionally, the market could have an upswing at any time, so keep a positive thought.

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You might also like:

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8914

A great attitude gets most of the jobs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6493

Notary Marketing 102’s guide to negotiating Notary fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

Notary Public 102’s guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19781

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April 25, 2016

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews

To do well on 123notary, you need our certification (not someone else’s,) a good notes section on your profile, and a few good reviews. You don’t need a million reviews (although Ken in NYC thinks he does and has close to a million now.) But, at least one solid review every quarter will keep you far ahead of the game. The catch is how to get reviews, how to ask for them, who to ask, when, and what else to do? Here are some pointers, and then the articles listed below will keep you entertained for the rest of the evening!

1. Get a new review at least once per quarter.
You don’t need a new review every week, just once every few months. This will keep you ahead of the competition in most cases, or at least not far behind if you live where the real review sharks are. Ken has over 400 reviews now, so competing with him will be impossible. But, doing your best will impress all.

2. Understand the 8% rule
Only 8% of people you ask will give you a review. You might have better luck if you deliver stellar service, show up on time, and offer to do extra at no cost. You get more by giving more without asking for return, so give to charity, help thy neighbor, and do extra for your Notary clients.

3. Only ask those who praise you
It is a waste of time to ask for reviews from those who didn’t like your work. Ask those who liked your work and ask right after they say how much they liked your work.

4. Individuals are easier to get reviews from than title & escrow or signing companies.
Signing companies and big companies that hire many Notaries are bombarded with requests for reviews. Yes, ask them, but don’t base your success at getting reviews on the big guys. You stand a 3% chance of getting a review. If this means you should accept a few jobs from regular clients who just want an Affidavit notarized, it might be a good idea as reviews are life and death.

5. Email a link
It is difficult for people to maneouver 123notary. There are too many pages, and too much going on. Make their life simple and email a link to your review page. Ask for their email and send a link. If they can’t find the review page, they won’t write a review.

6. Don’t get three reviews the same day
Many Notaries do this and it looks tacky. They get three reviews within hours of each other and then no reviews for years. If you ask a list of people for reviews, then spread it out over time. If we think your reviews are fake or that you posted them yourself, you are in trouble!

7. Old reviews lose their steam
If you have all of your reviews from 2012, and no new ones, you will get as much business as if you didn’t have any reviews. Keep your reviews current if you want to get business.

8. Five or Six reviews doubles your business!
What? Oh my God! Only five or six? That might mean asking eighty or so people. But, the benefits of these reviews will last for years. Imagine paying 123notary the same amount of money, but getting double the output from your listing, plus having more pride!

Review oriented articles you should read

5-6 reviews doubles your business!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8484

Do you have reviews? Are they old?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15889

Don’t ask for a review at the wrong time!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15800

Testimonials about how good our review system is!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3902

How to write an email to ask for a review
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15800

He got 7 reviews the same day and I suspected fraud!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14186

Removing a negative review for a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13622

If movie reviews get up to four stars, why not Notary reviews?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8714

Word of mouse is important
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8827

How many reviews makes a difference?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1148

Fake reviews, how do I know they are fake?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4211

Reviews from Title companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4176

The technique — getting reviews
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2625

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Tips for your notes section
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What to write in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6651

You’re Unique — you don’t say (in your notes section)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13170

10 quick changes to your notes that can double your calls!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

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February 1, 2016

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section

Most Notaries underestimate how critical it is to have an amazing notes section on your listing on 123notary.com. They just write how they are background screened and have E&O insurance. They stop there. Yes, this is important information and it can be a deal breaker if you don’t have the right background screening from the right agency, etc. However, the Notaries who get lots of work from 123notary tend to have 123notary certifications, reviews from satisfied clients and a very thorough notes section. So, what is the secret? The secret is to be specific, unique and well organized in what you write about yourself.

(1) Selling Features
The top of your notes section should stress selling features. What can you say about yourself that others might not be able to say that would make someone want to hire you. “I’m reliable.” Everyone claims to be reliable, and then they show up late making a mockery out of their claim. Try something that you can put your finger on. But, I really am reliable? Yes, but your notes section can’t prove it — so skip it. Instead, let’s think about what types of loans you know how to sign. Don’t just say, “all types.” List them one by one. Do you have some unusual qualifications? Were you Notary of the year? Do you do jail or hospital signings? Are you fluent in Uzbekistani hill dialects? These are things that help you stand out. Were you a CEO of a Mortgage company? That helps too. If you have Escrow, Title, Underwriting, Processing, Settlement, or general Mortgage experience, that is a huge plus on your notes section. Make sure to indicate that high in your notes. Remember — the first 200 characters of your notes show up on the search results for your area, so digress to impress! (actually don’t digress, but use that space to squeeze in as many selling features as possible)

(2) Specialties
One of the most valuable pieces of information you can include in your notes are your specialties. Instead of bragging about how you are error-free or dependable (which nobody wants to read,) instead list the types of loans you know how to sign, types of major documents or procedures you are familiar with. Do you go to airports, offices, or jails? Do you do Weddings or Apostilles? People are very impressed when you have highly specialized skills, so mention them.

(3) # of loans signed
Most Notaries up date the # of loans signed once in four years. When I mention that their profile says they signed 200 loans, they say, “Oh, that was five years ago. I must have forgotten to login — I’ll go in there.” You need to “go in there” and update your info every few months or you will have information that is collecting cyber-dust.

(4) What is hot and what is not?
Radiuses are hot. If you have a wide radius, tell the world. 100 mile radius shows you are serious (or crazy.) Last minute signings are a good thing to mention. Do you accept faxes or are willing to do fax backs? That narrows it down. Are you background screened? Is it by NNA or Sterling or someone else — if you’re screened by the wrong agency, you don’t get the job! Do you know how to do eSignings? That will make you stand out!

(5) Professional memberships and certifications
Are you NNA Certified, Notary2Pro certified, 123notary certified, or trained by some other agency. It is impressive especially if you have four or five certifications. Mention these as well as your memberships. But, please don’t say you are an NNA member in good standing. The only way to be in bad standing with any agency is by not paying your bills or perhaps being convicted of a felony.

(6) What is unique about your service?
Is there something unique about the way you do your work? Or do you have a catchy unique phrase about yourself? It is very hard for most people to think of anything unique about themselves. But, if you really put some thought into it over an extended period of time you might come up with something good. We have two blog articles below with some of the best unique information we’ve ever seen.

(7) Avoid vagueness
Did you work for 10 years in the legal industry? What does this mean? Were you the company president or did you mop the floor for an Attorney. State your job title or what you did very clearly. If you were a legal secretary of Paralegal, that is good to know. Not a selling feature. Additionally, try to be specific about your claims. Rather than saying how good you are with people, give a concrete example of how you are good with people, or what experience you have that proves you are good with people.

Also read:
General (vague) vs. specific information in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4602

(8) Avoid restating information
Many Notaries restate their company name, their company mission, phone and email in your notes. Your notes is to give additional information about your service, and not to restate what the reader already knows. Remember, those top 200 characters go in the search results, and if you say, “We are here to serve” nobody will click on you.

(9) Counties served
There are 12 boxes where you can indicate your counties served. If you wish to restate this info in your notes, put it near the bottom as this is not a selling feature. If you want to indicate which parts of which counties you serve, the notes section is the only place to go into such detail. Others choose to mention specific towns or cities served. Please avoid stating which zip codes you go to as that is too nit-picky.

(10) Writing about your mentor
New Notaries always want to bend my ear about how they don’t have experience, but their mentor has signed 10,000 loans and they have been to many signings with their mentor. After hearing ten minutes about their mentor I say, “I’ll hire him — I’m convinced — But, I wouldn’t hire you in a million years because you don’t stand on your two feet!” Don’t talk about your mentor. Talk about what training programs you have passed.

(11) Writing about your Real Estate background
Notaries regularly write, “I am a Realtor and therefor am familiar with the documents.” But, when I quiz them on the documents they fail almost every time. Also, many Notaries will write three paragraphs about their Real Estate business or Process Serving, etc. People are coming to 123notary to find a great Notary, not a Real Estate agent. If you want to quickly mention in the middle of your notes that you are a Realtor, that is fine, but don’t make it the central point of your notes.

(12) Educational background
If you want to write about your degrees or former professional experience, unless it is Mortgage related, it should go in the middle or lower middle part of the notes as it is not critical information in the eyes of the reader.

(13) Equipment
Yes, you can write about your equipment. Sometimes we recommend using bullet points for quick points such as E&O, certifications, and equipment. You can mention what type of printer, scanner, fax, or mobile office you have. Just don’t put this up top. It belongs in the middle or lower middle of your notes.

(14) Closing statements
Some Notaries choose to have a closing statement while others don’t. We like it when Notaries do. You can say, “Thanks for visiting my listing.” Or say something a little more unique.

(15) Don’t jumble everything in one paragraph
A good notes section is divided into several logical sections. We normally like to see an intro with selling features, an about you paragraph, some bullet points, and a closing statement. There are many formats for winning notes section and you can decide what is best for you.

(16) Ask for help
123notary gives free notes makeovers. However, we cannot write the content for you. We can filter and reorganize it though. When we redo people’s notes sections they average an increase of 55% more clicks per day to their listing. So, ask! And get some reviews on your listing while you’re at it!

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Other Great Notes Articles

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

10 quick changes to your notes that can double your calls
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

Notary Notes makeover
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=2057

Personality and expressing your uniqueness
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4352

Which Notary would you hire?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13616

Unique phrases from people’s notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

Stating the obvious in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14146

How to write a notes section without saying anything of substance!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13606

A Notary included a copy of her testimonial in her notes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4680

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July 26, 2015

10 tight points on Loose certificates

I have not written about this topic for a long time because I take for granted that Notaries are experts on the topic. In real life, it is possible that many Notaries do not know how what to do with a loose certificate. So, here are the correct steps to take.

(1) Purchase Certificate Pads from the NNA
Why the NNA? In my experience, they are the best source of 1-stop shopping for Notary supplies. They have great journals and pads. You cannot attach a loose certificate if you don’t have one, so keep them in stock and guard them with your life. Your career as a Notary rests on having the correct forms. You need Acknolwedgment Forms, Jurat forms, and perhaps Copy Certificate by Document Custodian forms. Make sure the wording is acceptable according to the current laws of your state!

(2) Keep the Pads in your Notary Bag
Having the right forms is no good if you don’t keep them with you. Clients don’t want to hear the old, “I left it at home” routine. It sounds like your dog ate it. We are not in junior high anymore! Keep your law primers, journal, pads, seal, and anything else you need on you at all times and remember to keep your journal and seal under lock and key when not in use!

(3) When to use Loose Acknowledgments
If you need to notarize a document and the document doesn’t have notorial wording, it is time to use a loose certificate! If a document has incorrect notary wording for your state, you need to consult your state laws to see if they will allow out of state wording. Most states will allow out of state wording providing that the wording isn’t substantially different. If the venue or the name of the signer(s) is wrong or has an extra signer, or leaves the name of a signer out — you might want to attach a loose form.

Also See: Do you Notarize loose certificates as a Notary?

(4) Fill Out the Form
Filling out forms is not rocket science, but more than 50% of notaries omit crossing out the he/she/they and the capacity(ies), etc. If Joe signed the document, then cross out the she/they unless you know more about Joe than we do. You might cross ou the (ies) too. Don’t forget to fill out the venue, stamp, and sign the form. If your state doesn’t require a stamp, consider moving to a better state!

(5) If the Glove Don’t Match, you Must Attach!
Certificate forms must be attached to corresponding documents by law in many states. This means by staple, otherwise it will most likely be detached which could lead to a lot of confusion and potentially to law suits. You should also indicate the document name, date and length on the certificate as well as any other pertinent and identifying information about the document just in case the certificate gets separated. Many Title companies detach certificates which is completely illegal, but they don’t care because they are above the law — or think they are — or never got caught — yet…

(6) NEVER Send a Loose Jurat in the Mail
You can go to jail and lose your commission if you send a loose certificate in the mail. Lenders often ask you to just send a loose “Jurat” in the mail if the one you sent is not acceptable for one reason or another. You can request that the original document is sent back to you. That way you can destroy the original Acknowledgment or Jurat and add another one and staple it to the document. If you send a loose one, it could be attached to a different document and used for fraud, and you might end up in court.

(7) Some People Create Their Own
Some notaries who are penny foolish create their own Acknowledgment pads. You could put company branding on it to gain attention for your company. Just make sure you don’t goof as this is a legal document.

(8) Thumbprints?
Most Notaries only put thumbprints in their journals if they thumbprint at all. But, the NNA’s certificates have, or used to have (I’ve been out of the loop for a while) room for thumbprints. It looks more official for really critical documents if you get that extra thumbprint. For documents going overseas, I recommend this as foreigners think you are the best Notary in town if you give thumbprints — and embossing looks really official too!

(9) Two Certificates?
Sometimes you might need to attach multiple certificates for a single document. This is fine. One for his, and one for hers. They might even be notarized at different times. The custodian or recipient of the document might or might not like that, but it is all perfectly legal! You might have a lot of staples if you attach them at different times, but that is how the Notary business works.

(10) Jurats with Oaths
Sometimes if you are administering an Oath on a short statement, you can write the statement right on the Jurat form. In this case, you don’t need to staple the form to a document as the form includes the contents of the document as well as the Notarization. Don’t forget to have them raise their right hands and swear under Oath!

You might also like:

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

Sending loose certificates is illegal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2470

What goes where in your notes section?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

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March 27, 2015

Notary Etiquette from Atheist to Zombie

AKA: How to be polite when you’re in Affix!

Atheist etiquette
If you are notarizing an Atheist and he/she sneezes, don’t say God bless you.

Don’t sell people’s signatures
If you are notarizing a celebrity — Don’t rip out the portion of your journal with their autograph on it and sell it on ebay. That is considered to be bad manners in certain circles and is also a violation of notary law! Don’t sell your roommate’s notary seal on ebay either.

Don’t second guess family relations.
If you notarize who you think is the guy’s mother, but the woman is the guy’s wife, keep it to yourself. I once asked a guy, if I was going to notarize his mother, then he said, “That’s my wife.” — awkward… Oh, and don’t ask people if they are lesbian lovers even if you are asked to notarized an affidavit of domicile. Let them volunteer that information if they care to do so.

Guns & Religion
If you bring a gun to a signing, don’t talk about other loaded subjects like religion. On the other hand, if you go to a signing in a church, circumvent the issue of circumcision. If the phone rings during a Church signing, if it ain’t Jesus, don’t answer it.

If you are doing a signing for a hunter, should you bring up guns?
It’s worth a shot!

Tips for Notarizing Assassins
Avoid asking an assassin any direct questions such as, “What do you do?” Rather, ask more roundabout open ended questions, such as, “Have you done anything interesting recently with your career?” After all, if their deeds were done in some African country, they can speak freely in the United States about it with no fear of an awkward moment at a party.
If you make a mistake notarizing an assassin, don’t say, “SHOOT!”
If you are doing a signing for an assassin, make sure you include their middle name in the document.
I once asked an assassin, what is the difference between a murder and an assassination — where do you draw the line?

Loud televisions
Instead of bluntly asking someone to turn the TV down, you can say, “It’s very hard to hear you — did you say you liked your rate, or that you were having trouble staying awake?”
If you are mumbling under your breath, “What an idiot” in the context of asking someone to turn their TV down: make sure you say that with a safe margin of error before they actually turn the TV down.
If an elderly relative is watching a loud television. Politely let them know that you don’t want to let them know that you don’t want to become as deaf as they evidently are.

Notary Notes Sections
Rather than write the regular stuff in your notes section, you could write, “I will never insult the borrower, and I have a policy against parking in people’s lawns.”

Going to the bathroom in an outhouse
Notaries should never make a signer feel uncomfortable about having an outhouse. You should gracefully address the issue, but only if you actually are forced by natural causes to use that infrastructure. “I just loved the quarter moon in your outhouse, how quaint.”
“I just loved the latest issue of Outhouse & Gardens that I read while I was doing my business.”

Signings with beautiful women
If they ask you to do a Deed, it will be far more disappointing than doing “The Deed.”

Tips for Notarizing Zombies
It is considered bad manners for the notary to participate in the chanting, especially after they bring out the dead chicken, unless given express permission, otherwise it might cancel out the curse. Never tell a zombie that they look deathly ill — rather, tell them that they look deathly well. If you are having a zombie swear to the authenticity of a curse, it might be wiser to have the swear to a written version of the curse verbiage rather than to have them do a completely sworn Oath (otherwise you might become cursed or start hearing voices.) If asked to notarize a zombie’s death certificate, rather than claiming that it is against notary law to do so, ask them, “Which one?”

Popular Zombie Documents
It is common to have a formal Affidavit of transfer of Custodianship of Soul. This is where the zombie officially grants Power of Attorney to the “Bokor” or sorceror to have full control over their soul and body (or what’s left of it.) Please be advised that many zombies only have half a soul.

If a zombie commits perjury, it is punishable by life in prison. But, it is not stipulated which soul will inhabit the body during the sentence.

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You might also like:

Borrower etiquette from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2995

Notary etiquette from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=300

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November 4, 2013

Notary Journals from A to Z

Not all states require a notary public to keep a notary journal. However, we recommend keeping one for all notary acts simply because it is your only evidence if subpoenaed to court or investigated. The purpose of a notary public is to identify signers and deter fraud. If you don’t keep proper records of notary transactions, several years after the fact, you will have no way to investigate whether the transaction was fraudulent or not. A prudent notary keeps a bound and sequential notary journal and keeps all transactions logged in chronological order.

Information recorded in a journal entry:
Date & Time — i.e. 12:04pm
Type of Notarization — i.e. Acknowledgment, Jurat, Oath, etc.
Document Date
Name & Address of the Signer
Identification of the Signer — i.e. type of identification or credible witnesses
Additional Notes
Signature of the Signer
Notary Fees
Thumbprint of the Signer

Q&A
Q. If I am doing a notarization near midnight, what date do I put on the transaction?
A. Date the transaction based on when the signer signed the journal which happens at a point in time rather than a range of twenty minutes which is how long a notary transaction could take in its entirety.

Q. What do I put in the additional notes section?
A. If you are pulled into court several years after the fact, good notes in your journal might help to remind you about the notarization. You could describe the building, or unusual features of the signers or their behavior.

Q. If I’m doing a loan signing for a fixed fee, how do I document the notary fees?
A. Most notary jobs involve one or two notarized documents and there is a fee per document. If doing a package deal, try to divide the fee for each notary done, or just indicate the total fee for the signing. The important thing is to keep accurate documentation.

Q. Is it important to take journal thumbprints?
A. Yes. Identification documents can be falsified, but you cannot falsify a thumbprint before a notary. You should ideally take a flat impression from the signer’s right thumb for your journal thumbprint. Additionally, I have never heard of a falsified thumbprint ever being used. A thumbprint can keep you out of court as it proves the identity of the signer. I was once investigated and the investigation ended two seconds after I mentioned that I had a journal thumbprint of the signer.

Q. How do I store my journal?
A. You current journal should be kept under lock and key when not in use. Some states require this by law, but it is recommended for all states. Keep fully used journals in a safe storage spot somewhere.

Q. How long do I keep my journal?
Keep your journal until the end of your notary commission. Some states want you to submit your journals to the secretary of state’s office or county recorder when your term is done if you don’t renew. Each state has their own rules, so please ask your state’s notary division.

You might also like:

Saved by the notary journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3353

Everything you need to know about journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=70

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November 3, 2013

Notary Seal Information from A to Z

Filed under: Become a Notary,Comprehensive Guides — admin @ 1:43 am

Notary Seal Information

Some states require a commissioned notary public to have a notary seal / notary stamp while other states do not. Each state has rigid requirements for the exact dimensions of the seal, the color of ink, the border of the seal, as well as what wording is on the seal.

The notary name on the seal
Typically, the name of the notary as it appears on their notary commission should be identical to the name on the seal. Some notaries have nicknames or name variations. Female notaries often get married and change their names as well.This is a source of confusion. If you change your name, you might be required to get a new notary commission and seal in many states. Please contact your state’s notary division if you are planning on changing your name.

Information on the seal
Most states require the notary’s name, the words Notary Public, the words State of ____, the Notary commission number, and the commission expiration date.

Embosser or regular seal?
Some states allow the use of an embosser which looks like a metal clamp. Some embossers are used without ink as a secondary seal (allowed in many states — ask your notary division for details)

Storage of your notary seal
Rules vary from state to state, but it is required in some states that your current journal and notary seal be kept under lock and key.

Types of seal borders
Seals might have a serrated or milled edge border. Some states mght allow a rectangle made of
four straight lines to be the border.

Seal Maintenance
Be careful with your notary seal as they can be damaged from misuse. Keep replacement ink in stock just in case your seal needs to be re-inked. It is common for an active notary to add replacement ink to their seal once a year or so. Many states require the destruction of a notary seal at the end of a notary’s term so that it will not be used fraudulently.

Seal Impressions
The notary public should take care to leave a clear seal impression when doing notary work. If the seal is too light, smudgy, or has missing corners, the notarization could be rejected by a county recorder, bank, lender, or other agency.

Do all notary acts require a seal?
Most notary acts do, such as Acknowledgments and Jurats. But, sometimes you will need to do an Oath with no accompanying paperwork. Make a note in your journal that you are administering an Oath. Have the Affiant (Oath-Taker) sign your journal, and administer the Oath. There is no seal required for an Oath by itsself. However, if the Oath is part of some other notary procedure such as a Jurat, or swearing in credible witnesses, then the notary paperwork being used would need to be stamped.

States that require a notary seal
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

States that do not require a notary seal
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan., New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont These states have specific requirements if you choose to use a seal anyway.

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