January 2013 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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January 29, 2013

I say who, I say when, I say where

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Posts With Many Comments — Tags: — admin @ 10:13 pm

Look; I know the signing services provide a service and it is hard work but come on…. It’s almost 2013. Where did some of these folks come from? What is wrong with certain companies that hire us? They have all these rules and demands. Don’t answer your phone in a closing. Don’t call the borrower before you go, the appointment is all set. Then you get here then the borrowers didn’t have a clue that you were coming. In fact sometimes they don’t even know the loan is ready to be closed. Then they have the nerve to offer a whooping fee of $70.00 for printing, faxing back, travel and time. And whats with all the last minute cancellations? (After I have turned away several other jobs that may have went through) Who pays for this? But what is even more unsettling is that some of you are taking these $70.00 jobs. At this rate, believe me you are working for FREE.

I mean, lets face it, everything is going up but our pay. Gas, paper ink, advertising, etc. But the fees are constantly going down. I was doing signings for $75.00 over 6 years ago. Today some of these signing companies are offering even less than that (and they want more duties from you) and it costs us way more to operate but they still are insisting we take lower pay.

Now, I’ll be first to say that it is your business and you are calling the shots, and making all the decisions for what best for your business. And it may sound as if I too am telling you what to do. But, I just don’t see how anyone can make a decent living taking this type of low paying work. I think that if you crunch the numbers you’d see that you are more likely than not operating at a loss. I truly believe that if we collectively stand our ground and refuse these low paying jobs it would make it better for all of us. But unfortunately, this probably will happen. There is always someone that will take these jobs regardless of what I or anyone else tells them. Some feel that they need the work so badly that ‘some’ work is better than ‘no’ work.

Personally, I want to work smarter not harder. As most of you all know I believe in making what I am worth. Remember that without us most of these loans WOULDN’t get closed. Now, before anybody starts up, I am NOT talking about price fixing. I am talking about getting paid a fair amount that matches the work being performed. Many service orientated businesses have guideline as to what to charge and they are pretty close to others that are of the same profession. If we don’t stop and think about the effect of what we do not only has on us but on others and this profession ….very soon it wont even be worth the effort.

Until next time! Be safe!

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January 26, 2013

The war between men and women notaries

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 9:01 am

When the 1940’s New Yorker artist and writer James Thurber came up with the idea of “The War Between Men and Women,” he wasn’t thinking of notaries. He was simply thinking of the way things are…sometimes. Well, let’s face it: the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ idea isn’t new. Men and women are complementary…not always complimentary. So it should come as no surprise that notaries–male and female–appear to have slightly different ways of doing the job. The war between men and women continues…right in our own backyard.

http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/12/0812/0803art/welcome1.jpg Here is an original Thurber drawing that shows you Thurber’s idea of the war between men and women. When the man comes home, his wife’s role or tendency to dominate is grossly exaggerated: the whole house has become the woman. She has taken over, and is seen as a bully. As one joke goes (obviously created by a man who felt unfairly treated by women), “If a man is alone in the forest and he says something–and there is no woman to hear it–is he still wrong?” People (borrowers?) often see spouses as adversaries, and sometimes seem to have a dread of the opposite sex. Male borrowers or clients may feel more comfortable hiring a man…and the wife–if she is the one in charge–may want to hire a woman. Are men and women notaries competing for work? Do clients have a preference?

Eighty percent of the male notaries we talk to generally seem to be all about business. They don’t tend to go to signings on dirt roads at night…perhaps because they are not feeling as pressured to take on any and all assignments at the beginning to get paid. They find ways to get the borrowers to read the documents and understand them, but they don’t go overboard. They know how to make people feel comfortable, but they are not inclined to chat or stay longer than they have to. Yet they are great at figuring out and explaining the logistics and numbers so that title companies and borrowers and clients are served. Male notaries have less patience for signings that go on and on, and they run a tight ship. Still, they know a good deal or a bad deal when they see one, and are able to persuade clients when to call a loan officer or attorney. The male notaries don’t always see the value of reviews at first…but when they start getting reviews, they are unstoppable and no woman can compete with them. They get lots of work, lots of praise, and they close. That remaining 20%, though, already seem to have all the good qualities noted above, plus the compassion and patience and good humor of the women who are notaries. It’s a bird, it’s a plane–it’s Super Notary! Ladies, beware!

Of the hundreds of female notaries we’ve talked with, on the other hand, almost all have this amazing sense about people. They listen. They repair situations that are falling apart. Women who are notaries make friends easily. The paradox is they may not always make good choices at first about where to go for work or where to meet clients, and they don’t always stand firm and get people to sign; in a difficult situation, female notaries often leave. But women who are notaries get people to relax, feel good, and spend extra time (“time wasted,” grumbles one ferociously successful male notary) helping borrowers or clients, driving them places, or listening to their problems. For the most part, they are the opposite of the domineering image of a woman Thurber portrays in the cartoon above! People like their style and their compassion, and although female notaries seem to spend more time doing their jobs, the satisfaction, praise, and reviews they get in return keep them going…and going…and going. They, too, are good at numbers and details, and at explaining documents. As one male notary told me today, “Female notaries sometimes have trouble because there are some men [borrowers] who like to intimidate women. Period.” Yet although they know when to leave, the women often prefer to stay and make friends. “If you want a sympathetic notary, hire a woman,” one young male notary told us. “I am a contract closer, not a hair stylist who will embody compassion and discuss your most intimate secrets,” he quips. “Well,” says one successful woman who is a notary with agencies in several states, “they say, If you want it done, ask a man; if you want it done right, ask a woman.”

Which notary should I hire? Compassion is important to me; if both sexes displayed this trait, there would be no war between men and woman…and no war in general. But compassion is not what counts most in the notary business. The female notary who is organized and has mastered the journal and the no-nonsense “time is money” approach does well as a notary, and never fears going into any situation because, besides her can of pepper spray and years of experience and praise, she brings the confidence that she is the equal of any man, and any client. It also helps that this Super Notary (Woman) or Notary Woman is impeccably dressed, always on time, always patient yet never loses control of the situation and the time–and is trained in every kind of document and exception to every rule. She is not masculine in any way, and is, in fact, often so gorgeous or personable that she frequently gets asked out by the single males she does notary work for…and even sometimes by the married ones. However, Super Notary (Man) is also a force to be reckoned with, a mix of upbeat kind remarks, punctuality, courtesy, humor, and an ability to explain and present documents concisely in just the right way, firmly, and in record time. He knows when someone is being cheated, and knows how to steer that borrower to discover it for him-or-herself. Super Notary is strong yet laid back, personable but never unprofessional or suggestive…and everyone feels he really cares and would defend their interests to the death…because he’s “a good guy at heart,” the Christopher Reeve of the notary world. Aw gee.

It seems the best notaries I’ve met on 123notary are those who exhibit the traits traditionally associated with both men and women. So how to decide? I have two in mind (you know who you are!) Which notary should I hire?

Which one would be most likely to assist me if anything went wrong? The notary with the best manner…or the best journal? I need to hire a notary. I’ve narrowed it down to two. Given a choice between two notaries I have in mind, one male and one female–I am totally baffled about which to choose. They both answer their phones, are sensible and savvy, have certifications and wonderful reviews, and solid lives that show that they themselves are financially sound and exemplify good decision-making. Which notary should I hire?

The one with the most experience who can also give the clearest and kindest explanation…no matter how long it takes…without pushing me or rushing me or getting angry.

No woman could be quite as fearsome as the woman pictured in the Thurber drawing above (I hope), or any man as dull or spineless as that tiny husband. But any pleasant, upbeat, reasonably competent male or female notary would easily win out over these–well–cartoon characters…because real people are compassionate as well as accurate and on-time, funny as well as serious, strong in some ways and weak in others…and all flawed in their own inimitable ways. Which notary should I hire? If it’s an important loan I really am not sure about, I want nothing less that the best in the business, and that has to be decided on the basis of references and quality and concrete evidence. After all, that’s how notaries get paid.

So tonight, I’m going to flip a coin.

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January 17, 2013

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!

I posted an entry on our forum to see if people were getting more work recently. Based on my calls around the country, some notaries are really getting the business. We got a response to that post, but not the type of response I was expecting.

Brandon stated that he WAS getting 3 jobs per week.

THEN, he took the 123notary.com certification test and then started getting 3 jobs PER DAY!

What a difference.

http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5527

For those of you who think that the 123notary certification test is not that well designed, or for those of you who think that you don’t NEED to take it — think again. Getting work depends on the credibility you get with the signing companies for passing our test. If you are going to be on OUR directory, then think about passing OUR test. Conversely, if you want to advertise on signingagent.com and not with us, then get certified by the NNA.

When I was a notary I didn’t do all of the whining that the notaries these days do. I got certified by FIVE agencies and learned a little something extra from each preperation book and test.

You might also like:

How do you let people know you are a notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1936

Pricing for notary work: different strokes for different folks
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=697

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January 14, 2013

7 Famous quotes from our blogs

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: — admin @ 7:54 am

(1) Unless you are dead, you can still respond to an email

(2) “Maybe that is just how things are done in those parts β€” people just come into your house and make themselves comfortable. People in Los Angeles don’t do that as a general rule.” Sept 23 2012 blog

(3) “It was a very normal signing except for the bizarre mishap.” Sept 23 2012

(4) “It was a classic case of being at the wrong house because your GPS was wrong! This is why I never trust technical gadgets by the way.”

(5) Sept 23 blog – “She asked me to meet her in the salon. It was an upscale salon just off Madison Avenue. She was having her full head foiled, so we had lots of time to sign the documents.” Sept 21 2012 blog

(6) “KEEP A JOURNAL whether you are required to or not. Once you start using it, it will become second nature. It will save your life!!”

(7) Sept 21 2012 blog – “I often wonder what some of the states are thinking when they come up with some of these rules or the lack of rules and guidelines. It would be great if we all had the same set of rules to follow…But I guess that would be asking a little too much from our government.” Sept 21 2012 blog

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January 11, 2013

Hold Harmless: Good idea or not?

In a previous blog I discussed the need for us to protect ourselves from lawsuits that really have absolutely nothing to do with us. And, although thank god they are infrequent, when they do hit one of us they interrupt our lives and place great stress and hardship on us and our families. I feel that a hold harmless agreement is a great idea and it seems a few of you are using them. I had planned to work one up and post it here on 123notary but after discussing it with a few of you primarily to get your thoughts and feelings, I have now decided since we are all over the county that it would be in the best interest for everyone to draft up thier own or better yet prepare a rough draft and have an attorney go over it and make sure that it is legit and legal binding for your state and covers you as best as it can.

Things that you might consider in it would be that they are signing of their own feel will, that you a acting as an independent contractor and are not responsible for the content of the document, just to name a few.

Undoubtedly, if you do use it, It wont totally prevent you from being dragged into court and/or sued but I am confident that it will be helpful and have some sort of impact and hopefully deter the notary being dragged into court so readily,. And, if ever your duties and the role that you play are called into question you have a document that has been signed by the borrower/signer. And if the borrower is doing the suing (which so often is the case) their retained attorney might think twice before putting you into the equation of who they will be trying to sue. .

In closing, if you do decide to prepare and use this document make it 100% clear what your are duties are and what legal responsibilities you bear in notarizing one’s signature. Our signers and the public need to know.

Until next time…

Take Care and be safe!

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January 2, 2013

Two-Faced… Duplexed

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Posts With Many Comments — admin @ 7:07 am

I get a call from a notary public that it is clear that she is rather upset. She is a new notary public / notary signing agent and she is trying to put forth her best effort. And, it is a challenge to say the least.

She gets her first call and she is so excited. I can remember how that feels. I am sure most of you old timers can as well. πŸ™‚ She takes the assignment and all goes well from start to finish. She returns the documents and a few days later she gets the most dreaded phone call that we all have received at one time or another. The folks that hired her had called to say that she would have to go back to the borrowers house at her expense because she had printed the documents front and back (printer duplexes) and the lender had refused them. It seems that they wanted them printed on single sheets. I’m thinking someone dropped the ball on this one and I suspect I know who. But I need more information.

It was clear she was very upset because she had felt that she hadn’t don’t anything really wrong but was not sure. ONLY one thought came to mind and I asked only one question. Did they give you specific questions to NOT print front and back? Her answer was no. I asked was she positive, she was. So, I told her that although she would inevitably have to go back that this was not her fault and it should NOT be at her expense. I told her that if they hadn’t given her specific instructions NOT to print the documents front and back that that was on them not her. Some of our printers depending on the model (and once set up properly and if they have the duplex function as in this case) are going to print they way they were SENT. I told her to call them back and let them know that she had carefully checked her records and found no evidence that she was not to print this way (single sheets) and if thye had wanted them printed on single sheets they should have sent the PDF in single sheets. And last but not least, if they wanted her to reprint and go back then she would need to be compensated for both trips. (Keep in mind people that were are not mind readers. We are not here to play guessing games. We should be given specific instructions and then we need to follow them to letter.

What I believe happened is that the lender probably sent the documents with instructions how to print and then the information was sent to title and then to a signing service. Somewhere in there somebody dropped the ball. Which is why things get messed up so often. There are way to many people involved in these transactions.

But, in the end it is the notary public that gets blamed. It is unfortunate but true. So so often when they screw up they want the notary public to go back or fix something with no compensation…This is totally unacceptable. They do this because it eats into their profits. But if they got it right in the first place then things would go a whole lot smoother for them and for us.

Now I told our notary public what I felt she should do and so far I haven’t heard back…so I will assume no news is good news. If I hear anything new regarding this incident I will write another blog…. in the mean time please get and READ those instructions and ask questions if not sure. And get EVERYTHING in writing. It will save your you know what! πŸ™‚

Until next time be safe!

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January 1, 2013

Signature Name Affidavit: Not a substitute for an ID

I hate to beat a dead horse. But it seems that quite a few of you still believe that the ‘Name affidavit’ is a way to identify individuals that don’t have the proper ID. I’ll say it again for the thousandth time. You cannot use this form in place of current GOVERNMENT ID. The whole point of your job is to have the person appear before you and identify the signer through proper (current) government issued identification. There are usually no exceptions to this rule (except for one; when you feel that they will not be able to get ID. They then will need to be identified through credible witnesses (usually two) who will swear under oath to you, to the signers identity and they will have current government issued ID themselves. However, keep in mind that we do not usually use this method with loans. For some lenders this may be acceptable way to identify their borrowers but for many of us notaries in certain states it is prohibited. But under no circumstance no matter what state you hold your commission in are you to use the name/signature affidavit to ID anyone. NEVER!

So you may ask what is the form for? The name affidavit form is included in the loan document package to identify all the names of the borrower that have been reported to the credit bureaus and that appear on the individuals credit report. It is not for your use and dont let ANYONE tell you that it is used for any other purpose. It is to make the borrower aware that these are the names that the report has listed for them. These may include but not limited to married, and /or maiden names and/or their name has been misspelled.

So in closing, remember when you confirm a job make sure that all signers have proper ID and that the ID is government issued and is current. If you make sure of this when you call and confirm the assignment this will save you and your borrower allot of headaches.

Until next time! Be safe!

You might also like:

When ID and Documents have different names
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=230

Glossary: Signature Affidavit and AKA Statement
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?signature-affidavit-and-aka-statement

Can a notary sign an out of state quit claim deed?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2182

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