March 2013 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

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March 31, 2013

Top 12 things to do when you are on hold

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 5:52 am

Happy April Fools’ Day by the way!
It is not easy being a notary. There are many phone calls, and so many people take your time for granted and put you on hold. My suggestion — find something to do while you are on hold. Here are a few suggestions.

(1) Toe massage. Do your toes ache? Mine are aching today. Give yourself a toe massage. If you are the meticulous type, you will massage each toe individually. If someone asks how your massage went — ask if they mean in general, or on a toe by toe basis?

(2) Electronic massage machine. I got mine in Japantown for $27. It has three attachments for the head — take your choice! This is great for when you are watching television, or on hold. I think my right arm has a stiff point (from holding the phone while on hold for too long) and needs some work.

(3) Emails. I get tons of emails done while I am waiting for slowpokes to get back to me when on hold. Then, when they come back, I say, “could you hold on a moment while I finish this email I’m writing”. I make THEM wait… But, not for more than 10 seconds.

(4) Drink three large cans of Coconut water with Aloe. Great for your entire gastroinestinal tract! Drink it slowly.

(5) Take a leisurely bathroom break after the coconut water (you’ll need it). Put them on speakerphone so you will hear them when you come back!

(6) If you have been on hold for more than 25 minutes waiting for your phone company to act, then it’s time to whip out the heavy artillery — Jim or Jack… (Beam or Daniels)

(7) Become an amateur cartoonist.

(8) Make a list of all the productive things you will get done after you are on hold.

(9) Read the latest gossip on the Kardashians

(10) Go to a travel website and look at pictures of Bora Bora

(11) Visit 123notary’s Facebook and get involved in a discussion question.

(12) Make a list of the top 10 things you could do simultaneously while reading this dumb blog entry!


March 26, 2013

Signing at a 14-room Victorian house

Filed under: Drama & Tragedy,Popular on Twitter — admin @ 12:23 am

One time, in a rural setting in the dead of winter, a Massachusetts notary had a strange experience.

While at a signing to refinance the home, an old Victorian 14-room house with adjoining rooms and creaky doors, our Massachusetts notary heard a rocking chair. The sound was coming from the next room. He and the woman who owned the house were sitting in the dining room at a table, signing and notarizing all the paperwork.

Throughout the signing process, the sound kept on. The notary assumed it was another member of the family. Just when the signing was over, a man with red hair walked through the dining room from the next room, into the kitchen, and out the back door.

“Was that your–son?” the notary asked, a bit bewildered as to what he should say. The woman looked strangely at the Massachusetts notary. “What do you mean?” she asked.

“I mean the man who just walked through the room. Was he the one rocking in the living room?”

“I didn’t see anyone,” the woman commented. “But if you’d like, we can have some tea and I can tell you something my husband used to tell me.”

Needless to say, this very serious and successful notary was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Was the woman blind? Was she deaf? Just what was going on? scowled our Massachusetts notary.

It turned out that the husband, who had died, had often heard a rocking chair. The house had no rocking chair, and there was no red-haired man in the house. However, the woman’s husband–and others who had lived there before–had seen a red-haired man from time to time.

On the day our notary was there, the woman saw and heard nothing. Had the red-haired man–a former owner of the house 100 years before–been glad when the signing was finally over…and the present owner was content once more?

“I still don’t know what to think,” says the notary, “and I’m not sure what really happened there. I do believe the woman. I certainly saw something. Maybe that was the spirit of the house, no longer tense and anxious about the finances of its owner. The loan made everything ok.”

Or maybe this is just what the lender would like us all to think.

(1) This notary didn’t have a ghost of a chance.
(2) Notarizing a ghost written document was above this notary’s pay grade.
(3) The ghost of the former owner of this Victorian mansion decided to drop in for the notary signing.
(4) A creaking noise; a sudden thump; This was a notary signing that would raise the dead. #victorianmansion


March 24, 2013

March Phoninar

Our February phoninar was so popular, I am publishing another phoninar. We will be discussing many of these issues over the phone with selected notaries.


Initialing incorrectly typed names

Many loans require initials near the corners of pages of the Deed of Trust, and perhaps other documents. It is common for notaries to initial changes to information on documents as well, or dates on the right to cancel. Some lenders want dates on the right to cancel be acknowledged by initialing while other lenders only want initials if the dates are crossed out. Some lenders allow cross outs while others do not. This business is confusing if you ask me. Be prepared and follow directions! But, where do initials go if a name is wrong in the signature section of a document?

——————–      ———–
James J Doo         Date

The initials for James J Doe, which was misspelled in the signature section of this mock segment of a mock documents — should be placed under the last several letters of the last name. Why?

Loans that need correcting often go through a PROCESSOR or a quality control department. They type in the correct spelling of the name SOMEWHERE. But, where is that somewhere located? I have been told by numerous people in the loan industry that the correctly spelled surname goes to the right of the incorrectly spelled surname. So, if you put your initials wherever you feel like it, you will be getting in the way of the processor, and compromising the loan. You can not put initials above, to the side to the left or wherever on a name change. Additionally, you do not generally need to cross out unless instructed to do so. An initial and a phone message plus a note for the lender does the trick!


Issues with Power of Attorney signings
Most notaries have never done a Power of Attorney loan signing, nor have most ever notarized a Power of Attorney. If an Agent has Attorney in Fact priveleges for a Grantor (The Principal), then they can sign on behalf of the Grantor for specific types of tasks which they have been authorized to do. If the Agent is authorized to take care of financial transactions, then they might be able to sign a loan on behalf of the Grantor. But, it is not so easy. You need a hard copy of the Power of Attorney at the signing that gets sent in with the package. You also need to know the wording for an Agent to sign. The wording I normally use is:

Signature of Agent, as attorney in fact for John Doe
The Agent does NOT forge the signature of the Grantor, but signs their own name and then indicates their CAPACITY as an attorney in fact.

So, what’s the problem? This sounds easy if you know what to do. It is easy. However, lenders are so picky about this type of signing that even if you do it right to the letter, many of these loans still are rejected. Please keep in mind that loans are typically sold to other companies, and if there is any tiny problem or issue with the loan, the lender might elect to do a redraw and resign.

So, what do you do?

CALL THE LENDER / Loan Officer and go over step by step exactly how he wants everything to the letter. Obey instructions to a tee — or else!


When not to call the loan officer

Notaries are call the lender happy. Or, they call the signing or Title company whenever the borrower sneezes. But, a call to your contact person could keep you tied up on the phone for 40 minutes if you are not lucky. Should you be selective about when you call? When you call is really up to your contact person(s). If they want you to call for every little thing — then do. If they leave it to you, then call only if you have to. Assessing how important a given situation is to call the lender could be critical to the timeliness of your signings.

Q. What if the borrower signs where it says I wish to rescind by accident on the RTC?
A. Don’t call the lender — go to the borrowers copies and get another copy.

Q. What if there are errors on the 1003?
A. There are always errors on the 1003. Explain to the borrowers that this document is not a loan document, but legally has to be included in the package — and that it traditionally has at least three errors. It is customary to misspell your wife’s name, the name of your University Alma Mater, your dog’s name, your social security number and other things too. If there are no errors on the 1003, then something is definately wrong! Approach this document with satire for your mental health. I would not call the lender about this document unless the lender wants to spend his time explaining this nonsense that his lazy clerks created.

Error on an Acknowledgment Certificate

That is YOUR responsibility. You are the notary, right? Problem on the certificate? Add a loose certificate. You do keep loose certificates with you when you go to signings, right? If your answer is no, then please resign your commission and find another profession. You are not a real notary and are a shame to the profession. Be prepared.

The borrower doesn’t like the fact that the APR is higher than their rate

If you attended loan signing 101, you should be able to answer this on your own without bothering the lender. UNLESS you are in an Attorney state in which case you might ask them to read a definition printed by your lender somewhere. Some loans have an FAQ page, while the TIL might publish an explanation of the APR. If you are smart, you can avoid a time consuming call to the lender about this commonly asked question.

Q. When is my first payment due?
A. Look for the TIL, HUD, Payment Coupon


The Security Instrument

Which document is the security instrument?
This is one of the most commonly asked loan signing questions. Signing companies will quiz you on this one and so will I. If you don’t know it, then I will assume you know nothing about loan signing, and I will probably be mostly correct. The DEED OF TRUST or Mortgage is the security instrument in a loan — NOT the note, and not other documents.


Which documents are recorded in a loan?

I ask this question to notaries all the time. The answers typically include the Deed, Note, Right to Cancel, the TIL, etc. Of these documents only the Deed of Trust, and in very few states the Note would be notarized. But, only the Deed of Trust of Mortgage is recorded of the documents mentioned. Other types of Deeds such as Quit Claim, Grant Deeds, Warrantee Deeds, Subordination Agreements, Power of Attorney, or Lien Documents might be recorded as well.


Which party has the final say in rejecting a notarization on a Grant Deed?

The lender could reject such a notarization, and so could the Title company. But, the agency with the final say is the law of the land which in this case would be the County Recorder which is where the document will ultimately be housed if accepted. The County Clerk’s County Recorder office would be the custodian of the document and has the highest level of authority to reject a notarization.


Names not matching?

What do you do if the name on the document doesn’t match the name on the identification document? You can only notarize the signer based on what their identification says, otherwise you are breaking the law! You should call the lender immediately and consider filling out the Signature Affidavit with the name variations on the identification and the document. You might be required to initial under the name in the signature section of the documents if the lender asks. That is the lender’s call, not yours, so make the call.


E&O Insurance makes you safe, right?

Q. Does E&O insurance cover you if you make a mistake at a loan signing not related to a notarization?
A. No.

Q. Does E&O insurance cover you if the lender makes a mistake that ends you up in court when the borrower becomes irate and sues everyone in sight who is part of the transaction in any way, shape or form?
A. No

Q. Will E&O insurance cover you for a fraudulent act during a signing?
A. No

Q. Will E&O insurance cover you if you put the wrong date in the Right to Cancel?
A. No.

Q. So, when does E&O insurance cover you and why buy any?
A. If you make a mistake on a notarization that could cause damages to someone

Q. Should I mention that I have E&O insurance in my profile?
A. Yes, and also mention the AMOUNT you have.

Q. Does having a large E&O policy make me a target for lawsuits?
A. Unfortunately, there have been several recent lawsuits where notaries’ E&O was used to make claims from.

Q. Does having a large E&O policy make me a good candidate for big Title companies?
A. It is one of the things that many Title companies like. It shows you are serious and that you are “covered”, even though it really doesn’t cover much.


What type of identification is acceptable for a notarization?

It should be:

Government issued
Serial Number
Expiration Date
Show physical likeness
Physical description

Also, the lamination should NOT be peeling otherwise it could be fake. The signature should be UNDER the lamination otherwise it probably is fake. You should be up to date on state issued ID standards for all states so you can recognize a fake immediately. China makes many convincing fakes for US$200. Can you tell a fake ID?

BTW — you should always require journal thumbprints, because ID’s can be faked, but journal thumbprints can not be.

Oh, and did I mention that the name on the ID must match the name on the document for the signer? If the name on the document is a shorter version of a matching name that is okay.

Name on document John Smith
Name on ID John J Smith
Verdict: Okay

Name on document John J Smith
Name on ID John Smith
Verdict: Not acceptable — notarize as John Smith only in this case.


Loose Certificates in the mail

Q. A lender asks a notary to send a loose certificate in the mail. The notary sends one, but the lender comments that the certificate is missing a thumbprint. What did the notary do wrong?

A. This is a trick question. The thumbprint is not required on the certificate in any circumstance. But, it is illegal to send a loose certificate in the mail as it can be used for fraud. Therefor, what the notary did wrong was to not request that the original document and certificate be sent to him by Fedex. Then the notary could destroy the original certificate and staple a new on in its place and mail it back. That would be legal. Interesting.


What information is in the body of an acknowledgment?

An Acknowledgment has a:

The Venue has the state, county, and a squigly bracket thing, plus the letters s.s. which means scilicit which is Latin. So, there are four components of a Venue.

The body of the Acknowledgment has some boiler plate wording. But, the notary is responsible for inputting the date of the transaction, the name of the borrower, the name of the notary public, and crossing out the his/her/their, the (s) if necessary, and other cross outs.

Signature section
The bottom of the acknowlegment section has room for the notary’s signature plus their official notary seal if you are in a state that uses notary seals.

Optional information section
Enter in the number of pages in the document, document name, and document date here, plus information about the signer’s capacity (state specific), and perhaps even a right thumbprint of the signer for good luck. Documents going overseas should be treated with caution and a thumbprint is often appreciated by the authorities.

You might also like:

April Phoninar: Selected Notary Topics

Minimum competency test study guide


March 22, 2013

Reviews from Title Companies

Filed under: Ninja Theme Articles,Reviews — admin @ 12:57 am

Notaries always tell us how hard it is to get a review from a title company. It is hard. Many notaries ask signing and title companies for reviews, but they write reviews for such few notaries. Basically, in my opinion, if an individual has written reviews that I accepted for three or more notaries, then they have a sort of impartial credibility. They are not just writing the review as a favor for a friend, but are writing it because the notary is actually really good. To me a review written by someone who writes many reviews has five times the credibility as a regular review that could have been written by anyone.

Once again, I have no reason to believe that more than a handful of reviews on 123notary are actually fake. But, some reviews carry more credibility than others, and some are better written than others.

In the future, we will be giving a lot more weight to reviews from credible sources in your stats page. We keep stats on all notaries to compare them. Some notaries have amazing stats while others have dismal, and everything in between.


March 19, 2013

How to write a notes section if you have no experience

People ask us this question every day. What do I put in my notes section if I have no experience. So many notaries leave their notes blank. Nobody will hire you if you leave your notes unfilled. If you don’t have any experience, there are still many things to write about.

You can write about what types of notarizations you are willing to do. Be specific — readers love specifics. You can also write about what you used to do. Readers love to get to know you by reading your notes. The more they say, the more they like you.

Here are some examples.

(1) Someone with no experience
I am available to perform any type of notarization for any type of document or loan signing. Deeds, Affidavits, Contracts, Refinances, or any other type of loan or document is fine. I provide service from 9am to 9pm six days a week. I’m fluent in Malay & English. Call any time!

My professional background is very varied. I worked in a Mortgage company for five years, but was an assistant to a well known comedian before that. I also worked in Real Estate for three years. I have a BS in Chemistry. I also play the violin and flute (No, not at the same time).

(2) Someone with a dozen loans signed
I have signed many refinances, and a few reverse mortgages. I am happy to assist you with any type of loan or document signing 24 hours a day! Just give me a call and let’s get started.

I have 30 years of experience working in an insurance company. I have a Masters degree in photosynthesis.

Call me today!

(3) Someone with notary experience, but no loan experience
I have been a notary for 12 years and have completed hundreds of document signings for a wide range of clients. I have signed Deeds of Trust, Grant Deeds, Warranty Deeds, Powers of Attorney, Wills, Affidavits, Contracts, Permission for minors to travel, Affidavits of domicile, and many other documents. Call me any time for a loan or document signing.

I am a real go-getter, and a hard worker. I put in that extra effort to get the job done right. I also help the clients understand the notarization process and what their options are. Legally, I can not decide what type of notarization to offer, but I educate the signers as to what the different types of notarizations mean, and how they are most frequently used.

I used to work as a stockbroker at Tuna, Jones & Barney for three decades. I have an MBA in Marketing


We are trying to train the notaries to put their selling features at the top of the notes. Selling features are any facts that make you stand out such as experience, or familiarity with certain types of documents or loans. Or, a selling feature could be a smoothly written line about who you are as a person that makes you stand out in a nice way. Detailed personality descriptions should go in the 2nd paragraph as a rule. If you want to talk about your professional background before you were a notary, please put that at the bottom. So many notaries put their real estate or insurance information at the top of their notes, and it simply counts against them as the clients are more interested in reading about their notary skills, since they want to hire the notary to do notary work — not real estate work!

(1) Write about what types of loans & docs ur familiar with & what you did for a living before you were a notary.
(2) What are your selling features as a notary & how do you communicate them in your notes?
(3) Notaries who get ahead put hard information in their notes, not bragging or unverifiable claims.

You might also like:

What goes where in your notes section?

Winning techniques for getting reviews


March 17, 2013

The top 1% and the 99%

Filed under: Marketing Articles,Ninja Theme Articles — admin @ 12:52 am

I think that the bottom 99% of notaries should take over wall street — or perhaps Orange county where most of the signing companies are. It seems that 1% of the notaries have about 30% of the reviews on 123notary, and perhaps about 20% of the jobs. It seems unfair.

Why should this 1% get only 20% of the business, when they are so smart and hardworking. We have so many slackers on our site who refuse to get a review and belligerantly protest getting certified by us. 20% just doesn’t seem fair. I think they should get at least 30% considering that these top 1% are elite certified and have reviews coming out of their ears. They are putting in the effort while others slack off.

So, the 99% can take over a park somewhere, beat some drums and waste time while the top 1% will be busy working and succeeding even more.

I apologize for being cynical, but this is really how it works in the notary world, and in the real world. People getting ahead have developed real skills, and a real work ethic that most people lack. Most companies I deal with just flake on every project every step of the way. I have yet to find companies that do what they are supposed to more than 40% of the time!

On a brighter note, if more of the 99% would join the 1%, then they could get ahead too. Unfortunately, that would morphize the 1% into 1.5% if a few joined them!

Good luck!


March 12, 2013

Meao notary service

Filed under: Humorous Posts,Reviews,Your Notes Section — admin @ 12:38 am

I have signed 2000 loans to date including – affidavits of pet adoptions, refinances, lines of credit, and purchases.

I am honest and hardworking and get the job done.

I wake up at the crack of 4pm every day religiously and start my busy day. I provide notary service from 5pm to 5am. But, please don’t call between 8pm and 9pm, because that is when I take my first nap of the day. I take my second nap between midnight and 1am. Then at 5am I need to finally sleep for 11 hours after doing my nightly grooming. It gets tiring after a busy day of napping!
I start the signing by jumping on the table. I never refuse a drink of water or milk either.
I never pre-word acknowledgment forms before a signing, because I insist on starting from scratch.
I have never turned down a signing, except for one which was for a refinancing of a dog house. When I heard what type of signing it was, I started hissing!
I have no contracts and there are no strings attached — and if there are I’ll chase them
I never rush the borrowers from the beginning of the signing until the tail end.
One borrower like me so much she said I made her purr!
I have a policy to never growl at a borrower unless they really deserve it.
I always pounce on a good opportunity

Additional Information:
* 25,000 E&O insurance
* 10 years of experience as a notary
* Pawprinting available upon request
* BA in dream analysis
* 2 years on a swat team
* Read 20 books on the subject of birdwatching

Work Experience
Companies that I worked for include: Chase, Furman’s notary service, Kathmandu notary and translation service, Las Gatas notary and tax, and many others.

Coverage Areas
I cover most of the Bay Area of Califor-Meao. Areas include:
San Meao-Teo County
San Fransisc-Meao County
Meao-Rin County

Call me today so we can get started.


March 8, 2013

General Illinois Notary Information

Filed under: Illinois Notary — Tags: , — admin @ 1:59 am

To become a notary in Illinois, you must be at least 18 years old, you must be able to read and write English, and must not have beenconvicted of a felony. You must also be a resident of the state for at least 30 days. Apparently, if you work in Illinois and are an out-of-state resident, you may be appointed for a term of one year, but this possibility may be granted only by contacting the Illinois Secretary of State Index Department. If you are a resident of Illinois, your commission will be for four years.

Illinois notaries are appointed by the Index Department ofthe Illinois Secretary of State. The filing fee to become a notary in Illinois is $10. There is also a fee due to the Clerk of the county in which the notary resides– $5 if you appear in person, but you may record your appointment with the county clerk by mail for $10. The Illinois notary application is available online but cannot be submitted electronically as it can in some states; it must be mailed. The Illinois Notary Handbook is available online.

A surety bond of $5000 is required, but there is noeducation requirement and no exam. As an Illinois notary, you are required to have a seal in the form of a rubber stamp, and the required ink color is black. Your seal must contain your name and the date your commission expires,but it is optional whether the seal includes the name of the county or not. A record book is not required but is recommended.

The fee a notary may take for an Illinois acknowledgment, jurat, or oath of affirmation is $1. An Illinois notary is allowed to charge for travel—if a client is willing to pay for it. Also, most documents you notarize will not require what is called a Certificate of Authority, but some court documents may, and each costs $2. These certificates are available from the county clerk where you obtained your Illinois notary commission, but may be purchased directly by the signer or client. Save yourself $2.


March 3, 2013

Crayons and dog treats at the signing

Filed under: Etiquette,Ninja Theme Articles,Pets at Signings — admin @ 12:30 am

I just spoke to a delightful notary. It is fun talking to the new notaries, because some of them are so interesting!

This lady likes to make everyone comfortable at a signing, and she gets a lot of repeat business, so her method is working. When she walks in the door, she greets the animals and children first. She gets to know them a bit, and explains to them what she is going to do there. She also offers treats to the dogs, and crayons for the children!

The result of her nice way of getting to know everyone, is that everyone is happy during the signing. Dogs are much happier if you introduce yourself to them and tell them your name. They like it if you let them sniff you a bit. Cats are a little more tricky. It takes cats a few years to warm up to a human, and feeding them chicken daily for a few years facilitates the process. The children feel very happy, that someone thought of them, and now they have something to do during the signing that will keep them quiet.

It is fun to hear about the unique approaches that notaries have to doing signings, and this one was fun!

But, there is only one lingering question that I feel I must ask.
How come nobody gets ME crayons?