April 2013 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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April 30, 2013

Help, I’m being sued, and E&O won’t help

Dinner was over and it was actually time to call it a day and get some rest when there was a doorbell. The family could not help wonder who inthe world this could be this late in the evening. It was approaching 10:00PM for god’s sake. The lady of the house went to the door and the gentleman standing on her porch asked if she was the Mrs. Xyz and she responded yes and then he proceeded to hand her an envelope. He stated; “You have been served”.

She shut the door curious but at this point not to worried.…she was thinking ‘oh this must be a request for testimony or something of this nature’ but as she began to read the documents to her shock and disbelief….she was being sued!. She was devastated to say the least.

It seems that back a few months she had done a modification and something had gone VERY wrong and now the person who’s signature she had notarized had hired an attorney and he as suing everybody that had been involved in his transaction including the notary. This particular client was claiming that there was intent to commit fraud with all the parties that had been involved with his loan modification. The notary contacted her bonding company and they looked over her evidence and found that she was in the clear. She had done nothing notarially wrong therefore they could be of no use. But what makes it worse is that they refused to represent her. It was basically out of their hands. For those of you that don’t know. Errors and omissions is just for notarial mistakes. It will not benefit you any other way. As in the case of this particular notary she was being included in a fraud case so now she was forced to figure out how she was going to defend herself.

She and her husband discussed it and he felt that she would need to hire an attorney and so that is what they did. But unfortunately they found out that it was not going to be cheap. The attorney kindly informed them that it would be about 30,000 when they were finished. Now as I listened to the story I was in shock. I thought that if that were me in this situation I would just be forced to take a different route. I would have to have to represent myself. I would not be able to afford this large sum of money at all. Personally, I would have made a copy of all work orders and correspondence of the hiring parties along with a copy on my journal entries and a signed and notarized affidavit that I did not know any of the parties involved and would have sent this to all the attorneys involved and hoped for the best. In my years as a notary I have a couple of signers on a couple of occasions that were suing the parties that hired me and this is what I have done and it seemed to suffice and I have never had to attend a court trial. Thank the man upstairs!

It might be naive of me but if you know that you didn’t do anything wrong I don’t feel that you need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to prove it…and if you don’t have it and cant get it then you are forced to defend yourself anyway. It is actually disheartening that we have to be drawn into other peoples drama….Which led to me into thinking that we should have some sort of release of liability document for folks to sign when we notarize their signature. The document should state many things for example,; one, that we are verifying identity and signature only on the document, that we did not have anything to do with the preparation of their document, that we do not know them or are we involved in their transaction in any way. Now, I don’t know if this would protect us totally from any lawsuits but I sure would feel a whole lot better having them signing it. And if unfortunately there was a lawsuit maybe it would offer some sort of protection. It would seem to me that in the situation our notary in the story finds herself if she had such document she would less likely NOT be involved in that lawsuit. I look forward to hearing what some of our attorneys her at 123 have to say about this and would love some input as to exactly what the letter affidavit should say.

I am very interested in what others have to say on this subject. I feel for this notary. The bad news is that she is seriously contemplating giving up her commission and her notary business all together. She has been a notary for over a decade and this ordeal has left a bitter taste in her mouth and I do understand. She and I talked for a very long time and she told me that I made her feel better and that at this point she didn’t feel as alone as she had been feeling. I was glad to be able to do at least that much for her. I wish it could have been more. Let me know what you think!

Until next time…be safe!

Tweets:
(1) The borrower had hired an Attorney to sue everyone who had been involved in the modification including the notary!
(2) It would cost $30,000 for the notary’s Attorney fees to defend her from a crime she never committed!
(3) E&O refused to cover the notary since she didn’t make an error or an omission. It was the Lender’s fault!

You might also like:

Protect yourself with a contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

Hold harmless agreements: Good idea or not?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3657

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April 28, 2013

Best Practices: When it is legal to notarize a document twice?

Q. When is it legal to notarize twice?

A. Any time you get two journal entries for the document in question and attach two separate certificates.

How is this?

Many notaries fall into unfortunate circumstances. We live in a day and age when old fashioned common sense is not a part of life any more — at least not in the Title industry. A notary will be given an Acknowledgment form with wording that just isn’t acceptable. Perhaps the venue is for a different county or state. Perhaps there are two names on the Acknowledgment when there is only one signer — and a cross out will just look funny. Maybe something else will be wrong. Use your imagination here — you are notaries!

So, should you cross out Jim’s name on the Acknowledgment form since only Jane is there and Jim is on a business trip? Or should you attach an additional acknowledgment form and leave the original blank? The issue here is much more than what the law says. The law doesn’t address cross outs to my knowledge although it definately seems that it is not a “best practice” since it looks dubious and possibly fraudulent.

Do you really want your notarized documents to look tampered with? That is what notarizing a document with a cross-out looks like. Sure you do it all the time, but what if fraud really is involved and you get called into court just because you think it is fine and dandy to simply, “cross out and initial — I do it all the time”. Well, stop doing it all the time on notarized documents. It is a “worst practice”, not a best practice. Best practices include starting fresh with a clean acknowledgment and filling out properly with not only the state required wording, but also a document name, document date, document description, number of pages, etc. If you are smart, you will emboss every page on every document that you notarize whether the clients like it or not — for your protection. It makes page swapping after the fact very noticeable and detectable.

So, I recommend the fresh acknowledgment approach since it is clean and a best practice. But, on the other hand, what about notarizing the document twice and giving the lender a choice of the messy cross-out version, or the clean attached version. Some lenders HATE attachments (even though it is legal and kosher). Many lenders do not mind cross-outs even though it is abomidable to anyone with standards. So, if you give them a choice, at least they will have less cause to be unhappy. They will know that you went above and beyond for them.

However, you will be committing fraud if you send a loose acknownowledgment in the mail to the lender who doesn’t like your first attempt. Sure you already notarized it, but now there are two certificates floating around and not attached. The “best practice” here is to tell the lender you need the original back, you shred the certiifcate, add another certificate, and then send it back. Lenders don’t typically like best practices because it takes longer. Fraud is easier! But, don’t even think about it.

I will end this entry with a quote from a Yiddish folk story

Crime doesn’t pay, but oy, such good hours!

I will end this entry a second time, but this time with a line from a Mexican folk song about notarizations

Dos Acknowledmentos Un Documento?
Ay que paso en esta mundo?
Que voy aser con esta notario?
Llama el telefono a el Loan Officer por favor!

You might also like:

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

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April 23, 2013

What is wrong with some people?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:58 am

My goodness, some folks have got some nerve….

I get a call inquiring me about my notary services / notarial services. I gave her the quote for travel and the price per signature per document. She questions this, so I give her a detailed explanation on how the fees per signature work here in California. It is not how many times I stamp it is how many folks sign a particular document and how many signatures I enter into my journal. She says she now understands but says that I cannot refuse a request for a notary and that I couldn’t charge her more than 10.00. I’m thanking oh boy here we go….

I go on to explain that yes, that she is correct that I must honor a request given certain circumstances but that I am not obliged to travel to her for free. And seeing how I did not have an office for her to come to, if she was in need of my notarial services she would have to pay what I consider my modest travel fee or you are welcome to contact someone else. She went on and on about she knew this and she knew that about notaries. Which I told her it was clear she didn’t have a clue for the most part of what she was talking about with regards to notaries.

She went on to tell me that she was going to report me to the S.O.S. and I told her be my guest and then I asked her would she like the number? Of course that infuriated her. After she saw that I wasn’t budging from my position she natually hung up. Fine by me. I know my job and I certainly know the rules. I have been at this a long time. I hope she called the Secretary of State and found out what we were are required to do or not do.

IMO, I think she just wanted or perhaps needed someone to come to her and was to cheap to pay the travel fee. And I also surmise that she thought if she bullied and threatened me he could get a free visit. Not happening…she would have done better if this was the case by just telling me the truth and she may have found that if she was close enough I might have considered making a trip to her house for free — like my mother ALWAYS told me you can catch more flies with honey.

Be safe!

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FAQ: How much do notaries charge?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5317

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April 21, 2013

Mistakes notaries make w/ Title Companies

Notaries all want Title Company business, but not all of them get it. Why?

Experience is half of the problem, and skills are the other half. But, what about the THIRD half?

Communication skills
Do you use bad grammar? Do you make spelling mistakes in your notes section?

I also make spelling mistakes. Fewer than I used to make ten years ago since I write more.

But, Title Companies will reject a notary based on these factors.

What if there is no useful information in your notes section?
Do you ramble when people talk to you, and go on and on?
Do you go off on a tangent during a conversation and not stick to the topic at hand?
Do you give dumb sounding answers to simple loan signing questions?
Is there background noise when a title company calls you?
Do you answer the phone by saying “Hullo?”
Do your children asnwer the phone?

Does your answering machine have unprofessional sounding music?
Does your answering machine state your name?
Is your message system full?
Do you have reviews on your profile?
Are you certified by 123notary?
Do you have a tone of voice that is uninviting?
Do you ask people to repeat what they said?

Notary: Hello?
Tammy: Hi, this is Tammy from Tammy’s Title
Notary: Who is this?
Tammy: TAMMY from Tammy’s Title
Notary: Tammy’s Title?
Tammy: Yes, Tammy’s Title! May I speak to Linda please
Notary: This is her.

Jeremy’s comment: Are you deaf? Tammy stated her personal and company name very clearly when she called you, what’s the problem. Are you not paying attention? Or, do you just not know how to respond, so you ask a stupid question? Tammy thinks you are very stupid by now. Did you know that roughly 15% of notaries ask me to repeat information that I stated very clearly? I am not sure what their problem is. If I ask a quiz question, then 80% of the notaries make me repeat the entire thing twice — but, that is more tricky, so it is allowed in that context.

BTW, it is bad etiquette to say hello when answering the phone. State who you are otherwise the other person will have to guess or ask you. Also, don’t say, “This is her” as that is bad grammar. “This is she” is correct even though it sounds strange.

To sum up the point of this article.
If you want Title companies to think well of you and hire you — don’t act stupid. Have your act in order, and be able to answer questions quickly. Be professional — otherwise they will hire someone else who is professional. Title companies pay up to $150 a pop and notaries line up for these types of jobs. Title companies have choices — you don’t!

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April 20, 2013

Types of witnesses in the notary profession

Types of Witnesses in the Notary Profession

All the names of witnesses in the notary profession can be confusing if you don’t know your terminology. I am going to write a brief tutorial of various types of witnesses.

Witness
Anyone who witnesses a signature can be a witness. In general you should be 18 years of age or older to serve as a witness. A witness could engage in the act of witnessing a signature.

Credible Witness
Most states allow the use of Credible Witnesses to identify a signer. Some states will allow two Credible Witnesses who know the signer, but do NOT know the notary. Some states will allow one Credible Witness who knows the signer as well as the notary. Some states will allow one or two Credible Witnesses. Consult your state’s notary handbook for details.

Credible Identifying Witness
A more legal or technical term for a Credible Witness

Executing Witness
Also known as a Subscribing Witness that would be used in a Proof of Execution signing. Don’t make a mistake on this type of notarization or the joke is that you will be executed!

Subscribing Witness
A witness who watches someone else sign their name. The word “sign” can sometimes be synonomous with the word “subscribe”.

Subscribing Witness for a Signature by X signing
A Subscribing Witness is also the term for someone who watches and assists in a Signature by Mark or Signature by X signing.

Witness to a Jurat Signature
Notaries are required by law to witness signatures that correspond to Jurat notarizations. Signatures that are to be acknowledged on the other hand, do NOT need to be witnessed, and can be signed before (even years before) the signature is acknolwedged.

Witness to a Will
Being a witness to a Will is similar to any other type of witnessing, except for the fact that the witness might need to (or probably should) document the fact that they witnessed a will signing on the signature page of the Will. Wills are by definition, orten much more serious than any other type of document.

They are often more important even than Power of Attorney documents or Grant Deeds. Another reason why witnessing signatures on Wills is so critical is because the signer will probably be dead if and when the document is disputed. It is too late to drag someone into court to testify if they are deceased!

You might also like:

Can a notary witness a Will or notarize one?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1525

Credible Witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

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A detailed look at the NINJA course

Filed under: Ninja Theme Articles — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:00 am

We have a new Elite certification textbook that accompanies the elite test. We will soon be using a 30 point test to evaluate the skills of our higher level notaries. But, what is this new textbook like? The ORDER of the information is subject to change as we re-edit the course and add content later on.

119 pages of riveting information!

This course integrates ancient Zen Buddhist philosophy, Ninjutsu strategy, and exciting stories with higher level notary & signing agent knowledge for the refined notary public! Here are some of the topics covered in the course.

(1) Presentation
Learn the art of interacting with prospective clients. Learn what to say and what not to say. How to answer questions gracefully, and how to stand your ground. Show your knowledge without seeming like you are trying to. Operate like a professional and negotiate like a professional.

(2) Strategy
Learn which type of advertising pays off and which should be avoided. Which certifications to get and which to skip. How to craft your advertising for maximum results; Which additional services to offer such as Apostilles and Livescan; How to choose your clients well; Picking company names; Contracts. E&O insurance; Getting paid; Handling difficult companies; Hiring other notaries to expand your empire; Handling low-ballers with ease; Marketing with Facebook and Web Sites; Researching companies; When to say no;

Scheduling strategies: Learn about the

Timed appointment strategy
The spring-it-on-ya strategy
The no surprises strategy
Business models that influence scheduling strategy
Dealing with late e-documents
End of the month scheduling strategies
Beginning of the month scheduling strategies
Tight scheduling strategies
High-brow scheduling strategies

(3) Business analysis
Advertising allows you to pick and choose; Analyzing where your calls are coming from; Assessing the companies you work for; Late Documents; Dealing with cancellations; Dealing with late payers; Managing contacts; Optimizing your client base; What do the statistics that 123notary keeps really mean?; How well do you communicate and how does that translate into clicks?

(4) Mastering the ancient art of the notes section
Which adjectives help, and which hurt? Does mentioning years of experience help? Which quick facts will win you clients and which are a waste of time? Overall recommended structure of a notes section; Analyzing your best selling features; What not to put at the top of your notes section; Expressing your personal style of doing business; 19 examples of great personal information used in notes sections; Specialties expressed in detail; How to use bullet points for your additional information; Where do you write about coverage areas, and how detailed do you get? Radius verses counties? Closing statements — call me whenever you are ready! Spelling and mistakes; Example of a bad notes section; Example of a nearly perfect notes section; Commentary on 16 notes sections; Selling features compared in detail;

(5) Miscellaneous points
Smelling good; How to dress; Calling people back; Professional answering machines; Company names; Complaining; Asking too many questions; Call back etiquette; Asking about specifications before price; Negotiating with people who won’t meet your fee; Evolutionary path to success; Charge less to get experience; The close job strategy; MOBILE OFFICES; Don’t call until the e-documents are ready; FULL-TIME or PART-TIME; 123notary’s 30 point test; Last minute appointments; The A list strategy; Precautions; Embossing; Journal thumbprints; Answering the phone at signings; Refining your notes; Dual state commissions; How many certifications; Does Facebook help; How do you let people know you are a notary; Can you afford to be expensive; Get reviews or perish; Are you available enough; Do you keep all of your paperwork; Emergencies are where you shine; Errors with bad seals; Showing up late; Complaints; Wrongful complaints; Rebutting complaints; Being selective about working for companies with potential.

(6) Zen and the art of teaching others to be on your team
Master the ancient art of: Selection, training, scrutinization, and comparison.
Choose people with the right: Attitude, pre-existing skills, ability to learn, reliability, and personability

Where do you start training? Scrutinizing the work of your new notaries. Comparing them to your other trainees.

(7) Comparing notaries
People change over time; Examining your local list of notaries to see the differences in each service provider; Elite certification; Skills verses presentation; Online presentation verses life presentation; Thinking about comparisons while you are working; What did you forget to think about?

(8) Impressions, dreams and nightmares
Where the money really is; How long does it take to do each type of signing; How do you analyze traffic; Should you charge by the minute; How much ROI do you need on your advertisement; Making an impression; The borrower comes first; Meeting at a nearby cafe; Cancelling nightmares before you get involved; What to know about a culture so you don’t get in trouble; Fedex and drop boxes.

(9) Following directions
When to call the loan officer; Sample questions; When not to coerce the borrower into signing; When to continue the signing; Listening exercises, communication exercises, following orders without a fuss.

(10) Notary knowledge revisited
Acknowledgments discussed in detail; Jurats; Official wording and cross-outs; Loose certificates; Backdating; Document dates verses notarization dates; County recorders & recorded documents; Copies of a document; The names must match; Credible witnesses; Errors on the Acknowledgment; Oath wording; Signature by X; Journals; What the OPTIONAL information section is for in Acknowledgments & deterring fraud; Embossers; Thumbprints; Seals; 10 Grant Deeds in a single session; Notary Fraud; Notarizing the elderly; Notarizing a dead person; The 4 parts of an Acknowledgment certificate; Misdemeanors.

(11) Signing Agent knowledge revisited
Understanding: The 1003, The 4506; Apostilles, Attorney States; Changing a name on Title; Checks in packages; Cross-outs; The Deed of Trust; Elizors; Identity Affidavits; The HUD-1; Initials go where? Letter of instructions; The legals; Maiden names; Prepayment penalties; The Right to Cancel; Rescinding; The security instrument; Signature Affidavit; Spousal signatures; The Subordination Agreement; Thumbprints revisited; The three magical phone numbers; Signature variations; Witness states; When to call the loan officer; Witness closings; Documents that are typically notarized.

(12) The APR & First payments
Yes, an entire chapter about the APR in detail. Learn typical incomplete descriptions of the APR that even the most experienced Loan Processors, Title Agents, and notaries use on a regular basis. Learn a professional definition and learn all of the components that go into computing the APR one by one. Show the world how knowledgeable you really are!
When is my first payment due.

(13) Interviews with our finest notaries and title companies
We get amazing points of views and endless new information by getting input from others in the industry. And then we share it with you on the forum, blog, and in our courses! We interviews many title companies. Many of these companies will be working with us on crafting and endorsing some very relevant signing agent questions. Notaries often ask why it is important for them to learn particular facts. But, if a title company who hires notaries and pays well tells you that you better learn it, then there is no excuse not to learn it,right?

We have some information from Title companies as of April 2013. We will be adding more information every month including statements about things that notaries did wrong that caused a lot of trouble. We will also be adding multiple choice questions endorsed by specific Title companies over time.

The interviews with the notaries this time were about topics of concerned to regular notaries. How do you handle low-ballers? How do you handle people who don’t meet your fee? What is your best attribute as a notary? What made you become a notary? Could you describe your evolution in business and how you became successful? Hoe do you introduce the documents and do your loan signing presentation.

The answers given by the top notch notaries interviewed were truly inspiring, unique, and fascinating. You will love this section the most of all the sections partly due to the great information, and partly because it is the most light hearted section of the course.

(14) The 30 point test
This section goes over the 30 point test. Notaries who pass this grueling and difficult test can elect to have their scores published on their listing. Test topics will include not only notary and signing agent competency, but other areas as well. We learned that following directions and communicating are huge problem areas even for the most experienced notaries, so we will be focusing on those during the test. The test will be timed and might be over the phone or online — or both! Retesting will be allowed, but we do not know what the retesting fee will be. Purchasing the Ninja course / Elite certification gives you one chance at the test providing you take it within (60) days of your purchase date. Good luck!

(15) Apostilles and Loan Types
Learn what our best notaries have to say about Apostilles, Authentications, FHA, HELOCS, Investment loans, Loan modifications, Purchases, Reverse Mortgages, VA loans, and more!

Thanks for your interest and ENJOY our Ninja course!

You might also like:

Signing Agent Best Practices: a 63 point guide to being the safest and most thorough notary.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

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April 19, 2013

Phone interaction tutorial

Some notaries wonder why they are not getting any good Title companies to work with them. When we call some of these notaries up, we see within seconds why they are not popular. First, the way some people answer the phone is horrendous.

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Bad phone answering skills

“Hullo?”.

Do we have to guess who we are talking to? Or should we introduce your next assignment to your son because you forgot to announce yourself over the phone and we can’t tell you apart from your son?

Do your children answer your phone? Big no-no. How about your spouse? If you are a husband and wife team, that is understandable, but you still need separate cell numbers and you still need to let us know who you are when we call you. Otherwise we have to ask.

Title: Hi this is Marg from XYZ Title, may I speak to Susan please
Susan: (abruptly) WHO is this?
Title: I think I introduced myself very clearly — this is Marj from XYZ Title, may I speak to Susan please
Susan: Okay
Title: Okay, are you Susan?
Susan: Yes it is

Title: You made me work very hard just to try to decipher who you were. Are you going to be this difficult working with? I had to repeat who I was twice while you evaded announcing who you were. I am not the only person who needs to give information around here, especially if I am paying. I will call someone else. Thanks.

It is very rude to make someone repeat who they are before you reveal your secret information about who YOU are. If you are rude to Title companies, they have plenty of other inexperienced and unprofessional notaries to choose from.

======================

Background noise

Is there background noise when you answer the phone? Are there screaming children or other noise. You should apologize about the noise as soon as you can and move out of the noisy area. Otherwise, nobody will have patience for you.

=======================

Someone else answering the phone?

If you are in business for yourself, it is extremely unprofessional to have someone else answering the phone for you. However, if they introduce themselves professionally and can carry on a professional sounding conversation, it might be tolerated. The worst thing you can do is to have a busy-body answer your phone for you who pushes their unwanted helpfulness on a caller.

Title: Hi, this is Marg from XYZ Title, may I speak to Susan please
Fred: Susan is not here, but I can help you.
Title: Thanks for your offer Fred, but I would like to Speak to Susan please, and I clearly requested that I wanted to speak to Susan
Fred: Can I help you with something? I can do everything that Susan can do
Title: You are being a bit pushy Fred. I am calling for Susan. I do NOT wish to conduct my business with someone other than Susan.

Please notice how Fred is offering unwanted help and trying to push it down Susan’s unwilling throat. This happens a lot when I call people. They don’t take no for an answer and get in trouble with me as a result for rudeness.Notice how Fred didn’t once offer to take a message for Susan. He was pushy and very unhelpful in the ways that Marg might have wanted to be helped. What a headache.

======================

Asking people to repeat

Do you have other people keep repeating everything they said. Are you paying attention? Or can you just not think clearly, so to avoid having to respond to something you don’t know how to respond to, you ask people to repeat. If you are in a noisy place, or have a glitch in your cell coverage, you might apologize for the sudden static in your cell phone. Tell them that you heard the “I need you there at…. blank o’clock” part. That way they know you are listening and heard everything but the one critical word. That is acceptable. But, if you loudly say, “WHAT?” after everything the other person says, they are not going to hire you. Roughly 15% of our notaries are people who ask us to repeat ourselves multiple times during a conversation. It is very unpleasant and nobody is going to want to pay money to someone who is such a poor communicator.

=====================

Unprofessional remarks and behavior

(1) Oh yeah, you’re calling about that notary thing. (are we in Junior High still?)

(2) I just got my notary. (you mean your notary commission?)

(3) I just got off the phone with the customer, (you mean the borrower)

(4) Annoying or harsh music on your answering machine is considered unprofessional too

(5) Not having your name stated on your answering machine is unprofessional as well.

(6) Not knowing your basic loan signing terms and procedures is unprofessional and dangerous

(7) Answering the phone only to tell someone that you are in a signing. If you are in a signing and can’t talk, then why are you answering the phone?

(8) Answering the phone to tell someone that now is not a good time to talk. Why not let them leave a message if now is such a bad time.

(9) Answering the phone and telling them that you already sent the documents back when you don’t even know who is calling. Do you ASSUME that you are talking to the signing company from that job that you are at right now when it is someone completely different? Dumb!

(10) I’m certified. (you failed to mention which entity certified you)

=========================

Notes section

Most notaries do not include any unique information in their notes section. Instead they start off by talking about the least consequential information you can think of such as E&O insurance, background screening, and the fact that they are certified. Everyone on 123notary is certified by someone. It won’t get you ahead unless you have the 123notary certification icon. Indicating that you are NNA certified on our site will win you 0% more clicks since 90% of everyone else on 123notary is also NNA certified. You might as well say, “Hire me because I have two arms and two legs.”

Write about what makes you unique. Talk about your experience. Number of loans signed. Number of years as a Mortgage Broker. Specific types of loans signed. Do you offer last minute service? How many miles is your radius? Information that is unique to you.

The other notaries all claim to be dependable, reliable and professional, yet only 10% of them actually meet our standards for these adjectives so they sound phony. Do you sound phony? Talk about something that sounds REAL and UNIQUE. If you were a school teacher for 25 years, then you can claim to be good at nitpicking other people’s work and noticing all of their mistakes and everyone reading your notes will believe you.

========================

Tone

Some people just start out sounding unpleasant. Their words might be good ones, but their tone just doesn’t sound appealing at all. Talk to me on a bad day and I have tone too. But, some people always have tone. Try to sound pleasant when talking to clients or prospective clients.

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Arguing

Do you argue with clients? They want it their way. Don’t say, “Well I usually xyz”. Nobody wants to hear this. You should be asking them how they want it done? Would you like tomatoes on that? Now you are talking! Don’t accuse your clients of being overly demanding. Do they pay you? Then work for them and do what they want for the right price.

===========================

Vagueness & Rambling

Do you answer questions with vague answers?

Q. How far do you go?

A. Well, I usually cover Carbon county, but I might go to Hutchinson county if it is not too far in because my niece lives there and ….

Q. Lady, can you just tell me your radius in miles please without your life story?

A. Oh, well, it depends.

Q. Thanks for the help, I’ll call someone else

People in the signing industry are tired of this type of run around. Just answer the question the way it was phrased.

Q. Can you get the documents sent back to me tonight?

A. Well, it depends on where the signing is, because it is East of me, there is no drop box, but then if it is South, I could come around on highway 19, and then I could…

Q. Just tell me if you can get the documents back to me tonight… the signing is in Waxahatchie

A. Oh, well in that case, that is Southwest, so let me spend five minutes calculating while I keep you tied up on the phone… hmmm.

Q. Never mind, I’ll call someone else who can drop it in the drop box tonight.

Boy, what a hassle. This is not brain surgery here. Just say, “Yes, I’ll get it in the drop box tonight — guaranteed!”. And then do it.

=========================

Basically, we put up with a lot of unprofessional behavior. The smart notaries tend to be argumentative while the newer notaries often can’t function at all. Communicating is very hard for many, as they can not make a simple request without telling you their life story. Nobody has patience for this. People at signing companies deal with 100 notaries per day, and need their questions answered fast, and there is no time for nonsense. If you can’t communicate and do your job correctly, you will be sitting on the bench your entire career. It is not that difficult to be a notary. Just know your terminology and procedures, and learn to communicate effectively.

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April 15, 2013

Who can notarize a Will?

Filed under: (4) Documents — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:23 am

Who can notarize a Will?

Any notary can notarize a Will. However, many Attorneys advise against notarizing a Will unless you have written instructions from an Attorney.

We actually heard of a case, where a notary was pulled into court after notarizing a Will. The daughter of the signer was upset, because she was not given enough money in the Will, and decided to sue the notary. The notary was in a state that didn’t require journals, so she didn’t have much evidence to support the fact that the Will was legally notarized.

Be careful and think twice before notarizing a Will. There are consequences to many people when a Will is signed. It is a very critical document — perhaps even more critical in many cases than a Power of Attorney or even a Grant Deed.

You might also like:

Notarizing documents for the elderly
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3334

Power of Attorney Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1627

FAQ for people who need to hire a notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2061

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April 14, 2013

7 ways to use Facebook to market your notary services

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , — admin @ 7:35 am

“The Dalai Lama likes Edna’s Notary Services.”

That would be an endorsement any businessperson would ki–errr…work very, very hard for. Though it is unlikely that His Holiness would indicate a preference for any one notary service over another, almost anything is possible when you use Facebook wisely.

1. Envision the Future. What do you want to get out of your online presence, and your Facebook presence in particular? Do you want more customers? Do you want to raise your status in the notary community? Do you want to promote certain causes related to your business? Your plan determines the cost and amount of resources needed to use Facebook as a marketing tool.

2. Do not rely on Facebook alone. Just as you would not rely on an attack cat as the sole component of your home security system, you should not rely on the world’s largest social media platform as your only means of promotion. Every business needs a website, and every business website should have its own domain name, for example: ednasnotarypublic.com, as opposed to www.bighugenotarysite.org/ednasnotarypublic. Domains cost in the low-to-
mid two digits annually, and you can just build a free blog site on WordPress or Blogger and point your domain to that. Your website should contain easily accessible contact information, directions, a list of services, and regularly updated News and/or Blog sections.

3. Create a Facebook page. It’s free, it’s easy, and Facebook walks you through the process with
pretty pictures. Start here.

4. Promote your site from your Facebook page. Unless your website features copious amounts of nudity, your Facebook page is likely to see the most traffic of your online endeavors. But as the primary means of Facebook communication are short status updates (which may include links) and image or video posts, your website is the place for blog posts, file downloads, and types of content that you are unable to offer via a Facebook page. Whenever you update your website, post a link to the new content on Facebook. Be sure to use images in your website content, as this creates a more compelling Facebook post.

5. Get “Like”d. There are few things as uplifting in this modern age as a Facebook “Like.” When someone Likes your page, it is posted on their wall (see paragraph one of this post) for all their friends to see, admire, and emulate. Begin your quest for Likes by Liking other pages–other notary services for sure, but mainly target people, businesses, and organizations that reflect the type of customers you desire and/or those that reflect or compliment the values and mission of your business. The more Likes you give, the more you are likely to receive, Grasshopper.

6. Update regularly. In the case of a small notary business, every two to three days is a good rule of thumb. Let’s be honest–most folks do not want five updates a day from their notary. Your updates can be links to your own site, links to sites of interest to your preferred customer base, an event your business is hosting, a quote from one of history’s great notaries, a photo of a particularly fetching seal, or anything that will catch someone’s eye. Remember to use images
whenever possible.

7. Use Facebook Ads. Up until now, you have not had to pay Facebook one thin dime. All that is about to change. Facebook Ads let you create ads that target customers according to your criteria.

Al Natanagara is a writer, journalist, and blogger whose career includes stints with ZDNet, CNet, CBS, LexisNexis, and Law Enforcement. http://www.findatitlecompany.com/

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Minimum Competency Test Study Guide

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:21 am

We really want all of our notaries on the site to pass our certification test. So far, roughly 1700 people out of 7000 on 123notary (March 2013) are certified or elite certified by 123notary.com. The others are not, and they are not interesting in paying for any study guide or tests. So, my solution is to offer something more basic that is FREE.

We will have an online test eventually for minimum competency. In the short run, we will do an over the phone test. We don’t even have the programming for an icon for the minimum competency, but we will have one soon. In the future, we will set a requirement for how soon you have to pass our MC test to stay on the site. But, for now, there is no rule — only FREE study materials.

Here are the topics we are including in this test:

(1) Confirming the signing & confirming identification
Many signing companies do not want the notary to confirm the appointment. However, if you don’t, then the borrowers might not be ready for you when you come. If you have a busy night of signings, you can not afford to be kept waiting. Additionally, if a non-borrowing spouse is on three or four of the documents (which is typical), you need to make sure that they are there, or else you might not get paid. Be careful of companies that don’t want you to confirm unless they have a spotless payment record with you and on 123notary.com/s (i-phone accessible list of signing companies with reviews).

When confirming a signing, introduce yourself and let them know that you are the notary. Let them know what time you are going to see them, what their NAMES are on the documents, and WHO is required to show up.

Example.
Notary: Hi, my name is Charles Notarinsky, and I will be your notary public this evening. I will be showing up at 6pm. Peter J Selinsky, and Jane Doe will be signing documents this evening. Will both Peter and Jane be able to be at the signing at 6pm? Additionally, may I ask if Peter’s identification has his name typed exactly as Peter J Selinsky with the middle initial J, or a middle name starting with the letter J?

Borrower: Why do you care?

Notary: Legally, I will not be able to notarize Peter’s signature if there is no middle initial or middle name beginning with a J in his identification document. Additionally, I need to make sure that both signers have CURRENT government issued photo-ID.

Borrower: Oh, I didn’t realize that. Hmmm, let’s see. Yes, my ID is a current California Driver’s license expiring in 2017 and has the name Peter John Selinsky. It looks like we are in business. Jane’s license also has her name as Jane R Doe which is longer than the variation on the document. That is okay, right?

Notary: Longer on the ID works — shorter doesn’t. We are in business. See you at 6pm, and in the mean time — cross your eyes and dot your tees. See you soon.

Note: Some states will allow an expired ID if it was ISSUED within a specified number of years.

===================================

(2) What to say and what not to say
(a) Once assigned a signing, proceed to the signing at the appointed time.

(b) Don’t park in the driveway as that is considered rude — unless you have permission to do so. Don’t ask permission to park in the driveway unless there is a problem parking on the street. If the borrower has a one mile driveway that goes up a steep hill, or lives in a condo complex with assigned parking — ask for help.

(c) Don’t call the borrower a customer or client. The Title company is the end-user here hiring the signing company that hired you. You are the notary signing agent and they are the BORROWER.

(d) Answer the phone stating your name. Don’t say, “Hullo” and keep people guessing as to your identity. First of all it makes them ask who you are which is an unnecessary and aggravating extra step. Second, it is not professional. Third, they might confuse you with your daughter and start explaining the loan process to your daughter.

(e) Don’t let other people answer your business line. If your daughter uses the same line, then she must introduce herself when answering the phone.

(f) Don’t have background noise when answering the phone, and if there is noise, then apologize for the noise and move to a quieter location.

(g) Don’t answer the phone only to tell someone that now is a bad time to talk. If now is a bad time, then don’t answer the phone. If you answer the phone, give people at least 90 seconds of your time out of courtesy.

(h) Think twice before answering your phone at a signing. If you don’t, then you might miss the opportunity for your next job. If you do, then you will be being rude. Weight the factors before you answer your line.

(i) Tell the borrowers at the BEGINNING how long you can stay. Tell them that this is a signing appointment, and that if they need to read everything in detail, that they are welcome to read after the signing, and that they have (3) days to rescind if they don’t like what they read.

(j) This is a business meeting, so don’t talk about politics or religion as that might offend people. Even talking about the weather is off-topic. Your job is to get in, sign the documents, and get out to your nearest Fedex station as soon as possible.

(k) No drinks on the table — ever

=================================

(3) Signing as printed
Borrowers must sign their name exactly as printed — unless the lender or your contact person specifies otherwise.

If the name on the document doesn’t match the identification, then legally you can not notarize them under that typed name. In such a situation, consider using the Signature Affidavit to document the other names the person goes by and signing as the identification reads. In this situation you have a choice between satisfying the LOAN OFFICER, or your state’s Secretary of State. The lender can not put you in jail, but the latter party can. The law takes priority in this case.

If the signer’s name is James J Johnson, then they sign James J Johnson, and the middle initial J should ideally show up clearly. Otherwise the lender will have trouble selling the loan to a third party. Please take this into consideration as most loans are sold.

=======================

(4) When to call the Loan Officer, Title or Signing Company
If the borrower has any SPECIFIC questions about their loan, call the Loan Officer or whomever you have been instructed to call. If your appointment is under time pressure because you have to go to your next appointment, let all parties concerned know that you have to leave at 8pm whether their documents are signed or not. If you are knowledgeable enough to answer general types of questions about documents, you might consider answering them yourself unless your state has a law against notaries opening their mouth such as in Attorney states.

If the your contact person(s) is/are not there, then leave a message and wait 20 minutes for a return call. If you don’t get a call back, then leave another message and wait another 5 minutes before you give up.

========================

(5) Your job is not to coerce
If a borrower doesn’t want to sign something, call the lender or your contact person. If you left a message and they don’t call back, don’t take matters into your own hands until after you called twice leaving the appropriate amount of waiting time between both calls. If you don’t hear back after the second waiting time, then explain how the borrower has three days to rescind and that they can talk to their lender during those three days to have the situation explained to them. Additionally, explain that their loan might not fund if they don’t sign.

===================

(6) Reading instructions
Many loans come with an instructions sheet called a letter of instructions. Read that before doing anything. Take note about oral instructions too. Each lender has their own rules. It is your job to follow the rules. Some lenders want you to call them about any little thing. Others allow cross outs. A few don’t want you to confirm the signing. Many want you to break the law. Don’t break the law — but follow all legal instructions. By the way, if you don’t know your state’s law, then you won’t know if you are breaking it, and you can end up in court or jail very easily. Know the law!

========================

(7) Following instructions
A lender named Chad assigns the notary a signing. Chad says that if there is any problem, to call him at 333-333-3333 immediately, otherwise you are fired. The notary goes to a signing for Joe. Joe gets half way through the stack and finds that he doesn’t like the XYZ document which is not notarized. Joe says that he refuses to sign. The notary calls the lender and gets, “Hi, this is Chad, I’m not here right now…”

Q. What is the next thing that the notary should do?

A. Leave a message and wait for a response. In the mean time, don’t twist the borrower’s arm into signing.

=======================

(8) Listening and answering questions
I ask notaries questions, and it is like pulling teeth to get responses.

Q. How many loans have you signed?

A. I have been signing loans for three years… actually, three and a half years.

Q. I think you didn’t understand the question. How many loans have you signed?

A. Oh, well, I do about five loans per week.

Q. I think we are having a communication gap, how many loans have you signed in your career?

A. Hmmm, I never thought about that.

This is an easy question, where the notary is really testing the signing company’s patience.

Q. What are your hours of operation?

A. Well, I’m flexible

Q. I’m sorry, but that is not an answer. I don’t know what flexible means. Please tell me what hours you are available to work.

A. Well, I start at 8am.

Q. Thanks for the starting time, without an ending time, I don’t know when you can work until, and this is incomplete information

A. Well, it depends.

Q. You are not being helpful. Please just tell me what hours you are generally available for signing work.

A. Hmmm, I guess from 8am until 10pm, unless my daughter is staying late for softball practice in which case only until 9:30pm, and then if I’m feeling tired then perhaps 8:45 pm, but then I am rarely tired, and then…

Q. I’m sorry, but I am filling in a form that has room for numbers — not stories. Do you have an ending time? If not, then I have to remove you from my list permanently.

A. Just put 8am to 8pm.

Q. Wouldn’t it have been easier for both of us if you had just started out saying 8 to 8? It was like pulling teeth to get a simple answer from you.

Many notaries cannot answer simple questions. If they are this incompetent about answering simple questions, how will they handle complicated snags in a signing? Will they do something that endangers the loan out of stupidity? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Q. How would you explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?

A. Hmmm, well in my state, the non-borrowering spouse is not responsible for signing the documents, except for the …. (long explanation)

Unfortunately, this notary is anwering a DIFFERENT question than the one asked. They will most likely get fired even though they are very knowledgeable. Signing companies need notaries who follow instructions and answer questions — preferably the same question that was asked.

=======================

(9) The RTC
For a non-investment refinance, the borrower has (3) days not including Sundays and Federal holidays to cancel their loan. The day of the signing is NOT included in counting the days. If you sign on a Saturday, then Monday is day one, Tuesday is day two, and Wednesday at 11:59pm is the deadline for cancelling the loan in writing by the acceptable stated methods (stated in the Right to Cancel document). Sometimes the notary is expected to write in the dates, or change the dates in the Right to Cancel. If you make a mistake you could ruin someone’s loan. Learn how to count the three days, and memorize your Federal holidays in sequential order. Also, some lenders do not allow CROSS OUTS in the right to cancel, so make sure you know what you are allowed to do or not allowed to do.

If the borrower signs where it says, “I wish to rescind”, then don’t cross out, just grab a borrower copy and start all over. WATCH signers, as they seem to sign in the wrong place a lot these days.

==================================

(10) Journal entries
Not all states require journals. However, your journal is your only evidence if you should ever have to go to court. Keep a THUMBPRINT of the signers in your journal just in case anyone suspects fraud. A thumbprint is the most potent piece of evidence about the identity of the signer. Keep in mind that identification documents can be forged. Additionally, women change their hairstyle a lot, so you might not be able to recognize them in their ID photo. Some states require journal thumbprints for documents effecting real property and powers of attorney. Since the notary’s primary job is to identify signers, why not use the most effective means of identification as a supplement to the identification? It is fast and easy and could keep you out of court!

Q. If two signers are signing three documents each, how many journal entries do you need?

A. A separate journal entry for each document per person, which equals SIX journal entries. Each entry needs to be completely documented and signed by the signer.

Please record any unusual circumstances of the signing in your journal if there is any blank space. Sometimes there is an additional notes section. That will be your evidence in court. So, write that information with the intention of understanding what you were talking about when you read it five years after the fact. Your memory will fade, so be as thorough as possible and include all details that will job your memory.

===========================

(11) Smudgy seals
New notaries don’t understand that certain documents get recorded with the county recorder. Each individual at each of the USA’s different county recorder offices has different standards. They have the right to be very picky if they like. They might not like cross outs, light seal impressions, seal impressions with missing corners, or smudgy seals. Be careful when you are notarizing a recorded document. If you smudge your seal, you can use a loose certificate, and attach it to the corresponding document. The lender might not like that, but the law likes that and recorders will not complain about that.

Deeds, Mortgages, Subordination Agreements, and documents with the term Lien are likely to be recorded in addition to some Powers of Attorney.

========================

(12) Cross outs (Acknowledgments)
If there is wrong information on an Acknowledgment certificate, what do you do? Out of state wording that is not acceptable in your home state? Wrong information in the Venue such as a wrong county? What if the form says that two signers are showing up, but only one actually shows up? Should you cross out or attach a loose certificate? You can notarize a document twice if you have two journal entries in case you want to do both. If you add a loose certificate, make sure you LABEL the additional information section completely. A fraud could reattach your certificate to a DIFFERENT document signed by the same signer if you don’t document the name of the document, number of pages, document date, and any other information that your loose certificate might indicate.

========================

(13) Don’t leave unsigned paperwork with the borrowers
If the borrower won’t sign one or more papers, then load it up into the outgoing Fedex. The borrower’s copies are for the borrowers, not the lender copies.

=======================

(14) Confirmation of completion
Confirming the signing before the signing
Just say, “Hi this is Frank, I completed the signing for the Mazzingos at 14 Cherry Lane, Twingsboro, MA. The Fedex tracking number is 3333-3333-3333, I repeat, the Fedex tracking number is 3333-3333-3333. Call me if you have any issues.

==========================

(15) Don’t backdate
If asked to put a date on a notarization different from the date you went out — that is illegal — just say no!

========================

(16) Never use white out

================================

(17) Fedexing the documents
As documents are time sensitive, get them in the Fedex drop box as soon as you can (or drop box of whatever courier you are using). If you need to hear back from your contact person concerning a signing, don’t delay getting the documents back while you wait, as you might endanger the lender from getting things processed before the deadline. If you wait until the next morning to send it back because you are waiting for the signing company to call you, you might get busy the next day, and forget to put the Fedex in the drop box. You might miss the deadline, the documents would get back late. The borrower could even lose their lock in the worst scenario and sue you for $20,000. Don’t play games with time sensitivity.

Also, use a drop box at a Fedex hub, or manned station. Drop boxes in remote areas are not always picked up on schedule, and you will be in big trouble if they are not picked up. Know your local stations by memory so you know where to go, and don’t procrastinate. Get the documents in the box the night of the signing. Don’t wait until the next day unless you are forced to.

========================

(18) Don’t send loose certificates in the mail

Lenders are notorious about asking notaries to send loose certificates in the mail. That is illegal and can be used for fraud. If asked to do this, just ask for them to get the original document back to you with the original certificate. Then, destroy the original certificate and attach a new one. You do not need to see the signer again, just as long as there is only ONE well documented certificate floating around — attached to the document in question. Make sure to label the certificate with the document name, document date, number of pages, and any other identifying information you can think of to prevent the reattachment of that certificate to some OTHER document which would be frauduluent.

==============================

(19) Additional visits
You might be asked to make an additional visit to a borrower. Make sure that the company who hires you has a good payment record. You are much LESS likely to get paid for a second visit than you are for a regular signing as it might not be in the company’s budget. Be careful. On the other hand, companies will be very unlikely to use you in the future if you don’t make 2nd visits upon request — so also be careful.

=========================

(20) The 48 hour rule
Notaries need to be available by email and phone within 48 hours after the signing. If the signing company or lender needs to talk to you, and they can’t reach you, they will write a complaint on your listing on 123notary and that will stay there permanently. They might need you to go back to the borrowers, or they might need to clarify something with you.

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