November 2014 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

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November 28, 2014

Two and a half notaries: POA for property management

The Real Estate Broker and the Power of Attorney for Property Management

EVELYN: I want to sell that investment property of mine. It is nothing but trouble.

ALAN: That’s too bad, I’m rather fond of that house.

EVELYN: You’re just fond of it because you wanted to live in it. But, you can’t afford it, and neither can I.


BERTA: Go ahead… rub it in. The rest of us have to work all day, and we still can barely get by.

EVELYN: At least you have a job, and in a nice home. There are many people who are out of work. Like that lousy louse of a manager who I fired last week.

ALAN: Is he the one you wanted to…

EVELYN: Oh, can it. I lost interest in him years ago, the minute I learned that…

JAKE: The minute you learned what?

CHARLIE: If you don’t like managing it, why not hire someone else to take care of it. It’s not like you don’t know the best property managers in town.

EVELYN: I thought about that, but you know… trying out a new manager is much easier than dealing with a property sale. You never know how long that could take.

ALAN: Well, I know a very nice notary if you are interested.

EVELYN: Well, send him over. I can have the Power of Attorney drafted by tomorrow. My Attorney will handle it. I have him wrapped around my finger.

CHARLIE: That’s what you said about the plumber.

EVELYN: Well, I thought I did, until I found out he was gay.

ALAN: Oh, so that’s why he was always so friendly with me. Wait a second. Do people think that I’m …

JAKE: I heard that if girls think you’re gay, they’ll consider you to be more approachable.

EVELYN: Now, where did you hear that?

CHARLIE: I suddenly remember that I have an appointment on the other side of town, and I’m running late. Oh boy, gotta go…

JAKE: A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. (making a gay hand gesture)

EVELYN: Now, that is manipulative, deceptive, and just…

BERTA: Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it. Do what you gotta do kid! I once pretended to be lesbian to get a job. The wife was so afraid that her husband and I would… well, you know. But, once she found out I was lesbian, she was willing to give me a chance.

JAKE: So, how did the job end?

BERTA: When she found me in the back seat of their station wagon with her husband. (shrugging her shoulders)

EVELYN: This is what you share with my grandson? Of all the bad examples!

(the next day)

EVELYN: I’ve got my Power of Attorney for Property Management all drafted. Now, the notary will be here any minute.

SAL: Did someone call for a notary?

EVELYN: Right this way please. Let’s sit at the dining room table.

SAL: May I see some ID ma’am?

EVELYN: Here you go. It’s current. That was three hair styles ago.

SAL: What color are you eyes ma’am?

EVELYN: Oh, I thought you’d never ask. You mean my real eyes?

SAL: Just tell me what it says on the ID I’m looking at. Then, I’ll know it’s you. Do you want this to be multiple choice?

EVELYN: Hazel!

SAL: Sign here in my journal, sign the docs, and I’ll give you my stamp.

EVELYN: Well, you certainly are a distinguished notary!

SAL: Thanks. It’s because I do a lot of distinguishing!


CHARLIE: What he means is that he know how to spot a fake ID.

JAKE: Yeah, like the one you used that got you locked up in jail overnight last year.

ALAN: Oh please don’t remind me. That was the worst night of my life. Sitting there in the waiting room.

EVELYN: Gotta go. I’m having a meeting with my new property manager. Steve!

JAKE: Do you have him wrapped around your finger too?

EVELYN: Well, actually, he has me wrapped around his — but, it’s revocable dear…


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November 24, 2014

Is $75 enough to print 2 sets of docs, notarize & do faxbacks?

In this tough economy, many notaries have simply dropped out. The remaining notaries, as tough or as proud as they portrayed themselves to be have simply had to compromise their standards for what they charge. Many signing agents with ten or more years of experience told Carmen (in confidence) that they were forced to accept $60 signings just to stay afloat. So, we won’t mention any names, but you know who you are. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Americans complain about what Indians would regard as a luxury!
Notaries complain endlessly about how unfair it is that they only get $75 for so much work with such high expenses. My take on the situation is quite different because I travel. A policeman in India makes $50 per month (not including bribes.) Can you imagine living on $50 per month? How would you rent a place to live? You would be living on top of each other twenty to a room and eating dahl and rice in small quantities once or twice per day if you were lucky. Can you imagine this type of poverty that hard working Indians endure as a matter of standard procedure? And what about the folks in the countryside who work for 20 rupees per day which is about 40 cents. That is about $12 per month. When you get these $75 assignments, just say to yourself, “I made four months of a Bihari farmworker’s salary in two hours! Yippee!”

If you are doing worse than last year, do you get upset?
It is a human tendency to be sad when you are not getting what you want, or what you used to easily get. But, this human tendency needs to be changed. We live in a changing world where what was impossible yesterday might be easy tomorrow, and vice versa. You need to just do the best you can do and not base your life today on whether it is better or worse than last year. Notaries base their fees on 123notary on what they paid last year. If I charge $150 this year, but only $120 last year, they are upset that they are paying more this year than last year. What really matters is not what happened last year, but if your investment is getting you a sufficient return.

Let’s do the math
If you get $75 for a loan signing, how much work and expense is really involved. You might spend 20 minutes on the phone on average including follow up calls, scheduling and making sure the documents arrive through whatever medium is used. You might need to drive thirty to forty-five minutes both ways to the signing. You might go through 350 pages of paper, and some toner or ink printing the documents which is not for free unless you have a gift certificate to office-max.

Your real expenses might be $4 of car expenses including gas, oil changes, and other wear and tear.
If you can purchase paper for a bulk price you might use up $3 in paper, and $2 in ink or toner (just guessing)
You might use up two hours of your time including everything: 1 hour driving; 30 minutes signing; 20 minutes on the phone; 10 minutes doing fax backs. (best case scenario)
After expenses, you get $66 profit and you can deduct your miles at the Federal mileage rate as well!
If you spent two hours total, you got $33 per hour.

On the other hand, if you spent an hour each direction, had to wait four hours for documents, and the signers read every letter of every page and asked a million questions, plus spent an hour on the phone with Fred the lender, then you might have invested seven hours which would leave you with $9 per hour which is still above minimum wage in most states.

$20/hour is not bad for someone who can just walk in off the street.
I would say in all honesty, that the average signing agent probably makes about $20 per hour for their assignments. More seasoned signing agents who command higher rates like $125 or more per signing might make $45 per hour on average. Being a relatively inexperienced signing agent is not a high skilled job like being a nuclear physicist. You do not merit $50 or more per hour unless you are the best 1% of notaries in the business or are an Attorney. All you need to be a notary signing agent is to be a resident of a state (not even a citizen in many states,) fill out an application (most states don’t even have a notary exam,) get bonded, and take a quick class in loan signing; $20 per hour is not bad for someone who can just walk in off the street and start doing loan signings. For a notary with three years of experience, they should be making more like $25-$30 per hour. That is what I made when I was doing signings with that level of experience!

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November 21, 2014

Notary Pick Up Lines Part 2

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: — admin @ 10:40 am

This one was written by a guest blogger.
It is rated (R), so if you are tight on morality, please skip on to the next one!

You get my stamp of approval that’ll never expire.

Lien on me, baby.

After impressing my notary seal to this document, I’d rather impress you.

How ‘bout affix-up? (or… How ‘bout an affix-up?)

Let’s talk dirty and swear under oath.

What do you say we change the venue to my place?

If you look at another notary’s writs, I’ll get subpoenas-envy.

Is that an embosser in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? (off the old come-on first made famous by Mae West that’s lived ever since, “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”)

After acknowledging you signed a document, feel like acknowledging my existence?

While you certify that date, how ‘bout certifying our date?

I affirm under penalty of law you’re hot.

Why bear witness to documents when we can bear each other’s souls?

It’s a crime if you don’t go out with me, punishable by the death of my social life.

Forget power of attorney. Right now I’m thinking about the power of that blouse (you’re wearing).

Come witness our initials in that tree.

There’s no statute of limitation to how much I want you (right now).

Hi. If I’m bothering you, it’s just a duress rehearsal.

(some slightly edgier ones…)

After you sign the deed, how ‘bout we do that other deed? (the proverbial “dirty deed” as in screw.)

This is just my notary public façade. Wait till you see my privates.

I’m state-approved. Care for a drink? I’m also state of intoxication-approved.

Are you as loose as that certificate? (re: “loose certificate”)

My seal isn’t the only thing that’s raised right now.


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November 18, 2014

HUD-1 The Settlement Statement

Filed under: (4) Documents,Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 9:04 pm

“We are waiting for approval of the HUD before we can send you the docs”. I’m sure you have heard that frequently. Arguably the single most informative document in the package. The HUD, along with the Note, Mortgage and TIL (you better know what the letters stand for) comprise the heart of the deal. Although the HUD is usually not notarized, you DO have to take a look at it.

Probably the most important things for you to check are lines 303 and 603 on the first page. But first take a look at items D and E on the top. D & E name the borrower and seller. Generally you will meet either the borrower or the seller; occasionally both. Now you know if you are meeting with the borrower or the seller, and a quick check of 303 and 603 will let you know if there is “Cash (x) From” due. You are expected to notice cash from and to pick up the payment.

Generally the check is made payable to the Settlement Agent. The agent is named in box H at the top of the form. The check(s) are usually made out to the name in box H. On page 2 in the 1100 series of entries there is often a notary fee listed. Sorry, but that is not the amount that you will receive; it’s the amount payable to the Signing Service. If it says $350 and you took the job for $75; you can be sure the Signing Service considers you a hero. As you recall they said they are only getting $125, you might have a slightly different opinion of them.

There is generally a separate signature page. Oddly, the signature page is often not numbered and really has no “tie” to the HUD itself. Take care here; often the signature page requires two signatures. It’s an easy mistake to just obtain the first required signature but not the second. It’s also easy to become a favorite with the settlement company. They need several copies of the HUD and often make them and stamp them with “Certified True Copy” – they are always delighted when the notary prints a few originals, five is a nice quantity; and has original signatures on each.

Sometimes you will receive the entire package minus the HUD; which you are told will follow as soon as it’s approved. Wanna take a chance? If so, go ahead and print the two copies of the docs that you currently have in your inbox. Don’t be too surprised if you are told to shred what you printed. Numbers on the can HUD relate directly to other numbers in the package. If at all possible wait for word that the HUD is “final” prior to printing the package.

As the HUD is the key “money expenses” page; it’s common for the borrower to receive email with “preliminary” numbers. Obsolete HUDs (that are not the “final”) look very similar to the “final” that you brought to the table. Take care that an earlier HUD, printed by the borrower is not mixed in with the documents that you printed. Borrowers will frequently want to compare the one they printed (left hand) to the one you brought (right hand). Be absolutely sure that you return the one sent to you and not the one sent to the borrower.

There is a silver lining to the gray cloud of HUDs. It’s a federal form and almost always the HUD is basically identical and it’s easy to find information. However, I have seen “HUD clones” that do not follow the standardized format. Take care to look closely to determine how these are signed (perhaps also initialed?). Rarely notarized, it’s an easy form to process. Return a few copies of what was sent to you, signed in all the right places.


November 15, 2014

2014 Most ACTIVE signing companies

These companies were the most active in 2014 each with multiple comments in our forum.

Accurate National Signing Service

Always Signing

American Signing Connection

BNN Services

Convenient Closers

Doc Pros

Executive Signing Agents


Field Choice

Global Notary

Land & Law Group

Loan Processing Center


Mobile Signing Solutions Corp

Mortgage Connect LP

Nations Direct


Sign Here Ink

Signing Stream

Skye Closings

Timios Title

WFG National Title Insurance Company


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November 14, 2014

Good Times: JJ rescues a Notary

Filed under: Sit-Coms — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:50 am

Florida hires Les Nessman — a former news announcer from WKRP turned notary to do a mobile notary job for them in their neighborhood. Unfortunately Les gets jumped and never wants to return to their area. But, JJ saves the day and buys back Les’s stolen property, returns it to him. Wilona accompanies JJ, and asks Les out on a date to a movie.

FLORIDA: I just can’t believe how difficult it is to get a Notary. We have to go all the way downtown and stand in line and then they have the nerve to charge us an arm and a leg. Can’t the District of Columbia do something about that? Don’t they understand that we are poor people?

WILONA: (walks in) Hi y’all! Guess what the latest addition to our women’s clothing line at our store is?

JJ: I don’t know. Perhaps a T short that says wipe your paws if you expect me to do the same?

THELMA: Oh, put a can in it JJ!

WILONA: No dummy, it’s my shirt. “I Love Notaries.” I heard that you were having a notary coming down here. Is he cute?

FLORIDA: Now, where did you hear anything like that?

JJ: Let’s just say, she heard a rumor.

JAMES: A rumor from whom?

JJ: A rumor from the grapevine, so to speak.

THELMA: A skinny grapevine with a big mouth?

JJ: That is a poss-i-bil-i-ty!

WILONA: Well, is he cute? Cuz I wanna date a notary!

FLORIDA: You don’t know anything about this Notary. He could be anyone.

WILONA: I ain’t getting any younger. If he has a pulse and treats me alright, I’ll consider him.

JJ: Oh, I’m sure he has a pulse. As a matter of fact…

JAMES: The notary we had in mind was a guy named Les who works downtown. He tried to visit us up here, for a reasonable fee, but…

JJ: But, he got jumped on his way up the stairway, right?

FLORIDA: JJ, how can you say a terrible thing like that?

THELMA: No, what JJ is saying is true, but even worse. He was mugged in the stairwell, and his car was broken into as well. He had one of those nice car radio systems that everybody wants.

JJ: I should have warned him. Come to think of it, I think there should be a sign saying, “No parking for people with nice car stereo systems, unless you have an armed security guard watching your car.”

FLORIDA: Now, JJ, what kind of a city would have a sign like that?

JJ: One that protects its citizens against the inevitable.

JAMES: JJ is just being realistic.

JJ: You see, people like that mugger are scaring people away from coming to our neighborhood. That is why we haven’t been able to get a mobile notary to come down here in the last twenty years.

THELMA: JJ, you aren’t even twenty years old.

JJ: Be that as it may. But, I have heard stories from people who have been here for a while.

FLORIDA: Well, I just talked the situation over with my psychic who says that one day, there will be this wonderful mobile notary directory called, but it won’t exist for another twenty-five years. I can’t wait that long. 123notary will be a directory where you can find over 7000 notaries anywhere in the United States who will come to you.

THELMA: Can’t we speed time up?

JJ: Yeah, like getting in a time machine?

JAMES: Now, you know that isn’t possible.

JJ: It is possible, if you have the right kind of imagination, and the creativity of an ar-teeest! (striking a pose and doing a bow)

FLORIDA: Well, what are we going to do in the mean time?

JJ: Relax, and consider your problems to be solved. For I have a good idea where that poor notary’s seal may very well be.

THELMA: How would you know something like that?

JJ: There is a street stall six blocks up from here called, “Questionably acquired merchandise for less.” I have a distinct feeling, that this poor notary’s seal might be there. I will go take a look.

JAMES: Now, I don’t want you getting in any trouble.

JJ: Well, as I said before, I am tired of people like that mugger scaring people away from this neighborhood. Especially people providing valuable services to the community — like Samantha.

FLORIDA: Samantha? Now, who is Samantha?

JJ: Let’s just say that she is a beautiful work of art and knows her way around a pole!

FLORIDA: Where have you been hanging out? I don’t like how this sounds at all.

JAMES: JJ! I don’t like this either. Boy, I put you in this world and you can be damn sure that I can take you out!

JJ: Just relax. I never went to see Samantha. I only heard stories. Very descriptive stories I might add. But, worry not! She ain’t comin’ no more. She got jumped and the mugger got so mad that all she had was ones, that he threw half the money back at her and said, “Keep the change!”

(meanwhile… JJ goes to the street stall to buy-back the stuff that was stolen from the Notary.)

JJ: Well, what do we have here. A Notary Seal with the name Les Nessman. Speak of the devil. Now, where would you get a thing like this?

SELLER: We have a strictly enforced don’t ask don’t tell policy around here. We don’t know and we don’t wanna know.

JJ: And what do you know, a car stereo system that exactly matches the one that Les had. Now, that is what I call one stop shopping! What a coincidence. How much do you want for both. Do I get a package deal?

SELLER: $10 will do it.

JJ: Sold!

(JJ and Wilona take the bus downtown to see Les)

LES: I am so sorry about what happened. How, can I ever apologize?

JJ: There is no need to apologize. The error is all ours. We invited you to come to our neighborhood during the most dangerous hour of the any day in any week. 2pm on Sunday. That hour is notorious for all types of scandals, crimes, and civil unrest. But, fear not. I bear tidings of joy, and gifts. Close your eyes, and open your hands.

LES: Okay, but what kind of. Oh!!! That feels like my Notary Seal. And what’s that clunky thing? (opening his eyes) That’s my stereo!

WILONA: Hi, Les. Do you like my T-Shirt?

LES: Oh well, well yes. “I Love Notaries.” I hope you like news announcers too, because that is what I was doing at WKRP for many years.

WILONA: I can deal with news as well, just as long as it’s good news! Honestly Les, it has been my dream for the better part of my life…

JJ: You mean for the last five and a half days

WILONA: It has been my dream to date a notary. I know a good movie playing in my neighborhood.

LES: Uh… I’m not sure I want to go to your neighborhood again.

JJ: Yeah!! Unless he has a bulletproof vest, two armed guards and a NASA strength high security lock for his car.

WILONA: Well, I heard that there is a great movie playing downtown. Maybe that’s a better idea.

LES: Um… well, gee. I haven’t gone out on a date for quite a while. I don’t know what I would wear?

WILONA: Not a problem! I happen to own a clothing store. I’ll get you a T-Shirt that says, “Kiss me, I’m a notary!”

LES: Oh, in my size?

WILONA: Honey, I’ll just measure you and get you the right size.

LES: Well, it’s a deal!


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November 10, 2014

Is having an NNA background check really necessary to get work?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 7:22 am

There is not enough work for signing agents these days. We have heard that in the last month or two it got a little better, but this is the worst the mortgage business has seen in seventeen years. To be a CSS, you need a yearly background check. But, it is expensive, and many feel that it is unclear if they really need this to get work.

What does the NNA background check query?
Social Security number trace
County criminal court records
Federal criminal records
Statewide criminal records
Nationwide criminal database
Motor vehicle records
National sex offender database
USA Patriot Act lists
Office of foreign assets lists

But, I’m already background checked through my state!
Although California background screens notaries when they apply for a notary commission, this is only done once every four years. Additionally, the standards for working in the finance industry are higher than those for becoming a notary, and the state background checks don’t check as many sources of information as the signing agent background check does.

Sharing Personal Information?
Another question is whether the NNA or other testing agencies will be sharing your background information with financial institutions or others and whether or not this is legal. I do not have detailed information on this matter. However, the background check is pass fail, and some notaries are claiming that the only information that will be shared is if you passed or failed, and not your personal information.

On NotaryRotary, one notary claimed on May 26th, that before a background check can be done — you have to agree that NNA or BGO may share a detailed report of your background screening with any institutions that issue a written request. So, it remains fuzzy as to how much of your personal information can be shared. Another notary claims that her social security number was not shared, but that her Driver License information was.

Do you really need it?
I read many Linked In discussions on this topic and learned that it is becoming increasingly necessary to be background checked to get work. The requirement is taking effect little by little instead of all at once. Another claims that it is the NNA background check that many companies are looking for and background checks by other agencies are not being accepted nearly as much. One notary claims that NNA background checks are a cost of doing business at the moment which cannot be circumvented. One long time notary claimed that he did just fine without the background check, but his point of view is in the minority at this time.

Although I personally feel that yearly certifications and annual background checks are overkill, it appears that many companies are requiring this, and that more will soon follow suit. To me, a very thorough background check once in four years is plenty. The chance that you will suddenly become a freelancer working for Al-Qaeda in the middle of your notary term is slim. And the chance that you will suddenly engage in Mortgage fraud is also slim. We have only heard of two notaries out of millions that have been convicted of any serious frauds involving jail time in the last decade.

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November 7, 2014

Two and a half notaries: The intercontinental notary seal

Filed under: Sit-Coms — Tags: , — admin @ 7:49 am

WARNING: This skit may have a few inappropriate references that could be considered slightly offensive to people with morals, people who don’t have morals, as well as people who are just not sure.

ALAN: I have an idea

CHARLIE: What is it this time? Are we going to all dress in green and walk down the street signing Gaelic songs?

ALAN: No, it’s even better than that, although I do love Gaelic music.

BERTA: Spit it out! Tell us what you want to do.

ALAN: I thought it would be great if we all became notaries! It is a service everybody needs. And then we would have something in common. You know — to talk about.

CHARLIE: Notary? I don’t really think anyone will need my services as a Notary. Nobody has ever asked me about that before.

JAKE: What’s a notary?

ALAN: Well, you see, a notary is a profession, where they check people’s ID, verify that they are the correct signer, witness them signing a document, and then they affix their notary stamp or seal to the document. Sometimes they even swear under Oath.

JAKE: Sounds cool, I think you should do it. (yawning and patting his mouth)

CHARLIE: I don’t know if I want to invest my precious time doing all the procedures to become a notary, especially not during the superbowl.

BERTA: I heard that Monica needed a Notary…

CHARLIE: Where do I sign up?

ALAN: We can all go down to the County Clerk, and fill out the forms. Then, we get our notary seals.


JAKE: Can I become a notary too?

ALAN: I think you need to be a little older.

CHARLIE: Yeah, and not be a felon.

JAKE: I’m not a felon… Wait! What’s a felon?

BERTA: Someone who was convicted of a serious crime, like my uncle Sam. He robbed a liquor store. But, it was an accident. I swear!

JAKE: Never mind, I don’t want to be a dumb notary anyway.

ALAN: Maybe we can get you a training stamp.

JAKE: Oh, kind of like a training bra, except for notaries

CHARLIE: This kid needs a lot more than just training.

ALAN: Maybe it will be good for him. You never know. Sometimes, hands on knowledge sticks with you more than stuff you learned in school.

JAKE: I’m asleep or daydreaming half the time in school anyway.

CHARLIE: Exactly!

(Charlie, Alan, and their friend Samantha go down to the County Clerk. Fill out the forms. A few weeks later, they get their notary commissions and then they go to purchase their official notary seals)

ALAN: I’d like to purchase a notary seal

CLERK: Sorry buddy. We’re all out of seals, and our next order won’t come in for another three weeks.

ALAN: Three weeks? Do you have anything left?

CLERK: I just got this one. It’s a store sample, so it’s been used before so people can see how the seal comes out on paper.

ALAN: Looks like I don’t have much choice. I’ll take it. How much is it?

CLERK: $25 even.

ALAN: But, it is so small. I’ve never seen a notary seal so small before.

CLERK: Sorry kid, it’s all we’ve got.

ALAN: I’ll take it!

(meanwhile, all three newly commissioned notaries return to Charlie’s Malibu house)

CHARLIE: Check out my new notary seal. It’s gold plated, and comes in a velvet lined case! Pretty snazzy!

SAMANTHA: I love it. It’s beautiful, just like the things you used to buy me when we were dating.

ALAN: How long ago was that?

CHARLIE: It was off and on. More off than on. But, that’s okay.

ALAN: So, where did you get that seal? It’s amazing!

CHARLIE: I know this place in Beverly Hills. They do customized work over there. For the right price, they can do anything for you — I mean anything. They had to special order this seal, but it was fast because they had a courier bring it down from Sacramento.

SAMANTHA: Check out my seal. It’s pink, but the ink is black. You know — for legal purposes. What about your seal Alan?

ALAN: You probably don’t want to see it. It’s just a seal.

CHARLIE: It was your idea for us all to become notaries, so yes, we do want to see it.

ALAN: It’s in the car. I’ll get it.

(Alan returns from the car)

ALAN: Here it is!

SAMANTHA: Oh, it’s tiny. I’ve never seen a notary seal so small.

ALAN: It might be small, but I know how to use it!

CHARLIE: (rolling his eyes)

JAKE: Check out my seal. I made it myself.

ALAN: How did you figure out how to make it?

JAKE: Easy, I just got some plastic housing for the outside and pit in a customized rubber seal on the inside. It says, “In Training.” I call it my intercontinental notary seal.

CHARLIE: Hey buddy, watch it with that. It’s leaking ink!

JAKE: I know, that’s why I call it an intercontinental notary seal.

ALAN: I think you mean “incontinent.”

JAKE: Same difference

CHARLIE: Well, keep it away from the carpets. The last thing I need is permanent black ink in my Persian rugs. That will cost a fortune to remove it if’s even possible.

JAKE: Not to worry, my ink is invisible ink.

ALAN: Now, there’s an idea.

BERTA: I once had something notarized in invisible ink. It didn’t hold up too well in court until I got the judge that special light, so he could read the ink. If it weren’t for that light, I’d still be in jail.

ALAN: So, Charlie, just out of curiosity. What do you do if your notary seal runs out of ink.

CHARLIE: I can guarantee that’s not going to happen if Monica’s around.

JAKE: I might have the problem if I can’t figure out how to stop that leak. The book I learned about seals from… well. I skipped the chapter on leaks.

(meanwhile two beach girls come to the house)

GIRLS: We heard you were notaries.

ALAN: Speak no further. What do you need done?

GIRLS: We need this waterproof document notarized?

CHARLIE: Are your ID’s waterproof too?

GIRL #1: Oh, I have my ID… right…. here…

(Jake’s eyes are bulging out staring intently directly at where Girl #1’s ID is coming out from)

JAKE: Can I touch it?

GIRL #1: You creep!

CHARLIE: Not you, the ID… He’s a notary in training you know.

GIRL #1: Oh… Okay. Here it is.

JAKE: (caresses the ID with a broad smile on his face, puts it to his chest, and to the side of his head.)

GIRL #2: Is this part of notary procedure?

ALAN: For Jake it is. He studied from a different book than we studied from.

CHARLIE: I think I’ll handle this case. Please sign my journal right here.

GIRL #1: Okay

(30 minutes later)

JAKE: He guess what uncle Charlie

CHARLIE: Dare I ask?

JAKE: Remember those girls who came over.


JAKE: Well, I notarized her. Not her document… her!

CHARLIE: No you didn’t! I’m going to my game. He’s about to do a touchdown.

JAKE: No really. Look out the window. (Girl #1 has her back to the house and is looking at a passing boat)

CHARLIE: I don’t see a notary seal on her.

JAKE: (pointing the ultra-violet invisible ink light at the girl) Look again!

CHARLIE: Oh!!! (shaking his head) Got it…

JAKE: One more thing

CHARLIE: Tell me?

JAKE: Ummm, you don’t need to tell Alan about this.

BERTA: I won’t tell him a thing! Mum’s the word!


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November 4, 2014

The Affidavit of Occupancy

An affidavit of occupancy is a simple document (sometimes notarized), that offers the borrower generally three choices. The first option (generally by making initials) is to have the property as a Primary Residence. This option typically requires the borrower to occupy the property, usually within 60 days; for a minimum of one year. The second option is to acquire the property as a second home, while maintaining a primary residence elsewhere. The third major option is to declare the property as Investment Property, not to be occupied by the borrower; but to sell or rent for rental income. It is unlikely that the borrower cannot accurately choose the correct option.

Care should be taken by the borrower to initial the correct choice. The wrong choice can result in financial and even criminal penalties at a later date. If the borrower is buying to live in, there is really no issue. However, when the intent is speculation or rental; it’s accurate disclosure or risk problems. Lower Mortgage Rates are available for owner occupied. This is why the intent to rent or speculate must be disclosed.

Affidavits of occupancy are especially relevant for small-time or independent real estate investors. If a borrower were to select “investment property” then choose to move in permanently – there probably would be no problem. Of course they would be paying a higher mortgage rate, lenders are rarely annoyed by such activity. It is the reverse, claiming to move in; getting a lower mortgage rate, then renting it out that causes problems.

Since affidavits of occupancy are not heavily regulated or governed by formal, industry-wide guidelines, they’re often originated in-house by the mortgage lenders or other real estate professionals. Thus, unlike the standardized HUD, there really is no uniform structure to the Affidavit of Occupancy. Actually it might just as well be called an Occupancy Certification, or similar. The only aspect that seems to appear with regularity is the need for the borrower to specify how they intend to utilize the property. This is generally done by initialing a specific paragraph, but some variations may call for a complete signature.

This form is a redundancy to similar assurances that appear in the Mortgage, namely, how the borrower intends to utilize the property that secures the loan. The occupancy statement contains strong language, 30 years in prison, fine of a million dollars, etc., per Title 18 US code Sec. 1001, and others. They are a separate document that the borrower cannot ignore, often notarized; and help the lender to charge a higher rate for loans that have greater risk. Typically, rental or investment property has greater risk. The difference can be half a percent that will be several thousand dollars or more over the life of the agreement.

They serve as an extra layer of protection against mortgage fraud and provide lenders with a clear chain of evidence that can be used to expose and prosecute such fraud. Whereas a homeowner might be able to make a plausible if unconvincing argument that he or she misunderstood the intent of the “occupancy question” that’s often buried within the structure of a mortgage settlement document, he or she has little chance of avoiding penalties for breaking an affidavit of occupancy. The affiants who “break” these (often) sworn statements risk being charged with mortgage fraud. At the very least the lender can demand full payment of all money due.

In processing this document care should be taken to be sure that all borrowers initial/sign the section that specifies the intended use of the property. Some lenders might require a non-obligor to also sign/initial. It’s probably a safe bet to have any signatory to the document also initial/sign the selection section.

It is the real intent of this document to curb the activities of those who wish to obtain property at a low mortgage rate for speculation or to become “little” landlords. Sometimes it takes years for the housing authorities and the lender to discover the fraud. Those false statements can and do incur harsh civil and criminal penalties. In addition to the mortgage fraud; housing violations are common. The form is simple and easy to understand. There really is nothing for the notary to “explain”. A notarized false statement is exactly that; in addition to being a crime.


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November 3, 2014

123notary’s site traffic about to hit a new all time high!

Filed under: Advertising — Tags: — admin @ 9:15 pm

The notaries are complaining that there is no business. It is sad, but that is the reality. Their complaints are real ones, and not just emotional reactions to their individual situations. But, 123notary is doing something about it. We are doing lots. In fact, we have done so much already, that our site’s traffic is about to hit an all time high even with business being so low. As of July 2014, our traffic hit the same level it did during our previous all time peak in July 2013. The question is, how much higher can our traffic really get, and will get mean jobs for you guys?

The way to get traffic to a site on the internet is always changing and evolving over time. In the old days, having an SEO specialist was the way to go. We optimized our site a while ago, and it made a huge difference. These days, SEO still matters, but not as much as social media. 123notary does a lot of social media, because this is what keeps us high in the search engine rankings and gets positive attention from the notaries and those who use notaries.

As you may be aware, we have been doing Twitter for about four years. Our twitter grew from zero to 2000 almost overnight. Then, it sort of got stuck at that level. We didn’t really grow much until a new social media manager came in. Then, we started to grow slowly. After a while we did Twitter pay-per-click and got new followers very quickly. The benefit of these new followers was that they clicked on links to our blog which strengthened our blog optimization which then in turn helps our site rankings. We now have 8500 members on Twitter and I am finding ways to make it grow even more. Additionally, I have a personal notary twitter with 1500 members which is tweeting links to interesting site pages, articles and more. Twitter has never been a favorite of our notaries. Very few of our members visit our Twitter page, and we get very few clients from it. But, it is very good for our site rankings which is why we put so much time into it.

Many of our notaries actively visit our Facebook page and post very interesting comments to our discussions. We are so happy that the notaries participate so willingly and with such high quality input. Our Facebook account gives our blog a lot of traffic which strengthens its SEO, when in turn enhances our site traffic to

Our Blog
Our blog started out small, and the notaries didn’t like it much at first. We got a lot of criticism about local notary law issues, and it was very stressful. But, these days, our blog is a hit. Our newsletter has about 4000 members who visit our blog regularly, and our blog is getting about 16,000 visits per month which is excellent. Maybe I’ll find a way to get that number to grow!

I am using Google+ for my social media articles and travel articles. Unfortunately, Google+ doesn’t have enough notaries or mortgage brokers to merit having a profile. But, things might change in the next year or two. We do tweet a few notary articles from Google+ just to see what happens.

Linked In
We have a lively notary discussion group on linked In. It doesn’t look like it will ever be super huge, but we have 1400 members who are very active which is fabulous. Incidentally, we did not put any effort into our Linked In group. The notaries are solely responsible for its miraculous growth!

The Future
What will 123notary be doing in the future on social media to boost growth? We are networking with Realtors on Twitter to boost site traffic for one. We might find a way to get some great artwork on some of our blog entries to enhance traffic from PPC programs. The problem we experience with our PPC campaign is that visitors didn’t spend long enough on our blog pages, perhaps because there was too much text and no photos. We will experiment adding photos and hand drawn cartoons from an expert to see if that boosts the number of seconds & minutes that visitors spend on our pages. I am optimistic that our social media presence will continue to grow. Since I’m getting smarter about it, it might grow more than any of us can possibly anticipate. The sky is the limit. So with us luck. Our success translates into more jobs for you!


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