January 2015 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

January 27, 2015

The Mortgage & The Note

Filed under: (4) Documents,Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:41 am

The Mortgage and The Note
These two documents formulate the essence of the home purchase or refinance. The vast number of related documents provide essential and legal information. However, the Note and the Mortgage are really the “action” documents. In their most basic functionality: the note specifies the terms of the loan, the mortgage provides collateral against a default of the Note.

Curiously, the Note typically begins with “In return for a loan that I have received, I promise to pay $XXX,XXX.XX”, but rarely is the Note notarized. It is often initialed on each page by the borrower(s) that are signing the final page. There should be an agreement with the 1003, the Loan Application as to who is technically a borrower. Non-obligors who may be “on title” never sign the note. As the definitive definition of the loan; interest rate and payment terms are generally the second and third items on the first page. These are the items of greatest interest.

Also essential, but rarely initially reviewed, is the Right to Prepay; and what will happen if the borrower fails to pay according to the terms of the Note. Typically, if more than one person signs the Note, each bears the full responsibility for payment. The Note is a negotiable instrument, similar to cash or a bond. They are frequently sold by the initial lender.

Almost all variations of the note include the words “Sign Original Only” on the signature page. As a negotiable instrument is being created, multiple copies of the Note for the same obligation could lead to fraud, confusion, and the borrower(s) being asked to pay each Note! When asked to execute multiple copies of the same Note; shrewd borrowers are careful to add wording to the effect that the duplicate(s) are “file copy” and “not negotiable” next to their signature(s).

The Mortgage, often referred to as the Deed Of Trust, is generally of much greater length compared to the Note. A key provision of the Note grants the Mortgage enforceability. The Note references the related Mortgage: “In addition to the protections given to the Note Holder under this Note, a Mortgage, Deed of Trust … dated the same date as this Note … protects the Note Holder if I do not keep the promises made in this Note”.

Think of the Mortgage as the “enforcement arm” of the Note. The Mortgage contains, in about fifteen pages; the procedures to, typically; take back the property. For notaries the Mortgage often contains a “built in” problem. On the first page of the Mortgage the borrower is “supposed” to be named. However, in lieu of their legal name the “vesting” name often appears. This is not a problem on the first page. But, it does get to be a problem on the last page. For it is there that the computer often uses the “vesting” name in the notary section.

For technical reasons, on the Mortgage vesting often includes “status” terminology such as “husband and wife” or “a single woman” or “a married man” – but **ONLY** the name is permitted in the notary section. Thus, “before me appeared John B Doe a single man” is not permitted per NY State notary laws. I am required to redact (thin line through & my initials) the “a single man” part from the pre-entered value following “before me personally appeared”. Care should also be taken to have John B Doe initial JBD not just JD if his middle initial is on the signature line of the Mortgage. I promise to pay, and, what if I don’t; are the heart of the deal.

Most fail to note (no pun) that there is language in the NOTE that incorporates the Mortgage as “part of the note”

A little mentioned aspect in the “fine print” but O so important.


You might also like:

Ken’s comprehensive guide to Deeds — Good Deed Bad Deed

The Deed of Trust


January 23, 2015

Notary Hell – “Yeah, but it’s a dry heat”

Welcome to Notary Hell

Notaries who have done bad deeds (or signed bad Deeds) in their personal or professional life are often committed to Notary Purgatory, or Notary Hell. Many Buddhist Notaries commented that there are seven heavens and seven hells, birth, death, and rebirth. In Notary Hell, the Power of the Devil, supersedes the Power of Attorney (even if it is Authenticated by the Secretary of State.)

In Notary Hell, misdeeds, negligence, and malfeasance are considered good things, although they prefer active acts of treachery.

Common Experiences
Notaries who are condemned to Notary Hell are subjected to all types of cruel, but not unusual tortures. Some notaries have all of their documents burned in the eternal fires of hell. Others have to do a daily signing for a “reader” who reads every letter of every page, and then claims not to be sure if they want to sign. These “readers” can take up to three hundred hours to complete a signing in 130 degree heat. The devils in Notary Hell are very despotic, they like to emboss the notaries around. One devil came around with a giant red hot steel embosser and embossed a notary’s hand. Other notaries are branded on their left shoulder with a red hot iron notary seal, so that it will be obvious which part of Notary Hell they are confined to.

One notary had a near death experience that he shared with us. His soul actually left his body. Unfortunately, because of all of the misdeeds he had committed (including backdating) that he went to hell. At first he was concerned that he was in hell. But, then after a few minutes he realized that he recognized half the people there since they were his Mortgage Broker clients.

Another notary commented that when he was in Notary Hell, everything he notarized was in invisible ink, so all of his work was virtually erased.

The Warning Signs
For those who are weak in terms of their conscious, a not so subtle warning sign is often sent to the notary from the higher world. The notary will be sent to Notary Hell for a few minutes in a dream, to scare the hell out of them. If the notary does not repent, the next time the notary commits a serious error or omission, the gates of Notary Hell will open up, and the Notary Devil himself will come for a personal visit to the notary’s official address based on their records with the Secretary of State.

Entry Procedures
All notaries are required to register with the Secretary of Hell, or as the locals call it, “The Demon Vee” within 30 days of arrival. You must have an identification document that was issued in the last ten years, but hasn’t been burned (or melted) yet. Notaries are required to take their Oath of Office. There is no prerequisite residency requirement for entry. Applicants must be 18 years or older and have committed a Felony or multiple acts of Mural Turpitude. There is no proctored exam necessary as an entry requirement for Notary Hell. References from scummy people are appreciated although not required.

There are many mansions in my father’s kingdom
But, you only get a cramped spot in the basement of the mansion next to the boiler room. Although Notary Hell is horribly unpleasant, due to funding cuts in the Secretary of Hell, most of the torturous punishments have been put on hold — at least for now.

DEVIL: Welcome to Notary Hell

NOTARY: But, all I did was backdate a few times

DEVIL: You don’t know how that affected other people’s lives, do you?

NOTARY: Are you preaching to me?

DEVIL: Well, I’m not exactly the most credible of witnesses, but let’s just say, that I’m aware of the severity of your mal-actions.

NOTARY: So, what now?

DEVIL: It’s time to get you registered. Right this way.

CLERK: ID Please?

NOTARY: Here it is. By the way, it’s hot in here!

DEVIL: Yeah, but it’s a dry heat.

CLERK: Have you visited Notary Hell before?

NOTARY: The time when my client wouldn’t turn down his TV came pretty close.

CLERK: Birth and death date

NOTARY: What’s the point, I’m dead aren’t I?

CLERK: Well, we like to keep track of these things. We like to keep accurate journal entries, just like good notaries are supposed to do — hint, hint.

NOTARY: Journal Schmournal. So, I kept a journal. People signed it. Big deal.

CLERK: We take these things very seriously in the brighter world. If it had been a lesser infraction, we would have sent you to Notary Heck.

NOTARY: Okay, okay, okay. I got it.

CLERK: If every notary were as negligent as you, the entire profession would be compromised. Ha! More business for me!

NOTARY: Okay, so what now?

CLERK: Now, we take you to your accommodations. Follow the demon dressed in red, and take a left at the pitchfork in the road.

NOTARY: Got it.

DEMON: Welcome to Notary Hell.

(walking to the notary’s accommodations)

NOTARY: Oh, look to the left. I didn’t know Saddam Hussein was a Notary.

DEMON: Little mix-up. We sent him to the wrong hell.

NOTARY: Oh look at those cauldrons, notaries are being boiled in oil.

DEMON: The one good thing about having Saddam around is that we never run out of oil.

NOTARY: Just out of curiosity, is there wifi here?

DEMON: No, but we have cable. We have the Kardashian channel playing 24/7.

NOTARY: Is this my cell?

DEMON: Here’s your palatial estate.

NOTARY: And you call this notary hell?

DEMON: Yeah, but now all your dead relatives know you have a palatial estate and they’ll be visiting you in one hour. And by the way, the thermostat is on the mantle. You can turn it down to 130 during daylight hours — if you like.

NOTARY: That’s quite thoughtful of you.

DEMON: Shhhh. don’t let that get out!


You might also like:

Notary comedy articles about heaven & hell

Witnessing intake forms for Notary Heaven

Commission Impossible


January 20, 2015

The Signature Name Affidavit

The Signature Name Affidavit
An extension of the simple signature affidavit (this is my signature), is the signature / name / AKA affidavit. Here it becomes a little bit more complex for both the notary, and the affiant. Understanding what are probably the two most frequent uses for the form helps to jog my memory as to their importance, and how they should be processed.

Both the single name format and the multiple name formats generally use Jurat wording. As, when you think about it; an acknowledgement kinda violates the basic purpose. It would be useless. That routine notary statement “Subscribed and sworn (affirmed) before me…..” is the key. This document contains, under oath, a notary witnessed (after checking ID) signature sample. Experts can compare the “known to be authentic” sample against the signatures on the questionable documents. Both formats, if ever used, will probably see a courtroom. Always use your embosser on these.

The multiple name section has the affiant making an additional statement “I am also known as”. Generally this provides a means of processing slight variations in signatures. For example, they may miss a middle initial on one of their signatures. But only if it’s completed correctly. I am looking at a sig name aff that has first middle and last at the top. In the “also known” there is one entry preprinted, that one uses the first and last name. But, what if they sign first, init, last? That very likely situation is not covered by preprinting. However, there are a few blank lines for the astute notary to use. Printing (generally on the left), first, init, last; and having them sign on the right using those name components. Now if they sign first init last; on **ANY** document, that document (per their own sworn statement) has their legal signature. This catch might make the closing go smoothly. And, let us not forget; eliminate the need for a free correction trip!

Now for the hard part. The above paragraph was just a warm-up; prepare for some grief. There are AKA entries that raise the eyebrows of the affiant. Very few of them will object to adding or subtracting variations possible of the middle name; they will sign off on that. However, when there are one or more entries that are vastly different from the legal name there is a problem. The root of the problem will never become known to you. They want “confirmation” of the extreme variation to deal with a situation that might have started as a clerical error. This blog entry makes no attempt to deal with the issue of fraud issues related to AKA entries.

I have had affiants, often in their attorney’s office; hand add the term “have never been known as” to a line item, adding proper initialing. They then proceed to sign the rejected name. It’s their sworn statement, and their lawyer wisely wants their statement completely truthful. It is possible that the processor of the signature name affidavit just glances to see that “the boxes are full”. I don’t know the odds, but the few modified ones I notarized did not bounce back. How could they? The affiant modified the form to reflect the truth, sworn under oath.

You can’t suggest the “never been known”, unless you are an attorney. So, lacking a parachute; the affiant will sometimes refuse to sign. If possible call “upstream”, and let them work it out. When nobody was reachable, I accepted them signing only at the top. It’s a fine line between making something available to sign; and exerting influence to sway their sign, no sign decision.


You might also like:

The Signature Name Affidavit (2016 version)

Ken’s tips for the Closing Disclosure


January 19, 2015

What’s the difference between a listing getting 16 clicks/month & 100+

Most notaries just think that a listing is a listing. They think that if they are listed on 123notary, that something wonderful will happen, but if it doesn’t, that’s our fault. Nothing is further from the truth. Some listings get a monopoly on clicks even if they are far down the list simply because they stand out and have quality information. Let’s get more specific.

Go and get some Reviews
We’ve been telling notaries for years now that they need to get reviews. If you were searching for a notary, a restaurant, or a bus tour of San Francisco, wouldn’t you read the reviews? If you were smart you sure would, otherwise you would waste your time and money on a service that was far from being the best. Put yourself in the position of the customer looking for a notary. You know you are good, and therefore you don’t think you need reviews, right? Or perhaps you are too shy to ask for fear of offending your clients who might think it is inappropriate. If you are appropriate, you will be sitting home all alone every Saturday night without a date so to speak, because you didn’t ask anyone out of fear of rejection or being inappropriate. You will lose at least half your potential calls if you don’t have reviews, so go and ask for some. Email them a link to your review page after you call them and ask too, so they will be able to find the review page.

Notes – be unique
Most notaries write very boring notes sections. If you have read 30,000 notes sections like I have, they all begin to look like they were written by the same person. They all mention E&O insurance, how responsible and error-free your work is, and how people-oriented you are. People are tired of hearing this. Yes, it is pertinent information, but start your notes out with something specific and unique. Read what the top notaries are writing in the various metros across our great nation to get ideas. We have written, and will continue to write articles on how to write a great notes section, so please read those, and think about what specific types of skills you have that are worth mentioning, and what is different about how you do your work.

Certification – stop complaining and just do it!
But, I don’t NEED another certification. I’m already “certified,” she said. I’ve heard this thousands of times. It is true that NNA’s new certification is somewhat necessary for inexperienced notaries to get work these days. However, those on 123notary who don’t have our certification icon next to their name lose more than half of the jobs they would have gotten if they had our certification. If you are so smart that you don’t need to take our test, then the test should be a breeze, so why complain about taking a wimpy test? Just do it! Pass it and get it over with. We only require notaries to pass our test once in their career.

Company names make you look professional
Having a company name won’t revolutionize your business, but it will make you look more professional and does attract about 17% more calls. Do it legally please and register with your county clerk.

Being higher on the list at a price you can afford
123notary makes its money by selling high placements. Being high on the list really does help get not only more work, but the cream of the crop of the jobs. The high paying companies start at the top and assume that those higher on 123notary are higher class notaries who know their stuff which is generally true (but, not always.) The companies that go down the list as a matter of habit are generally low-ballers. Sure, they might hire you, but do you really want $75 to print out two sets of documents at 150 pages per set, do fax-backs, and then find out that your job got cancelled after you printed everything out? We understand that not everyone can afford to be #1 on the list. But, upgrading to a preferential or a p#13 can make a big difference in the performance of your listing, and you can email us for a quote. P#10’s and p#13’s will not break your bank, but are a great intermediary step in moving up our list!

Answer your phone
Last, but not least — answer your phone. Many notaries have a policy of not answering their phones during a signing. If we call you to remind you about your renewal, or to offer you the #1 spot, and you don’t answer your phone, guess what happens? We don’t call a second time! You snooze you lose. Signing companies have a list of twenty notaries to call for each job opening. If you don’t answer your phone out of consideration for those who hired you, you will lose out on your next job of the day, or tomorrow’s job. Each phone call you don’t answer could cost you $20 as one in five is likely to be a serious offer. Do the math, think about it, but if the phone rings while you’re thinking about it — then answer your phone.

You might also like:

What to write in your notes section

10 quick changes to your notes that double your calls



January 17, 2015

Polite Signing Companies who are pleasant to work for

Notaries are always complaining about how badly signing companies treat them. It’s just like working at a chicken plucking factory in the 1800’s — “Get back to work or we’ll doc today’s pay!” We have lists that we publish of good signing companies, and there are many. But, we have never published a list of polite signing companies. I feel that it is high time that notaries get treated a little better, so here goes! We included quotes from appreciative notaries on the forum.


“I LOVE working with everyone at ASAP”

I have done closings for ASAP Pro Notary for almost 6 months. “Everyone” has been very professional, easy to work with, someone is always available to answer questions and the best part of all…pay is timely.


Concierge Notary

“Great communication, fair and QUICK pay, and she’s such a pleasure to work with!”

“This is the best company I have ever worked with, period!”


Door to Door

“Lori and Mike are great to work with and pay very quickly. Great folks.”
“They’ve been great to work with. No problems.”


Express Signatures

“Once I got two checks for the same signing and called and told them and shredded it. Chris, the bookkeeper was very nice about that as was the owner, Gary, who called and thanked me personally. Gary has two experienced notaries who work for him and they have helped in the cases the BO has questions and/or we have questions. I would definitely recommend this company to anyone.”


Homefront Escrow

“Chris and Jessica in escrow are a pleasure to deal with and make my job a ton easier.”
“Yes, I work for them. A great company, fees and payment!”


Inscribing Pursuits Escrow

“Super nice people.. and hope to do business with them again!”
“Rikki is wonderful. If all companies were the same.”


Kelley’s Mobile Notary

“I’ve worked with them a few times, and they’re clear and friendly. Also, they are prompt with their payments. ”


Lewis Notary Service

“Awesome Company! I did a time share signing with them. Great customer Service and pleasant to work for. Pay within 2 weeks. Would work for them again anytime.”

“Did a timeshare presentation as notary. Paid promptly. Professional and friendly”


Performance Title

“Great company – THE best out there. If they say it was an error, you can believe they’re not just talking – they’ll make it right. Excellent company – wish they had more work in my area”

“I have worked with them for about 2 years and highly recommend them.”


Right Now Notary

“Definitely a great company to work with! Pay fair and on-time, great communication, and professional employees. I am always happy when they call me with an assignment…wish they had more work in my area.”

“Right Now Notary is a good company to work for.
Easy website to download documents and confirm signing details.
Fair payment, payment received in a decent length of time (30 days), and would definitely work for them anytime work is offered without question.”


Safe Signings

“I really enjoy working with Safe Signings! They are professional, pay a fair and reasonable fee for services provided and most importantly – they pay in a timely manner!!”

“This is a very professional, true to their word company. they are pleasant and pay as promised. No hassles at all.”

“The VERY best signing company on the planet! ”


The Doc Signers, Inc.

“Excellent pay, no hand holding. Paid via PayPal SAME DAY! A pleasure to work with. Wish all signing companies were this awesome!”

“Great experience working for The Doc Signers, Inc. They are for real! They really make you feel appreciated”


Timios Title

“Timios is one of my favorites… I am in a rural area they always agree to my fee and have been getting paid unless then 15 days”

“Timios Title has to be one of my all-time FAVORITE companies to work with!!!! They are always very friendly…Always pay a fair fee and docs are always on time!! The have always paid promptly as well!! I absolutely love them!!!”

“Timios is a great example of a 5 star company. Very professional, docs and payment on time. I love working with them.”


You might also like:

Do you ramble, what do your clients think?

She took all my business away!

Best Signing Companies, Title & Escrow Companies (string)

(1) Polite signing companies (including the best signing company on the planet)
(2) The best signing company on the planet is Safe Signings!


January 13, 2015

E&O insurance: where do I get it & how much do I get?

Everybody is getting E&O insurance these days. Ironically, the only notaries who I have heard about having claims on their policies are the ones who went overboard and got a million dollars of coverage just for show which turned them into a target. But, on a brighter note, you need E&O in order to get hired. Yes, it is more of a fashion show than something you actually need, but the fact that signing companies don’t take you seriously if you don’t have it makes it a necessity. The question is — how much & who do you get it from?

Lots of vendors sell E&O insurance.
Notary Rotary sells it. NNA offers one stop shopping for notaries including E&O. One notary claims that Merchant Bonding offers the best rate on E&O. One notary said that Traveler’s charged him only $170 for 100K for four years which is excellent as others charged $265 for the same coverage. It seems that companies that cater exclusively to notaries do not always have the best rates on insurance, although the convenience of one stop shopping makes it worth while to pay a little more.

How much should you get?
The quantity of your E&O depends on who you are trying to impress. If you just do signings for signing companies, perhaps 25K is enough. If you are full-time and want to appear professional, it is better to have 100K rather than claiming in your notes section to be professional. Don’t say it — show it! If you want to work on the white glove list for major Title companies, then 500K or a million might be in order. I don’t know what that costs, but if you are getting paid big bucks regularly, then whatever they charge is probably worth it.

If you want to comment on this blog entry: let us know where you buy your E&O and what it costs!

You might also like:

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

How to get paid by out of biz signing companies


January 6, 2015

Notarized Limited Power of Attorney

Filed under: Power of Attorney — Tags: , , — admin @ 4:00 am

If you need a Notarized Limited Power of Attorney, keep in mind that step one is getting your document drafted. That needs to be done under the supervision of an Attorney. Please don’t ask a notary to draft a legal document! Once drafting a Limited Power of Attorney is complete, then it is time to call a notary public.

Any notary public can notarize any type of document other than a vital record. Just call a notary, make sure your government issued photo-ID is ready, and have them notarize your signature on the Power of Attorney. And remember, not to ask the Notary any legal questions as it is illegal for them to give you any legal consultation! They are just the notary!

Good luck getting your Limited Power of Attorney Notarized!

You might also like:

Notarized Power of Attorney