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

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February 27, 2015

Notarization on the Steve Harvey Show

STEVE: I have a surprise for you. Do you know why we invited you here today?

CAROL: I have no idea, honestly no idea.

STEVE: Well, I’ll give you a hint. Have you ever had anything notarized?

CAROL: No, I can’t think of anything that I’ve ever had notarized.

STEVE: Well think harder. Think fifteen years ago.

CAROL: Hmmm. I’m coming up with a blank.

STEVE: Well, you might not remember this notary, but he remembers you. And he has something of yours that you gave him when he last saw you back in 1994.

CAROL: 1994?

STEVE: Here he is!

CAROL: Oh my god, Oh my god! Randy. I remember you, but forgot that you were a Notary. And that’s the necklace I gave you. I remember it all now!

STEVE: Well, brace yourself. You better sit down. Because Randy has something that he wants to ask you!

CAROL: Oh my god. I can’t believe this is happening. Yes Randy. What did you want to ask me.

RANDY: Carol, I met you almost twenty years ago, and I have never forgotten you. You have been on my mind ever since. I realized that when we talked, back in 1994 the conversation was so meaningful. But, there’s one thing that has been on my mind that I have been needing to ask you ever since.

CAROL: One thing? Sure, ask anything you want. I just am not prepared for what you might ask.

RANDY: Carol… will you…ummm… how can I put this. Remember the notarization I did for you back in 1994. My journal said that it was for an Affidavit of Occupancy.

CAROL. Oh yeah, now I remember. That was to lock in a particular interest rate on that house.

RANDY: Well, we got so wrapped up in conversation that I forgot to ask you one thing. Carol, will you… um… will you complete the Oath that I forgot to ask you for that Affidavit of Occupancy? I kept a copy of that document all these years with the necklace you gave me.

CAROL: Oh my god, you still have that?

RANDY: Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the information in this Affidavit of Occupancy are true and correct and that you agree to the conditions in the document?

CAROL: I do.

RANDY: I’m so relieved. Because, in my notary career, I never violated notary law, not even once. But, I realized that failing to administer an Oath for a Jurat on an Affidavit is grounds for suspension, termination, or revocation of your notary license. I’m so glad that I administered that Oath, and got it out of my system.

CAROL: You came all the way to have me on TV, just for that?

RANDY: Oh, and one more thing.


RANDY: Carol…. will you marry me?

CAROL: Oh my god! Yes I will, well, at least we can start dating. But, on one condition.

STEVE: The sister has conditions? I gotta hear this!

RANDY: Sure, that’s fine

CAROL: I will need a notary statement stating that you want to date me and that you will take me out for penne arrabiata at Carmino’s Italian Restaurant.

RANDY: That’s a little odd. Would you like the notarization to be a Jurat, Acknowledged signature, Protest, or an Oath.

CAROL: I’d prefer a Jurat with an accompanying Oath. And yes, I’ll keep a copy of that document to show you in 2034!

STEVE: This is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this in my career. Just one question for Randy.

RANDY: Ask away!

STEVE: Randy, I’ve never been notarized, ever. I just want to know what it is like being notarized, just to get it out of my system. Can you notarize me?

RANDY: On camera? The camera adds 10 pounds to any signature you know.

STEVE: That’s okay. So, what’s the first step.

RANDY: I’ll need to see some ID sir!

STEVE: What, you don’t know me? I’m Steve Harvey — I’m famous. You don’t need to ID ME!

RANDY: Well, actually it is a legal requirement here.

STEVE: Oh allright. I was just playing with you. Here’s my ID. Which one you want. I got five of them.

RANDY: Your driver’s license will work.

STEVE: Allright, now what do I gotta do. Do you want me to sign something?

RANDY: If you don’t have a document, you could have something typed up.

STEVE: Well what do you want it to say?

RANDY: It can say anything you want just as long as you sign it.

STEVE: Hmmm, I’m gonna have to think about that. (he looks to the left, looks up, and looks around) I thought about it and I know what I want to say now.

RANDY: What is it?

STEVE: I wanna say, I’m Steve Harvey, and I’m smooth like butter.

RANDY: We can do that. Just sign the journal here. (staff hands him the typed up paper) Sign the document here. I’ll attach an Acknowledgment certificate, stamp it… we’re done!

STEVE: That’s it? That was easy. I didn’t feel a thing.

RANDY: It’s a fairly standard act.

STEVE: Well, I want to wish you and Carol the best of luck on your first date. In fact, we are going to pay the first $200 of your date’s expenses for dinner for two at Maggiano’s in Los Angeles. That is the fanciest, most amazing Italian restaurant anywhere in California. I love that place! Then, get this — are you ready? You can have another $200 for your next date and a gift certificate for two to see a 3d movie or movie of your choice at IMAX in Universal Studios.

CAROL: Wow Steve. This is the best day of my life. I never expected any of this.

RANDY: Thanks Steve. I don’t know how to thank you.

STEVE: Well, you can thank me with a notarized statement if you really want to know how to get to the bottom of my heart!


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February 24, 2015

Why Notarize?

Why Notarize?
There is no denying that notarization can be inconvenient. Of course you can easily search by zip code to find a nearby mobile notary on 123notary.com that will go to you. But, even if the process is very convenient; the question remains why bother?

Although some “shorty” notary sections contain only “sworn to before me”; one that meets the complete guidelines of the various states contains much more information. Some contracts or documents may be quite legal in one state but prohibited in a different state. A proper notarization contains a Venue that states where the notarization took place. The venue always represents where the oath was given and notary signature was affixed. It has nothing to do with the content of the document; and, at times, may not reflect where you signed the document.

Almost all notary sections contain the date the document was notarized. Consider a hand written IOU that says the payment is due in 90 days, but does not mention the start date. The notary section’s date is always the date that the notary signed. Attorneys may argue many details, but the notarization date is the date that the parties were given the oath. Lacking any other date, the notarization date would usually be considered the effective date of the document.

Squiggle, squiggle; handwriting is often unreadable. A great notary section will mention by name the person(s) who were notarized, generally in clearly printed block letters. Care must be taken by the notary, when there are several affiants; to mention only those that were given the oath.

Speaking of oath, many do not realize that a sworn statement before a notary carries exactly the same legal standing as testimony in a court of law. The Bailiff “swears in” the witness, exactly the same as the notary oath. False statements on notarized documents are equivalent to lies in the witness stand – the crime of perjury. Take notarized documents seriously!

Back to Why have a signature notarized. In addition to recording in a uniform format the above information; the notary determines the identity of the affiant. Not to an absolute certainty, but by inspecting “government issued photo ID”. A good forgery can fool anyone who is not an expert at examining the specific ID. However, notaries inspect IDs closely, and if there is any evidence of tampering – they will reject the ID. It is the chief duty of the notary to inspect and approve the ID presented and record that acceptance by placing a notary seal and signature on the document.

The “humble notary” is actually a sworn officer (we take an oath to follow the notary laws) of the (in New York) Department of State. As a commissioned officer, we have the legal right, and often the legal obligation, to confirm the identity of the person signing the document. Being impartial, our stamp and signature are accepted as substantiation that the named person did indeed sign.

Information is gathered and recorded, IDs are checked and the notary signs and stamps. Notarization does not make a document valid, legal, binding, or truthful. Those aspects of the document are generally issues for litigation. A notarized false statement remains exactly that, the notarization does not have any relationship to the contents of the document. It does allow the document to be entered in evidence in a court. It makes forgery more difficult, but not impossible. Though not always required, it’s unlikely an unnecessary notarization will void a document.


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February 23, 2015

Marketing excesses and defenses

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Marketing Articles — Tags: — admin @ 3:12 am

We are assaulted by marketing in every way possible. They attack all of our sensory inputs. We see commercials endlessly on television. Signs and billboards blink, wink and cross fade to grab our attention. Everything we buy seems to have a prominent brand logo. People walk around with alligators on their T shirts, and trendy patterns on handbags. The visual marketing is relentless. In addition to the proliferation of junk mail in the mailbox, our email spam “junk mail” requires proactive filters to stem the tide; lest our email become totally useless. Those cute free apps use our email address to generate information on our likes, to be sold to generate even more spam.

Our ears are also assaulted by overly loud “pitchmen” selling everything from cars to the latest wonder drug that cures afflictions that we did not know existed. Enter a NYC taxi, it’s not easy to figure out how to mute the built in TV; spewing more marketing. Call for support, the hotline for a malfunctioning product and service; the robotic front end starts with informing you of great new opportunities to buy more. Great care is taken by malls, stores and virtually all establishments to have background “music” that is supposed to “make you want to buy buy buy”. A box of disposable ear plugs is a good investment; especially in the ultra noisy NYC screeching subway system.

Nor is the nose immune from the marketing onslaught. Smell something good? That’s because the cooking smoke is directed to the passing public. Aromatherapy on steroids. In Manhattan even the sidewalk I walk on is illuminated with changing images projected from shops, in addition to their scrolling signs. Overhead, blimps and skywriting biplanes pollute the very sky with ads.

If you stuck with me thru my lengthy introduction to the problem; now it’s time for the good part of this blog entry. There most definitely are defenses you can take to avoid the various forms of attack. I rarely watch “live TV”, preferring to record on a Tivo and fast forward thru the maze of almost endless commercials. It also saves time as the hour show is really 45 minutes. Stuck with live TV? Make sure you have the mute button handy. Universal tiny mute buttons are on Ebay for 2-3 dollars, everyone needs their own. Once muted do not watch. Make it a “point of honor” to have no idea whatsoever whose ad was shown – total avoidance.

We all want to “market” our notary services and be “memorable”. Many of us use small “premiums”, little gifts to our clients. The classic is the pencil with the name and number of the provider. Some premiums are both more useful and more expensive. The common thread is often the emblazing of the givers advertising. “If you want to use this you will have to look at my ad” is the message received. Is that what you want to be telling your clients? I choose to not have any advertising on the premium distributed to my clients. They already received my name and phone numbers on a business card; with a useful street guide to Manhattan on the back.

I have very often received the comment “this does not have your advertising on it, how come”. I reply that the item was chosen to be a reflection of me. Useful, understated, and definitely not “in your face” pushy. Most get a good laugh out of that! When you give a premium with your ad on it you are not really giving a true gift. It’s more of an invitation to carry your message. If you are going to give a gift make it one with no strings (advertisement) attached. They will appreciate the clean and uncluttered look of the item, whatever it is. The impression you make and the card you leave behind is sufficient. Don’t market to excess to your clients.


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February 22, 2015

Point (3) RTC (4) Closing Disclosure; Story: The Starbucks Signing

The Starbucks Signing
Marcy hadn’t completed her certification test yet. After all, why should she. A little test couldn’t be that important, right? But, she was anxious to get started. She completed her notes section on her 123notary profile. She wrote:

I am reliable, prompt, punctual and professional. Call me for any mobile notary job!

She got her first call a few days after signing up. She answered the phone as her infant was screaming. The screaming was so loud that the person on the other end of the line couldn’t hear what she was talking about. The client decided that Marcy wasn’t very professional.

Then, another call came in. She answered it and got the job. She was to notarize a Grant Deed. She had never seen a Grant Deed, but how hard could it be to notarize. She knew how to fill in an Acknowledgment form. Her baby started screaming right when she was leaving. She left the baby with her husband and went out to do her job. She arrived 20 minutes late as a result of her baby having a fit. The customer said, “Your profile claims that you are punctual, but you are 20 minutes late!” Marcy said, “But, I am punctual, it was just this one time!”

Then a third call came in. They needed a loan signing done. Their house was under repair, so they agreed to meet at a local Starbucks. Marcy’s husband wasn’t around, so she decided to take her baby with her. Luckily for her, the signers loved children, particularly infants. The signing started off okay. Marcy had received a FedEx package of the documents. Everything was in order. She put the documents on the table, and kept the borrower copies in the FedEx. She didn’t know how to introduce the documents because she had never studied loan signing. Her course book was sitting on her desk collecting dust. She would soon learn that book knowledge would help her out of a very serious bind that was about to happen. Ooops!

The couple was signing away, when the toddler spilled Marcy’s mocha all over the Right to Cancel. All Marcy could say was, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” Marcy decided she had the Right to Cancel and obligation to cancel the appointment and have them start all over another day with another notary. She went home feeling mortified and devastated. But, she didn’t have to. Marcy made several simple mistakes. What were they?

(1) No drinks on the table. Drinks spill all the time. If you have drinks on the same table as documents, you are going to have a problem, it is just a matter of time. Drinks go on a separate table or a chair as a matter of policy. If Marcy had obeyed this signing policy, she would not have gotten in trouble.

(2) Don’t bring your three year old to a signing no matter what. It is not reliable or professional to do so, not to mention the trouble they could cause.

(3) The Right to Cancel was damaged, but there was a borrower’s copy of that document in the FedEx which Marcy could have used to substitute for the damaged one. An easy fix to a common problem. It is also common that borrowers sign in the wrong place on the Right to Cancel. You need to swap that document out if that happens as well.


Point (3) The Right to Cancel

The Right to Cancel (Right to Rescission) gives the borrower in a non-commercial / non-investment refinance three calendar days not including Sundays or Federal holidays to read over the documents and consider their options. If borrowers want to spend three hours reading every page of the document, the Notary is encouraged to inform them that this is a signing appointment, and that they can review their borrower copies over the next three days and cancel within that time period if they have any dissatisfaction with the documents.

Dating: (Chaperone Not Included)
In addition to having the borrowers sign this document, it is often the Notary’s responsibility to make sure it is dated correctly. On the top of the document there should be a section that reads: “The date of the transaction, which is ____________________”. This is where the Signing Agent places the current date; this is known as the “transaction date”. Towards the bottom of the document it states: “no later than midnight of________.” This date is called the “rescission date”, and it states when the Right to Cancel period is finished. In this blank you would write the last day for the borrower to cancel, which is three days past the current date (excluding Sunday and major holidays). If it is Saturday the 20th, and Monday is a holiday, the last day to cancel would be Thursday the 25th.

What if the lender dated the document incorrectly? Cross out the incorrect date, write the new date, and have the borrower(s) initial the change. Never use white-out.

What if the transaction date is correct, but the lender is giving them too many days to cancel? Sometimes lenders are generous and give one or two extra days. Don’t correct that because it’s not an error; it is an act of generosity.

If the borrower carelessly signs where it says, “I wish to cancel”, the best way to remedy this situation is by using the borrower’s copy of the document (by the way, this question is on the exam); doing this will save everyone a great deal of trouble. If that is not possible, cross out the signature and have the borrower initial it. Then have them sign in the correct location.

Cancellation by Fax. The borrower always may cancel their loan by fax with all lenders by law within the (3) day right to cancel period.

Here is a list of all Federal holidays:

New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Day
Washington’s birthday AKA and observed on Presidents day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veteran’s Day
Thanksgiving Day ( the Friday after is a regular day unless the lender states otherwise )
Christmas Day


Point (4) The Closing Disclosure (formerly The Truth in Lending)

The Truth in Lending is now antiquated.

Notaries have become moderately familiar with the new Closing Disclosure. I want to stress some important points about this document that you should memorize.

1. The Closing Estimate
Previously there was a document called the Good Faith Estimate whose current replacement would be the Closing Estimate. Although these two documents are not even close to being identical, they go over the estimated costs of the loan among other information.

2. The Truth in Lending
This is now an antiquated document. The Truth in Lending had some bizarre and unhelpful verbiage about the prepayment penalty. It said you, “will, won’t or may” have a prepayment penalty. The Closing Disclosure states if you will or won’t but omits the ambiguous word, “may” from the document.

3. The APR
In addition to going over the APR, there will be a new figure discussed on the Closing disclosure called the TIP which is the total interest percentage.

4. Taxes, Insurance, Escrow Fees
Estimated escrow costs, insurance, taxes, servicing, assumption, and appraisal costs will also be covered in this new and exciting document.

5. The property address
Many loan signing courses claim you should look for the property address on the Deed of Trust or Mortgage. You can, but it is also on the Closing Disclosure on the upper left corner.

6. The Loan Amount & Rate
This is also covered on the upper half of page one.

7. Fees associated with the loan
The Closing Disclosure replaces the TIL and the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. So, items from the Settlement Statement such as fees or costs associated with the loan will be covered on this document.

8. Calculating Cash to Close
This is a very practical section that covers total closing costs, closing costs financeed, down payment, deposit, funds for borrower, seller credits, and adjustments. The bottom line in this section is the cash to close total amount.

9. Summary of Transactions
The sale price of the property, closing costs, HOA dues, deposits, loan amount, sellers credit, rebates, and local taxes are all part of the accounting spreadsheet in this section.

10. The additional information section about the loan
This section covers other specifications about the loan such as whether or not assumption is allowed, if there is a demand feature, negative amortization, late payments, partial payments, escrow accounts, and more…

11. Next, there is a basic loan calculation similar to what the TIL had with the total payments, finance charge, amount financed, APR, and the new figure which is the TIP.

12. There is a section listing other disclosures which will list the appraisal, contract details, liability after foreclosure (keeping it positive), refinance, and tax deductions.

13. And last there is contact information of the Lender, the Real Estate Brokers, and the Settlement Agents.

Sign below.

——————————————— ———-
Applicant Signature Date

Eventually I will create some test questions out of this material. I already have one, but I will derive some others as well.


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Point (2) The Note; Story: Background Noise

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 6:14 am

Marcy, The Baby, and the FHA Signing

Marcy was a little big traumatized after her last signing, but she wouldn’t be able to face her neighbor Patricia if she quit now. So, she decided to just do it. She waited patiently by the phone as she watched her toddler. Her husband often worked nights, so she was all by herself with the exception of her screaming child.

And then the phone rang. It was Nicole from Hawaii Title. They needed a loan signed that night and couldn’t find anyone.

NICOLE: Hi, this is Nicole from Hawaii Title.

MARCY: Aloha. (child screaming in the background, radio playing loudly too)

NICOLE: I hope that’s not a dissatisfied customer.

MARCY: No, he’s a little cranky tonight. I just told him a bedtime story called Snow White and the Seven Lenders. Don’t get me started on Grumpy.

NICOLE: Oh, is this the one with the wicked Escrow officer who gives her a poisoned prepayment penalty?

MARCY: No, that part was too scary.

NICOLE: Well, we have an FHA loan we need…

TODDLER: Wahhhhh! Wahhhh!

NICOLE: Is something wrong?

MARCY: Oh, well Chuckie doesn’t like the word FHA. You see, in the story, the evil Escrow Officer did mostly FHA loans.

TODDLER: Wahhhh! Wahhh!

NICOLE: Okay. No problem, I’ll call it a Federal HA loan. I know it can’t be easy raising a young child. But, it’s not easy for callers to endure any type of distractions. I noticed that not only is your toddler screaming, but there is also a radio playing in the background. Putting aside how difficult to hear you over this noise, it is also considered very unprofessional to have any type of background noise on a professional call. I’m sorry to give you a lecture on this, but I think you sound serious about this business and you need to know. Many companies just won’t hire you if they sense any unprofessional behavior on your part be it oral communication, if your notes section has spelling mistakes on 123notary, or mistakes on loan documents.

MARCY: Oh, I had no idea. But, that makes sense, now that you tell me. I’m just so used to Chuckie, that I don’t realize that other people might not be so immune to his antics. I’ll put the baby in the other room. And my husband will be back soon, so I can go out to do a signing the minute he returns.

NICOLE: Okay. Just keep in mind that FHA… oops, I meant to say Federal HA loans, take considerably longer to sign than straight Refinances. But, I will be on the other end of the line the whole time in case you have questions. And we require fax backs.

MARCY: Okay, 123notary told me that companies that require fax backs do so to ensure that the loan is correctly signed when a beginner is working for them. This makes sense as I am a beginner — a very enthusiastic beginner. So, I won’t complain about fax backs like the other notaries!

NICOLE: That’s what I like to hear.

MARCY: Bring it on!!!! I’m ready for your FHA

NICOLE: Wahhhh… Just kidding.


Point (2) The Note
The Note (also called ‘the agreement’ by some companies) is the basic contract between the borrower and the Lender; it includes the basic terms, conditions, and information about the loan being signed.

The Note includes:

(1) The Rate

(2) The Prepayment Terms (these are usually explained in two paragraphs on the first or second page)

(3) The Payment Amount of Principal and Interest (this doesn’t include taxes and insurance).

(4) The day that monthly payments are due.

(5) Penalties for late payment

(6) The amount of the loan

The Note also specifies that it is secured by a ‘security instrument.’ (This will be discussed in the next section, specifies where to make payments to — many other kinds of information are also in the note. It is simplest to understand the note as merely a list of agreements, as previously mentioned. Adjustable Rate Notes. This document is a note with information about what the adjustable rate is based on and how it can fluctuate.

Please note that the best place to look for information about the prepayment terms are in the Note or a Prepayment Rider if there is one, and NOT on other documents as other documents do not have thorough information about this topic. Please also note that The Note is not normally a notarized document.


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February 19, 2015

Websites from some of our best notaries!

Filed under: Advertising — Tags: — admin @ 10:51 pm

Many notaries email us to ask if they should start a website. The answer is always that creating a website is like a marriage. It is expensive and time consuming, but if you are committed to it, there can be many rewards! Not all notary web sites look the same, but here are a few of my favorites for notaries who advertise with us!

Frank Tabacca
Frank is certified by about nine different notary agencies. He is a top notch notary and loyal client of 123notary. Additionally, he is an estate planner and has a background in the insurance industry.

Palm Desert Notary Services
Here is a well designed notary website that describes their notary services, legal services, and more. They seem to be very familiar with all of the major legal documents.

Shannon Ziccardi
Shannon is a very active mobile notary and has multiple Twitter profiles as well. He is a loyal customer, and you can see his very unusual web page on active rain. Getting a web page on someone else’s platform is a lot cheaper than starting your own website, and his looks well formatted too.

Stockton Mobile Notary
This site ironically did very well on Google if you looked up 123notary in Jan 2015. They explain identification requirements very thoroughly as well.

Tim Gatewood
Tim is a member of the NNA, GoGetNotary, NotaryRotary, 123notary, National Mortgage News, and the American Society of Notaries. If you want to impress clients, have lots of professional memberships. It proves that you are serious and dedicated!

After Hours Notary
This notary organization is very active on all sorts of social media channels and blogs herself!
Read their interesting article: How to get started as a Notary Signing Agent which explains the process thoroughly and explains SPW standards as well. Then, she goes on to introduce a handful of large notary organizations including 123notary.

Houston Mobile Notary Service
This Notary is 123notary Elite Certified, and also a member of many other well known notary organizations. See how they write in detail about their memberships and experience.

Joe Ewing
Joe is one of the most sophisticated and experienced notaries on our site. His site explains his Notary & Apostille services.

A Notary on the Go
This company has several notaries working for them and a site that shows their certifications.

Fred Herrera
It is very sad, but I heard that this Notary passed away recently. He was one of my favorite clients and a real trooper. He survived Pancreatic cancer for many years. His website has a lot of information on it. More graphics and formatting would have been nice though.

Joyce Walters
This notary site is easy to read and navigate

A1 Mobile Notary & Bookkeeping
Another interesting notary site of a customer of ours.

Jacqueline’s High Desert Mobile Notary Public Services
This notary specializes in a long list of types of documents.


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February 17, 2015

Follow Instructions OR Get Results?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 4:25 am

Follow Instructions OR Get Results?
As a general rule it’s wise to follow the instructions for a signing job. However, being at the center of a rapidly changing situation can require “throwing the book away” and thinking on your feet. The assignment was a rather small “seller side only”, about 40 pages. The confirmation stressed the need for two witnesses, with the notary permitted to be one of them. It was worded so strongly “you MUST make SURE witnesses sign and print” that my internal “trouble ahead” alarm sounded. That title company even included a statement, supposedly my statement, for me to notarize! It included the usual notary “it’s my fault” wording about various possible sins that I might commit. That page remained uncompleted; we can’t notarize our own statement in NY.

So, when confirming with the seller I was sure to include their need to provide a single witness; with the usual ID, location, date and time, and contact numbers. The next call was to title to report successful print of the PDF, and seller contact. They accepted that the “notary statement” could be ignored and stressed the need for me to make absolutely sure of the second witness. As the seller was responsible for the second witness; I told title I would call seller again to stress the point. Relieved that title did not argue the “self notarization” nonsense, the airbill went into the pouch of the FedEx envelope; and off to the seller I went.

Sellers work location turned out to be a highly secured municipal facility. Metal detector, X-ray of my bag, and many police officers. At the table, trouble from the opening bell. Seller made calls for the first half hour, arguing about “surprise” charges. At least he did not press me for the answers, so I waited patiently. The voice at the other end did the usual good job of explaining to the seller’s satisfaction the whats and whys. Signing time!

We went slowly and carefully completing most of the package. Informing seller that his witness is now required, seller is asked to not sign till the witness is present. I shudda ducked, it was a knock out punch. “I don’t have a witness available”. Taken Aback, seller is reminded that this was confirmed with me, and that I was aware that title had also called seller to emphasize the same “provide a witness” issue. It seems that the seller had a witness planned, but the witness was called out of the office. “There is nobody else at this location that I would want to witness these documents”. Minutes later I had to “throw the rule book out the window”.

The confirmation had included the usual “call if problem at table”. I ask seller for a moment to make a call, he asks why; I tell the truth. Seller, very strong willed did not wish to speak with anyone about them wanting him to provide a different witness; not at all! He started to head for the elevator, and said loudly (for the nearby Police officer to hear) “that’s it, we are done, goodbye”. I asked for thirty more seconds of his time and promised no phone call and a possible solution to the situation. I offered and he agreed; to pay my base mobile notary fee to bring the package to his home in the evening. “OK, now we’re done, goodbye”. The Police officer eyed me suspiciously, as I departed the building.

Calling in I get “blasted” by title. “You had instructions to call if a problem at the table.” I explain that he dismissed me and briskly walked to the elevator; and that to stay would be loitering. High security buildings are not the place to make phone calls when the sponsor literally dismisses me and the PD is watching. I proceed to explain the new plan. “Not good enough, you will miss the drop off time and I must have it in the morning – I DEMAND you go back and INSIST that he provide a witness”. Of course, I refused, and happy that I had my PayPal “in the bank” – told title to do so would totally sour the seller.

As seller requested we met at his residence location at 6PM. The witness was there and the remaining two documents were completed in minutes. Seller must have been experienced with signing procedures as he asked me about my “status” call after I left the building. I related a slightly downplayed account of title wanting me to return and complete the paperwork at his work location. Seller laughed and told me I would never have obtained clearance to enter the building a second time; and that he would be quite angry that title wanted to “be his boss”.

Docs in envelope, seal the flap, in FedEx possession an hour later, 7PM well before the 9PM cutoff. Title was delighted that it “Closed” upon receipt. However, oddly enough, they are still a bit peeved at me for not following their instructions about returning to the seller. It will be interesting to see which is greater: their desire to receive a perfect package (and the associated commissions) and dealing with http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com who thinks on his feet OR someone who will blindly follow directions to the letter ignoring the information learned in the process of completing the assignment.


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And drop off the package


February 15, 2015

Point (1) Deed of Trust; Story: Marcy Becomes a Notary!

Marcy the housewife becomes a Notary!

Marcy was a normal Midwestern housewife. She enjoyed all of the normal aspects of life. She had a small child, her first. She enjoyed the local festivals, corn mazes, county fairs, and married life as well. But, her family seemed to always be behind the eight-ball financially. What was Marcy to do? She tried temping for a while, but that didn’t pan out. Then, she tried being a substitute teacher since she liked kids, but the assignments weren’t regular enough. She had tried all her options and couldn’t think of anything else to do. So, she went next door to Patricia’s house to see if Patricia had any helpful words. Patricia was known in the neighborhood as the go to person if you had a problem. She could help anyone out of any slump and knew the right thing to say in any situation. Marcy picked the wrong day to go to Patricia for help. Of all the days in the year, this was the worst possible day.

Marcy went over and knocked on the door. Patricia answered, but said she was waiting for someone. Then, a nicely dressed guy showed up with a briefcase. What could he be here for thought Marcy? “Oh, this is the mobile notary for my loan documents,” announced Patricia. Marcy said, “Okay, I’ll bother you another time.” Patricia asked her to come back the next day.

Marcy returned the next day. Patricia had only one thing to say: “You could totally do this!” “Do what?” “Be a mobile notary — you’d love it!” “I would?” “Yup!” It is odd how people become mobile notaries. It often happens when they or a friend have a loan that needs to get signed. Then the career opportunity light bulb flashes in their head, and the rest is history.

Marcy marched down to the county recorder’s office, filled out the paperwork, waited a few weeks to get her commission, seal, journal and forms, and she was in business! She was officially a state commissioned Notary Public and a mobile notary because she drove to her appointments. Just one small thing… She didn’t have any appointments. So Marcy went back to Patricia again to ask for help. Patricia suggested calling the notary who had helped them. Maybe he would know how to get work. Except they would be competition for him. Oooh. A touchy subject. Should they call? I guess it couldn’t hurt. In the worst case scenario, he would just decline to help them. After talking to Tom, he recommended calling 123notary and Notary Rotary. Those were the two most reputable sources of notary work at the time. That sounded easy enough. So, Marcy got herself listed on 123notary.com and the calls started coming in. (Obviously Marcy didn’t show up in 2014 because not so many calls came in that year!)

Marcy purchased the 123notary loan signing course. She didn’t study it that hard in the beginning, because she didn’t realize how important the information in it was. She decided to learn the hard way. You’ll see when you read the stories of all the trouble she got herself into.


Point (1) The Deed of Trust — Quick Facts!

(1) The Deed of Trust is the security instrument. BTW: The term Instrument means document.

(2) The Deed of Trust must be notarized. Make sure you have thumbprints in your journal for any deed.

(3) The Deed of Trust is recorded with the county recorder of the county where the property is located. The people at the County Recorders Office can often be picky and will not tolerate: cross-outs, smudgy or light seal impressions, or incomplete notarizations. Some recorders are pickier than others, so assume that they will all be very picky. If your notarization is rejected by the County Clerk, someone will have to notarize it all over again, and the borrower could experience a costly delay in their loan.

(4) As a general rule, the borrower must sign the Deed of Trust as their name appears on Title. If you use a Signature Affidavit, you might be able to have them sign in a different way, although the loan might be rejected by the Lender, in which case you might have to start all over again after a redraw.

(5) It is often required for the borrower to initial each page of the Deed of Trust

(6) The Deed of Trust is referred to as The Mortgage in many states, which is similar in essence, although there are some legal differences between the two documents which we will not discuss here.


The Deed of Trust states:

(a) The loan amount

(b) Who the lender is (and their contact information)

(c) Who the borrowers are

(d) The location and description of the property.

(e) When the loan matures (or when the loan expires: e.g., 05-31-2031)

(f) Who the trustors and trustees are

(g) The loan is secured by the property.

(h) A Description of the Property

The Deed of Trust also mentions that the borrower has to pay taxes, principle, interest, late charges, etc. It doesn’t list figures other than the loan amount, but those will be in the note and/or other documents. Deeds of trust usually range from being 2 to 30 pages. Various other terms and explanations are in this instrument, however, those terms are not of much importance to the Signing Agent.

Riders. The Deed of Trust could come with various riders. We will not discuss the riders in this section since they are numerous and self explanitory. There are little check boxes in the Deed of Trust that will indicate which riders would be included.


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30 Point Course Table of Contents

Point (2) The Note

Deed of Trust (glossary entry)



30 Point Test Course Book: Synopsis

30 Points in Your Favor!
The 30 point course book is yet another certification course offered by 123notary.com. But, this one is different. Our original certification course was a very dryly written quick course designed to teach notaries basic competency in loan signing. Our Elite course was written in late 2012 and was designed to teach very sophisticated aspects of doing business as a mobile notary such as communication, marketing, hiring others, and the finer aspects of notary and signing agent work. This new 30 point course will have some elements from both of these previously written courses, but will focus only on the technical aspects of notary and signing agent work of all levels ranging from basic to very advanced. Also, be sure to read about the new loan document which goes over facts and figures about the loan called, “The Loan Estimate” which is similar in information to the TIL & HUD-1.

Required additional reading

Best blog articles for advanced Notaries – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14736
Mobile Offices from A to Z – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=535
Signing Agent Best Practices – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315
The Prepayment Penalty – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4429
The Loan Estimate (New) – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15437


Table of Contents

(1) Deed of Trust – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14245
(2) The Note – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14270
(3-4) Right to Cancel & Closing Disclosure — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14291
(5-7) HUD, Occupancy Affidavit, Grant & Quitclaim Deeds – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14546
(8-9) 1003 Loan Application, Compliance Agreement – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14335
(10) The Signature Affidavit – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14356
(11) Following Directions – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379
(12) Cross-Outs http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14406
(13) When to Call the Lender (and when not to) http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14421
(14) Explain or don’t explain http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14440
(15) The Prepayment Penalty http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14447
(16) Initialing http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14463
(17) The APR http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14483
(18-24) Technical Points for Notaries http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14492
(25-27) Identification, Wrong Venues, Fraud http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14514
(28-30) Beneficial Interest, Negligence, E&O http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14532
30 Point Final QUIZ http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14557

Page Titles

Each post about the 30 point course will have a story and several points which could make the titles appear a bit long.
Titles might look like this:
Point (13) The Automatic Payment Disclosure; Story: Marcy’s Babysitter

Use this link to see all published posts in a string in reverse order:

How is it different from the Elite course?
The Elite course was designed to get its students an upper arm in the notary business. It was designed to help them be a pro at negotiation, growing their business, and handling difficult strategic situations. The overall aim of the course was to help them make more money, grow their business, and gain attention from having the Yellow Elite Certification Icon next to their name on the search results. Notaries who passed are far more intelligent, sophisticated, and get a lot more work than their competitors in high spots on 123notary who lack the Elite designation. Based on my personal experience, I would vouch for the fact that a 123notary Elite signer has quadruple the signing agent knowledge as an uncertified signer. Although they don’t know everything, the depth and breadth of their knowledge is quite noticeable if you talk shop with them for more than a few minutes.

This 30 point course is only designed to teach notaries how to deal with technical situations like a pro, but not designed to help them get rich (although more knowledge never hurts). If you do well on the 30 point test, you can consider taking our Elite course. It will be easy for you if you got a high score on the 30 point test.

Summary of the 30 point course
The 30 point course will cover a wide range of notary and signing agent technical topics including following directions, best practices, understanding what information is where in the documents and more. Additionally, we added some entertaining stories to help make the text more enjoyable for the reader. There will be many stories which are designed to drive certain technical facts home in a pleasant and absorbing way.

Please Note
Not all of the questions covered in the 30 point test are taught in this course. Please rely on your personal experience as a notary to answer test questions not addressed in this course.


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Signing Stream makes notaries sign a contract that they won’t write anything on forums

Signing Stream is a signing company that is written about from time to time on our forum. On our list of signing companies, the reviews of this company are more negative than they are positive. But, what is unusual is that this company has a contract that forbids the notaries from writing anything electronically about their company. As you know, many notaries enjoy posting on our forum as well as on Notary Rotary’s forum. Posting on forums is how notaries learn critical information about signing companies as well as how they share information with other notaries. It seems like this company wants to tie the notary’s hands and put them in a bind.

One notary told me that they don’t always get documents in time from Signing Stream and don’t always get paid on time. But, she also said that she knows other notaries who are always paid on time by them. So, it looks as if you need to be popular or lucky to get paid on time on a regular basis. I also heard that they don’t want to hear about payment inquiries until the payment is at least sixty days due. I can understand that they don’t want to be badgered and hounded by a bunch of broke notaries, but sixty days? I think that forty-five days is more reasonable. After all, notaries have a legitimate right to know if they will have any food on the table.

My question is: should notaries be willing to work for any company that prohibits them from publishing their opinion on a forum? Such terms seem very unreasonable and very questionable. I think this would be a good Facebook discussion!


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