August 2016 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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August 30, 2016

Self Notarization Landmine

Self Notarization Landmine

I’m referring to the form where you are the only person signing. Ignoring the fact that the form asks you to notarize your own statement, what it says can haunt you later. Yes, I know; you feel the statements are the absolute truth. What harm can it do? It’s not a filed document, nobody will ever see it *except* when it’s not truthful. Then can land on you like a ton of lawsuits.

Typically it has a venue, a statement (more on that later), and a place for Notary Public signature, stamp and commission number / expiration date. Sure seems like a “notary” act. But, as I said; let’s just ignore the illegality and get to the possible later grief.

I, the above described Notary Public, hereby certify that I have checked the identification of those parties who have signed before me and I have attached copies of their driver’s license(s) or other picture identification. I have verified them to be the same parties as those described in the instructions acknowledged by me. Witness my hand and official seal ……………

Lawyers love ambiguous verbiage. Here the two key words are “checked” and “verified”. Really? Just how did you do that? Are you trained in spotting a forgery? I’m not referring to a mess made on a copier. The “bad ones” just Google “fake driver license from china” and order from the site that rhymes with snowflake. I looked at their site – it scared me. For about a hundred dollars one can get a VERY good fake driver license from any state. Perhaps a police officer with real time access to police information can determine the serial number is not appropriate for the issue date or the birthdate on the document. But can you? I certainly cannot.

Thus, how can I make a statement that I certify and verify the identities? I know that is what notaries do – “check ID” – but there is a limit to our ability to detect forgeries. Some states have a specific “proof” list – the only items that can be used by the notary. Here in NY, it’s a bit fuzzy, the law requires the notary view “adequate proof” – seemingly a lower standard than verified.

I have followed articles and reviews of the “snowflake” – they have the technology to fool anybody who does not have police type access to driver license databases. It would easily pass my visual inspection. There are forgery detection manuals that go over “hidden” aspects of the various state issued licenses. I’m sure “snowflake” has a copy!

So, there is a good chance that, over the years; I have notarized by accepting a forgery. To me it was “adequate proof”; to you it was on “the list”. So where are we now? Well, I feel I followed my states laws, and so did you. The real issue is making a statement often entitled “Positive Proof Identification and Notary Signature Affidavit” that goes beyond my state requirements.

Recall the Miranda warning “anything you say can a will be used against you in a court of law”. The same admonition must apply even more strongly to things that you sign and “notarize”. I just return these forms untouched, with the exception of attaching a business card.

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August 28, 2016

August 27, 2016

Can a Virginia Notary notarize in DC or Maryland?

Filed under: Virginia Notary — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:03 pm

A Notary can only notarize in their state of commission except under some very unusual circumstances. So, a Virginia Notary Public can notarize in any county of Virginia. However, they cannot notarize outside of state boundaries using their Virginia Notary Seal.

But, it is common for a Virginia Notary to get dual or triple commissioned. A Virginia Notary may apply for a Maryland Notary Commission or a District of Columbia Notary Commission. 123notary has many Notaries on board our Notary directory who are dual or triple commissioned in the DC area. A DC Notary may also apply for a Maryland or Virginia Notary Commission.

DC is a very small territory for a mobile Notary to cover. On the other hand, there are so few Notaries in our nation’s capitol that out of state Notaries are necessary to handle the volume of work.

In the worst case scenario, if you need a Virginia Notary to help you while you are in DC, you can meet them right at the Virginia side of the border and then they can notarize for you. Just make sure your identification is current!

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August 26, 2016

Startup Apps that could ruin the Notary business

If you think that technology is changing faster than you can deal with. You are right. But, the worst part is that new technology is putting a lot of Notaries out of business. Snapdocs makes it easy for companies to find low cost competition. 123notary is getting more clicks than it did when Snapdocs came around, but Notaries are complaining about the low cost competition. So, here are some new startups to watch out for.

Notaryz
This company makes it possible to get notarized via web-cam (not legal in many states) or get a Notary to come to you for $30 plus parking. Notaryz doesn’t encourage tipping, but they don’t forbid it either. If you want a Notary who specializes in loan signing, Notaryz will tell you how those Notaries performed on the standardized test they have. Notaryz will also connect you with 3rd rate Attorneys who can’t get a real job who will give you discounted help drafting Powers of Attorney, permission to travel or other documents without you having to leave your desk. Notaryz is doing some brisk business, however is dealing with some tough competition from “PersynallyAppear” — an app that finds you a Notary who will personally appear before you without any digital signatures or web cams.

Roomyz
Are you upset with your roommate and want to pull a prank on them? Well, this new app called Roomyz is for you. They will play a joke on your roommate, send flowers from a nonexistent admirer, or throw water on them while they are leaving the house. Just download a photo of your roommate, use the dropdown menu to select the prank of your choice, or use the text box to indicate a customized prank, and let Roomyz do the rest. You can select from pranksters with reviews and pay them using our “pay once completed” app. Roomyz will take 15% of the proceeds, the rest if for the agent.

PayMyNotary
This app might be a little more popular with Notaries. If Notary can submit proof that a job was assigned to them and the journal entries to prove that the job was done (or somewhat done) then PayMyNotary will go after the signing company who hired you. They will fax, text, call, send threatening demand letters, contact Title, and even go to the Better Business Bureau. PayMyNotary will even contact collection agencies using the new app “Kullect” to get companies to pay.

Kullect
Kullect will let a Notary choose from hundreds of collection agencies to find the best price and best terms to get signing companies to pay them. Just download the information about the Notary jobs done for a particular company, journal entries, and then Kullect will do the rest (unless the server is down in which case you’re on your own.)

NotaryStandUp
This app sends daily jokes to Notaries that they can tell their borrowers. Every day, you get fresh new jokes, so there is no danger of telling the same joke twice. You might get fired by a few signing companies using NotaryStandUp, but you will laugh all the way through the process and your customers will swear that you are a “Stand Up Guy.”

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August 20, 2016

10 ways to “deal” with SnapDocs

A guide to high survival in a low-ball world.

These days, so many Notaries are complaining more and more about SnapDocs. In fact, the drama is so intense, that posts about SnapDocs are the most popular articles on our blog these days. SnapDocs is not bad, they just have a system which you haven’t mastered yet, Grasshopper! SnapDocs caters to companies who care about price, but don’t care about experience. Those who want top-notch seasoned Notaries come to 123notary as we focus on having the highest caliber of Notaries at the top of the list. So, read this and you’ll learn the secrets of high survival in a low-ball world.

(1) CALCULATE TIME
Calculate how many minutes you’ll need to fulfill the request.
Some Notaries complain if the fee is too low without looking at the time involved. $40 is not bad if the job is within ten minutes and there are no fax backs and very few pages. For a ten page signing ten minutes away, you might be there and back again in less than an hour. How many people do you know who complain about making $40 per hour? Read the text and see where the address is and how many pages are involved.

Regardless of the specifications, calculate how much time you need to:
Print, Drive, Call, Sign, Fax, and Fedex.

(2) BACKGROUND CHECK
Background Check the reliability of the company making the assignment
Tired of screwball signing companies? Low-balling is not the worst thing. Not getting paid, or being held hostage for three hours waiting for edocuments while your other clients are waiting is. You can background check companies on www.123notary.com/s using your iphone. I just updated the “votes” on all of the signing companies on our list in May 2016.

(3) MAKE COUNTER OFFERS
If you get a job from SnapDocs that comes as a text, you’ll be alerted to the location, number of fax backs and other basics about the job. You can use that information to calculate the amount of time needed to fulfill the order. Based on the time involved, you can decide how much to charge. If you have a base rate for your time (make it more expensive during the last week of the month) then you’ll know exactly what to charge. You might discount your fees a little for SnapDocs clients as they clearly don’t want to pay much.

If you get an offer for $50 to do a Refinance for two signers with twenty pages of fax backs, you can make a counter offer of $85. Some Notaries bid $125 and never get called back. You have to price your bid within the market otherwise you might as well just not use SnapDocs at all.

If you bill your time at $30 per hour and a job will require 54 minutes, ask for $27. Or if you’ll need two hours, then ask for $60. This is a very reasonable way of quoting rates that is fair to you as well as the client.

(4) NEWBIES — GAIN EXPERIENCE!!!
If you are new in the Notary business, I advise not being too picky about what people pay, providing they pay within 45 days. You need to get at least 1500 loans under your belt to be taken seriously by the big guys such as prominent title companies. You should pass the 123notary & NNA certification test if you want to be taken seriously as well. If you want to get experience in a hurry, SnapDocs is one way to do it. You’ll get tons of jobs, and all you have to do is drive, fax, and sign. You might not get paid that much, but experience is worth its weight in gold, so consider that your payoff.

Our list of signing companies that hire new signers is another way for newbies to get started.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7059

(5) FILL IN YOUR EMPTY TIME
If your other customers book in advance, and your daily schedule has some holes, SnapDocs might be the perfect way to fill in those unused hours. Although you might not get paid that much, at least you will have something to do so you (and your printer) won’t get bored. If you make $200 a day average doing signings for your regulars and you can pick up another $60 from SnapDocs, that is not a bad daily average.

(6) WIN OVER NEW CLIENTS
What a new client will pay you is different from someone who knows and trusts you. Once you build up trust with a client over the course of a few jobs, or a few months, you might be able to charge more. If they have a written track record about your service and know that you won’t screw up, they might pay you $20 more than they would pay another guy even though they are low-balling. So, you can use SnapDocs to meet new clients, and then once you have them hooked, jack your rates up a bit — but, not too much of a bit as you are still dealing with low-ballers.

(7) THE FIRST 3 WEEKS OF THE MONTH
Business is normally sluggish during the 3rd to the 22nd. So, that might be a great time to augment your business by using SnapDocs! You might need to save time during the end of the month for your regulars, but when things are slow, you should be willing to work at a somewhat lower rate.

(8) LOOK FOR CLOSE JOBS
Working for cheap is not that bad if you can find close jobs. If you get twenty texts per day from SnapDocs, and one or two is really close, you can try to nab those close ones and make some fast money. The key is having something to do during the other seven hours of your work day. If you make $60 for a signing ten minutes away, you might be making $50 per hour when all is said, done, and faxed.

(9) GET PAID UP FRONT
Ken is on our forum all the time offering some old school common sense to our Notaries. The message is — you are not a bank, why do you offer credit to strangers with no collateral? You don’t know if or when those signing companies will pay you. So, why not get $85 up front via Paypal? If they really need you they will pay you!

(10) THE CARMEN METHOD — ABSTINENCE
Carmen thinks that Notaries just shouldn’t use SnapDocs as the fees offered are too low. You can use abstinance as a way of dealing with this situation. Seasoned signers will never get paid what they are worth on SnapDocs, your experience is just not valued enough. With all of the faxing back, they can double check a newbies work and get accurate work at half the price by micromanaging. So, if you are “all that,” then get Elite Certified by 123notary and stick with us as you’ll get paid more from leads from our site — and forget about the cattle callers!

A final note from Jeremy — “Why am I promoting my competitor?”

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August 16, 2016

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital visits present the greatest personal risk, even greater than jail visits. When you visit a prison the staff knows your personal safety is their responsibility. At a hospital you are virtually ignored. The passing of infections is an obvious key issue; both ways. If you have the slightest contagious aliment it’s best to avoid hospitals. Two main reasons: your personal defenses are reduced, and you can infect a patient, potentially with dire consequences. Most of the NY hospitals that I go to have both facemasks and hand sanitizer at the entrance. Use both, also press the elevator button with a pen; generally avoid touching things. If you ask someone they will usually give you a pair of thin rubber gloves – additional protection.

Hospital visits should always be prepaid. You should stress the potential problems and frankly inform your caller that the risks are theirs. Your fee is earned when you to go to the facility and notarize if you are permitted to do so. There may be objections by the facility, ID issues, access limitations, ability to sign, ability to understand, etc. There is a good chance your client will be named as Agent on a Power of Attorney. Persons obtaining POA authority are quite willing to pay mobile notary fees; and have a great interest in obtaining the notarized document. Though their interest is irrelevant to your go/nogo decision; it’s worth mentioning. The majority of hospital POA jobs are, in my experience; for loving, concerned relatives who want to help. Of course some wish to exploit the afflicted – it’s virtually impossible to derive their true motivation.

But, your job is to notarize, if you feel doing so would be morally and legally proper. Hmmmm, just where did morally enter into the law? There are (at least in NY State) some “judgment call” aspects. Do I feel that the affiant understands the document and consents to it? Did the ID meet the standard of “adequate proof” – perhaps the photo on the license was a long time ago. Let’s continue with your approval of the situation.

You don’t know and will not be told what their affliction is. Sometimes there will be a “facemasks required” sign on the door. You should be wearing your facemask during every visit. Also take care about having the patient use your pen. Consider leaving it in the room, or at least giving it a good wipe with the hand sanitizer, there are usually several on each floor. Usually someone else is in the room. Show them where the patient needs to sign and stay a few feet away. But, you still need to witness signing a Jurat and need to administer an oath. They can bring the document to the patient while you observe. Just be sure that “they” do not sign for the patient!

Back to your fee. Some make payment on the web site with a credit card. Others prefer to pay with cash. Cash should be collected in the lobby if possible, or call your client out of the room and settle the finances first. Recall that you carefully covered all of the possible impediments to being able to notarize. Your “payment first” policy should have been carefully covered by phone prior to any travel, when accepting the assignment. Similar to prisons, things tend to move slowly in a hospital. You may have to wait while bedding is changed, test administered, etc. My basic notary fee at a hospital is half again what the fee would be for an office or home visit. Stress openly and honestly that all “risk” is on their side – you will do the job if conditions warrant, and total legality.

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August 10, 2016

If you can notarize here, you can notarize anywhere

The Notary profession in New York City is so competitive, few can survive at all. Or is it the other way around? To compete with Ken who has about four million positive reviews, you would have to be Superman, and have been Superman for the last ten years to have a chance to compete with him. We have some of the smartest Notaries in the country in New York for some reason. I guess NYC attracts the best and the brightest. Detroit also attracts some of the best — I can’t figure that one out (hmmm.) The city that does wost on our algorithm nationwide is our nation’s capitol — how ironic!

But, on a brighter note, some of our listings far down the list “Find a Notary in Manhattan” get tons of clicks. We have a few UPS stores that are getting seven clicks a day or so while similar businesses in other cities average about 1.5 clicks per day. What do all these numbers mean? NYC is a very populated city and is also a county. During the day there might be about 7 million people there. Additionally, since so many of those people are there to get high level business done, they need more Notaries than any other city or county in the nation. Our Los Angeles page only represents about 3 million folks which is less than half of what NYC represents. Miami-Dade only has 2.6 million. So, it kind of makes sense that the New Yorkers lead the pack in clicks on 123notary.

But, if you want to learn from the best, we have great Notaries everywhere, but the average caliber of Notary in NYC is far above the rest. If only all Notaries could learn from them. But, you can! Just read our blog! Ken, our in-house talented blog writer writes a piece (an unconcealed piece) every week, so you can learn from the best just by visiting our blog!

But, one of our clients in New York City saw a naked man wearing only a cardboard Notary Seal was walking down the street screaming — If you can notarize here, you can notarize anywhere!!!

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August 6, 2016

Opportunities at Sand Castle Field Services

Seeking Independent Field Representatives

Sand Castle Field Services is a national field services provider with complete coverage in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

We are offering the unique experience to become an Independent Field Representative in a location near you! This opportunity is especially great for someone looking to supplement their current income.

Services Provided

Field Visits: Assist our clients in re-establishing communication with their customers by delivering personal and confidential correspondence. You also would inspect and photograph property/collateral (based on each client’s needs).

Inspection Services: Visually inspect real estate, vehicles, leased equipment, commercial property, or any other type of property. Provide a detailed condition report and digital photos of the property.

Valuation Services: Provide the opinion of a licensed real estate professional.

Property Preservation: We are also seeking contractors able to complete Property Preservation in accordance with all investor (i.e. HUD/FHA, FNMA, FDMC) guidelines. We encourage all experienced contractors to join our Property Preservation team today.
Compensation

As an Independent Field Representative you would choose your desired fees and coverage area for the services you would like to provide. Sand Castle Field Services offers our agents a competitive environment where orders are assigned based upon fees and performance statistics. We can help you determine your coverage area and suggest competitive rates for that area.

Fees range depending on the type of assignment you are completing and the general location of the service. Metro areas often have lower fee ranges vs. a rural area.

Field Visits will typically pay anywhere from $10-$25.

Exterior Property Inspections will typically pay $6-$12. Inspections that are more in depth will pay higher fees and are negotiable.

Compensation for Valuation Service assignments varies by the type of assignment. Our most common assignments are residential Broker Price Opinions (BPOs) and typically pay $30-$50 exterior and $60-$75 interior.

Property Preservation fees are based on current investor guidelines.

If you currently provide these services or are looking to form a new partnership, please complete our interest submission survey located on our website www.sandcastlefs.com under the Careers Link. The direct link is: https://www.sandcastlefs.com/public/applicant/field_rep_application.aspx

You may also contact us directly by email or phone with any questions you may have. Email: recruiting@sandcastlefs.com Phone: 262-754-6006. Our hours of operation are Monday-Friday 7 AM – 8 PM CST. We look forward to hearing from you!

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August 2, 2016

How to find a Notary mentor

Many new Notaries want to set up shop and get going. The problem is that they don’t know how. They haven’t mastered their Notary skills and have no idea how to complete a signing or even get a signing. They need a mentor — and fast! But, how do you find a mentor? Actually, there are various types of mentors, and that is something more critical to understand than anything else.

You can get an actual human being who lives near you who can be your mentor. If you are lucky, they will let you tag along at signings and explain things to you. You could also find someone far away who can coach you. The problem is that most Notaries who are good at Notary work might not be good at teaching Notary work, and even if they are, they might not care about teaching you.

Those who are too close to you might see you as competition. We’ve had many stories on 123notary about how a mentor trained someone new out of the goodness of their heart. The next thing you know, that new Notary steals all (or a good portion) of their mentor’s clients and puts their mentor out of business. It has happened many times.

So, what type of mentors should you be looking for? We suggest finding many sources of knowledge and help, as you cannot depend fully on any particular source.

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1. Hotlines
NNA has an amazing hotline. They are great at helping out with technical questions about ID’s, credible witnesses, out of state forms, international issues, and more. 123notary does not have a hotline, but people routinely email us asking us questions and we are happy to help. Some people call Carmen at 123notary, and she is very seasoned in all aspects of the Notary and Signing Agent process.

2. Local Mentors
Get one in the next county over so you are not in direct competition with them. Mentors know that you might cut into their market share, so they will be unlikely to help you if you are within 30 miles. To be safe, you can consider 50 miles. If you can go out on a few signings with them, that might really help out as you will have hands on experience with the documents and procedure. Just make sure you do your studying first before you go out on an assignment, so you’ll have some knowledge about the documents. Seeing the documents a lot is different from having a solid knowledge about what the salient features of the documents. So, don’t fool yourself into a false sense of confidence.

3. Far away mentors
If you can find someone who is great at answering questions over the phone, but is too far away to actually visit. 123notary has many Elite Certified Notaries throughout the nation who are excellent. I think that NNA used to have an official list of mentors that was nationwide. I am not able to find that list on the web anymore. But, if you want to mentor, just post a reply to this article.

4. Courses
Many Notaries want a mentor when they haven’t actually studied. There is no substitute for book knowledge. It is hard to find a good mentor unless they like you. But, it is easy to find a book. 123notary offers loan signing courses that will get you started in about two weeks. You can take our online test and be officially 123notary certified which counts for a lot when advertising on our site. You will learn all the pertinent terms, all about the basic documents, signing procedures, marketing, and more.

5. Blogs
Many Notaries have caught on to the idea that they can get free knowledge and advice by reading blogs. NNA and 123notary have excellent blogs with great technical and marketing information in addition to entertaining stories, and more. To use the 123notary blog effectively, it is better that you understand how the categories work. Here are a few categories we recommend:

The 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

Loan Signing 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=2053

Hospital & Jail Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3251

How to get work & Who is getting work
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3264

Best Humorous Posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3241

Technical & Legal
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3244

We also have many subcategories under Marketing, Humor, Popular Posts, types of documents, and more.

6. Companies that micromanage
I learned more about loan signing from Nation’s Direct than from anywhere else. They taught me the ropes and were there on the phone to get me through my first 100 signings. They don’t pay that much, and Notaries complain that they micromanage, but they are a great place for newbies to get started in my experience. We have a list of companies that hire beginners. Those companies might tell you more about loan signing than any “mentor.”

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Companies that hire NEW signing agents!
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