September 2016 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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September 29, 2016

Notary Aptitude Test 2

(1) Notary Stamp is to Notary Seal what Attest is to:
(a) A test and a verbal verification (b) swearing and stating (c) The 123notary signing agent online test and proof (d) Oath and affirmation.

(2) Document Date is to Signing Date what Match.com date is to:
(a) Ditching date (b) Marriage date (c) Engagement date (d) Backdate (e) No relation

(3) Backdating is to signing what _____________ is to lying about your age.
(a) Match.com profiles (b) rescission date (c) Notary Applications (if you’re under 18 or not a US citizen) (d) notarizing an acknowledgment an hour before your signing appointment.

(4) Name on Title is to Name on a Document as name on Birth Certificate is to:
(a) Name on your ID (b) Your street aliases (c) Death Certificate (d) Mother’s maiden name

(5) Jurat is to Oath, what Oath is to:
(a) Quaker Oaths (b) Oath written text (c) Swearing (d) Attest

(6) Original document is to wet ink signature as commission paperwork is to:
(a) Secretary of State’s seal (b) name of your state (c) Felony conviction (d) Commission impossible

(7) Venue is to State what State is to:
(a) Secretary of State (b) City (c) County (d) Zip code

(8) Witness is to bank robbery what Notary act is to:
(a) Acknowledgment (b) Jurat (c) Protest (d) Unmarked Bills

(9) Subpoena is to testify what credible witness is to:
(a) Busy-body (b) Bank Robber (c) Subscribing Witness (d) Identify

(10) Middle initial is to document what ___________ is to identification
(a) Name (b) Middle Name (c) Matching or longer (d) Name on Title

(11) Digital signature is to an eSigning what a/an ________________ is to the future of the Notary profession.
(a) eDocuments (b) Notary (c) eNotary (d) 123notary

(12) SnapDocs is to the Notary Profession what Walmart is to:
(a) eBay (b) Retail (c) Amazon (d) Life

ANSWERS:

1. Note to readers, seal has two meanings. It could mean a stamp, or a signature). Answer (a) is correct even though it is part joke and part true.

2. (e) is the correct answer as the document date is arbitrary and could be any date, and has no relation to the signing date although it is commonly the same date as the signing date by convention.

3. (a) Match.com profiles typically have women who lie about their age and roll back the years about five to ten years. But, do men also backdate their age?

4. The name on Title is your official name that the property is registered to which carries a certain amount of official merit to it and permenance just like the name on your birth certificate. However, people do change their names after the fact that could lead to different names on the document or ID. Correct answer is (a).

5. (c) Swearing is a part of the Oath just like an Oath is a part of the Jurat process.

6-12 Figure it out on your own! That was fun!

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September 27, 2016

The Nose Best Notary

OK, I’ll admit it – I cheated. Of course the title should use the word “knows”. But, there seems to be a problem in the notary community. A disproportionate percentage of notaries feel they are a “cut above” the rest of the field. Not a tiny cut, but by a wide margin – knowledge wise. Many of us seem to consider ourselves the best – not “one of the best” but “the ultimate notary”, why?

I’ll venture a guess. It’s that the vast majority work for themselves. They answer to no one. Thus, they do their own “self evaluations” and, surprise – bask with pride at their reflected image. Wake up; you have a lot to learn. The world, security wise, is changing rapidly. The old TIL and HUD have been usurped by a CD. Are you hoping I will define that – sorry – I will not – you are supposed to know what a CD is. OK, you aced it – but how aware are you of its components?

The problem is manifested in more than knowledge of esoteric loan package forms. It goes to the heart of being a responsible public official. The county sheriff would not be in office long if they could not recognize one of the 10 Most Wanted if they passed them on the street. Similarly, you need to keep up on changing components that affect your working environment. A good start would be to review the Current Edition of your governing regulations. Things have changed since you took your notary exam. You swore to uphold those rules, and must maintain your knowledge.

Take participation in the http://123notary.com forum. Many are the posts that offer their own opinion – believing that theirs is the only right path. Few are the posts that acknowledge that someone with a superior understanding offered the right approach to the situation. It’s an interesting exercise to explore the web sites of those self proclaimed luminaries. I have done precisely that. What I found was gushing self praise and absurd proclamations. We can be at your location in 10 minutes. We know every doorman in the city. Our notarizations are much better than any other. Blah, blah, blah.

How do you throttle back your ego? One good method is to submit to standardized testing. This site offers a few varieties, as to some others. Of course there is your state notary manual, do you understand every word. Not each sentence by rote – but each concept by its essence. Did you ever call upon your licensing authority to explain a “fuzzy” concept? Or, did you just assume “I don’t need to know that. Here in NY State notaries must view “Adequate Proof”. The term is not further defined in the Notary manual. I spoke at length to them to derive their intended meaning.

Nobody is the knows best notary. Some think they are. The ones that come close are open minded and willing to learn. The foundation is, of course, your governing laws. But, it is in the application of those parameters that we exhibit our judgment; and our “wisdom”. For your business to be viable, you need to meet your clients’ needs and desires. Sometimes creative approaches, based entirely on what is completely proper are required. Given a complex situation there are those who will claim the request illegal; usually a safe choice. But, others with a greater breadth of knowledge can derive a totally legal and possible innovative solution. It is those whose clients feel that their notary “is the best notary”.

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September 26, 2016

What is a high placed listing on 123notary worth?

Many people want a high placed listing for Notary advertising on 123notary.com, but complain about the prices. We keep our prices intentionally high to weed out Notaries who are not serious. But, should you pay big bucks to get a high placed listing?

A Good Foundation
First of all, you will not get your money’s worth if you did not pass our (signing agent) Notary certification test. People who visit our site want to see our signing agent certification, not some other agency’s like NNA or Notary2Pro, etc. Additionally, without a few fresh reviews from satisfied clients on your listing, you will lose a lot of the potential of a high placed listing. Finally, your notes section needs to be perfected, so ask us for help — it’s free. So, get your foundation in order before you invest above $100 in a listing.

Building Your Presence
123notary allows people to buy a high placed listing half a year at a time. So, you can try it out. Sometimes we might even let you try three months. We want you to be happy with what you purchased. So, if you try it out, you didn’t lose much if it didn’t work out. Some people have amazing stories of getting several jobs within hours of signing up while others wait weeks. A lot has to do with your luck, your presentation and timing.

Trying Multiple Areas
123notary also allows you to try multiple areas. Our most serious Notaries advertise in several counties with high placements. But, some of them want to put their toe in the water before making a long term commitment. They might get an additional county with high placement in Montgomery County to see how that goes. If it doesn’t work well, they ask if they can move it to Orange County. We understand that you might want to experiment, and that’s okay.

What do people who have been advertising on 123notary say?

I get 90% of my work from 123notary!
We get this a lot, but not from all of our Notaries. 123notary is feast or famine. The Notaries on the top of the list get most of the jobs while the Notaries lower on the list get the leftovers if there are any. Once in a while, a well prepared Notary lower on the list will get a fair amount of business too because they presented themselves well and have deep experience.

I got my first job within hours of signing up!
Some people get lucky and get a job right away. This is partly due to yogic thought. When you are thinking about expanding your presence, you attract new clients. Putting your money where your mouth is also increases the power of your thought. Some people have to wait a while before getting work. We recommend working on your FOUNDATION as we mentioned above as that can dictate how well you do against our very seasoned competition who lists on our site in your county (or perhaps they do)

I got five jobs my first two weeks on 123notary
Some people get a slew of jobs after getting a high placed listing on 123notary. There is no accounting for luck. Others start racking in the jobs after they pass the 123notary certification test.

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September 24, 2016

Can a Washington Notary notarize in Idaho?

As a general rule, a Notary can notarize in any county of their state of commission. A few states have some bizarre exceptions to this rule for Deeds of properties that are in the Notary’s home state. Louisiana also has a weird rule that you can only notarize in Parishes that you are commissioned in or ones with reciprocal agreements unless you have statewide jurisdiction. What does it have to be so complicated? And why can’t they have counties like normal states?

A Washington State Notary Public may Notarize in any part of the state of Washington. However, it is allowed for a Washington Notary Public to get dual commissioned as an Oregon Notary Public or an Idaho Notary Public which is very practical if you live near a state border. Notaries in Vancouver, WA often get dual commission in Oregon so that they can service a larger area. Additionally, Notaries in Spokane, WA often become dual commissioned in Idaho as an Idaho Notary Public as well.

If you are in a pinch, and someone out of state needs your Notary services, you can meet them right at your state’s border (on your side of the border) and Notarize them there. It rarely matters what state a person is notarized in, but you could lose your commission if caught notarizing outside of your state’s borders!

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September 20, 2016

Their Signature

Their Signature

Let’s use, as a working definition of Their Signature; “somebody’s name written by him or her in a characteristic way”. Long ago, about a decade, I was often asked to provide “legible” signatures that matched the name signing. I tried that a few times, mostly with dismal failure. More often than not, the signature was totally illegible – more like artwork than written script handwriting.

Now let’s go back a lot further in the past, about two thousand years. Commercial transactions were common then as they are now. Most did not read or write, they made their mark. It was the seal of the Notary, who knew the affiant that validated the “mark”. Nothing has really changed. It is still the Notary who is supporting the validity of the signature.

They can sign many ways, with a pen, with a brush (artsy?), using their hands, feet, knees or mouth to hold the instrument of signing. Keep in mind the Americans with Disabilities Act. We must make reasonable accommodation to all who qualify for our seal. The signature does not have to be the same as, or even similar to the one on their ie: driver license. A lost limb or even both arms does not preclude notarization. Pen held in mouth is fine, the signature will be vastly different – but that really does not matter. Many elderly people have hands that shake, but their minds remain crystal clear.

Their “signature”, however written is the second aspect of accepting the Notary Oath. The first part is communicating a “yes” to the Oath; the signature is the written agreement. As mentioned – often the signature does not match the ID. Of course the picture must. There is one signature that (at least in NY State) must match – and that one is mine. My signature is recorded with the county clerk and for it to be authenticated; my signature on the document must be the same as my officially recorded one. Thus my signature cannot change.

To me what really counts is their printed name somewhere to indicate exactly who is being notarized. If it’s in my “loose ack” – I get to print the name. Sometimes it’s not that clear on the document, that is when I ask them to print their name under their signature. Notaries must take care to delimit their notarization to those actually given the oath and ID checked. When there are “other” places for signature, I often add “by affiant name” to the “sworn to and subscribed”.

Signatures vary greatly. I have seen perfectly formed cursive handwriting, squiggles and minor works of art with flourishes. Many bear no relation whatsoever to the name. Sometimes the same thing is on the ID, sometimes not. It’s my job to determine who they are, not to critique how they write their name. It would be so much more “absolute” if a DNA sample were to be added. Some think a thumbprint would be best; but not everyone has a thumb.

So, I am not a handwriting nanny. When the instructions mandate “clearly written” I tell the affiant what they “require” – and accept what they do. Usually I ask for their routine, standard signature “the way you would sign a check”. In my experience people object to being told “how to sign”. The signature, stamp and seal of the Notary makes whatever it is “Kosher”.

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September 19, 2016

Do you negotiate fees correctly over the phone?

Most Notaries study from loan signing classes, but never study the art of negotiation. Negotiating is not hard, but it is an art. Turks, Persians and Indians seem to excel at this while Americans haven’t a clue. In negotiating Notary fees, the secret is to make sure the other person makes an offer first. If you offer first, it might be too low in which case you’ll lose money. Or it might be too high in which case they’ll think you are too expensive and might not want to bargain. If they offer first, you can raise the price by $15 or $20 and still be in their ballpark or just agree if they are being reasonable.

On the other hand, if you want a reputation of charging fair fees for solid work, you can have a pricing formula based on time spent or even have fixed fees, or mileage fees. If you charge $110 per signing, that seems reasonable. They can always bargain you down to $85, and if it’s not too far, you might say yes and make some fast money.

I remember talking to a sub teacher who made $90 per day. Making $85 in two hours including driving and printing is better than $90 in a day. So, you are making more than teachers who are supposed to be the pillars of education in society today.

The other thing to remember is that you have to get your facts and terms straight before you quote a realistic price. If you don’t know how many pages, fax backs, signers, and notarizations there are, you might not give a true price. If you don’t know if the company is fibbing about the # of pages you’re in trouble too. If you don’t know if you get paid if the loan doesn’t fund, you’re in trouble too. Terms are as important as price or anything else. You can negotiate a $500 price, but if the loan doesn’t fund, you might get zilch.

So, put all the cards on the table before you quote your rate. You can quote first, or wait for them to make an offer. Additionally, most Notaries prefer phone offers to emails or texts because they can bargain more easily. You can bargain in any medium. Just state your rate and state your terms by text, email or phone. It is the same — just more delays in feedback.

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September 18, 2016

He, She, or They?

He She or They

Jeremy and others have often mentioned the “requirement” (in quotes because the laws regarding this issue probably vary by state) to cross out the irrelevant sections in a notary section. They reason that the notary is responsible to redact entries that do not “match” the person being notarized. I disagree.

In the thousands of notary sections that have my signature and seal, over a decade of doing this; not a single one has had the redactions. Not one. And, I have never been “called to task” for not completing the section properly. There is no mention in New York State law requiring such action. The model for the Acknowledgement that I use has both “he she they” and “his her their”; and is taken directly from the handbook for NY notaries. My Jurat is even simpler: Sworn to and subscribed before me by _____.

Long before “gender identity” was a news topic I concluded that I was not the person to determine the gender of affiants. If I am not the one, who is? Well, the best answer is probably the affiant. However, some may consider a medical doctor more appropriate. It could also be a Judge. I do not see it as my function, in MY statement, to declare the gender of the affiant. Now the gender identity issue has become a hot topic in the media. To me it’s a personal issue, one for the affiant to declare or not declare as they see fit. Whatever gender identity THEY say, outside of the notary section; is fine with me.

My sharp eyed critics, and they are legion; will have noticed I included “they and their” as items that I do not redact. They are thinking “surely you should delimit the notary section to one individual when multiple names are not being notarized”. Perhaps, but I offer two defenses to leaving it as is. First, the sole name, when there is only one affiant signing, is clearly entered in the notarization. Secondly, and admittedly this is a bit of a “reach” – the affiant might identify as being of dual identity. One ID, but they consider themselves two persons. Possibly one gender sometimes, different other times. Technically it’s proper for me to enter two names in the notary section when only one person is before me and taking the oath. This comes directly from the NY County Clerk office. If the affiant has two passports with a different name on each document – they have “proved” both names and “they” have the option of having each name entered on the notary section.

With the rampant rise of identity theft and similar crimes; the role of the notary has become more, not less, important in commerce. More important yes, but not of greater scope in our basic function. Many are the “notary signature only” documents I have seen included with the packages. Fortunately for me it is illegal in NY as a notary; to make statements of fact. The most common being for me to state that I have determined the identity of the affiant(s) to an absolute certainty. The State standard is to view “adequate proof” – not absolute proof. These statements by the notary will only admit you to the litigation chain if, in fact, you were conned by a good looking forgery of the ID.

But, let’s get back to the gender issue. A person is a person, nobody will refute that. We notarize people, they come in a wide variety – and it’s our job to accommodate all of them; within the bounds of our respective state codes. I leave my notarizations “open” to be all inclusive. It’s for others to decide issues of gender. It’s so easy to make false assumptions. I have asked the Sister of the affiant to sign on the Spouse line. Ouch, that was awkward for a moment. Clearly including the name, as taken from the ID is what works for me. Of course care should be taken to not provide an “open ended” notarization to which some additional name(s) can be added at a later date. As the County Clerk told me: “You notarize the name as on the ID, nothing else”. Thus, I make no determination as to he, she, or they, and leave the form alone.

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September 15, 2016

One signing — two venues?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 11:27 am

It happened many years ago. I had to do a split signing, but not for a split level building thank God. The husband was in Orange County, but the wife was in Ventura. Some marriage they must have had — but, I couldn’t say anything because — I’m just the Notary!

I couldn’t figure out what to put in the venue though. The signing was happening all on the same day, so technically, I could use one Acknowledgment. The signing company insisted that I only use one Notary Acknowledgment for both signers even though the law allows for the use of one per person. Legally, it is cleaner, but not necessarily more legal to do the signing using two separate acknowledgments since each signer was in a different county. But, the signing company recommended something completely different.

Put two counties in the venue? What? Yes, this is exactly what the signing company asked me to do after talking to one of their Notary experts on their panel of in-house specialists. I was to put:

State of California
County of Ventura & Orange

The surprising thing is that the county clerk didn’t complain about this. Lucky me. They could have thrown the whole signing back in our face on a whim but they didn’t. Perhaps because my seal was not smudgy. But, this will be a great story to tell my grandchildren if I ever have any. But, you can’t have grandchildren if you don’t have children and you can’t have (legitimate) children without a wife. Boy, I’ve got to get myself a girlfriend and fast!

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September 13, 2016

The Self Nanny-ing Notary

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:24 am

The Self Nanny-ing Notary

We all hate to be micro-managed by others. But, we really do micro-manage ourselves. We make thousands of little decisions every day. That decision making does not trouble us; it’s a natural part of our daily lives. It’s the intrusive and disruptive that we perceive as being obnoxious. Well, there is a good lesson to be learned from those “newbie” shops that recruit fledgling notaries. They, if one is open to learning from them; provide an excellent tutorial on notary/client communications. That’s an area many of us have room for improvement.

In addition to the baseline of providing a perfectly executed set of documents, you will be judged by your attention to communications. This is one area when “too much” is way better than “to little”. Some examples: I have confirmed the date, time and location with the affiant. I received the documents via email. I printed two sets, some went to letter size, and some went to legal. I have the airbill. I am leaving for the assignment (tells them that you can no longer receive an updated document). I have arrived and am with the affiant. We have completed signing. I am taking the package to the shipper. The package has been scanned and is trackable. I am sending you my W9 and Invoice. Thank you for selecting me, I appreciate your business.

All of that, every time? Of course not – but, as those are typical of the nanny shops; they show information that is meaningful to your employer. If you have a reputation, have done many jobs for them, perhaps only 2 or 3 of the above are necessary. But, if you wish to make a great start with a new client; keeping them informed is really the right thing to do. Not sure if they want a minute by minute email – ask them; let them tell you the level of communications wanted.

Most, but not all, of the example I routinely do. It’s easy with a properly set up cell phone’s email software. Result? Many comment that they like the communications. Keep in mind that even though we receive a modest fee; others are depending on us to earn their substantially larger commissions. And, they do want to know that things are proceeding smoothly. Your updates let them know that no problems have developed; otherwise you would have mentioned them. As mentioned, ask if they would prefer frequent progress updates, or just the final “signed & shipped”.

Today I had a client frantic about a package that had not been delivered on time. Fortunately, it is my custom to either scan or cell camera photograph the drop off receipt and email that with my “signed and shipped” statement. Of course when they supply the airbill they have access to the drop off location and time. However, my email with the client name (the initial “work order” that they sent to me) and the drop off image makes it much easier for them. That email from me ties the client name to a tracking number. It also puts me “out of the loop” at I can prove the drop off was punctual in relation to the signing completion time.

While I don’t permit others to micro-manage me with frequent calls, I have no problem providing very frequent status updates via email. Incoming calls are intrusive, they busy my line; possibly costing me a new assignment. Sending updates via email, short and to the point is the way to go.

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September 12, 2016

What do you lose by not answering a call or being short with someone while answering

Many Notaries feel that it is rude to answer a call during a signing, so they don’t. They they call the person back after the signing when the person calling them is doing something else and might not want to be bothered.

What if the caller is offering you four jobs a week for the rest of your life. That might be worth $100,000 over the course of five years. But, you lost that job because you didn’t want to be rude. Maybe being rude is worth it. What do you think?

Next, what if you answer the call, but are rude to the caller by telling them that you are at a signing. This makes me feel very uncomfortable and tense. Why should I talk to them at all as they are in a desperate life threatening hurry to get off the phone. I usually say, “Never mind!” They don’t know who I am or what I’m calling about. They might be about to get kicked off 123notary, but they’ll never know because they didn’t offer me a chance. Or I might have been offering them some very valuable free tips, but they’ll never know.

If you answer a call, give the caller half a minute or so before you start to hussle them. Otherwise you might as well just not answer the call. It is rude to put someone under that type of pressure by answering the call only to tell them that you either can’t talk, or can’t talk for more than an ultra-tense five seconds. What is all the tension about. Nobody is going to miss a flight. Nobody is going to die if you talk for half a minute or so. They’ll be just fine. So just relax, because you don’t know how much you stand to lose by hustling a caller. You might lose your career or the better part of it.

So, answer your calls and be nice to those calling you otherwise you will lose — and you’ll lose more than you can imagine. You are in a business which requires answering your phone, otherwise nobody can book the next job with you and nobody can develop long term ties to you. If you don’t like answering the phone, then create a website — then you can answer emails!

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