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November 3, 2023

Best Practices for Designing a Notary Website

Filed under: Notary Marketing 102 — Tags: — Tom Wilkins @ 12:00 am

In the digital age, having a well-designed website is crucial for notaries to establish a professional online presence and attract potential clients. How to design a notary website is a common question for notaries looking to enhance their online presence. A notary website serves as a virtual office, offering information about services and building trust with visitors. To create an effective notary website, it’s essential to follow best practices that ensure a seamless user experience and a strong online reputation.

Clear and Professional Design

Your notary website’s design should be clean, professional, and easy to navigate. Use a simple color scheme, legible fonts, and a layout that guides visitors to essential information. Remember, the goal is to instill confidence in your services.

User-Friendly Navigation

Ensure that visitors can easily find the information they need. Organize your site with a logical menu structure, including sections for services, contact details, and frequently asked questions. Use clear labels and consider including a search feature to make navigation smoother.

Mobile Responsiveness

With most internet users accessing websites on mobile devices, your notary website must be mobile-responsive. A responsive design ensures your site looks and functions well on smartphones and tablets.

Engaging Content

High-quality content is essential. Describe your notary services clearly and engagingly. Include testimonials or case studies to build trust. Regularly update your blog with informative articles about notary services to demonstrate your expertise.

Contact Information

Make it easy for potential clients to get in touch and learn how to design a notary website. Place your contact information prominently on your website. Consider using a contact form to collect inquiries and ensure timely responses.

Security

Website security is vital, especially when dealing with sensitive legal documents. Use HTTPS to encrypt data transmission, keep your website’s software up to date, and employ security measures to protect against cyber threats.

SEO Optimization

Optimize your website for search engines to improve visibility. Use relevant keywords such as “notary services” and “legal notary” to increase the chances of your site appearing in search results. Regularly update your content to maintain search engine rankings.

Clear Pricing

Transparency in pricing is essential for mobile notary etiquette tips. If possible, provide a clear breakdown of your fees on your website. This can help potential clients understand the cost of your services upfront.

Legal Compliance

Ensure your website complies with legal requirements. Display any necessary disclaimers, privacy policies, and terms of service. This builds trust and demonstrates professionalism.

Social Media Integration

Integrate your social media profiles into your website. This not only enhances your online presence but also allows visitors to connect with you on different platforms.

Elevate Your Notary Business with a Well-Designed Website

Notary Website Best Practices

When it comes to how to design a notary website, these best practices are essential for success. A well-structured and professionally designed website will help you attract and retain clients, build trust, and establish your presence in the digital world. By prioritizing clear navigation, professional branding, mobile responsiveness, and informative content, you can create a website that not only represents your notary services but also converts visitors into loyal clients. Incorporating these principles is crucial for achieving a compelling notary website that stands out in the competitive online landscape. Stay committed to these practices, and your notary website will become a valuable tool for your business.

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January 9, 2022

Which rules are laws, Lender practices, or best practices?

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Notary Rules or Industry Rules?

It is confusing with all the standards in the Notary business. When 123notary teaches Notary practices, we are not teaching laws, but solid practices. Many Notaries argue with us about our practices because they are not required by law. That is the whole point — we are not teaching law because we are not authorized to, and because we don’t know it. We do know solid notary practices, and teach it as you can get into trouble for not knowing your basics. However, notaries have many misconceptions about the rules of the industry. So, let me clarify.

1. You can always over sign — industry practice (not a law)
Is this a Notary law, industry practice, or what? This statement means that you can sign a document with a name that is longer than the name typed in the signature line. However, that does not make it legal to notarize that longer name unless you can prove the name with an ID. Pleasing the Lender is one aspect of being a Notary. Obeying the law is a much more important one. If you displease the Lender you get fired. If you get in trouble with the law you can end up in jail. Pick your poison.

2. The name on the ID has to match
Please keep in mind that there are four names we have to keep track of:
(a) The name on the ID
(b) The name typed on the signature section of the document.
(c) The name signed on the document
(d) The name on the acknowledgment.

In theory these names could all be different variations, but it is cleaner if they are identical. The critical points are that:

(e) The name on the Acknowledgment must be identical or matching but shorter than the name on the signature line of the document. If the signature on the document says John W Smith, you can put John Smith or John W Smith in the Acknowledgment to please the law, but the shorter name might not please the client.
(f) The name on the Acknowledgment must be provable based on the name on the ID, but does not have to be an exact match. The ID could say John W Smith and you can put John Smith in the Acknowledgment if you like.
(g) The name signed on the document can be identical or matching but longer than the name typed on the document to please most Lenders, but legally notarizing the longer signature or shorter signature is dependent on proving all of the components of their name with an ID.

3. The Lender is the boss of the Notary Public (true for signings, but not for the actual notary work)
The Lender is your boss as to the general assignment, and what happens with loan documents. They are NOT your boss about Notary issues and you should not ask them for Notary advice ever as they might have you do something illegal out of ignorance or greed. You ask your state’s notary division if you have a Notary question and perhaps the NNA hotline and that’s it. The Notary can ask the Lender their preference in how something is notarized if there is more than one legal way to do it, but you can not ask a Lender how to do your job. You are the appointed Notary, not them. If they want to do it their way, they should come over with their stamp and do it their way which hopefully is legal — but, it is their commission at stake if it is not legal. Don’t risk your commission depending on the Lender or Title for Notary advice.

4. The Notary is the boss of the Lender?
The Notary is a state appointed official who represents their state, although the state is not the entity that pays them. If there is a discussion between the Lender and the Notary as to how a Notary act is done, the Notary dictates how it should be done. If there are multiple legal ways to do something such as fixing a mistake by crossing out and initialing vs. attaching a loose certificate — then, the Notary can ask for the Lender’s preference, but not for advice. However, there are liability issues with doing cross outs and initialing. It looks like tampering and you don’t want to end up in court. So, once again, it is the Notary’s discretion as to how problems are solved when there are multiple methods to solve. You can ask the Lender what they like or you can dictate to the Lender what you are going to do. But, the Notary is the boss of Notary work. If they don’t like it, they can find another Notary. It is best if you explain the reasons why you want to do something a particular way. If your reason sounds prudent, there is a chance you might get some respect for your decision. Most Notaries don’t think issues out carefully and do not have well thought out reasons for anything they do. Read our course more and become reasonable! Your commission might depend on it.

5. Send me a loose certificate or jurat in the mail (illegal)
Acknowledgment or Jurat certificates must be stapled to the documents they are associated with. If there is one floating around, you cannot create another one until you destroy the original yourself. Some states do not allow creating new certificates for botched notarizations and require you to do the notarization all over again. Consult your notary handbook on this issue, especially in California where there are many new rules created in the last few years that I have heard about but not actually read to my satisfaction.

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You might also like:

The ID says John Smith
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19953

What is the cleanest way to rectify an error on a certificate?
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13 ways you might get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

5 books every notary should own (and read)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3668

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April 28, 2013

Best Practices: When it is legal to notarize a document twice?

Q. When is it legal to notarize twice?

A. Any time you get two journal entries for the document in question and attach two separate certificates.

How is this?

Many notaries fall into unfortunate circumstances. We live in a day and age when old fashioned common sense is not a part of life any more — at least not in the Title industry. A notary will be given an Acknowledgment form with wording that just isn’t acceptable. Perhaps the venue is for a different county or state. Perhaps there are two names on the Acknowledgment when there is only one signer — and a cross out will just look funny. Maybe something else will be wrong. Use your imagination here — you are notaries!

So, should you cross-out Jim’s name on the Acknowledgment form since only Jane is there and Jim is on a business trip? Or should you attach an additional acknowledgment form and leave the original blank? The issue here is much more than what the law says. The law doesn’t address cross outs to my knowledge although it definately seems that it is not a “best practice” since it looks dubious and possibly fraudulent.

Do you really want your notarized documents to look tampered with? That is what notarizing a document with a cross-out looks like. Sure you do it all the time, but what if fraud really is involved and you get called into court just because you think it is fine and dandy to simply, “cross out and initial — I do it all the time”. Well, stop doing it all the time on notarized documents. It is a “worst practice”, not a best practice. Best practices include starting fresh with a clean acknowledgment and filling out properly with not only the state required wording, but also a document name, document date, document description, number of pages, etc. If you are smart, you will emboss every page on every document that you notarize whether the clients like it or not — for your protection. It makes page swapping after the fact very noticeable and detectable.

So, I recommend the fresh acknowledgment approach since it is clean and a best practice. But, on the other hand, what about notarizing the document twice and giving the lender a choice of the messy cross-out version, or the clean attached version. Some lenders HATE attachments (even though it is legal and kosher). Many lenders do not mind cross-outs even though it is abominable to anyone with standards. So, if you give them a choice, at least they will have less cause to be unhappy. They will know that you went above and beyond for them.

However, you will be committing fraud if you send a loose acknowledgment in the mail to the lender who doesn’t like your first attempt. Sure you already notarized it, but now there are two certificates floating around and not attached. The “best practice” here is to tell the lender you need the original back, you shred the certificate, add another certificate, and then send it back. Lenders don’t typically like best practices because it takes longer. Fraud is easier! But, don’t even think about it.

I will end this entry with a quote from a Yiddish folk story

Crime doesn’t pay, but oy, such good hours!

I will end this entry a second time, but this time with a line from a Mexican folk song about notarizations

Dos Acknowledmentos Un Documento?
Ay que paso en esta mundo?
Que voy aser con esta notario?
Llama el telefono a el Loan Officer por favor!

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Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21104

Following directions is more important than you think
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

What defines what a signature is?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

What if the signature is in the middle of the document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20525

Notarizing multi-page documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21423

Notary Public 101 basic notary acts explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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February 15, 2013

Signing agent best practices: 63 points

Here are a few tips about best practices. Maybe none of your clients will care, or maybe they will even adamantly dislike your best practices. But, if you have any self-respect, you will engage in best practices.

LEGAL & TECHNICAL BEST PRACTICES

(1) Hand written documents.
As a notary, it is not illegal to notarize a hand written document. The issue is if there are cross-outs, or blanks. Blanks make it illegal to notarize, but cross outs are a question mark. Personally, if you care about best practices, and not ending up in court for some stupidity that the signer did, then require typed documents with no cross-outs or blanks.

(2) Don’t pick the type of notarization for your signer
That is their job. Legally, you can not choose for them.

(3) Blanks in documents
Put a line through the blanks or refuse the notarize. (that was quick)

(4) Cross-outs
I would avoid notarizing anything with a cross-out. If you can do a cross out, you don’t know if it was there before the notarization or not. If there is one before, what prevents there from being more after. You can forge an initial without being detected, so cross outs are an indication that you need a redraw.

(5) Affixing your seal over wording
This is illegal in many states. The notary seal should be placed in an area of the paper where there is no wording, and do not sign or write over the stamp impression or you void it. If there is no space, then attach a loose notary certificate and make sure you document all pertinent facts on it.

(6) Loose certificates
NEVER send a loose certificate in the mail or hand it to a client. Always attach the loose certificate to the document, preferably before affixing your notary seal. Always document the name of the document, document date (if any), number of pages in the document, document description on the certificate in addition to filling in the standardized state wording, signing and sealing the form.

(7) Journals
Keep thumbprints in your journal. If your state doesn’t require journals, write them a letter about how poor their standards are and then go and buy a journal from the NNA. Also, there is a section called, “additional notes” in your journal (hopefully). Please use this to write down anything unusual about the signer during the signing, or anything unusual about the circumstances. Write it so thoroughly, that when you are in court five years later about that signing which could have involved fraud on the part of the signer, that you will have your evidence handy! Impressive!

(8) Oaths
If you do sworn Oaths, make sure to have the affiant (know this term) raise their right hand. Make sure to study up on formal Oath wording. Oaths are serious, and you are a state appointed official, so keep it official, okay?

(9) Embossers
If you don’t have a 2nd notary seal, get one. Embossers create a RAISED inkless impression. Use it as your secondary seal, and you can affix it to all pages of all documents you notarize for security. There are many frauds out there who do page swapping after the fact. To avoid page swapping (which could lend you in court for something they did after the fact) use an embosser. That way when you get a phone call 2 months later to notarize that separate page they are adding, tell them that you have to do the whole thing all over again. Sorry Charlie, that is a best practice!

(10) Learn the correct verbiage for power of attorney signings
But, there are four accepted verbiage variations. My favorite is Joe Doe, as attorney in fact for Mary Doe. Always call the lender to find out what type of verbiage they want at a signing. Remember, it is their loan, and just as long as you are not breaking the law — do it their way!

(11) Overseas documents
People overseas have bizarre standards. Some require the stamp to be on the document itself no matter what, but they didn’t put the verbiage in for your state. There is nothing LESS legal about attaching an acknowledgment form, but it is not about the law at this point. It is about whether or not THEY like it! So, find a legal way to handle their overseas the way they like. Once I manually wrote in the California Acknowledgment verbiage by hand and then sealed it. It was legal. Not exactly a best practice, but if they won’t accept best practices, then settle for “best practices under the circumstances”. Chinese are a tough crowd — you will find out!

(12) Initialing
Many Title companies don’t like suffixes such as Junior, or IV at the ends of names. But, if you are Louis Remy Martin IV, then the IV is part of your name, the 4th part of your name to be precise. Ronald R Rubin initials RRR. Get the initials to be correct and thorough. And if a lender doesn’t like it, should you break a best practice for their happiness? I don’t know of any laws about initialing, but making an initial of each part of the name is only logical, right?

(13) Signing for confused elderly people
If you sign for a person in a hospital, or someone who is just elderly. Make sure you have whomever calls you READ the identification over the phone to you including the expiration date. Have them read the name on the document too. Elderly people can never find their ID’s, and if they assure you that they have it, don’t believe it, they are lying. Trust me. I know! I am experienced and you are not! Otherwise you would be writing this blog. Do not notarize an elderly person if they can not move their arm on their own. Do not let their daughter drag their arm across a page that they are signing. You can use the daughter’s arm as a brace, but not a movement device. If the elderly person can not paraphrase what the document says, DO NOT NOTARIZE. And, by the way, the night daughter might be a con-artist who is pretending to help the elderly woman, only to be trying to cheat the old lady out of her money. Notaries beware!

(14) When in doubt, call your state notary division
Sometimes the handbook is just not enough. It doesn’t include all situations, and it is not written in English either. Legalese is not my mother tongue, what about you? Call them and bug them. Do it right or not at all. The NNA offers a good notary law hotline too, but get your information from the SOURCE and call your state notary division as your first choice!

(15) Safeguarding your seal and journal
Keeping it under lock & key is the rule of many states. A locking bag, a locking file cabinet. Keeping it in your car, etc. But, honestly, property DOES get stolen, and you need to protect yourself the best way. If your goodies are in your car, keep in in a place where it won’t get taken in a break-in. Keep it under the seat, or behind some large container in the trunk. I kept it in my trunk, but where the robbers could see it. Everything was in a little bag, and they probably thought it was a lap top and valuable. They were in a rush and didn’t inspect it before they took it. If it is at home, keep it in a locked file cabinet instead of hanging around in your locked bag. Go above and beyond the law for best practices. Keep your seal in a place where it is least likely to be “robbable”.

(16) Be an expert at your state notary laws.
Look them up in your state notary handbook. Keep this book with you. It is your bible when you are at work.

(17) Be an expert at credible witness procedure, and signing by X procedure in your state.

(18) Be an expert at all notary and signing related knowledge.
Don’t half know it or kind of know it. Be an expert, and it will show. You will be higher on people’s list if you are.

(19) Keep four phone numbers with you at signings.
In jail you get one phone call. But, as a notary you get many, and should have three phone numbers. The number of the signing company, the lender, the borrower, and the lenders’s wife. Just kidding about the last one. You need to call the lender half the time at a signing because they are such a careless bunch, that they will not have thoroughly prepped the borrower for the signing, plus there might be unexpected surprises on the documents as well. Be prepared!

(20) Using your seal on a blank piece of paper.
ILLEGAL. However, if you go to a jail, they require this for security. So, affix your seal, and then cross it out and write the words void. It is no longer illegal. It is the BEST way to clean up a WORST practice that the jail makes you do. I joked with them and told them that I thought it was funny that I was being forced to break the law by a guard at a jail. What is the world coming to?

(21) Check the signature on the identification
Does the signature on the identification match the one on the document? Did you check? Start checking.

(22) Bad identification?
Is the identification peeling? Is the signature above the lamination? Does it look like a fake identification document? Do you even have a reference guide to know if it is fake? It is your business to know. Get the NNA book on identification and drivers licenses. Also, take thumbprints. Standards for identification should be a government issued photo ID with a physical description, serial number, signature, and expiration date. Nothing else will do. Whether or not the government issuing the document need to be in the USA or not depends on what your state laws are!

(23) Thumbprints
Take thumbprints for all Deeds, recorded documents, power of attorney — as a minimum. Do this regardless of what your state requires. It could keep you out of court, and time is money. Get an inkless thumbprint pad from the NNA. Get this today. You should not be without it for one nanosecond. They can fake an ID, and fake a signature, but you can not fake a thumbprint.

(24) Don’t notarize for people who ask you to break the rules or who look suspicious.
Are you notarizing a kidnapper, or is the signer under duress? Stay away! It is not worth the money and you could get involved in a nightmare that just doesn’t end. What if someone asks you to notarize them under a different name variation than is what their identification says, and you tell them it is not legal. What if they say, “Oh, come on!!!”. What if they threaten to not pay your travel fee if you don’t? First of all your travel fee should be paid in cash at the door, or just leave. Avoid this type of people. They will make your life twisted.

(25) Don’t backdate
Signing companies will put you under pressure to do this if a borrower will lose their lock. Just say no. Tell them that their lock is their business and that your business is obeying the laws of your state which say, “No backdating“. Tell them that the security of your commission is not worth their convenience. Just leave. Don’t deal with these frauds.

(26) Don’t use white out
White out is a worst practice and will get you fired. Cross outs are a bad practice as well.

(27) Name changes the kosher way
A processor I used to work with instructed me not to cross anything out. Just have the borrower initial under the last several letters of their last name and then sign the way the new name will be typed in the document. After the fact, the processor can type in the new name. The cross-out simply doesn’t help. They just need the initial. The processor can cross it out in a way that they think is professional.

(28) Don’t explain the specifics of the loan or when the loan will fund
Just explain the basic definitions of loan terms such as APR, or rate if your state allows that. Specific information particular to their loan is for their lender to discuss with them. You can get in trouble if you make any explanations or commentary about information specific about their loan. On the other hand, you should be an expert at looking up specific pieces of information. APR is on the TIL and perhaps the Settlement Statement, so tell them that and show them where it is. The interpretation of what the information on the Settlement Statement is up to them and their lender, not you!

(29) Don’t notarize for someone who you can not communicate directly with
Some states allow the use of interpreters. I say you should not as a best practice. The interpreter could be lousy, and misinterpret something that you said. You are leaving yourself open to communication gaps. If you speak a little Spanish and can get by, and the signer understands you and vice versa, that works. Don’t create opportunities for communication gaps. I have traveled to enough foreign countries to know that people in different cultures communicate differently, they say yes when they mean no, they lie, they misrepresent, they save face, and fail to explain things thoroughly (especially asians who do the quickie explanations that leave out 95% of the meaning). I am not knocking foreigners — I just don’t believe half of what they say — and I don’t believe half of what Americans say either since Americans are a bunch of liars too! Speak directly to your signers! Learn oath verbiage in Spanish, or whatever your rusty foreign language is. Learn how to ask if you understand the document.

(30) Have a registered business name
We have notaries on the site who change their business name on our site every month. Each month it is the name of the month. This is illegal. If you have a registered business name that is registered with your county, then that is your business name, and you should have a bank account that takes checks paid to that name.

(31) Don’t draft documents
Unless you are an attorney, or authorized to draft documents, don’t get involved. You can get into bad trouble.

(32) Don’t give legal advice
If you are not an attorney, do not give legal advice. Interpreting laws, or suggesting that a person take a particular legal action might be construed as legal advice or the unauthorized practice of law.

(33) Consult an attorney before doing modifications
Although modifications could be legal in some states under some circumstances, they are often done in an illegal way, and YOU are not knowledgeable to know the difference, or to know what you can or can not do. Consult an attorney or stay away!

PRACTICAL BEST PRACTICES

(34) If you don’t get paid on time, contact the Title company.
They might fire or discipline the signing company in that case.

(35) Charging travel fee in cash upon arrival
It is ILLEGAL for a notary to have beneficial interest in the signing. However, many clients including Title companies will simply not pay the notary if the documents or loan packages don’t get signed, notarized, and funded properly. Unfortunately, that is illegal to put the notary in the position where they will only get paid if they notarize. It is actually a MISDEMEANOR in many states to ask the notary to do something illegal which could include having beneficial interest. If you don’t get your cash up front BEFORE you see the signers, documents or identification, you will be sorry. Get your cash, and THEN see the document. If it is incomplete, that is their problem. No identification, or the names don’t match? Their problem. Signer is in a coma and can not talk — their problem. Some situations will merit waiting time, and you will have no way to enforce your WAITING FEE if you don’t have your travel fee. You will not be in a bargaining situation as they will have the upper hand. If you have your $40 cash travel fee, you can say that you want waiting time when the clock strikes 20 minutes otherwise you are leaving. You have the power that way, and you DON’T have beneficial interest anymore (learn to define this term to be professional).

(36) Contracts with signing companies
Have your own contract that you make companies sign to get a better price with you. Make sure you indicate that if there is any ISSUE with the signing such as a last minute cancellation, no-sign, redraw, or anything unusual, that you get paid quickly. These are exactly the types of situations whre notaries typically get stiffed. So make them pay you faster in these situations so you don’t get stiffed. Even if you charge them a discounted fee. Make them pay within 10 days for these types of signings or charge them a penalty. No contract on your terms, then no discounts for you! Take the upper hand. You are a business person!

(37) Background check all companies who want to hire you
Check them on NR and the 123notary forum — OR ELSE… You will live to regret it if you don’t.

(38) Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box
Fedex is a great company, but they do hire human beings which is their downfall. Not recommended. If a driver changes routes, the new driver might goof (once in a long while) and that drop box in a remote area might not get picked up on time — or at all. Drop your Fedex at a staffed location. The deadlines are later, and it will be in the right hands 100%. Be safe.

(39) Printing on the road
This is a business best practice. If you can print on the road, you will be on time to more appointments, and can print last minute documents in a flash. You will be popular with lenders, plus gain people’s respect for being a prepared trooper. It is very expensive to have a comprehensive mobile office, so be ready to pay through the nose.

(40) Don’t go to houses that smell bad
You can end up in a hospital with a serious bacterial infection. If it is really filthy or smelly, tell them you will do the signing at Starbucks and that you have to leave at 5pm. Risking your lungs is not a best practice.

COMMUNICATION & ETIQUETTE BEST PRACTICES

(41) Don’t talk about the wrong things at signings
Don’t talk about politics or religion. Stick to the weather and traffic, but not in the context of complaining!

(42) Call back etiquette
Announce who you are when you call back. Don’t demand to know who they are until you are politely introduced yourself and explained that you received a missed call from that number. Also, don’t call people back only to tell them that you can’t talk. That is plain stupid and is a worst practice.

(43) Announce who you are when you answer the phone
Do you say, “This is Linda”, when you answer the phone? Or do you say, “Hullo?”. Be professional.

(44) When you confirm the signing, make sure all signers are there
If you do a signing where the wife is not on the loan, she might be on a few of the documents such as the Deed of Trust, Right to Cancel, and one or two others depending on what state you are in and who the lender is. Make sure you know where the wife will be during the signing, otherwise it might be a short signing. Remember, that you don’t know what is on the documents until you get the e-documents which is within minutes of the signing. Plan ahead and confirm the signing.

(45) Make sure your answering machine states your name!
Don’t make people guess if they dialed the correct number.

(46) Don’t ramble, make long pauses, or give opinions
Nobody wants to hear your life story, especially not me or my staff. Nobody wants long answers to quick questions. Nobody likes it when you ask them a question and you pause for 45 seconds to think. Don’t criticize others or give opinions either. Your job is to be a notary. Notaries don’t have opinions — or at least shouldn’t.

(47) Leave enough time between appointments
There is no point being late because you were delayed at your last appointment

(48) Determine how long your signing session will be.
Charge based on time. When you go to a massage therapist, you pay for a 60 minute session. If you go over 60 minutes, the next victim is waiting and they have to stop. Notary signings should be no different. Agree ahead of time how much time they want, and make them commit to that, or don’t work with them. If they want 90 minutes or 120 minutes, that is fine. Have them agree to that up front, and pay accordingly. Your job is not to be delayed endlessly. After all, your next appointment has the right to see your face showing up on time, right?

(49) Don’t have noise in the background when you talk on the phone
If someone calls you and there is noise. Apologize for the noise, and then walk to a quieter location. Don’t let the background noise continue otherwise you are unprofessional in my book.

(50) Don’t park in the driveway.
Your job is not to notarize, don’t put the Fedex in the drop box, and don’t park in the driveway. These are my three golden rules for notaries. Notarize only if it is legal to do so. Bring Fedexes to staffed locations, and park on the street unless there is a good reason why you should call the borrowers and ask if you can park on their driveway.

(51) Know your hours of operation
Never say that you are flexible. Tell people when you are available. I am available from 11am to 2am seven days a week unless I am already engaged, on vacation, or dead. That is a quick and professional answer. Don’t say that it depends. Don’t say that you sign anytime. People who say anytime have such restrictive schedules that they won’t sign any time other than 9-6. Flexible means 9-5:30. These terms mean absolutely nothing. Act like a professional and give people hard numbers when they ask a question — and don’t keep them waiting.

(52) Use your notes section to describe your service thoroughly
Don’t use empty adjectives like thorough and professional. Describe what YOU are like at a signing which is unique to you, so people can get to know you through your notes rather than reading something that looks like you copied it from 3000 other boring notaries who use exactly the same adjectives in exactly the same order. Talk about how fast your laser printer is. Talk about your exact counties or cities that you cover. Give people real information in your notes section, not some empty sounding sales literature that tells them nothing.

MARKETING BEST PRACTICES

(53) Get certified by ALL listing agencies who you advertise with.
If you advertise with ten companies, do all of the certifications. You look like an idiot if you can’t even be a professional at your profession!

(54) Having reviews on your profile from esteemed Title Companies looks great.
It is not a crime to have reviews from “nobodies”, but it is a best practice to have the people who review you be as reputable as possible. Their reputation is your reputation when they write a review about you.

(55) E&O insurance looks professional
E&O insurance looks professional, but is it? It makes it attractive for a company to hire you. E&O doesn’t protect you that much though. You can still get sued if the lender makes a mistake and the borrowers sue all parties involved. This happened before. You will not be covered. It actually encourages lenders to make claims rather than reducing your liability! E&O insurance makes you look good, so get some! But, is it a best practice? Being covered is better than being not covered, so I will call it a “better than nothing practice”. Or, I can call it something that looks like a best practice to the uninformed.

(56) Background screening
If your state doesn’t screen notaries as well as California does with the FBI, DOJ and KGB, then there might be some merit in a background screening.

(57) Advertise on all major directories
Have a well filled out profile, amazing notes, and reviews if possible.

(58) Call all local title companies
Call them up and announce yourself. Call them every month to remind them that you are good, and that you want to work.

(59) Get on the list of all nationwide signing companies.
Fill out the paperwork each signing company requires ahead of time. Make it a best practice to be on as many company’s lists as possible.

(60) Read notary blogs
The more you know, the more impressive and knowledgeable you will be. Know as much as possible to be the best that you can be. 123notary has an interesting Facebook, Linked in and Twitter profile as well. The more you read, the more you know!

(61) Don’t lie about your number of signings
Keep a count. Look them up in your journal. When someone asks you how many signings you have done, don’t ramble about how many years you have been in business. Nobody wants to hear that. Tell them how many you did. 1012 signings, plus there will be another one tonight! Don’t tell them you did two yesterday and three the day before. Nobody has patience to hear you count. Don’t think — KNOW!

(62) Guarantee your work
If you goof, go back and do it again for free. Make this a policy.

(63) Send complete bills regularly.
You need to know exactly what information goes on the invoices you send out. Name of borrower, loan number, address, date of signing, name of lender, etc. Bill regularly and keep good records, including the CHECK # of incoming checks. Otherwise you won’t get paid.

Tweets:
(1) Is it legal to notarize a hand-written document? What if there are cross outs?
(2) Blanks in documents? Put a line through it buddy!
(3) It is illegal to use your seal on a blank piece of paper. Yet jails usually require this! (cross it out)
(4) Notary topics: Hand-written docs, Blanks in docs, seal over wording, loose certificates, overseas docs.
(5) Don’t go to houses that smell bad #mobilenotary
(6) Notary contracts, fees at the door, background screening signing co’s, call Title if not paid on time.

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – a free notary course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

The 30 Point Courses – a free loan signing course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

Notary Marketing 102 – a free marketing course for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19774

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May 10, 2024

7 Essential Practices to Safeguard Notary Stamps and Journals

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — Tom Wilkins @ 12:00 am

As a mobile notary, safeguarding your notary stamps and journals is crucial to protecting your professional integrity and clients’ sensitive information. Here are some expanded practices and recommendations to ensure the security of your notarial tools:

  1. Secure Storage: Always store your notary stamps and journals securely. This could be a locked drawer or cabinet when not in use. Such measures are vital to prevent unauthorized access and potential misuse of your notarial tools, especially in shared work environments or when you’re moving.
  2. Controlled Access: Maintaining exclusive control over your notary journal is crucial to ensure the integrity of recorded notarial acts, which include details like the names of parties involved, document types, and the signature date. This information must remain confidential and protected from unauthorized access to safeguard your clients’ sensitive information.
  3. Proper Disposal of Retired Tools: When a notary seal expires, or a journal is filled, it’s important to dispose of these items responsibly to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. For expired notary seals, consider methods such as cutting, shredding, or burning the rubber part of the stamp. For journals, follow state-specific guidelines, including transferring them to a designated official or keeping them under lock for a certain period before destruction.
  4. Loss or Theft: If your notary stamp or journal is lost or stolen, report the incident immediately to the relevant state authorities and law enforcement. This can help mitigate the risk of fraudulent use of your notary tools and protect you from potential legal liabilities. You may also need to inform your bonding company and any insurance providers to see if additional steps are required under your policies.
  5. Use of Electronic Journals: Consider using electronic journals that offer enhanced security features such as encryption and password protection. E-journals can be backed up securely and accessed remotely, providing a modern solution to maintaining and safeguarding notary records in the digital age.
  6. Regular Audits and Updates: Periodically audit and update your security practices as necessary. This includes checking the physical and digital security of where your stamps and journals are stored. Regular updates to digital security measures, like changing passwords and updating encryption, can prevent unauthorized access.
  7. Training and Awareness: Attend workshops, webinars, and other training sessions to stay informed about the best practices for safeguarding notary stamps and journals. Also, be aware of new laws or changes in existing laws regarding notary practice in your state. Education is a crucial defense against fraud and theft.

Securing Your Professional Tools

Safeguarding your notary stamps and journals is crucial for maintaining the integrity and trust of your mobile notary service. By implementing these key practices, you protect your professional tools against theft, loss, and unauthorized access. This proactive approach secures your tools and reinforces your credibility and reliability as a notary. Keep assessing and updating your security strategies to protect your notarial practice.

For more detailed guidance on specific state requirements and additional tips on securing your notary tools, always refer to your state’s notary laws or consult a professional legal advisor.

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February 16, 2020

2013 compilation of best blog posts

Filed under: Compilations — admin @ 9:53 am

Here are my favorite blog posts from 2013

MARKETING

Companies that will hire NEW signers!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7059

We should be setting the fees, not the other way around!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3249

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3940

$10,000 per month on a bad month
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3891

10 changes to your notes that double your calls!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

123notary elite certification, what is it all about?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8531

STORIES

The war between men and women notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3693

Mistakes notaries make with title companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4412

A detailed look at the ninja course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4621

7 ways to use Facebook to market your notary services
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5396

Getting what is due, a clever plan
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3221

Interview with a Title company
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3724

Notary quotes of the day
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4011

Interview with Title Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6553

Notary Jokes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8471

TECHNICAL

Signing Agent best practices 63 points
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

Signature name affidavit: Not a substitute for an ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3823

Notary journals from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8348

Notary Seal information from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8337

What tasks can I do worth $1000 per minute?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4113

Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

Why notaries don’t last
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4087

When is it legal to notarize a document twice
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4305

How to get something notarized that doesn’t have a signature
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4695

How to explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4455

Why do I have to sign with our middle initial?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4452

What is a notary public?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6498

Optional information on an Acknowledgment certificate
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4407

Industry standards in the notary business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4370

How to get something notarized if you don’t have ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4692

Notary fines and notary penalties
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6903

Can you notarize someone’s initials
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8269

Who are the parties involved in a Power of Attorney?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6738

Does Real Estate experience help as a notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4563

Common mistakes with the 1003, Crossing out the RTC, TIL & APR
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4553

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January 27, 2016

Best Resources for New Signing Agents & Beginners

Are you starting out as a mobile notary and don’t know which direction to turn? We know where you should turn and what you should read. So, indulge yourself in this reading list.

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

Signing Companies that hire new Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7059

How to become a successful mobile notary from scratch
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13340

Is having an NNA background check necessary for work?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10385

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

5 or 6 reviews doubles your business
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8484

Signing Agent Best Practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Basic technical information for new Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10472

Cattle Call Notary Offers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9841

$30 loan signings — is it worth it?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10456

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

What’s your monthly marketing plan?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9683

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March 2, 2015

Best Blog Articles for Advanced Notaries

Filed under: Loan Signing 101,Popular on Facebook (A little) — Tags: — admin @ 12:55 pm

A few months ago, we created a post which was a compliation of all of the best posts for beginners. It became very popular on Facebook. We like to write lots of posts here at 123notary. But, on Facebook, we tend to only post a few dozen posts per month, so we prefer to post really helpful or popular content there. So, here are my recommendations for the absolute best posts that any seasoned Notary should read!

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MARKETING

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?
As a Signing Agent, you need to know which signing agents are getting the most work and why. What changes do you need to make to be the type of signer who gets the best offers? Find out!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8914

What’s the difference between getting 16 clicks/month and 100?
Notaries that optimize their listing get a lot more results than you might think!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13185

Poo picking — getting the best notary jobs
Do you settle for less, or do you know how to get the best quality Notary jobs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9273

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!
This Notary went from rags to riches by making a few simple changes. Find out what his secret is!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3940

5 or 6 reviews doubles your business
Most of our serious notaries understand that it is imperative that they get reviews. But, how do you get them and how many do you really need?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8484

A great attitude gets most of the jobs
Skills are one thing, but nothing beats a great attitude!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6493

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TECHNICAL

Signing Agent Best Practices — 63 Points
This long article covers technical, marketing, legal issues, and more. Here is a compilation of the most professional tips that any seasoned notary should master.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

The 30 point course synopsis
This course is FREE and recommended to all Notaries whether experienced or new! It caters to Notary knowledge of all levels. It even includes a free over the phone test that you can take once per year. By taking this course & test, you get a number from 1-30 assigned to you that represents your current skill level. This number will eventually be published on your profile and could attract clients!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

Protecting yourself with a contract
There are so many critical payment terms to include in contract. Have you ever thought about it?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

Notarizations Dates, Document Dates & Signature Dates
All of these different types of dates can be confusing. Do you know what a transaction date is for example?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2421

Mobile Offices from A to Z
Mobile offices give you the freedom to print on the road which makes it possible to do a lot more jobs per day and make a lot more money as a mobile notary.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=535

Optional Information in an Acknowledgment Certificate
Filling this information could keep you out of court and prevent fraud!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4407

I go over the HUD-1 first
One notary likes to go over the fees before even signing the Deed of Trust. Read her strategy!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4819

Industry Standards in the Notary Business
Here is a comprehensive article about standards in the business covering topics such as cross-outs, initialing, unsigned documents, and more…
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4370

Mistakes Notaries make with Title Companies
Notaries make mistakes that many of us might be completely unaware of that cost you jobs!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4412

I’m being sued, and E&O won’t help
E&O covers Notary errors, not other errors. But, what if the Notary gets sued because the Lender made a mistake?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3570

How do you explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?
Most Notaries are completely unrehearsed at explaining the APR. What about you?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4455

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PRACTICAL

Getting Paid, the ins and outs
Most notaries have trouble getting paid, but follow our easy steps and you’ll never have trouble again!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=27

Interview with Timios Title
Yet another interview with a really popular Title company.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6718

Signing Company Gossip
This link is not to a particular post, but to a string of signing company gossip posts. As Notaries, you need to understand the behavior of signing companies. You need to know which ones are reliable, which ones used to be good and went downhill, and which ones are just trouble!
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=gossip

Notary etiquette from A to Z
Don’t park in the driveway and don’t discuss politics. But, there are many other things Notaries need to know too!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=300

Interview with Title Source
An interview with one of the best Title companies out there.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6553

How to get paid by out of biz signing companies
Yes, it is possible. Just follow our proven system!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8646

Choosing a name for your business license
Everyone chooses a business name, but is your business name any good?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7103

Notary Information for Beginners — Best Posts
Here are about 20 of the most really useful posts for beginners. Seasoned Notaries might find these posts useful or interesting as well.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10472

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January 2, 2011

How to choose a malpractice lawyer?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:33 am

How to choose a malpractice lawyer?
Ever wondered that you could run into danger even after hiring a lawyer? Yes, this does happen. Sometimes lawyers make mistakes which have serious repercussions for the clients. This scenario is acknowledged as malpractice. In medical terminologies, malpractice is defined as an issue that is caused by a doctor’s or medical staff’s negligence to the patient. It could be a simple mistake causing great damage to somebody’s brain and even death.

What is legal malpractice?
Legal malpractice is defined as the damage caused to the client in the pursuit of a lawyer lending his/her legal services. A very basic example of a mistake is a lawyer missing out on filing papers in the court. However, malpractice is not just limited to simple mistakes; it could also be inclusive of the breach of contract by the lawyer who has been appointed by the client.

How to choose a malpractice lawyer?
Choosing a malpractice lawyer becomes imperative when major damage has been done. However, it is better if you choose one who has sound reviews. Let’s go through some of the simple steps to locate a malpractice lawyer:

Consult your current lawyer
If you are already working with a lawyer on a different case then always ask for a referral. People who are in this profession will be better in guiding you through the process. In case a friend or a family member has pursued a malpractice case in the past then that’s the best hand for you.

Consult legal sites
Go for registered and verified sites. Search engines do help but can also make one run in trouble in case a fraudulent website is consulted. You can consult Seattle malpractice lawyers for top-notch services in this segment. In case you are skeptical about a website then immediately take it down from your list.

Don’t forget to contact the legal bar association of the state
Instead of hovering over the entire country, look for the legal association in your state. Just as contacting the head office is better than contacting a franchise, registering a call in the official department is wiser instead of contacting many firms in the business. The state department will be able to tell you about the people who are legally registered to help you.

Always look at the portfolio
Don’t make a choice imminently. You already wasted a lot of money in bagging a faulty lawyer in the past. This time it’s important that you go through the work history of the prospective lawyer or the firm. Don’t overlook customer reviews if you’re going through the official website.

Interview the prospective lawyer
You can easily judge your lawyer by having a one to one conversation with him. You can easily judge if he’s here to help or just to looking forward to shredding lots of money from your pocket. Talk about your case and ask the person for previous work experience.

Make an Agreement with the lawyer
Everything written in the note will always be a good reference. Don’t commit anything verbally. You don’t know how time will take to you forward. It is better to write everything down in the agreement. Don’t keep any bit of skepticism in mind and ask everything.

Sign the contract
Be confident and move on. Sign the contract after reading everything that has been typed. Make sure that fee and everything have been jotted down with much clarity.

Lastly!
We hope that you get a suitable malpractice lawyer this time. The only thing is that some wise decisions need to be made in terms of getting back with the legal procedures.

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May 17, 2024

Tech-Savvy Notaries: Overcoming Technology Challenges in the Mobile World

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — Tom Wilkins @ 12:00 am

In today’s fast-paced mobile world, notaries public are increasingly turning to technology to streamline their services and enhance accessibility. However, the transition can be challenging, with several technology challenges that can stump even the most diligent professionals. This article will explore the technology challenges for notaries and how they can overcome these obstacles to provide better service.

Understanding Technology Challenges for Notaries

Digital Security Concerns

With the rise of digital documentation and online transactions, notaries face significant security challenges. Protecting sensitive information from cyber threats is paramount. Notaries must ensure that their electronic devices and online platforms are secure. This involves encrypted communication channels, safe storage solutions, and robust authentication methods.

Keeping Up with Technological Advances

Technology evolves rapidly, and staying updated can take time and effort. Notaries must continuously educate themselves on the latest tools and software relevant to their field, including e-notarization platforms, digital signatures, and secure document storage solutions. Regular training and professional development can help notaries stay ahead of the curve.

Managing Technical Issues

Technical glitches can disrupt the notarization process, leading to client delays and frustration. Common issues include software malfunctions, connectivity problems, and hardware failures. Notaries need reliable technical support and contingency plans to address these issues promptly. This might involve having backup devices, ensuring stable internet connections, and having troubleshooting skills.

Overcoming Technology Challengesnotaries Overcome Technology Challenges

Notaries should invest in high-quality equipment and software to minimize technical issues. Reliable laptops, tablets, smartphones, and up-to-date e-notarization software can significantly reduce the likelihood of disruptions and help notaries overcome technology challenges. Regular maintenance and updates are also crucial to ensure optimal performance.

Prioritizing Cybersecurity Measures

Cybersecurity should be a top priority for notaries. Implementing strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and using secure Wi-Fi networks are essential. Additionally, notaries should regularly update their software and devices to protect against vulnerabilities. Enlisting the help of cybersecurity professionals for regular audits can provide an added layer of protection.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

The key to staying tech-savvy is continuous learning and adaptation. Notaries should seek training opportunities and resources to enhance their technological skills. Attending workshops, webinars, and industry conferences can provide valuable insights into the latest trends and best practices. Networking with other tech-savvy notaries can also be beneficial.

Developing a Robust Support System

Having a robust support system in place is vital for managing technical issues. This includes access to reliable IT support through in-house staff or external service providers. Notaries should also create a network of professionals who can offer advice and support when needed.

Staying Ahead in a Tech-Driven World

Overcoming the technology challenges for notaries involves a proactive approach to learning and adaptation. Notaries can significantly enhance their efficiency and security by embracing digital tools, ensuring robust security measures, adapting to mobile demands, and continuously learning. This benefits the notaries themselves and provides homeowners and business owners with reliable, modern notarial services.

A Final Note: For those looking to professionalize their notary practice further, considering the appropriate notary dress code can also significantly affect how your services are perceived.

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