Most people are confused when they begin their career as a Notary signing agent. They don’t know what they need to learn or do, or how to get clients. Those in the business for many years have the opposite problem. They think they know everything while they know very little — at least when I test them. Here is what I think Notaries should learn and how to learn it.
1. Be a good Notary. What does that entail?
You need to know the rules for each notary act and how to fill out forms. You also need to know how to administer Oaths correctly and few Notaries do this well or take it seriously. You can lose your commission if a judge finds out you didn’t give an Oath on any particular Affidavit, Jurat or sworn statement that you notarized. It is easy to learn how to do this, but few make it their business to know their job. Read your state’s notary manual regularly. You can also read blogs from NNA, 123notary or other Notary agencies. But, your state notary division is gospel, and the agencies are sometimes wrong — so treat their information as commentary. Keeping a journal is also imperative, because when you are in court, and 15% of serious Notaries end up before a judge sooner or later, your journal is your only evidence. The more thoroughly you keep your journal, the happier the judge will be with you. If you identify someone incorrectly or carelessly you might be empowering an imposter to steal a house from someone or commit fraud. We teach all of these points on our blog on Notary Public 101.
Summary of point 1.
Understanding All applicable Notary Acts, Identification procedures, Journal procedure, and Oaths are the bedrock of being a good Notary.
2. Understand The Right to Cancel
Residential owner occupied Refinances typically have a Right to Rescind document. Understanding how to date this document properly is not rocket science, but experienced Notaries flake and goof and get the dates wrong when I test them on a regular basis. It is not rocket sciencem, and no, the NASA website doesn’t cover this, it is a matter of counting to three and not counting Sundays or Federal Holidays.
3. Understand FAQ’s about loan signing.
When is my first payment due?
Where is my rate, APR?
Do I have a prepayment penalty and where is it?
Where are my closing costs and fees itemized?
Do I have to send a check or other documents not included in the package?
How long can I read my borrower’s copies before rescinding
How do I cancel my loan?
Many Notaries feel that they need to be experts at all of the documents. As a general rule, you should know the difference between the Correction Agreement LPOA and a Compliance Agreement, although there are so many variations in these documents that they are all different and you have to read each one — but, being familiar and knowledgeable about these document variations pays off as this is a FAQ that people are concerned about. Most loan signing courses go over this information and you should memorize this as people at signings will ask about it.
4. Understanding Reverse Mortgages, TRID, Helocs, Purchases, etc.
LSS’s course seems to do the best job teaching these types of loans (or documents) that are new in popularity over the last few years. Most signing courses were written ten or twenty years ago when Reverse Mortgages either didn’t exist or were not a popular item. Since as a Notary, you are not allowed to explain the terms of a person’s loan, but only allowed to help signers find information within the loan, it is NOT critical to understand these loans or documents, but make you look good if you did. So consider point four to be a plus, but not a necessity.
5. Explain or don’t explain
In our various blog courses we go over point by point what a Notary should explain or not explain. The 30 point course discusses this in detail. This is critical because otherwise you might get yourself in trouble talking about what you have no business of talking about. Or you might talk about something you know nothing about. Or, you might not answer a question which you should know the answer and express the answer about. Boy, this is complicated.
6. How to find new clients
There are many ways. We write about this in the marketing section of our blog, but you might have to scroll.
7. How to background screen clients
Not all clients are pleasant or pay on time. Use the 123notary or Notary Rotary forum to see which companies are worth working for. Please be informed that in the last two years there has been a drastic decline in forum commentary on our forum and on NotaryRotary’s, although theirs is much more well trafficked than ours. There is less quantity of reliable information about the various signing companies. But, still do your research.
8. How to collect from clients
Some people don’t pay on time, so you have to know how to keep records, how to bill people, and how to threaten them the right way if they keep you waiting for payment. We go over this in our courses.
9. Where to learn about general information
You should read the various blogs out there. NNA and 123notary have interesting blogs where you can learn and source information from antiquated entries on particular topics.
10. How to handle tricky situations
In Notary Public 101 we go over many sticky situations and explain how to think about them and how to handle them. Understanding this content makes you a more confident, trustworthy and safe Notary! It’s like a vaccine made out of knowledge!
As a general rule, I recommend getting certified by various entities, not just one. I recommend Notary Public 101 and the 30 Point Course in our blog as well as reading our blog articles about marketing and notarial issues in particular. LSS offers a very practical course that is more sensitive to what is going on in the industry now. Notary2Pro seems to churn out the best trained Notaries of any certification. 123notary has the hardest certification test and passing it will prove yourself better than the other certifications.