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June 26, 2018

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?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20018

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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March 22, 2015

Point (13) Call The Lender? Finding the Prepayment Penalty

Marcy had been studying up. She didn’t want to make a fool of herself anymore. She went to her next signing prepared.

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy, and I’ll be your Signing Agent tonight.

GLORIA: Oh wonderful. It is so nice to see a well prepared Notary.

MARCY: We can start here with the Deed of Trust and I’ll explain the documents as we go along unless you want to start with the HUD and work our way back.

GLORIA: Oh, very sophisticated. You sound like one of those really experienced Notaries who has signed 3000+ loans and advertises on 123notary.com.

MARCY: Well, I’ve signed about 20 by now, and I’m only 2980 short of 3000. I am working on the 123notary course, but haven’t finished it yet, but I’m almost there.

GLORIA: Great. The Deed is fine, the Note is fine, now, why is my APR higher than my Rate in my Note?

MARCY: I just studied this… I know the answer. The APR is the annual percentage relationship between the payments and the amount borrowed, minus the fees. This rate is often used to compare the different loans borrowers have to choose from. The APR is almost always higher than the rate. The rate, on the other hand, is a monthly percentage relationship between the payments and the total amount borrowed, including fees.

GLORIA: Wow, very professional. You are even better prepared than the notaries who signed 3000 loans. They just told me, “It is the cost of the loan expressed as a percentage rate.” Your answer was so professional.

MARCY: I spent two hours memorizing it and I practice daily so I won’t look like a fool.

GLORIA: Oh, no, you don’t. I’m going to tell your boss that you are the best Notary I’ve ever had, and we refinance every five years. Now, where is my prepayment penalty?

MARCY: Oh, just look on the Truth in Lending.

GLORIA: Okay… It says that I will, won’t or might have a prepayment penalty. I’ve gotten more decisive answers from a magic 8 ball. Can you do any better than this?

MARCY: Oh, hmm. I thought it was there. Do you want to call the Lender?

GLORIA: Sorry to lecture you after I complimented you, but aren’t YOU supposed to know this?

MARCY: We could call the magic 8 ball? Better yet, let’s call the Lender.

(ring-ring)

FRANK: Yeah, Frank here.

MARCY: You are the first Lender in human history to actually answer his phone.

FRANK: Glad to be of help.

MARCY: Your customer wants to know what the terms of her prepayment penalty would be.

FRANK: You mean my BORROWER. Never call them customers. Gloria DiStefano. She doesn’t have one.

MARCY: Where is that documented – In the Prepayment Rider?

FRANK: No, if there is no prepayment penalty, then there definitely won’t be a rider. Check the Note. Anything else?

MARCY: We’re good. That was fast. 45 seconds exactly not that I’m counting.

GLORIA: I’m on it. I thought we went over the Note. I guess I skimmed it too fast. Here it is. It says I don’t have a prepayment penalty. Great. I’ll pay the whole thing off tomorrow. That was easy.

MARCY: Sorry, I’ll study harder. But, I am doing so much better than three weeks ago when I first started. I hadn’t a clue then, but now I get most of the questions correct.

GLORIA: That’s good, but you need to get ALL of the questions correctly and handle all situations like a pro if you want my business!

MARCY: Sadly, you are right. I’ll finish my course and review it regularly. I might even take a few other courses too.

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Point (13) Calling the Lender
Notaries are often confused about when to call the Lender. Some Notaries are over-confident and never want to call the Lender while other Notaries call whenever the borrower sneezes. A high quality Notary knows when to call the Lender and when not to bother the Lender. You have to understand many of the common situations that arise when you have a small problem. If you call the Lender, leave a message, and wait 20 minutes and then call again. Call other entities related to the loan too if you can, such as the Signing Company, Escrow, Title, etc. If the Lender does answer, the borrower might talk to them for 45 minutes while you are running late to an appointment. You will save a lot of time and aggravation if you ONLY call the Lender when you absolutely need to.

The 1003
The 1003 Universal Residential Loan Application is the one document that is universally wrong. There are always mistakes on everybody’s 1003. I’m not sure if there is a law requiring it to always be wrong, but it seems like there is some sort of cosmic law mandating that. Since the 1003, and the Good Faith Estimate are not final documents, don’t worry too much about it. Just make sure that the HUD Settlement Statement is correct, otherwise you’ll have to redraw your loan!

The APR
Many borrowers ask why the APR is higher than the Rate. If you study and rehearse explaining the APR, you can save yourself the time and aggravation of calling the Lender only to find out they are not able to answer their phone. The borrower will feel a lot better, and you will have one less problem at your signing.

The Prepayment Penalty
Borrowers ask about their Prepayment Penalty all the time. Look for it either in the Note, or the Prepayment Rider if there is one (and once in a while there is) The borrower can read the terms themselves instead of being frustrated that they can’t find it.

Letter of Instructions
Consult the letter of instructions before beginning any loan. That way you will know what to do if there is a problem. There might even be phone numbers in the instructions.

Specific Questions
If a borrower asks a question that is specific to their loan, call the lender. If they ask a general question about what information is in what loan document, you should know. Study up!

The RTC
What if the borrower signs in the wrong place on the Right to Cancel? Just go to the borrowers’ copies and get a fresh copy. You just saved yourself a lengthy discussion with the Lender.

Errors on Certificates
If there is an error on a Notary certificate, this is purely for the Notary to resolve. Don’t get the Lender involved in your job as you should know your job.

When is my first payment due?
Look in the TIL, HUD, Payment Coupon, but don’t call the Lender unless you have to.

Power of Attorney Signings
Call the Lender regardless. Even if you know exactly how to sign, call the Lender to confirm. Power of Attorney signings are rejected 70% of the time in my experience even if they are done correctly.

If the names printed on the documents are spelled wrong
If there are any problems with names of signers on the documents, you should call the Lender. If the ID doesn’t match the borrower’s name printed on the document, you have a problem. The Lender might not care about what Notary law says, but does want to get the loan signed. If the signer is not comfortable signing the way their name is typed on the document, the loan will probably not fund otherwise, but you can call the Lender or read our section about the Signature Affidavit.

Missing docs or docs the borrower won’t sign
If you are missing any of the loan documents that normally appear in a package, sign the ones that are there, send them back, and call the Lender immediately upon discovery that you are missing a document. Or, if a borrower won’t sign a particular document, call the Lender. You can send it back unsigned at the top of the stack. Or, if the borrower wants to keep it and send it back after talking to the Lender, that is another common option.

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You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

30 Point Course (14) Explain or Don’t Explain
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14440

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

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October 10, 2019

Stand up routine at a signing

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 11:23 pm

It started out being just a normal signing. But, the Notary was no ordinary Notary.

NOTARY: Hi, my name is Charles and I will be your signing agent this evening. If you have any questions during the signing process, please feel free to address those to me.

BORROWER: Sounds like a deal, Charles. We’ll conduct the signing in the dining room.

NOTARY: Great.

BORROWER: Would you like to sit down?

NOTARY: Oh, you see, my style of signings is more of a stand up signing.

BORROWER: Oh, yeah, I read in your reviews that you are a stand up guy. Now, I think I know what they meant.

NOTARY: Good one. I didn’t know my reviews said that. I thought it said that I showed up on time;

BORROWER: That was only for one signing, the one where you set your clocks back an hour in November. No wonder you were on time for the first time in your life.

NOTARY: That was low, but it works. Anyway. Let’s begin with the Deed of Trust. We need to initial each page.

BORROWER: Have you done this before, or do you consider this to be improv?

NOTARY: I did my routine once, but on a reverse mortgage, so I have to turn my jokes around for this type of signing.

BORROWER: Do you need to go back into the driveway and turn your car around too?

NOTARY: Not until the signing is over.

BORROWER: Good one! Okay, look. This is my initial initial.

NOTARY: Hey, not fair, you are funnier than me. Oh look, your APR is 6.2% — what a joke!

BORROWER: Uh oh, I could have you reported for kibbitzing on my loan. No commentary aloud — allowed.

NOTARY: Did you just make a word play? You are right, I have no place commenting on your loan, especially not satirically.

BORROWER: I didn’t shop around for this.

NOTARY: It’s okay. The 30 years you are paying 6.2% instead of 6.1% will probably only cost you $40,000 and I’m sure the ten hours you saved by not shopping around is worth more than $40,000, right?

BORROWER: Grumble. You are so fired, but thanks.

NOTARY : On the other hand, rates just went up, so you probably lost your lock, and the financial institution you borrowed from is one of the best and gives competitive rates, so you did okay. I just said what I said in jest.

BORROWER: Hey, you just made a word play with the just and the jest. Was that a soliloquy?

NOTARY: No, you are just being silly-oquy. Now, let’s look at the HUD or the Closing Disclosure. Hmm, it says the Notary fee is $300. Guess how much of that I get?

BORROWER: Umm, the whole thing?

NOTARY: You missed your calling in life — you should have been a comedian. No, I get $60 which covers my gas, printing, other auto expenses, and a happy meal.

BORROWER: Reminds me of the time I went on a rick-shaw ride in India. The guy wanted 70 rupees and I offered him 60. He said, “Hey buddy, the price if imported whiskey is not going down — 70, no discounts.”

NOTARY: How comforting. That reminds me of the Arabian signer I had who told me all about his harem. He had four Saudi girls, two African girls, but wanted a blonde. So, he went to all types of trouble to coerce a blonde to live with him in his palace. He finally got a girl named Christina to be part of his harem. He said, “Once I had a blonde blue eyed lady as part of my harem — Christina. She always used to talk back to me… I found it so (pause) refreshing. After three months I had to send her back to the states. I will never forget my little Christina.”

BORROWER: You know how it is for people in third world countries. I think there is an expression about white girls (or guys) — Once you’ve had vanilla, you’ll love like a chinchilla, sipping sarsparilla, on a beach on the coast of Manila.

NOTARY: That must be a come back to — once you’ve had black, ain’t no turning back.

BORROWER: Something like that, although yours is more imaginative especially with the chinchilla. Do they have chinchillas in the Philippines?

NOTARY: Not sure, I think they are cute little creatures who live in the Andes. Okay, now to the Right to Rescind. Forgive me father, for I have rescinded.

BORROWER: Oh, that’s an old one. I’ve heard that many times from all of the past Notaries I’ve met.

NOTARY: I know, sounds like something they would say on late night television on Craig Ferguson’s show. Okay, you can cancel by email, fax, or in writing.

BORROWER: I don’t have a fax.

NOTARY: Well then better make sure you really want this loan!

BORROWER: I think I want it. But, I do have email.

NOTARY: Better print out the email and the send date so you have proof that you sent it. You know how these banks are.

BORROWER: Okay, I signed here. Are you going to acknowledge my signature.

NOTARY: No, you are.

BORROWER: So, let me get this straight. I acknowledge my own signature, and then you are the one who gets paid.

NOTARY: As I said before — you’re in the wrong profession.

BORROWER: I’m beginning to think you are right.

NOTARY: Now, on to the signature affidavit. You have to swear that you signed it.

BORROWER: Okay, (raising his right hand) I swear.

NOTARY: But, you haven’t signed it yet.

BORROWER: Oh yeah.

NOTARY: Thank God you’re not a Notary, missing a signature like that — otherwise you’d really be in the wrong profession! That’s not only careless what you did, but illegal — 5 years.

BORROWER: Five years for a little joke?

NOTARY: That was under Oath with a public official — me.

BORROWER: Good God, I’ll stick to jokes about the APR from now on. Did you hear about the APR that wanted to go onto the next stage in life? He became a BPR.

NOTARY: Bad one. Boo. I got one. How do you define the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?

BORROWER: You mention it deducts many of the fees and closing costs before doing the calculation? That’s not funny.

NOTARY: It is with your loan. Have you seen the appraisal fee — that’s insane!

BORROWER: You’re fired… again. Except I can’t fire you because you have something on me — that damn Oath I took. My pre-signature Oath.

NOTARY: Those pre-signature Oaths will get you every time. I call them pre-sigs. Happens all the time. Borrowers will swear to anything, they think it’s cool.

BORROWER: Now to do the Jurat. You need to watch me sign in your presence for one of these according to what I read in Jeremy’s course. Are you watching? I’m signing now, keep looking…. I saw you look away… Keep looking.

NOTARY: Are you even watching what you are signing, or are you just watching me?

BORROWER: Oh, you are … what a scribble. I signed that? I should have been paying attention.

NOTARY: Correction, you should have been witnessing your own signature instead of trying to witness me witnessing your signature.

BORROWER: Once again, I’m in the wrong profession, but thank God I’m not a Notary.

NOTARY: Exactly. Jokes aside — yes! Okay.. got one. What did the Notary say to the borrower?

BORROWER: Umm. Sign here?

NOTARY: No, he said, “Sign exactly as your name appears on title.”

BORROWER: That sounds about right, but isn’t funny. What if the borrower is irate about their APR?

NOTARY: That’s more along the lines of where you get to the punch line. Or getting thrown down a flight of stairs.

BORROWER: Ouch. Did that really happen?

NOTARY: It’s all documented in Jeremy’s blog — real story, and that’s no joke. Now let’s look at the 1003.

BORROWER: Page three says, “This page intentionally left blank.” sounds like a Seinfeld situation. It’s more like a joke than a real loan document.

NOTARY: That’s the irony. It looks like a joke, but it actually isn’t a joke.

BORROWER: That’s kind of like most of your jokes in reverse. They sound like jokes, but they aren’t funny.

NOTARY: You laughed, so they are funny, at least to you.

BORROWER: You got me on that one just like my Lender got me on the APR.

NOTARY: Now it is time to do journal thumbprints. I need three thumbprints, one here, one here, and one here — one for each entry.

BORROWER: Here you go.

NOTARY: So, how would you rate the signing overall — jokes aside?

BORROWER: I would give it three thumbs, but not three thumbs up. Three thumbs horizontally.

NOTARY: Not sure if that constitutes an official rating, but it will have to do.

You might also like:

Index of best comedy posts from 2015
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20295

The Mayan rescission calendar
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15096

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October 9, 2019

Maximum Notary fee $5, but the signing pays $200?

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 11:23 pm

Each state has a maximum notary fee per notary act or procedure. Some charge by the signature, Florida charges by the stamp if I’m not incorrect (better look that one up.)

But, if you are allowed $5 per signature, the signing has four signatures, but pays $200, then what? Are you breaking the law? Or are you being paid for mobile fees and supervising fees? The truth is that you are being paid for a bunch of responsibilities within your service:

Printing documents
Confirming an appointment
Supervising the signature and initialing of documents
Answering simple questions (perhaps)
Not answering questions you are not supposed to (unless you are a know-it-all who is looking for trouble)
Notarizing
Waiting while people read or have long conversations by phone with the Lender.
Getting the documents safely back where they belong
Availability for after service.

All of those combined definitely merit at least $125, don’t you think?

So, how do you document this in your journal? $5 per notary act. Two people x two notary acts per person is four lines in your journal each stating $5 for the notary fee. And then in the additional info section for the first notary act of the set, put down you got $180 travel / supervising fee for a loan signing. Then it is all documented just in case the IRS has any questions. Notary fees are not subject to self-employment tax but travel and supervising fees are. Look it up in the SE instructions.

But, what if you live in California and the Notary fee is $15, you have ten signatures, but the job only pays $100. You could charge $150 plus travel for that signing, but your Lender or signing company isn’t paying that. Just put whatever you want for the notary fee between zero and $15 per notarized signature in your journal. And do a reasonable estimate for what the travel and supervising fees should be — just estimate and try to be proportionate.

You might also like:

Travel fees vs. Notary fees in your journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22612

Travel fees if nothing gets signed
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

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October 4, 2019

Is it practicing law to explain a notary act?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 11:19 pm

Many Notaries think they are practicing law by explaining a notary act. Notaries are not allowed to choose a notary act on behalf of a client, but can they explain the requirements?

As a Notary, you have to have a signer sign in your physical presence for a Jurat, but not for an Acknowledgment (except in a few underpopulated states). So, are you practicing UPL or engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by explaining that distinction to a client?

For an Acknowledgment you do not have to sign in front of the Notary, although many lenders require the signer to do so. Is it UPL to explain that too?

Is it UPL to word an Oath for a client for their Affidavit? You kind of have to do that otherwise you cannot administer an Oath or Affirmation.

The fact is that your state authorizes you to do Notary work and perhaps even tests you on it. You are authorized do do all aspects of Notary work by law. You are not authorized to explain Mortgage documents but notary procedures are NOT Mortgage documents although they might be done to Mortgage documents.

How do you deal with this quandary?

You might also like:

Unauthorized practice of law in the notary industry
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21317

30 Point Course – what to explain and what not to
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14440

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October 1, 2019

Getting paid – a comprehensive timeline

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 11:17 pm

Many Notaries have a problem getting paid. It’s not you — it’s the industry. But, by using good principles, you can avoid most of the drama. Here are some guidelines to help you through every step of the process.

BEFORE THE SIGNING
When you get that call from a particular company, you need to either have records on each company out there, or be able to look them up. That means you either need online records on a cloud, or accessible from your iPhone, or have a cheat sheet in your glove compartment with up to date records on all signing companies. You need to keep track of:

1. How many jobs have they given you
2. Payment record — average # of days to pay
3. How much outstanding
4. Are they pleasant to work for
5. Cancellation rate.
6. What is their track record on the forums and 123notary’s list of signing companies.

If company cancels too much, you should up their rate or make them pay a cancellation fee or nonrefundable deposit up front, otherwise you will be left holding the bag (and the freshly printed documents.) If a company owes you more than a few hundred, you should deny service until they pay up. If a company has no track record with you, please consider asking them to pay up front via Paypal. If you are a newer signing agent and desperate to get experience, you should be more flexible and take more risks so you get experience. People who use 123notary reward Notaries for having a lot of experience.

You can check new companies on your iPhone while on the road to see how they do on the various forums and 123notary’s list of signing companies with reviews. If a company has a bad track record of payment, you should charge up front or you will likely get stiffed. Some of these companies have no remorse.

CONFIRMING THE SIGNING
Confirming the signing using our tips in the real life scenarios section of Notary Public 101 will not help you get paid, but will help you reduce the amount of signings that end in mid-air. If the signer doesn’t have ID with matching names, or if the other signers aren’t going to be there, or if they don’t have that cashier’s check they need — you are better off not going to their house as it will be a waste of time. Signings that end in “no signs” often do not get paid, so by avoiding this type of scenario, you will have less unpaid jobs as a total percentage.

AT THE SIGNING — MISTAKES
Most Notaries brag about how they have a 99.9% accuracy rate. The truth is that most Notaries make mistakes from time to time, and sometimes FedEx or the Lender screws up too resulting in a second trip. In my experience it is very hard to get paid for a second trip. Companies will often offer to pay, and then not pay you. So, triple checking your work and getting packages to FedEx fast will help reduce your rate of non-paying jobs and also help you from getting fired as much.

AFTER THE SIGNING — FAX
After you are done with your signing, fax a bill and include all pertinent information such as the borrower’s name, property address, loan number, and whatever else the signing or title company wants. Send a bill every week by fax or email or whatever medium your company wants. Also, keep records of every signing company you work for, and all of the jobs they assigned to you. When they pay you, you can indicate the date when they paid you to the right of the job description, borrower name, property address on your records. Your records can be paper or online. It is very fast to do this by paper by the way and less chance of data loss unless you keep the paper in your car.

EVERY MONTH — RECORDS
Every month or so, update your records that you keep in your car. Keep records on each signing company. Track how many jobs they gave you, how fast they pay, what they still owe you, how much you like them. You can assign them a grade too. You can have a customized pricing strategy for each company depending on their track record. You can give lower prices for companies you like. I would base prices on estimated time spent and NOT a fixed price. You could have a — near, medium and far price, or a price that is more intricate depending on number of pages, number of signers, distance, time of day, etc. That is up to you. But, having an intricate pricing strategy will make your life a little more complicated, but will weed out the more difficult companies, or at least make them pay for grief they cause you. Otherwise, those companies will think they can get away with causing Notaries endless headaches. You could keep two sets of these records and update them monthly. One at home and one in the car. If someone offers you a job, don’t quote a price until you look at your records and see if they are on the “A” list.

30 DAYS
If a company is past 30 days, time to consider sending them a demand letter. Or you could wait until the 45 day mark depending on how tough you are. We have a demand letter (from hell) template on our resources page. People have had consistently excellent luck with it, and it was given to us by our very most seasoned Notaries on the site.

45-60 DAYS
If anyone gets to this point, definitely send them a demand letter, but consider hiring an Attorney to write a letter threatening them. There are Attorneys who will write a letter for about $30 using their legal assistants. If a company owe you $300 or more, it might be worth it to write a letter. You can also charge for damages which include your time lost and legal fees.

CONTRACTS
We wrote another article on contracts. Signing companies have contracts to protect their interests. Their contract defends what is convenient and good for the signing company but not what is good for the Notary. You can have your own contract too and make people sign it if they want your services. If you are inexperienced, many companies might not sign it. But, if they need you and you have experience, they just might. You can state terms about partial signings, no shows, cancelled jobs, printing fees, resigns, and whatever else you want. Try to be reasonable in your terms if you expect anyone to sign it and continue using your services.

CREDIT
Try to determine before hand how much credit to offer to particular companies. This needs to be customized. Companies with a bad track record should not get any credit and must pay up front. Companies that have been solid towards you for years might get $400. But, don’t offer more than that because good companies turn bad all the time the minute they run into credit problems. Each company you work for should have a credit rating with you and an individual amount of credit you will offer them. When they offer you a job, see how much they are in debt to you already before saying yes, otherwise — it’s Paypal — or no job!

Trouble getting paid?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15339

Tips for getting paid
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19794

Scary results when someone uses our demand letter from hell
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2006

Template for our famous demand letter
http://www.123notary.com/howto-get-paid-signing-agent.htm

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September 3, 2019

Should you include Kleenex in your notary bag?

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:57 pm

One Notary on NR had a signer who burst into tears and left the room. I guess she didn’t like the terms of her loan. I have never had that happen thank God although I had some moments where borrowers were not filled in properly and had lots of last minute questions.

If someone starts crying, you will look a lot more professional if you have a box of Kleenex on your person. I guess it might not fit in your bag unless you have the Kleenex travel pack for air travel. But, you will look more professional if you have it even if you don’t need it.

You could do show and tell to impress the borrowers. “Check out my notary bag contents – I have a stamp, embosser, law primer, ack forms, jurats, permission to travel, copy certification, pens, stapler, oh, and don’t forget — Kleenex, just in case the borrower doesn’t like the terms of their loan.” How professional!

I heard in the future there will be a new app to get therapy from Siri.

NOTARY: Siri, the borrower doesn’t like the terms of their loan.

SIRI: How does that make them feel?

NOTARY: Bad

SIRI: What was their relationship like with their mother?

NOTARY: Bad

SIRI: It looks like the problem lies within and not with the loan documents.

NOTARY: Thanks Siri, I think you are in the wrong line of work. You should be a cheesy guru instead of an app. Maybe you can call your service iGuru. Whatever they ask, tell them — the problem is coming from within. You’ll have thousands or Hindus following you overnight. Canned answers work with certain crowds.

BORROWER: Sob. Yes, it is true. The documents are not the problem at all.

NOTARY: Does this mean you will keep the loan?

BORROWER: Of course not dummy. The Lender is trying to rip me off? Boo hoo hoo.

SIRI: Time to offer them one of those Kleenexes you have in your Notary bag.

NOTARY: Oh yeah. Have a Kleenex.

BORROWER: Thanks, you are one of the most considerate Notaries I’ve ever had. Will you marry me?

You might also like:

What types of forms should you keep in your notary bag?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20011

Notary Carry All Bag
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1238

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August 18, 2019

Here is why you should keep a journal…

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:40 pm

I was speaking with one of my notary colleagues and I don’t know how the topic of journals came up but it did. This notary lives and works in Florida and they are not required to keep a journal but he does. He says that he always has since day one. He says that it has saved him on more than one occasion.

He shared with me a couple of incidents that he felt have saved him from wasted time, lawsuits and lawyer fees. After a 5 year old notarization, he received a call from an attorney that wanted to know if he remembered notarizing for a Haitian woman whom he had met with. Typically he doesn’t remember them after a few years but he did remember her. The lawyer went on to tell him that the woman had since passed and the son was contesting the POA he had notarized, He said that his mother would not have signed such a document. It seems she had given one of the other sibling POA and this angered him. So, the notary found the journal entry, made a copy and sent to the attorney and that was the end of it. He never heard from him again.

On another occasion he actually received a subpoena and had to actually appear in court. It seems this was around the time of option arm loans and subprime. In any case, the signers of the loan were claiming fraud on the lenders part. Because no-one is required in Florida to keep a journal he was not asked for a journal entry. However, on the day of his court appearance he brought along his journal. Upon taking the stand to be questioned, he mentioned to the judge that not only did they appear before him and indeed sign the loan documents, he had journal entries along with thumbprints to prove it. The judge looked at the journal and in annoyance banged his gavel and said case dismissed. Pay your bills he directed to the borrower/signers.

Now think about this; what if in both these occasions he had not had a journal to prove that these people had met with him. Both these cases had the potential to drag on for weeks perhaps even months.

So moral of the story, PLEASE keep a journal for your own (and others) protection. For most states this is not a requirement. And, if your are precluded/prohibited form keeping one (Texas comes to mind) then by all means follow the rules/laws of your state. But for the rest of you that have no such restriction please keep a journal. It is so worth the extra effort. The benefits for out weigh the expense (buying journals) and the extra time required too fill them out. A journal could save your life…..

You might also like:

Do you keep a journal to please the notary division, judges, or the FBI?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

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August 17, 2019

The Signature Name Affidavit: what is it and its purpose…

I am posed with questions concerning this document quite often. So let me tell what it is and what it isn’t. For those of you that are unfamiliar; this document is one of the documents found in 95% of all of loan packages.

The signature name affidavit represent names that have appeared on an individuals credit report(s). When a person applies for a loan, the lender runs a persons credit using all 3 of the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). These reports will usually include all of the names an individual has used in their lifetime; examples would be; marriages, maiden and name given at birth. The signers are required by the lender to sign the form and the form typically needs to be notarized.

At other times there will be clerical errors consisting of misspelled names and occasionally where the names are quite different. Sometimes in the case of the latter the signers will have an objection to signing the form and one can hardly blame them. So, if the signers have an objection to signing a name that is not their own, I have them strike it and initial. To date that has been acceptable and I haven’t had a document returned because of this action. (I suggest however, that you always bring this to the attention the company (or person) that hired you while-at the signing table if it is an issue. Never take matters into your own hands. ALWAYS ask).

There will be other times when the ID doesn’t match the documents exactly; say for example, a middle name is missing or the maiden was used previously and now they are married but they have no ID with these variations, you may be asked to add this name variation to the signature name affidavit in lieu of having ID. This is a big NO.NO. We must have current government issued picture ID. (or credible witnesses if they are allowed in your state). You CANNOT add names to the signature name affidavit that you DON’T have ID for. This is fraud and you will be on BIG trouble, if it ever comes up in an investigation or court case. I hear notary excuses; “But Carmen, they swore to me that that was their name.” Not good enough. Just imagine how this would appear to law enforcement or a judge. You must protect yourself and the signer. If you unfortunately find yourself in this situation always ask the signers if they have other acceptable ID that has all their names on it or use credible witness if allowed.

Now, I have actually added names to the signature name affidavit that I had ID for, but that is another blog story. 🙂

Until next time, be safe!

You might also like:

What constitutes a signature?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

The Signature Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16298

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August 15, 2019

Show me the money…..

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:34 pm

For the last 3 or so months I have started receiving several calls a week from folks looking for contact information on various signing companies due to non payment. These notaries are searching on Google because the contact information they have on there work orders seem to be no longer accurate. They’re emails to the companies go un-answered or they just don’t answer the phone. I suspect that these companies are blocking and/or ignoring them. So after the notaries have exhausted all attempts to find these deadbeat signing services (with no luck) they end up calling 123 for help.

Here is what I advise; please always keep the title/escrow and lenders contact numbers. If you have exhausted all your efforts with the signing service, then your last resort is to let the title, escrow and/or lender know that the company that they are using is not paying you. They will not be happy about this. If they have been bombarded with collection calls they may rethink their relationship with the signing service. You just might get a direct client out of the deal. Unfortunately for us, the only sure way of always getting paid is to get paid upfront. But of course this will never happen. Our profession is just not designed this way. Since our (in addition to other) fees come directly from the borrowers settlement costs we typically have to wait until the loan closes to be paid. What a bummer!

The next natural questions notaries ask are; “ How do they get away with this?” and “How do they stay in business?” and last but not least, “What can be done about this?”. The best way to solve these problems would be for us to just stop working with them. But that is not is going to happen. Most notaries come into this business not having a clue how things truly work. They are just anxious to get some assignments and get to making some money. These companies know this and take advantage. The new notaries also are not aware that there are resources (123notary and notary rotary, etc.) for them to check these folks out BEFORE you do the job. Keep in mind signing services ARE NOT regulated. Anyone can start one. You must protect yourself from these wolves in sheep clothing. Do your research on each company that you work with; preferably before you print those doc’s.

These non payment issues are what happen when the signing companies come in with no capitol, start making money and when the business starts to slow down (which it often does) they start not paying. They will use your money to pay their bills. And once they get so far behind it is almost impossible to catch up. Unfortunately, they keep on using notaries; robbing Peter to pay Paul and they just get further and further behind. And because there is always a ton of fresh new notaries coming into the profession these companies never run out of new notaries to exploit and this cycle just repeats itself.

So, please make sure that you post these non payment issues on the notary boards and forums so others can be for warned. And so your do diligence and check these companies out! No exceptions!

You might also like:

TX suspends notary who handled Stormy Daniel’s hush money
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22331

How far do you push for payment terms?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22590

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