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October 13, 2020

10 rules for negotiating Notary fees

Originally published in Nov 06, 2017

Many Notaries complain about how little they get paid. And then I complain about how little they know. The two tend to go together and the pay is not going to go up before the knowledge does. However, there are negotiating techniques that can help.

1. Let them name their price first
In a bargaining game, it is better to let the other person bid first. You can always raise your ask price if they don’t offer enough. But, if they offer far too much, you would never get it if you asked first and asked too low.

2. Start with a high ask price
If you ask for $125, you can always go down on your price, especially if the job is close or fast. You can ask how many pages, fax backs, and notarizations are in the package. If it is quick, then give them a quick price.

3. Never whine
If you whine about the condition of the industry or how low the fee was, people will think you are a low life. Professionals don’t whine. Professionals operate! So, if you are offered $60, ask for $85 and see what happens.

4. Decline the low-ball offers
If you spend all day working for peanuts, then when the good jobs come, you won’t have time. Decline bad offers so you are free for good offers.

5. Answer your phone
If you only offer when you are not in a signing and not driving or cooking or thinking, you will miss 80% of your calls. How can you negotiate a good fee if you don’t take the call in the first place?

6. Act professional
Try to impress them without trying to impress them. Most Notaries try to do a snow job and brag about how great they are. Seasoned operators don’t do this. Smart professionals will engage you in an intelligent conversation about the job, the industry and the state of the union. Ask them questions about the job, where it is, who it is for, what type of loan it is, and about their career and industry working in title or escrow. But, whatever you do, don’t talk about your zero percent error rate and how reliable and experienced you are — nobody can verify your claims and nobody wants to hear it.

7. Never say hello
Unless you work for an aloe vera companies, don’t answer the phone saying “aloe?” Answer stating your company name and personal name. It sounds professional. If you have screaming kids in the background that sounds horribly unprofessional. Have a quiet place to answer the phone and if you are in a noisy place, try to go to a quieter place and apologize about the noise. Just because you don’t mind noise doesn’t mean the title company enjoys barking dog and screaming three year old.

8. Talk about real life
Sometimes I talk to Notaries who tell the Title company that you can call me to clean up the mess after you hire one of those $50 signers. Over half my work is clean up work. That sounds real to title companies unlike all the nonsense about how experienced and knowledgeable you are which just sounds like fluff. Tell real stories about how you handled complicated situations that others might have goofed. Mention that split signing where you did some complicated manouver on the Acknowledgment certificate and how you went out to sign the wife at 3am because she could only see you at that time due to her busy schedule as a nurse. This is impressive and much better than fluff.

9. Negotiate timing
You can offer a better rate if they get you late after rush hour. They might prefer to just offer you more and get the job booked.

10. Double book and get a bad review
Yes, you’ll get bad reviews from this, but double booking makes sense. People cancel jobs all the time when they hire you, so why can’t you cancel a few jobs. If you book jobs tightly, the other person will cancel 20% of the time — at least. So, if you book a job for $60 and someone else offers you $150, you can ditch the first job and take the other. You will probably get a bad review that will last for three years, but you will have $90 extra in your pocket. It’s a dirty technique. Not recommended, but food for thought and great blog material.

11. Never let them see you sweat.
Appearing calm and collected are the way to go. If you seem flustered, that is bad. Oops, that was eleven rules and I promised ten. Okay, disregard point eleven and just use antiperspirant.

You might also like:

How to negotiate fees like a pro
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19198

Can you negotiate prices with SnapDocs?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16236

Notary Marketing 102 – Negotiating Fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

A complete guide to getting paid
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19794

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September 16, 2019

Travel fees vs. Notary fees in your journal

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 11:10 pm

For those of you who keep a Notary journal, you need to record the Notary fee as one of the fields. But, what if you get paid $65 for a signing with a travel fee and two signatures? How do you differentiate between the travel fee and the signature fees?

You can either arbitrarily decide how much is a travel fee and how much is a signature fee if the job is a flat fee. Or you can base the fees on the fees you quoted the client.

When you fill in your journal, the main thing is to put a Notary fee that does not exceed the fees allowed by your particular state, otherwise you could be accused of charging excessive fees which is illegal. If California allows $15 per notarized signature on an Acknowledgment or Jurat, then you cannot inscribe more than $15 per journal entry for each Notary act.

For those of you who use the “cram it in” style of journal entries, you cannot put a notary fee for five documents on the same line. It just doesn’t make sense. This is yet another potent reason why you should not use a style of journal entry that inputs more than one document per line. It is impossible to prove in court that the signer consented to all of the documents being notarized since he is not signing for a particular one. It is also not possible to know what the fees involved are either which means you are not doing proper bookkeeping.

As far as the travel fee, you could input the travel fee for a particular appointment in the additional notes section of the journal entry and indicate that is is a travel fee. The travel fee I would indicate once on the first journal entry for a particular appointment. Correct and prudent journal entry procedure requires separate entries for each person and document. So, once again, three people each signing four notarized documents would result in twelve journal entries with the travel fee indicated in the top entry.

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

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22293

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January 23, 2019

What are Mobile Notary Fees?

The states decide what a Notary can charge for Notary services, but few states have rules for what a Mobile Notary or Traveling Notary can charge for mobile services and waiting time.

Notaries in most states (NV & MD have restrictions I’ve heard) can charge whatever they want for Mobile Notary Fees. There are many factors that determine a Notary’s fees. I will list these factors below. Rates generally range from $20 to $50 for mobile fees plus notary fees which differ by the state.

Experience
Notaries with experience typically set their rates higher. The fee depends on how desperate or arrogant they are. Rates can really vary, so shop around. But, realize that getting the best rate is not always the best idea because knowledge and experience count. Also note, that years of experience rarely translate into knowledge. Most Notaries are show offs and typically brag about how many years they have been doing this job. But, when you drill them on knowledge, you might find out they have about the same knowledge as someone doing this for two years who reads Notary tutorials and handbooks regularly. A word to the wise!

Distance
Notaries charge for distance. Some calculate distance based on miles, while others focus more on how long it will take. Others charge by what county you are in or what particular area you are in. It will save you money if you find someone close.

Time of Day
If you hire a Notary during the day, there are more Notaries operating, and the price is lower. If you want a Notary to go to a hospital at 3am, you might be looking at paying double or triple the normal fee. Sometimes the Notaries who offer 24 hour service will yell at you and ask, “Why are you calling me so late? Do you have any idea what time it is?”

Type of Job
If the job is a document signing or loan signing the price will be more of a standard price. Most Notaries do loan signings for $70 to $110 unless they consider themselves to be fancy in which case the price would be $125 to $175. Hospital and Jail jobs cost more because there is more involved, more legal risk, more waiting time, and the clients are normally more difficult. Additionally, since fewer Notaries will do hospital and jail signings, the price by default goes up.

Printing
If the Notary needs to print or fax anything the price goes up.

Waiting Time
If you keep an experienced Notary waiting, they will normally want to get some sort of compensation for their time. Some have a set rate while others have a very foggy idea of what to do if you keep them waiting. Try to be prepared so you don’t keep anyone waiting.

Legal Advice
Please do not ask a Notary for legal advice. They are not authorized to give any, and you will not get good information from a notary about legal matters anyway unless they are an Attorney Notary. Ask an Attorney who is competent and specializes in whatever your question is.

Document Drafting
Ask an Attorney where to get your document drafted and what terms to put in it. Notaries should not help in drafting documents unless they are legally authorized to do so which is rare.

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March 12, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — Negotiating Fees

Filed under: Loan Signing 101,Popular on Twitter — admin @ 8:23 am

Return to Notary Marketing 102 Contents

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As a Notary, knowing what you are doing, having a good advertising presence, and being reliable all matter. But, if you don’t know how to negotiate fees, you will crumble in this low-ball world. Here are some of the best negotiating tips in the industry from our top players.

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1. Let them name their price first
When bargaining, it is much better to let the other person bid first. You can always raise your ask price if they don’t offer enough. But, if they offer far too much, you would never get it if you asked first and asked too low.

.

2. Start with a high ask price
If you ask for $125 or $150, you can always go down on your price, especially if the job is close or fast. You can ask how many pages, fax backs, and notarizations are in the package. If the job is quick, then give them a quick price.

.

3. Never whine
If you whine about the condition of the industry or how low the fee was, people will think you are a low life. Professionals don’t whine. Professionals operate! So, if you are offered $60, ask for $85 and see what happens.

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4. Decline the low-ball offers
If you spend all day working for peanuts, then when the good jobs come, you won’t have time. Decline bad offers so you are free for good offers.

.

5. Answer your phone
If you only offer when you are not in a signing and not driving or cooking or thinking, you will miss 80% of your calls. How can you negotiate a good fee if you don’t take the call in the first place?

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6. Act professional
Try to impress them without trying to impress them. Most Notaries try to do a snow job and brag about how great they are. Seasoned operators don’t do this. Smart professionals will engage you in an intelligent conversation about the job, the industry and the state of the union. Ask them questions about the job, where it is, who it is for, what type of loan it is, and about their career and industry working in title or escrow. But, whatever you do, don’t talk about your zero percent error rate and how reliable and experienced you are — nobody can verify your claims and nobody wants to hear it.

.

7. Announce your name when you answer the phone.
Answer the stating your company name and personal name and never say, “Hullo?”. It sounds professional to announce yourself properly. If you have screaming kids in the background that sounds horribly unprofessional. Have a quiet place to answer the phone and if you are in a noisy place, try to go to a quieter place and apologize about the noise. Just because you don’t mind noise doesn’t mean the title company enjoys barking dog and screaming three year old.

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8. Talk about real life
Sometimes I talk to Notaries who tell the Title company that you can call me to clean up the mess after you hire one of those $50 signers. Over half my work is clean up work. That sounds real to title companies unlike all the nonsense about how experienced and knowledgeable you are which just sounds like fluff. Tell real stories about how you handled complicated situations that others might have goofed. Mention that split signing where you did some complicated manouver on the Acknowledgment certificate and how you went out to sign the wife at 3am because she could only see you at that time due to her busy schedule as a nurse. This is impressive and much better than fluff.

.

9. Negotiate timing
You can offer a better rate if they get you late after rush hour. They might prefer to just offer you more and get the job booked.

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10. Double book and get a bad review
You’ll get many bad reviews from this, but double booking makes sense. People cancel jobs all the time when they hire you, so why can’t you cancel a few jobs. If you book jobs tightly, generally at least one of the clients will cancel 20% of the time — at least. So, if you book a job for $60 and someone else offers you $150, you can ditch the first job and take the other. You will probably get a bad review that will last for three years, but you will have $90 extra in your pocket. It’s a dirty technique. Not recommended, but food for thought and great blog material.

11. Negotiating on SnapDocs
You need to know how to negotiate if you use SnapDocs. The majority of Notary work (not the majority of the high paying work though) comes from SnapDocs these days. Their technology wins the game although their fees for using their system are a little exorbitant. When given an offer on Snapdocs by text, you need to turn the situation around.

Let’s say you are offered $60 for a job. Text them back saying I have signed “x” amount of loans in my career and “x” amount being the Purchase that you are assigning. I will accept the job and get it signed within three hours, but my fee is $85. Do you want a seasoned pro or a screw up? References available upon request.

There are Notaries who prosper on SnapDocs. Just not that many. And the ones who do well merit doing well with their superior notary and business skills. Negotiating fees will not get you far if you are an unskilled Notary or beginner. You are competing against 12,000 other Notaries (estimate) on SnapDocs who also don’t know anything. So negotiate only when you have a bargaining position.

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12. Stress Availability
As a Notary, there are a lot of others competing with you. If you are fast returning texts, answer your phone promptly and are available, you can get a lot more work. The other notaries are not so responsive. Let people know that you are available and can get the job done. That is a huge bargaining chip. And do so without sounding desperate.

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13. Be Willing to Talk
Many Notaries are unwilling to talk to others while in a signing. If someone calls about business, give them 90 seconds before cutting them off. You don’t know if what they are calling about could help you or hurt you. Not giving them a chance to speak their mind will be very frustrating. Many Notaries answer their phone only to tell me that they cannot talk. This is like opening your door only to slam it in someone’s face. It is better to answer and talk or don’t answer. Set a limit ahead of time. By being responsive and friendly, you will attract more business. If you think the job you are at is the only job, you are sacrificing your next job which might become a repeat client.

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What are mobile notary fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

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January 11, 2021

Travel fees if nothing gets signed

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:55 pm

It is common for Notaries to go to a job where the signer refuses to sign, or the job gets cancelled. What can the Notary charge for a travel fee since he/she/they didn’t “do” anything? The answer is that the most important aspect of this issue is not what you charge but what you explain over the phone. The client/signer needs to be painfully (the more pain the better) aware that the notary’s schedule is not for free and that they have to pay x amount of dollars even if nothing gets done as well as waiting time.

It is a generally prudent policy to get travel fees in cash at the door upon arrival before seeing the signer. This is because you need to be able to be impartial and have no beneficial or financial interest in a document being signed. If your $50 travel fees is contingent on Sammy signing the Affidavit, you will be tempted to notarize it even if the ID doesn’t match completely. As a Notary, you need to not be tempted to wiggle on state notary rules, and having your travel fee in your pocket puts the power and integrity back in your pocket. It’s hard to be integrous when money is at stake.

If someone gives you $40 travel fee which includes the first 20 minutes waiting time, and then keeps you waiting more than that, since you have the $40 in your pocket, you can demand cash for the next twenty minutes or threaten to walk. People will string you along in this line of work so it is important to keep the upper hand, or as Mrs. Meao likes to say — the upper paw!

The bottom line is that communication of signing fees over the phone before the signing is the most important solution to the travel fee issue. Fail to communicate — you might not get paid at all. So, communicate not only what the client will have to pay, but terms and conditions for what gets paid when and how much. Also, be careful with checks. Signers who cancel jobs sometimes bounce checks or stop payment. It happened to me after a very time consuming jail job. I bet Mrs. Meao would have something to say about that!

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Why are the fees offered to us so low?
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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

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December 18, 2020

Why are the fees offered to us so low you ask?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Facebook (A little) — admin @ 3:15 am

Why are the fees offered to us so low?
….because many of you keep taking them. Some folks are new to the profession and don’t know any better. They want to get experience at any cost. Others know better but take them because they are desperate and can’t seem to find better paying work. Whatever camp you fall in you should not be taking low fees. Why? Because it hurts all of us!

Let me give you some history on our profession. Years ago, it use to matter to signing services/companies who they used. There use to be oral and/or written tests given before they would hire you. And with the exception of a few they paid better and more timely. But those days are behind us. Most of them don’t seem really to care. They are looking for the most green, inexperienced notary so they can maximize THEIR profits. Most title and escrow pay anywhere from 150 to 300 per signing and the signing services know this even if you don’t. The money is allocated from borrowers closing fees and the (title/escrow) typically aren’t paying it out of their title/escrow fees, they are charging it the borrowers. So signings don’t cost them anything for the most part. (there are exceptions to this but no need to get into that now, that’s for another blog). 🙂

Many of you ask me why they use signing services in the first place. Bottom line is they use them for convenience. It is easier to just give the service the assignment and let them find a notary. It frees them up and saves them an enormous amount of time to follow lender instructions and make sure all conditions are met so they can close. But over the years as things have slowed up and due to many notary errors many have abandoned signing services altogether. So contrary to what many folks think many of them do still use notaries directly. But the notary signing professions is still over run with companies that are just out to maximize their profits. And this is our fault.

I had a notary just call in the other day and told me that she was offered a sellers package from a signing service for 20.00. (you know they were receiving WAY more than that) 20.00 dollars people! Unbelievable. Just take a moment and let that sink in. That paltry fee is not even worth starting your car up for. Here in Callie we get 15.00 per signature and then if you have to print (god only knows how many pages) and then take them to FedEx or UPS to ship them back, it is just not worth the time, energy or paper.

Now the saddest and worst part about this situation is probably not the ridiculously low fee of 20.00 being offered, it is the fact that although the notary speaking with me refused, we know somebody will/or did accept it. For those of you that have followed my blogs and or spoken with me, I predicted long ago that as long as there are notaries that take low fees, they would persist and they would eventually get lower and lower. That day has come. I too was just recently offered 65.00 to go to a place that is about 40 minutes from me. There were 2 copies needed to be printed, signed and dropped all at FedEx or UPS all for for 65.00. I would never accept such an assignment, even if I were desperate.

I know that a lot of folks don’t really understand this business and the learning curve is quite high. I also know that other notaries once they start to figure things out they don’t share information on pricing/fees. But we need to work together. We need to educate each other that fees need to be fair and reasonable. We are all in this to make a profit. And you can’t make a profit if others are making/taking the majority of the money (signing services) and you are undercutting one another just to say you had some work.

Remember, the goal is to work direct! Marketing and advertising is key to your success in reaching those title and escrow that have had it with signing services. It is time to works smart not hard. Know your worth.

Just some food for thought…

You might also like:

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

What are mobile notary fees?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

Notary Marketing 102 – negotiating fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

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November 26, 2020

Five things a Notary can do worth $1000 per minute

Originally posted in 2018

Asking for reviews
Each minute you spend asking for a review can come back to you in the form of gold. It only takes a minute to ask, and if you ask enough people, you will get a handful of reviews which will double your incoming calls from 123notary. The next thing you know you will have repeat clients from those initial calls which you earned based on your reviews and you will be making lots more money.

Studying for certification
It takes a few hours to study for certification. But, the results can last a lifetime. Each minute of studying might be worth $1000 in the long term. So, whatever else you are doing. is it worth $1000 per minute? And what if I’m wrong and your study time is only worth $50 per minute. That is still more than a neurosurgeon makes. Speaking of neurology, my sciatic nerve hurts.

Call your old contacts
If you haven’t heard from someone, you could revive a long term client. That could be worth thousands.

Fix up your notes section
If I spent three minutes fixing up someone’s notes section, they get 55% more clicks. But, you can put more content in your notes and read up on what we recommend. We have a vast section all about how to fix up your notes. It takes very little effort, but could change your career.

Summary
There are many things a Notary can do to better themselves. The problem is, that Notaries have established habits, and don’t see the value of doing what 123notary says they should do. Those who listen to us often prosper in a huge way. What is the harm in going through a check list and just doing what makes sense? Getting more reviews could get you an additional hundred clients per year which could translate into thousands of jobs. What is that worth? And how much time did it take to get those extra clients? Two hours of asking for reviews, and you get $100,000 in extra income? That translates into about $1000 per minute. If you do the math, you will be kicking yourself for not focusing your time on priorities.

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November 23, 2020

Notary Test about Notary acts and more

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:41 am

Here are some test questions for you guys to see who’s got it and who has been faking it all this time.

1. In an Acknowledgment, who acknowledges what?

2. In a Jurat, does the signer swear that they:
(a) Signed a particular document and that they agree to it
(c) Are the person who they claim to be
(d) All of the above

3. If a document was signed on March 1, 2001, and today is March 2, 2020, what type of notary act can you use to notarize the document without having it resigned?

4. When administering an Oath to an affiant, after having the affiant raise their right hand (or paw) the Notary should start with the words:
(a) I solemnly swear
(b) Do you solemnly swear
(c) Do you affirm
(d) I solemnly affirm

5. What is the difference between an Oath and an Affirmation?
(a) In an Oath you swear; In an Affirmation you Affirm;
(b) They are essentially the same
(c) In an Oath, the affiant swears under God; In an Affirmation the affiant affirms on their personal honor;
(d) In both acts the affiant makes a solemn promise

6. A proof of execution is an act where the principal signer:
(a) Does not show up
(b) Must show up because the signer must show up for all notary acts
(c) Does not show up, but has someone show up for them
(d) There is no such act.

7. If you have two names on an Acknowledmgent (John & Sally) but Sally cannot make it, what is the most pressing benefit to crossing her name out on the form rather than using a fresh form.
(a) Your recording fees will not be affected
(b) There is less danger of the new form being detached and used fraudulently
(c) It is easier
(d) It will look better in court because it is “cleaner” than using a new form and stapling it to the document.

8. If you are notarizing the signatures of three people each on ten Grant Deeds, how many journal entries should you use?
(a) 1
(b) 3
(c) 30
(d) 13

9. If you are notarizing the signatures of one person on five Grant Deeds, how do you differentiate the Deeds in your journal?
(a) Indicate the property address
(b) Indicate the APN number
(c) Indicate the document date
(d) Just say, “Grant Deed” in your journal entry(ies)

10. If you are at a loan signing and have a question about a notarization…
(a) You should ask title
(b) You should ask the lender
(c) You should ask the NNA
(d) You should ask your state Notary division

Summary
These are very important notary questions. Answering them correctly will help you know your job and reduce your chance of ending up in a sticky situation. You can consult our Notary Public 101 course on the blog to look up content regarding these points although we don’t address these specific questions in particular.

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November 16, 2020

Notary fined $385 for botching a Notarization

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — admin @ 10:49 am

Originally posted in 2018

Many of the Notaries on our site are so incompetent about communication and Notary practices that I shutter to list them. The fact is that I am not always informed when Notaries get in trouble. I would like to hear more stories of Notaries who goof and get in trouble because I want to learn how to prevent the problems from happening in the future.

The fact is that a Notary in Louisiana (I don’t remember clearly the name of the state but think it is Louisiana) did a Notary job for a loan signing. The Notary was new and had no idea what she was doing. There were numerous mistakes on dates, signatures, notarizations, etc. In fact there were so many mistakes that the Lender make the Notary pay for the redraw of documents. The bill came out to $385. Ouch. What a nasty surprise for this enthusiastic but clueless Notary.

The moral of the story is that you cannot just get a Notary seal and start working without knowing what you are doing. The states don’t prepare you at all for Notary work. Even California gives very little hands on training. NNA certified notaries have been trained in some basic aspects of loan signing, but that course does not teach basic Notary knowledge. So, if you think you “know what you are doing” because you are NNA certified, try taking NNA’s Notary Essentials course first. It is better to know how to be a Notary than a loan signer, because most of the mistakes notaries make are either rudeness, leaving people high and dry, not following directions, or you guessed it — Notary mistakes. Notaries very rarely get in trouble for not knowing their loan documents and rarely get in trouble for dating an RTC wrong although it could happen.

So, become an expert at being a Notary. You can get into trouble with me if you don’t and trouble with the law, lenders and customers as well. Knowledge is power and ignorance comes at a high expense.

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Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because a fraud added a name to the certificate
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

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

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