Story of a Mortgage Loan

The Story of a Mortgage Loan

Notaries who have not been through the personal agony of applying for a mortgage loan have missed learning opportunities.  Every mortgage loan has a story!  Being that involved in the process personally helps notaries understand what their borrowers have recently endured.   Without that experience, a new loan signing agent may not understand some of the impatience that borrowers have.  Applying for a loan isn't for the faint at heart.  It can be grueling and frustrating.  With that in mind, I’d like to do an overview of how a mortgage loan begins and evolves into a neat stack of loan documents on a borrower's cluttered kitchen table. Definition of a mortgage A mortgage is a legal agreement by which a lender lends...


Top 10 Things a New Notary Must Know

Top 10 Things that a New Notary Must Know

Are you a new notary public?  Do you feel as if you are -- Swimming around in murky notary laws that are too complicated? Trying to learn rules stuffed with terms that you do not understand? Attempting to make sense of confusing notary group discussions?  Unable to get a straight answer on anything? Drowning from information overload? If so, take this to heart:  You can't learn it all at once.  You really can't!  Don't make yourself feel bad because you don't know it all. Let's slow down and take your move into the notary world one small step at a time.  Today, I want to go over the barest requirements and most basic skills you need to learn before you slap the Mobile Notary sign on your car and drive...


The Mysterious Contents of a Traveling Notary’s Bag

The bag or briefcase carried to appointments by a brand new traveling notary is usually a lightweight and slim model.  It contains very little--a few pens, a notarial stamp, notary journal, and a pocket for carrying documents.  However, once notaries begin traveling and having experiences with signers, they learn to be ready to accommodate a multitude of situations.  Soon, the traveling notary bag is bulging at the seems, a zipper breaks, or the thing won't shut at all!  It must be upgraded to a larger size. As the miles click by and notary journals fill up with signatures from appointments, a notary's bag selection leans to something bigger and more capable of organizing gear. Some notaries eventually graduate to an...


Hospital Notary Business

Hospital Marketing Strategies for Mobile Notaries

On April 17, I found myself driving from home to a community hospital 150 miles away.  I had to be there to help my 86-year-old mother stay near the bedside of the love of her life, a gentle and kind man named Warren who, at age 84, suffered a massive heart attack.  For a couple of days, I fretted about Warren's health, the impact it was having on my mother, and about not being at home and able to work or write this article, and I had not decided on a topic before I left my house.  However, on the third day, while prowling around the hospital campus, I could not stop thinking about ways to market notary services...


Remote Online Notarization

Should You Become a Remote Online Notary?

Today's article should not be considered an endorsement of remote online notarization (RON) or an opposing viewpoint.  It is a simple summary of what I have observed since gaining my “boots on the ground” perspective.  I will describe how I got set up and some of the issues that must be overcome. Although, I am in Texas, other states’ notaries will undoubtedly have the same challenges that I had here.  In fact, some states are using Texas online notary laws as a model and tweaking them to fit their needs.  Others states have patterned theirs after the Revised Uniform Law on Notary Acts. Nuts and Bolts of Typical RON Legislation Below are the high points of remote notarization laws in layman terms,...


Tax Day

Four Last Minute Tax Tips for Notary Business Owners

Greetings!  There are only a few days left until April 15, 2019.   Social media and forums are buzzing this week as frantic new notary business owners sort out their first tax seasons.  Just like in previous years, legends and myths flourish about how to treat notary income on tax returns.  The most dangerous statements go something like this: “Notary income isn’t taxable.” Hold on, friends!  That’s not exactly true, and that's why we are talking about this today.  The focus of today’s article is notary public income.  This article is not meant to provide tax advice, but to help you identify resources to help move your tax return forward. If you have waited until the last minute to collect your tax information, you may have noticed...


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Master Complicated Notarial Certificates

5-Step Plan to Master Complicated Certificates

Today's newsletter is about how to master complicated notarial certificates.  Why should you care about this? Most notaries want this knowledge because complicated notarial certificates are the types attached to commercial loan documents and commercial real estate transactional documents. Real Situation Last week, a notary  reached out for assistance with completing the blanks of a certificate of acknowledgment--the words and blanks looked completely unfamiliar to her.   She shared with us a great example of what I consider to be a "complicated" notarial certificate, and it's been included below.   There are so many blanks in the certificate that even a seasoned notary would be puzzled!  In fact,  it's likely that few lawyers could unravel the notarial certificate in the example below without...


Avoiding Discriminatory Practices as a Notary Public

Hello, notary colleagues!  Do you wonder if by saying "No" to a notary request or an assignment scheduler,  you are discriminating toward a client? That's what we'll talk about today.  (Please bear in mind that neither I, nor Notary.net gives legal advice; this is for general discussion purposes only.)  What is discrimination? In the context of being a notary public, the general principle is that no person shall be excluded from receiving notarial services because a notary is biased against a person who belongs to a protected class. To exclude someone from receiving notarial services because you don't like something about that person is probably discrimination if it relates to one of the protected classes listed in the next section.  (On the...


Success

New to the Notary Business? A Simple Plan to Start You Off

Did you become a notary so that you could use your notary commission to develop a business? Are you having trouble sorting out all that you need to learn? If you are feeling overwhelmed and need to know where to start, this article is definitely for you! I know this is much longer than our usual articles, but I want to reach out to new notaries who are looking for a pathway to starting a notary business. I read your comments in the virtual notary hangouts and realize that one problem you are having is that you heard about this great opportunity, but have no clue where to start. I have observed:  New notaries are spending far more than I...


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Fun Facts About Notary Certificates

Is this statement true or false? Notary certificates are no big deal -- just do what you can to fill them out correctly and move on. However, this is often how a new notary perceives notarial certificates.   I remember that I was no different!  That's why we are going to talk a bit about notarial certificates this week.  Hopefully, you will read a fact or two that you did not know or have not considered in the past.   Please keep in mind as you read that this is not legal advice and notary laws differ from state to state. Fact #1 - Notarial certificates outlive the notary. The purpose of a notarial certificate is to memorialize forever who appeared before the notary on what...


who what when

Six Key Facts to Collect for your Notary Journal

Even if you aren’t required by law to maintain a notary journal, noting a few key facts about the documents you are asked to notarize may some day save a relationship with a favorite client  or vindicate you if you are accused of wrongdoing as a notary public. What facts should you collect for your notary record book? If your state’s notarial laws require you to keep a record of your notarial acts in a notary journal, notary log, notary register or notary record book; you must collect the information that your state requires.  However, you might want to add six mental prompts to your notary routine so that you know that you have identified clearly the act and the...


Trodat 4913 Ink Colors

Rainbow of Colorful Notary Stamps and Ink

There's a notary myth that rolls around in forums and on social media from time to time about notary stamp ink color.   It goes something like this: the majority of notaries believe that seal ink must be black.   Many believe colors may be blue or black.  The truth is that only one-fourth of the 50 states have laws that require notaries to select a certain color.  All of the other states can choose from any color of ink that can be reproduced darkly on a copier or when scanned.   Notaries who are not restricted to a certain color may select from blue, purple, red, blue, or green in addition to black or blue.  If you are not sure what color...