We explain all the aspects of your Professional Signing Agent Business. There’s no course that can answer every question, but this section will give you a big head start on what you need to know to get started and start making income. The topics within this section include:
Okay one of the most important aspects of what you are going to be doing is setting up your home business, which is important. When running a home-based business, you will need to have a quiet space in your home. However, you don’t have to necessarily have a full office or a separate room, but it must be an area that you can dedicate as a work space. Perhaps, you may have a small desk area that could fit in a kitchen or in a dining room. But you are going to need a desk that has a large enough flat surface for printing and assembling documents unless you feel like you can take (video interruption).
One of the most noteworthy pieces of information you need to keep in mind is dealing with confidential information that is contained within the documents. The information that is obtained during a signing needs to be handled with care and placed in a locked area to where only you have access to your client’s personal information. One way to ensure this is to get a little lock box or a file cabinet with a lock so that you can put paperwork in for safe keeping. Furthermore, if your client’s paperwork is not properly handled you can put people lives in jeopardy if you don’t care to lock everything up.
I mentioned before that you will need to have high-speed internet, a good working computer and printer. You also need to have a professional email address. You don’t want an email address like, cindysmom.com or something like that. Also, back-up toner and ink for your printer so you don’t run out. Also, paper because you don’t want to run out of any of those things while you’re printing documents for a signing. Additionally, you’re also going to need shipping supplies. That’s something we can get into later.
Regarding documents, there’s more concern now than ever before regarding consumer privacy protection (CPD), so we are going to be talking about that. Also, document delivery, your responsibility and a few helpful ideas.
Very important: You want to have a backup system. Do a backup on your computer on a regular basis. There are online systems that are good, like Cloud, etc. Do it for a monthly fee. It’s not very expensive, or you can do it yourself with using an external hard drive or a flash drive with plenty of room. Back up is commonly over looked on a computer maintenance issues and you don’t want to miss it until you need it. If you forget to backup and you lose some important data you’re going to be kicking yourself. All you need to do is lose everything just one time and you’ll never forget to back up again. Losing your accounts receivable data can cost you money.
Okay Investing in your business. This is the hard part. This is getting started. The supplies that you are going to need first and foremost are:
A Notary Journal (it doesn’t matter if is a hard or soft cover, but there are really good journals out there). Again, Notary Rotary is a good resource for purchasing these items. They have a good notary journal.
A computer- you for sure are going to need a computer (desktop) or laptop. You are definitely going to need a laptop if you are ever going to think about doing the E-signings, which will be going through.
A printer- you’re going to also need will go over this in a little bit.
Pens your also going to need pens. Blue and Black pens are the most common pens. Don’t go to signings with pink or lilac or weird color green pens. Some states will allow it they don’t care what color, but primarily you’re going to need blue or black pens and usually that’s in the instructions. They will tell you what kind of ink they want you to use.
Carrying case- Now you are going to need some sort of carrying case to handle all of the items except the computer. And even at that you can get something that will be good for carrying a laptop plus all of your supplies. So, you want to have one place—you don’t want to be running there with a paper bag or stuff flying all over the place. So, there’s things you can do. For years we used a medal box that we bought at one of the office suppliers store and it was a legal size everything fit in it and we had little containers for pens and things like that. Some people carry briefcases, but you just have to decide what’s most comfortable to you.
Next, I do want to talk about the Notary Journal. You may live in a state that doesn’t require the use of a notary journal but I’m going to recommend that you always use one. For the purpose of organization, be meticulous about how you use them. Moreover, make sure that you fill in all the information for every single signing. One thing I want you to understand is that different states have different regulations.
For example, California for one and I don’t know any other states that does this—they want the borrower to sign for every single document that is notarized. It’s a pain in the neck, but you do want to keep excellent records. The reason you should keep records is because
and the reason for that is that they provide excellent audit trail. In addition, if ever have to go to court you don’t want to ever rely on your memory to remember if someone actually signed something or have to compare signature because fraud does happen. Moreover, if you get involved in a case, such as fraud, you will be on the witness stand for sure as a witness and if you bring in your journal and rely on your journal than it’s so much easier than trying to rely on what you did six months ago or two years ago.
Continuing with the supplies you’ll also need:
A small stapler-to attach the checks to long documents and there might be other things but primarily you are given checks occasionally and you don’t want to take a chance on losing those checks.
Legal size folders – in which you can put these legal documents in. You’re going to carrying them with you. You don’t want them separated. So, have a folder. It looks more professional and it keeps everything contained in one area. Also,
Sticky Notes- are good. If there is something not on the document and you need to let the escrow officer or the lender now you can put a little sticky note.
Large binder clips- I like using these personally, when you buy them in large quantities they are not very expensive. I don’t like rubber bands, but I know some people who use those to keep the documents together.
Paper- You are going to need both regular and legal size even if you only got a printer that print in one size. I strongly suggest you start off buying it by the case. For instance, we buy our paper at Costco’s and have for years. Buying paper by the case can save you as much as 10 dollars a case or even more over buying it by the ream, which can be very expensive.
Ink- you want to make sure you have ink for your printer.
Moreover, I would like for you to keep in mind that all of these items are good for you to have but until you begin to earn money you might want to hold off on anything except for the necessary expenses. I mean if you’re just getting started, you might just have one or two signings so buying paper by the ream maybe the best option for you.
What Do They Do?
Where to Get Them
What is the Cost?
How to Operate
We purchased a portable scanner about 3 years ago and it has been wonderful! The one we have is a View Point Scanner. It is about 10 inches long and about 1 inch around. I will scan everything from drivers licenses to copies of paperwork on legal size paper.
We purchased ours from Bed Bath and Beyond and after signing up on the internet to receive their emails we used a $20 off coupon so the cost of the scanner to us, out the door, was about $89.00. They are mostly under $100.00 at most retail stores.
Operating the Scanner is very easy. At the signing table you turn it on and set the DPI choice. You will then place whatever it is you need to scan into a plastic page separator like what you would use in a 3 ring binder. This keeps the item from slipping around while you scan it.
We always scan the item twice in the event it does not come out clear the first time. Once you scan the item you can turn the scanner off and put it away.
When you get back home you will connect the scanner to your computer with the use of a USB cord which comes with the scanner. You will then be able to use whatever photo program you have on your computer to download the documents and print it out. Be sure if the item is large that you use your cropping tools to make it a suitable size to print.
That is it! Very easy to use and very convenient for the Borrower. If I find out that someone has to go to a store or something to make the necessary copies we always tell them no to worry about it, that we do have a scanner and will bring it with us.
What it does
Where to Get it
Over the years I have tried a lot of different programs to keep tract of my signings, customers, accounts receivables etc. For years it was a combination of QuickBooks and Excel but recently I found a program which is by far the best solution to keeping tract of all of the information we need to run our signing business.
Every time you get a signing you input the client information just once so you never have to enter it again. By entering in the information about the signing itself it is entered into the calendar in order of date and time. You can generate professional invoices, keep tract of what invoices are paid and which are unpaid. Expenses can be entered and all of this information makes tax time much easier with the reports you are able to generate.
If you are very busy and have a lot of signings in a day or a week, you can print a report which details all of the pertinent information about those signings in order of the time of the appointment. This gives you a complete schedule of where you are to be during the day including addresses and phone numbers.
When I first heard about this software I tried it out for free, decided I loved it and purchased it. I found out that this software was selling on the internet for anywhere from $100.00 to $175 through a large notary association. I called the creators at Turtle Software and they agreed to allow me to sell this software on the website for $75.00 to my students. Notary2Pro does not make any money on the sale of their product but we are proud to say that we offer it at the lowest price available on the internet.
You can download and use it free for 30 days through us. And all of the data you put into this system will remain if you decide to purchase Notary Assist.
There is only one drawback to this program and that is that if your computer crashes or something happens with the Notary Assist software, you may lose all of your data. So, it is very important that you back it up onto a flashdrive or other device every week or so. They make it very easy to do with buttons on the homepage.
To access the link to Notary Assist which will give you the discount, please visit the Additional Resources page on the Notary2Pro website. If you do not follow the link on our website you will not be able to get the discount.
What It Does
Gives you time to get a Dual Tray Laser Printer
Another terrific program that I found is called the page separator. The way it works is this:
When you get loan documents for a signing, or if you have to go to a website and download documents, be sure you save the documents to your desktop.
When you download the page separator software save a shortcut of it on your desktop.
To operate the program, open the Page Separator and click on the word Browse. You will then find the documents for the signing on the desktop, click on the documents one attachment at a time.
Once all of the documents have all been moved into the Page Separator you will click Merge and Separate. Almost instantly you will see 2 folders. One folder contains all of the documents which are to be printed on legal size paper, and the other will contain all of the documents which are to be printed on legal size paper.
You can then put letter size paper into your printer, instruct you printer to print on letter size paper and print all of those documents. Once they have all printed you will then put legal size paper into your printer tray and instruct your printer to print on legal size paper.
You can then pull all of the critical documents as we discussed in the Professional Signing Agent course, and put them on the top.
Another advantage to this program (if you purchase the Pro version at $59.95) is that you can also print a report which will instruct you as to exactly how to restack the documents when the signing is complete so you can send them back to the lender in the same stacking order as they were sent to you.
Imagine that you are away from home and you receive a phone call regarding a signing and there is no time for you to get home. With a mobile office you will be able to access your e-mail, download the confirmation, and the documents, call the borrower for the appointment, and print out the documents. For optimal performance you’re going to need the following items (You’re going to need):
A laptop computer with internet access such as, a wireless card. Be sure that it’s a high-speed internet receiver. And there are places that you can go to such as hotspots like Star Bucks that allows you to turn on your computer or access the internet while you’re there to access your documents. Also, there is available internet service wherever you happen to be, so you don’t have to drive somewhere to download the documents.
You’re going to need an inverter, which is an item that plugs into your cigarette lighter and this is, so you can insure the ability to use your computer without using the battery on the car.
To emphasize, if you are going to do this you need to have high speed internet service, or it will take you at least a day to download documents.
One of the items that you’re going to need is a small printer and that could also be connected to the inverter for power. The printer will have to have the ability to print both legal paper and letter size paper. You should also carry an extra print card for the printer in case you run out of ink. We did this for a while and I was able to find a very inexpensive HP—very small printer that we could use in our car. You have to be careful with the ink because it can dry out if you’re in warm weather.
So, temperature variation can be tough on your equipment. If you live in an extreme climate, take care of all equipment that you store in your car. Now if you get to the point where you are so busy that this scenario is a real possibility than you might think seriously about doing it—having this mobile office. But if you’re not that busy right now we suggest that you wait and don’t invest in a lot of equipment that you may never use. If you are a mobile notary you need to consider storing your bag in your car. It needs to be in a secure place, probably locked up in your trunk. This way you’re ready to go any time you get a call when you’re on the road and you don’t have to worry about not having your notary stuff with you.
Now this tip is important it is going to save you an enormous amount of time. Once you have your commission, your bond, E&O insurance, which is Errors & Omissions, and background check scan all those things into your computer along with a copy of your driver’s license and just save them all in a file. Put them in a file on your computer because it makes it very easy to access all of these documents if there all in one place and it’s very easy for you when a company ask for you to ether email of fax all of those items you just open up that folder that you have them all in and you can just easily by one click on each document email them or print them.
One other way to get documents while you’re on the road is to go to a place like Kinko’s or a FedEx and pay to access a computer and printer. Depending on the size of the loan package this can be expensive, but this will allow you to take the signing. Note of caution: When you’re there don’t have them print your documents for you. They do have a way for you to access them through your e-mail and print them and it is a lot less expensive.
Basically when you are required to purchase a bond upon obtaining your Notary Commission, this bond is intended to cover a loss to a signer due to non-intentional error or intentional error. The bond does not protect the notary or release them from liability. The insurance company who issued the bond will cover damages up to the amount of the bond. The notary is then responsible to reimburse the bonding/surety company for monies paid in a claim against the bond.
E & O INSURANCE
In the event a notary makes an unintentional error while executing their acknowledgment or jurat, there may be a claim against the notary for damages. The E&O insurance will pay those claims up to the policy limit. For instance, a notary leaves off, or puts in, an incorrect County or State on an acknowledgment. This could cause a serious problem later on and the parties can pursue the notary for damages. If the notary carries, for instance $25,000.00 in E&O insurance, and the damages are $2,000.00, the E&O insurance pays the $2,000. The insurance still has a value of $23,000.00 to pay on other claims. Subsequent claims are equally up to the policy limit of coverage.
E&O insurance is relatively inexpensive and well worth the cost. One company I spoke with had 7 notaries’ make errors last year which brought the notaries into court. For most of these errors the penalties were under $1,000.00 and the E&O insurance took care of the cost and the notaries still had substantial coverage. You must be aware however, that this type of E&O Insurance only covers errors on notarial acknowledgements and jurats, not errors that pertain to the documents themselves.
To summarize, a bond protects the PUBLIC, E&O protects the NOTARY
In addition to notary errors and omissions insurance, there is also signing agent errors and omissions insurance. This insurance covers errors made within documents that do not require notarization. These documents are not covered by the usual notary errors and omissions insurance which cover notarial errors only. If the documents which are not notarized contain errors which cause the loan not to fund, the notary can be subject to a lawsuit. Signing Agent insurance is not available in all states so you will need to do your own research. You can start by doing an online search for “signing agents errors and omissions insurance”.
E&O is an insurance product; therefore the information contained herein is merely for informational purposes and is not an attempt to sell, market, nor offer insurance products.
Always answers the phone and with a smile
Asks the details of the signing with enthusiasm and “can do” attitude
If can’t take the job, asks to be called next time
Carries a pad of paper and pen to take notes at a moment’s notice
Accesses confirmation as soon as possible to call borrower
Leaves message with borrower including number to call if there are problems
Prints docs and always has plenty of paper and backup toner
Checks docs and confirmation before leaving home office
Arrives on time to the appointment with docs
Introduces self with a smile to borrowers
Have a complete bag or case of supplies, pens, etc
Sits down and reviews what is about to happen
Complete notary book if required
Gives borrower copy of loan docs
Goes through the loan as completely as possible
Calls the appropriate party if there are questions
Keeps to the point during signing but is pleasant
Reviews all signatures in front of borrower to ensure all are complete
Reviews the confirmation before leaving home to insure all instructions have been followed
Confirm the signing is complete to the hiring party in the manner requested (phone, email, fax)
Review docs at home office before putting into envelope
Print the label or write one out
Drop docs as soon as possible at the appropriate location
Add invoice or send one if required
Have a routine to complete docs to eliminate the possibility of errors
Enters loan information into invoice tracking system for tracking of payment
Track mileage to and from for complete tax records
If an error is made, call the borrower and make corrections quickly and to the borrowers convenience
Now, I’m going to talk about flexibility in a rigid world. One of the greatest challenge for a notary is to create a perfect product under sometimes some crazy conditions. When you’re out in the field often the situation is not perfect. For instance, maybe it will be a filthy house, a chaotic household, unusual request for loan completions is only a brief example of the things you might encounter. First, you are going to need to be fully aware of your state’s notary requirements. You need to be equipped to understand each situation that you will encounter.
You can carry a book with your state regulations with you. Additionally, you can also call or e-mail the state with any questions that you may have. If there are any exceptions to the ID requirements you should know them. If you’re really an exacting person than this job may not be for you. If you can’t complete many of the assignments because of extenuating circumstances or IDs, then this job may not be for you. Please be clear, do not break your states regulations but do know them so that you can meet the intent of the regulations but get the job done. Sometimes you need to have a little flexibility in what you do.
Quality control is critical in this job, but it can be difficult. Sometimes you print docs just minutes before you walk or run out the door for a job. How do you know you have them all? Find
this a system that you don’t wavier from that ensures that you have what you need. Getting there on time is really important but not if you can’t get the job done right. Many mistakes are made when you break from your routine when you’re getting a loan signed but rarely are you in a routine situation and that’s the catch. Being exact while on the run—welcome to loan signing.
In order to get clients you need to let people know that you are open for business because they are not going to come looking for you necessarily. There’s two— a couple of ways that you can market yourself:
One of course is on the internet. There are many, many sites that you can sign up with. You will have to put in basic information such as, your name, address, contact, phone number, and a bit of information about your experience as a Mobile notary
. And this is signing up with various companies and they are all on the internet. TIP: Here is a tip I want you to know because since you have little or no experience you’re going to have to be putting in biography on yourself a little bit of bio information.
Second, when you do that you need to be very specific. If you have not done this work before and you have no experience, then you need to talk about your character and your intentions or any kind of relevant background. Additionally, if you been in the service industry or you are used to dealing with people, if your always on time, and if your always contentious about what you do. Providing these certain characteristics about yourself will allow people to get to know you.
But whatever you do—do not misrepresent your experience. That point is vital because if you lie about it you will get caught eventually. To accentuate this point, I had one gal who is a friend of mines who owns a signing service and she called me one day and she was so disgusted because she had a couple of new notaries work for her that day and one of them said in her bio that she had done 5,000 signings. When she gave her the assignment—and this won’t mean much to you now, but it will later.
The documents were signed and sent back, and the notary never noticed that the security instrument, which was a Deed of Trust (DOT) was missing from the package and she sent it back. Nobody that have done 5,000 signings would ever, ever miss the fact that a security instrument was missing from the packaged. In a different situation, there was another notary who also said that she had done 2,000 signings and it was so obvious that when she got the documents back that she had never done a signing before.
I will tell you this, we here at Notary2Pro have had many students and once they graduate from this course they go to their first signings and people don’t even know that it is their first one. For example, I had one girl who was really concerned about that and she said, “They’re going to know they’re going to know” and I said, “No they are not, just go in there taking what you know and be confident.” She called me afterwards and I said—we were talking about her signing and I said, “So did they know this was your first signing?” and she started giggling and she said, “No, actually as a matter-of-fact, we were half way through and the husband and wife asked me how many of these we do in a week.” So, you just need that confidence. Pay attention to what you’re learning.
Now there are some websites that I will like to see you get signed up with as soon as you get your certificate and one of them is a really good resource, which is called NotaryRotary.com. They have a lot of things on their website that are beneficial for you and a lot of companies go to Notary Rotary to look for signing agents. One of the things that I am going to suggest to you is to stay off their forum.
Notary Rotary do have a forum, it can be educational and informative at times but as a newbie you don’t want to start posting there because they are not very kind to the people who are new and it’s almost like they don’t want you to succeed. But they do have a couple of really good things. For instance, they have what they call the signing central. This is the area where you can go and check out the signing services, what kind of rating they have, and it will go from a one star to five-star and that’s how we rate the companies that we deal with. We work with 4 and 5-star companies. There is another company called Signing Agent School they are actually licensing Notary2Pro and using it as the standard for training. Will talk more about that later.
Probably, after you graduate but you will want to go up in there and sign up with them and then eventually they have some free classes you can take regarding documents from specific companies and will get you in there. Another place that’s absolutely a necessity to sign up with is NotaryCafe.com. They have a software that a lot of the signing services use for their business and it creates confirmations, creates invoices, and it creates checks—everything.
If you sign up and become a part of their database for these different signing services often times they will ask you for your user name and password to NotaryCafe.com. and you want to give that to them because then what happens is you don’t have to send all your information to that signing service. They get all of the information they need from Notary Café and they only way you will receive an assignment from those companies is to be signed up with Notary Café because you can receive confirmations, and your check from that company. So, these are the three are primary companies that I would suggest.
On the other hand, you’re going to hear about a company that I use to endorse, which is 123Notary.com if you want to go on there and register please do it for free. Do not pay any kind of fee to be on there because there are some issues right now going on and that might cause you to lose any money you put into it. So that’s really all I can say, but it is a really good place to be listed just make sure you do it for free. Also, there may be a small fee for Notary Rotary, but it is well worth it to be registered there. If you do sign up for premium membership then you will get a great discount on supplies, emissions insurance, and so forth. So, you are going to have to make a decision on which sites you want to be registered on based on your budget. However, don’t sign up with the companies that send you emails that say: Well sign up with us, it’s only 16 dollars a year and you’re just going to get flooded with work. You won’t get any work, I’ve been there and done that and lost money each and every single time. Just stick with the tried and true and you’ll be fine.
Students at Notary2Go may have questions concerning, which companies are near them and if they would hire them to provide a service.
Now one of the question we get from students is, which companies are near me and going to hire me? It really doesn’t matter who is near you because your work can come from California, South Dakota, New York, and Colorado. You never know where the work is going to come from. This is based on where the people are not necessarily where the property is located. So, let’s say you are in the state of Texas and people are residing in Texas but they own a home in California that home is being sold in California, but the people that are living in Texas—the seller; to demonstrate, there in Texas, and if they are near you, you’re going to get a call to do the signing.
Now, I mention that we have a list. The list that we have is on the graduate website that we created for you and you will get access to it for free once you graduate. Additionally, the list provides you with four and five-star companies who have a history of hiring our graduates. Many of them will hire you without any experience at all and there are a number of companies that are not just hiring our graduates but are actually looking for our graduates.
On the other hand, you may get an offer from a signing company that you don’t know. Take the signing if everything fits all the criteria’s like the distance, the fee, everything. But when you hang up that phone I strongly suggest for you to go to Notary Rotary Singing Central and check out that company. If they have a bad rating or suppose they are a lot of comments giving in the last few months like: “wow I didn’t get paid” or “it took me 90 days to get my paycheck”, if they were just terrible and that they were just micro managers whatever you may come across. In addition, if you see they had a four-star rating and suddenly they got a three star be very careful. I encourage you to do you due diligence. However, if they are really bad, call them back and tell them you’re not going to take this assignment from the because you see that they are not paying their notaries or that they don’t respect the notaries that they hire.
Also, don’t feel bad about it at all. It is a great feeling to kind of get that blow in when you have these awful companies that don’t treat notaries with respect and to be able to throw that assignment back at them and let them worry about it. On another note, if you receive emails from a company asking you to register with them—a lot of times they will ask you to send a lot of documentations, so I want you to pay attention to the next tip. Furthermore, if you are a little be wary about it—if you think you are sending personal information to somebody that should not have it—check them out again at Notary Rotary Signing Central.
Everyone always asks about what kind of fees they should be charging for their signing agent work. I cannot advise you at all as to what fees to expect but I can tell you this. Go to Notary Rotary (which you should be a member of), and look up a zip code near you. Check out the fees that notaries in your area have listed. They will be a very good guideline.
The one thing I will advise you is to stay away from the \”lowballers\”. These are companies that crawl out from under their rocks and offer anywhere from $40.00 to $70 for a full refinance signing. That is too low. You have your time and your expenses to consider and you are trying to earn money not lose it.
If you are a NOtary2Pro graduate you will have enough companies seeking out your services and are willing to pay you a fair and reasonable fee that you will not have to deal with these \”lowballers\” at all.
I do want you to know that you will not usually be paid very quickly once you have completed an assignment. Many companies are not paying their notaries for up to 45 days after completion.
If you have not been paid for about 35 days you might want to call the company and politely remind them that you have an open invoice and would like to know if the check has been sent or if not, when can you expect payment.
Once you have hit the 45 days you will want to call again and remind them that it is now 45 days and past the acceptable time frame to be paid. I always do start off by saying \”This may have fallen through my cracks but I do not show payment being received. Can you please check your records to see if the check was mailed out yet?\”
In the event they sat they did mail it, ask when and ask if the check has cleared yet. If they tell you yes ask them to fax a copy of the endorsement on the back of the check to you.
If they haven\’t sent it yet then you need to remind them that the reasonable time frame for sending payment has come to an end and you expect that the check will be mailed right away.