Nancy S. Oram

Nancy S. Oram, Certified Loan Signing Agent Author and Instructor

Jan 092017
 
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2hatsYour job as a loan signing agent is to conduct the signing of the documents with the borrower by guiding them through the process, helping them to understand what they are signing in general terms, and making sure they execute (sign) each document properly and legally.

Your function as a Notary Public is to verify the identification of each signer, witness the signing, and then properly notarize each document that needs notarization.

As a good signing agent, in time you should become familiar with each document and be able to describe the purpose of the document in general terms, point out where the borrower can find certain details, and give enough information to help the borrower feel secure in proceeding with the signing. If you don’t know an answer, be helpful by steering the signer in the right direction and explaining where they can get the answer; e.g. accountant, lawyer, broker, Realtor, escrow officer, etc.

Many times you will have to field questions by saying something like this: “As a Notary/signing agent, I’m not authorized to give you that advice. The escrow officer might be able to help you, and here is her/his number,” or, “You may have to consult your attorney to decide how you should have your vesting worded.”

Recently I had to sign my own loan papers and a Notary Loan Signing Agent was sent to my home to conduct the signing.  I was stunned at the extra information she volunteered as I was signing the documents.  I didn’t even ask her questions because obviously I already knew the answers.  What was worse, her advice was wrong in many instances.  She even offered advice regarding the vesting choices on the Deed of Trust that would have been considered legal advice, and in my particular case would have been catastrophic if I trusted her advice.  She couldn’t possibly know my family or financial situation and how the vesting I chose could ultimately affect my future life.  She had no business getting into those things beyond a general explanation of what the terms and paperwork meant.  She was obviously showing off her knowledge, but it wasn’t helpful and could have carried serious consequences for both of us.

Be sure you know your responsibilities and limits while wearing both hats.

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Black Friday Sale on Notary Signing Agent Course $97

 Notary Public / Mobile Notary  Comments Off on Black Friday Sale on Notary Signing Agent Course $97
Nov 232016
 
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Notary Loan Signing Agent TrainingFor a short time I’m offering my “Notary Loan Signing Agent Comprehensive Certification Course & Reference Manual” for $97.  Regular price is $147.  The offer is good only from this selling venue.  This course is for sale in many different places online, including Amazon, but at the regular price of $147.  So it’s important you purchase from the only place that has the temporary Holiday price.  The short story is that’s where you need to buy it for the special price.  The long story is that it’s a shopping cart I’m using to list my book at the special price so I don’t have to change my price everywhere else and then change it back again after the sale.  It’s a one-click payment at the new price.

If you’ve been thinking about training to become a Notary Loan Signing Agent now is the time to jump in at this price.  What a great way to start the new year, with a huge increase in income.  If you read my last post about Notary fees being tax exempt (that’s EXEMPT, not deductible, meaning you don’t pay ANY income tax on the fees you charge for notarial signatures, which is most of your total notary income!)  Who else can make a substantial income that is virtually IRS income tax free!

So, once again, purchase it HERE for $97 for a limited time.  I promise, you will not be sorry you did.  Getting the training to do loan signings is the best investment I’ve ever made in my entire life.  I’m offering it to you at less than 1/3 the price I paid for my training 15 years ago.  It changed my life.

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Note to New Notaries – Notary Fees Are Tax Exempt

 Notary Public / Mobile Notary  Comments Off on Note to New Notaries – Notary Fees Are Tax Exempt
Nov 182016
 
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tax-checkTip: Actual notary fees are not taxable by the IRS as income. Here’s how it works. Each state dictates a maximum allowable fee you can charge per notarized signature. For instance, you do a loan signing for $125 at someone’s home, and there are two people signing, and six of the documents are notarized documents. In California that would be $10 (allowable fee per notarized signature), times 6 documents, times 2 people, equals $120 of the $125 you charged is non-taxable self-employment income. The IRS Instructions for Self-Employment Tax (SE-1), under the section, “Income and Losses Not Included in Net Earnings From Self-Employment, ” Item 2, states:

“Fees received for services performed as a notary public. If you had no other income subject to SE tax, enter “Exempt–Notary” on Form 1040, line 58. However, if you had other earnings of $400 or more subject to SE tax, enter “Exempt–Notary” and the amount of your net profit as a notary public.”

So it’s very important, and advantageous to you as well, to keep scrupulous records of your actual notarial fees separate from your other fees, such as travel or signing service fees.  Tally up the notarial fees first and keep a separate record of them.  These will not be taxed.  If at the end of the year all you have is exempt notary fees, you’re done.  If you had other taxable self-employment income over $400, then you include those fees in income, but then subtract them out on the proper line as exempt Notary income.  It sounds more complicated than it actually is.  Just make sure you look for the exemption because it’s easy to miss.  If you have someone prepare your taxes, make sure you ask them about it.  Some tax preparers haven’t come across it before and will also miss it.

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How to Perform a Loan Signing With Power of Attorney – For Notary Loan Signing Agents

 Notary Public / Mobile Notary  Comments Off on How to Perform a Loan Signing With Power of Attorney – For Notary Loan Signing Agents
Nov 102016
 
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powerattorney  pow·er of at·tor·ney

  noun: power of attorney

  1.   the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.
    •   a legal document giving power of attorney to someone.

Sometimes a person will have Power of Attorney to sign for someone else who probably is traveling or otherwise not available to sign. You, of course, can’t notarize the missing person. You will notarize the person signing with the Power of Attorney. However, it isn’t your job to verify their Power of Attorney. It’s the job of the escrow officer to make sure the Power of Attorney is acceptable to the lender. Your job is only to notarize what they sign. You ID the person appearing before you in your Notary Journal and take all their information as you normally would. Have them sign and thumbprint your Notary Journal. Then you also have them sign your journal exactly as they will be signing for the missing person as their “Attorney in Fact.”

Here is how they should sign the documents for the missing person: If Suzie S. Public is signing for John Q. Public who is out of town, she signs: “John Q. Public, by Suzie S. Public, his Attorney in Fact,” in your Notary Journal and on the documents. Ask your escrow officer how to do the initials. Sometimes just the initials are acceptable, but if not, it should be, “JQP, by SSP, his Attorney in Fact.” These signatures should all be done in handwriting, not printed.

When you fill out the notary certificate, you only notarize Suzie S. Public, the one who actually appeared before you. Remember, you can never notarize someone who doesn’t appear before you, therefore that person is not included on the notary certificate. When you fill in the certificate you put, “personally appeared Suzie S. Public as self (if she was also a signer of the documents) and Suzie S. Public as Attorney in Fact for John Q. Public.”

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Happy Notary Public Day – You Are Appreciated!

 Notary Public / Mobile Notary  Comments Off on Happy Notary Public Day – You Are Appreciated!
Nov 072016
 
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November 7th is National Notary Public Day.  This “Day” was created in 1974 and first celebrated in 1975 as a day to “recognize notaries for their public service and their contributions to national and international commancientnotaryerce.”

November 7 was the date chosen as a nod to America’s first notary, Thomas Fugill, who was appointed on that date in 1639.  The very first notaries date back to the Romans and Egyptians.

So Happy Notary Public Day to you!  You are appreciated for your service and for preserving and protecting the public trust.

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The Documents in a Loan Package – A Summary for Notary Loan Signing Agents

 Loan Documents, Loan Process, Notary Public / Mobile Notary, Signing Agent  Comments Off on The Documents in a Loan Package – A Summary for Notary Loan Signing Agents
Nov 042016
 
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Signing Loan Papers

Notary Loan Signing Agent

There are mainly four types of loan closing document packages, with a few variations on each. Usually the bulk of signings will be refinances. The others will be purchase docs, seller’s docs, and HELOCs (Home Equity Line of Credit); and then there are construction loans, or other small loans that are secured by real property.

Refinance packages represent the bulk of the documents you will be asked to notarize.

Purchase docs have the same type of loan documents as refinance packages, unless the buyers pay cash; then of course, no loan is involved. There are some IRS forms to document the transaction. Sometimes there will be approval documents, like termite inspections, repair work completed as part of the purchase agreement, etc. These are usually approved or initialed.

Seller’s docs don’t involve any loan documents. This is usually a very small signing package. The most important part of this package will be the Grant Deed signed over from the seller to the buyer. There are also a few IRS forms to document income gained from the sale.

HELOC packages are just like other loan documents, but there is usually slightly less paperwork. Sometimes a regular refinance package will include a HELOC at the same time.

Not not every document mentioned will be found in every loan package, and lenders add new forms and documents to their packages quite often. Once you become familiar with the basic documents, you will be able to intuitively learn about any new documents you come across. And you can always ask the escrow officer about anything that isn’t clear to you.

There are many variables as to what forms and documents are included in a particular package. Some forms are required by law to be included in a loan package. Those required by federal law will appear in every package regardless of the state. Some states require certain documents that are unique to their state. Some types of loans require certain documents. Then the individual lenders have their requirements, the mortgage brokers, and finally the title/escrow company add to the mix. In general, some packages are smaller than others, usually depending on the lender.

Also, even within the required documents there are variations in appearance or title. In a short time you’ll be able to recognize what the documents are, in spite of how they look or what they’re called, once you begin to become familiar with the content.

You are expected to be knowledgeable enough about these documents to explain to the client in general terms what they are and why they need to be signed. A good practice is to explain documents only to the extent that the client wants an explanation. Many times people are already familiar and experienced with signing loan documents, and they only expect you to present each document for signature. These signings proceed quickly. This can also apply to inexperienced signers. A detailed, lengthy explanation of each document may only confuse them. It may be enough to simply present a document by its title, watch them sign, and go on to the next. But you do need to be prepared to answer questions and explain in more detail when necessary. You will learn to read people and what they expect. Learn all you can about these documents and practice presenting them in detailed terms until you really know them. Then, at the actual signing, go only as far as you feel the client expects you to, or is required in order to notarize.

One final word about the actual documents. Keep in mind that even at the end of intense study it will still take time and experience to really get familiar with each document and how to answer any questions that might arise.  Sometimes new documents are added, and possibly new policies on how to execute them. Never be afraid to simply and honestly tell a client if you don’t know the answer, but that you’ll help them find it.  Also be aware that no matter how well you do your job, you’ll sometimes come across problem people.  Some are just naturally grumpy.  Sometimes at this point they’re feeling stressed by the whole loan process.  Maybe their interest rate climbed higher than they expected before they could get it closed. Do your best, explain any important problems to the escrow officer, correct any errors that are in your power, and move forward.

 

Notary Loan Signing Agent Training

 

 

 

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How the Entire Loan Process Works – A Summary for Notary Loan Signing Agents

 Loan Process, Notary Public / Mobile Notary, Signing Agent  Comments Off on How the Entire Loan Process Works – A Summary for Notary Loan Signing Agents
Nov 012016
 
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The Loan Process

Notary Loan Signing Process

The more knowledgeable you are about the overall loan process the more comfortable you’ll feel when you perform your signings. Here is a very general outline of the loan process and the key players to show you where you will fit into the big picture.

Borrower: The person or persons applying for a loan. This will usually be for the purchase of a home, to refinance an existing home loan, for a second mortgage or home equity loan.

Broker/lender: A borrower applies for a loan through a loan broker or directly to a lender, such as a bank or credit union. Borrower information is collected on a loan application, and the qualifying process begins. The broker/lender matches the qualifications of the borrower to an appropriate loan. The borrower will make payments directly to the lending entity.

Escrow/title Company: An escrow is opened by the broker or lender with a title or escrow company. The title/escrow company performs a title search to make sure the title to the property is clear of any liens, and then issues title insurance and a Preliminary Title Report. The escrow company is also the guardian of any funds from any parties to the transaction that are to be held in escrow during the closing process and then disbursed at closing.

Closing: The title/escrow company arranges for the borrower to finalize and sign the paperwork required by the lender. This is the precise moment the signing agent enters the picture to perform the loan signing. After all signatures and notarizations are performed and any rescission (right to cancel) period has elapsed, the Deed of Trust is filed with the county recorder’s office. Finally, the escrow funds are disbursed to the proper payees (including your signing fee), and the process is complete.

The escrow officer or their assistant is the person the notary signing agent will most likely be dealing directly with (unless you’re working through a signing service). The escrow officer’s job is to coordinate the loan closing by following the lender’s specific instructions, gathering all necessary information, arranging for title insurance, collecting any funds to be held in escrow, disbursing the funds from escrow, verifying that hazard insurance on the property is in effect and in the proper amount, and that property taxes have been paid. They also perform many other tasks.

The escrow officer often performs the signing themselves (sometimes called sign-up), but sometimes they or their assistant will arrange for a notary signing agent (you) to do it, especially if the signers/borrowers reside out of town or out of state, or want a notary to come to their home or office.

In the lender’s closing instructions, the escrow officer is referred to as the “closing agent,” even if a notary signing agent conducts the signing for them. The signing is just one part of the whole loan closing process, and not the actual “closing,” which happens a few days later after the recision period and other closing activities are finalized.

NOTE: If you work through a signing agency, you probably won’t be dealing directly with any escrow officers. The signing agency will send you on assignment to perform the signing and then pay you directly.

 

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Certification Is Not Required to Become a Notary Signing Agent

 Certification, Notary Public / Mobile Notary, Signing Agent, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Certification Is Not Required to Become a Notary Signing Agent
Oct 272016
 
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mobile-notary-sliderLoan Signing Agent certification is not legally required in order for you to perform loan signings. Simply being a commissioned Notary Public is all that is legally required to notarize any document. However, some title companies and signing agencies now require some sort of certification as proof that a notary is familiar and skilled with the process. There is no legal entity governing my course or any signing agent course or certification. Certification only indicates that you have taken a course and/or passed a final exam in a particular field of study. It does not imply any type of official or governmental licensing or certification.  The National Notary Association and other vetting organizations have worded their information in a way that implies it is required.  They have done this for a few different reasons.  One is that they obviously want to sell training courses.  A more worthy reason is that they are trying to head a unification effort to standardize loan signing requirements.  A few years ago they tried to enlist all title companies to join in requiring NNA training and certification of any Notary Public that did loan signings.  But the fact remains that the state that issues your Notary commission does not require any such training or certification.  If you hold a notary commission, you can notarize loan documents or any other documents that need to be notarized.  Nothing else is needed.

Notary Loan Signing Agent Training

So why go through training or certification?  It’s simply the fastest way to start making more money with your notary commission if you aren’t already experienced in the field.  I wrote a course over ten years ago that has received many five star reviews, and many comments that it is hands down the best training available.  I recently updated it.  It is available on my website and on Amazon.  Check it out.  In future posts I will be sharing more little gems from the course.  There are many ways to learn what you need to know to add loan signing to your mobile notary business.  Some of you are already familiar with loan documents and don’t need training at all.  But if you’re like I was when I started, I knew nothing at all about loan documents or what they meant.  I wish this course was available to me 15 years ago!  By the way, there are over 50 actual loan documents included in the course with exactly what to say about each one when performing a signing.

The point is, if you’re not already actively performing loan signings, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.  It’s so easy to get the training and step it up a notch.  A typical loan signing is anywhere from $125 to $175 and usually takes less than an hour once you do a few of them.  If you’re already a Notary Public, you’re more than half way there.  If you’re not yet a Notary, what are you waiting for?  Notaries are needed everywhere.  All real estate transactions require notarization.  It’s a great way to serve your community and earn good commissions at the same time.

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Updated Notary Loan Signing Agent Course

 Notary Public / Mobile Notary  Comments Off on Updated Notary Loan Signing Agent Course
Oct 272016
 
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Notary Loan Signing Agent Course

Notary Loan Signing Agent Course

The course update is finally finished!  There has never been a better time to become a Notary Loan Signing Agent.  Basically all you need to do is become a Notary in your state.  It’s easy and inexpensive.  If you’re already a Notary Public, or while you’re waiting for your Notary commission to arrive, study to become a certified loan signing agent.  This course has all you need to know.  It has been voted the best course available as of 2016!

I want you to have all the facts.  No legal entity requires certification to become a Notary Loan Signing Agent.  Any commissioned sworn Notary can legally notarize any documents, including loan documents.  I did my first loan signing without a course or any training whatsoever.  I simply notarized the documents presented to me as a Notary Public.  After that first one, I quickly signed up for a class so that the next time I would know what I was doing.  Also, the signing time was cut in half.  I was then able to advertise my services to those who needed them – title companies and brokers.  They don’t have time to train you or fix your mistakes.

The course is very comprehensive.  Once you have studied the course and passed the exam (you can take it as many times as you need to to pass), it then serves as a reference manual/field guide.  You can take it with you to signings to look up any questions that arise on the job.  In no time at all you will become confident in your signings.  Once you do two or three, you will know you have it down.  Remember, if there is a question you’re not sure of, you have your book to refer to.

This course is completely home study, on your own time and schedule, and there is no expiration date.  When you’re ready, you take the self-administered exam included with the course.  Once you have mastered the course and proven to your own satisfaction that you know the material and are ready to go to work, you earn certification.  The idea is that you need to be able to guide signers through their loan package.  This doesn’t mean that you need to have everything memorized.  The course is designed to give you all the information you need and more.  Everything is open book, even in the middle of a signing.

I hope this gives you enough information to get started.  Similar courses are over $250.  None of them are backed by any legal licensing entity because there is no legal requirement for certification.  You don’t need certification, you just need to know what you’re doing.  But when you take a class and prove that you know what you’re doing, that’s called certification!

Visit NotarySources.com.

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How to Make a Correction to a Notary Form

 Acknowledgment / Jurat, Forms, Notary Public / Mobile Notary, Problems  Comments Off on How to Make a Correction to a Notary Form
Feb 172015
 
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BlankAcknowledgement

Notary Form

It’s surprisingly simple to correct a Notary form.  Let’s say, for instance, that you are notarizing a loan package that has much of the information already filled in for you.  The loan originated in Alameda County and you are notarizing in Contra Costa County.  You simply draw a line through Alameda County and print Contra Costa County, then initial and date close to the correction.  It’s not always pretty, but it’s correct and legal, which is the most important thing.  For this reason, it’s important to always read the filled in information to make sure it is correct before you complete your notarization.

What about a misfire of your Notary stamp?  Let’s say as you affix your stamp the pressure is uneven so that the expiration date comes out smudged or partially missing.  Again, simply draw an X over the entire imprint and restamp somewhere else on the certificate.  You can even affix it sideways if you have to, to fit it on the page.

Most Notaries are uncomfortable with cross-outs or corrections.  It is in our natures to have things exact and perfect.  But in this case, it’s absolutely crucial to make the correction.  The whole point of the notarization is to ensure correct information, especially as to date and venue.  When you think of being perfect in this way, then your notarizations will always be perfect.

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