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Getting Ready for Closing Day

Written by Leon Austin, a Colorado Notary

If your closing is being conducted by a notary signing agent, there is much that borrowers can do to prepare themselves to ensure that the closing will go more smoothly.

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Your Profile as a Marketing Tool

Written by William Ponsot, a NY Notary and Signing Agent

Marketing is part of being an Independent Contractor. There are, however, many facets of marketing, some of which we neglect; while others we pay meticulous attention to. We don’t mean to; but some things we do are then put aside when done, in order to take care of more immediate concerns.

A clear example of this is your online profile. If you are like many other ICs, you have several profiles floating around the nte. That’s great, broader exposure, more calls or inquiries for your service, more hits to your website…right? Maybe…then again, maybe not.

It all depends on how well that profile is written in the first place and most importantly, how current it is.

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Keeping Records

How many of you have trouble keeping things organized and properly recording your business in-flows and out-flows to monitor how your business is performing? There are several record keeping software available.

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Business Plan

To determine if this business could be profitable for you, we have put together the following business plan for your use.

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Respect Your Business

Give your audience something to remember you by and why they want to use or continue to use your services. As Notary Signing Agents (NSA), many seem to have a low esteem of our business and run it as just that, a small business at best. What if we began thinking of our industry as a large corporation and ran it in the same manner. Many would become more serious about Branding, advertising, Marketing, and a huge amount of other things that many Notaries as individuals don’t seem to bother with.

We are going to concentrate our efforts on “Creating a Symbolic Representation” of the key concept of our NSA business. You want to begin with communicating your services by using two images or statements that are completely different, but when placed together create a totally different idea.

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Can you run a business?

Many have joined into the profession of being a Notary Loan Signing Agent (NSA) with little or no experience as a notary or a familiarity with loan documents or the loan process. This coupled with a lack of knowledge of running a business or a certain business savvy may leave them at a major disadvantage.

Upon contemplation of becoming an NSA, one should research the details of being an NSA. Do you have an understanding of loan documents and the loan process? Are you able to gain that knowledge?

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Power of Attorney – Don’t wait until it is too late

There are several different types of power of attorney documents. Some are for medical power of attorney and others are for general personal affairs. Many families are waiting until something happens before putting a power of attorney into place with their children or a trusted individual. Setting up a power of attorney before you become hospitalized or deemed incompetent does not mean you art turning your affairs over to someone now. They can be set to take effect upon your no longer being capable of handling your affairs and not until.

So many people come to me for notarization of a power of attorney to take over their parents’ affairs once they have been deemed no longer able to care for themselves and no longer competent to handle their affairs. Once they have become incompetent, it is too late to put a power of attorney document into place with a signature from the parent and a notarization of their signature.

Please be aware of this and prepare for that day before it comes, to save the money and headache of having to petition the courts after it has happened to you.

State vs Employer – Who Dictates my Notary duties?

As I have traveled across the state of Iowa, speaking with and instructing Iowa Notaries Public, I have heard stories of challenges encountered by Notaries. Due to the lack of training provided in the past and the lack of ongoing training, Notaries, their employers and the public are often misinformed or maintain many misconceptions of the role of the Notary Public and who dictates their role, their responsibilities and the procedures by which they perform their duties.

I have traveled to Hawkeye Community College in Cedar Falls, Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and Iowa Valley Community College in Marshalltown. The participants in my classes were very engaging! I love it!

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Customer vs non-Customer

A Notary MAY NOT decline to notarize because someone is not a customer of their employer or business. An employer MAY NOT restrict a notary from performing a notarization because a person is not a customer. Iowa Notaries are Notaries Public, not Notaries Private.

Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Iowa Code 9B.8 (3) says:

“A notarial officer shall not condition the performing of notarial services upon the requirement that the person served be a customer or client of the establishment by which the notarial officer is employed. The employer of a notary public shall not condition the performing of notarial service upon the requirement that the person served be a customer or client of the establishment by which the notary public is employed.”

This subject has been discussed at length in several Iowa notary training seminars. Some companies thought they might be able to charge non-customers and make it a free service to their customers. This would be discriminatory against the very core of being a Notary Public. We must be willing to serve the public as a whole and not based on their status or a preference such as customer vs non-customer.

Being a Notary is ‘No Big Deal’

Notary no big deal

A friend of mine was at the bank taking care of some business. That business entailed having a document notarized. They said, “Oh, you are a Notary?” to which the response was, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” My friend said, “I beg to differ with you! It is a Big Deal!” The Notary concluded the notarization without response.

Is being a Notary Public ‘No Big Deal’? If you think that, maybe you should not be a Notary. It would seem obvious if you think it is ‘No Big Deal’ then you are not taking your commission seriously.

So many people including many in the professional world are of the mentality that being a Notary Public is ‘No Big Deal’. If they are not well-informed of the importance and seriousness of the duties, responsibilities and liabilities involved, I guess that is ok, but for the Notary, themselves to be of that mentality is a scary thought.