Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Today's Notary News Tip - What does the Note Say? Ring-ding-ding...hah-tee HO... (WEDNESDAY 6/13/18)

Yesterday, we covered the questions that borrowers have that are answered by the closing disclosure.  (Back track, my friends, and look at that one here.)  One thing I said in the previous article is...

If a notary wants to be a great signing agent, the notary will become familiar with where in the document stack he or she can point out answers for the borrower.

Today is Note Day!  Let's go over the note.

Feel free to share my favorite background music that I play as I'm creating the marked up copies of loan documents.

Here you go: "What does the Note, er, I mean FOX say?"   Put the volume on high and plow in.

Just like all these guys, every document has something very specific to say.
Dog  goes "Woof!"Cat  goes "Meow!"Bird goes "Tweet!"andMouse goes "Squeak!"Cow goes "Moo!"Frog goes "Croak!"and the Elephant goes "Toot."Ducks say "Quack!""Fish goes "Blub."and the Seals goes "Ow, ow, ow..."But there's one sound, that no one knows...
So, what DOES the Note say?

Besides "Ring-ding-ding-ding ..." and "Hah-tee, hah-tee, hah-tee HO!"

What does that NOTE SAY?

What questions in the borrower's mind does the document with the shortest title (the note) answer?
  • How much are we borrowing?
  • What is our interest rate?
  • When is my first payment due?
  • What date are all of my payments due?
  • Where do I send my payments?
  • What amount is my payment?  
  • Is there a prepayment penalty?

When I present a note, I simply say:  "Here's your note."

I go through the first page pointing out important pieces of the note puzzle.

"Here's your loan amount. There's your interest rate,
first payment date, the amount of your payment,
and of course, the address where you send your payment." 

I flip to the back, show them the place for signature, straighten it back up, and hand it over.

"Please review the note. When you are ready, sign as your name exactly as printed. Let me know if you have questions"

I turn back to the stack, pick up the next document, scan it and get ready to introduce the next one.

But, just for a few moments,  I am part of the video.   All of the animals have morphed into loan documents...there are affidavits, agreements, and dollar signs everywhere.  One day, I'll buy the rights and do a remake...I'll breathe new life into that old video.

"That's what the note says...a ring, ding, a-ding, hah-tee, hah-tee, hah-tee, HO!"  



UPDATE 6/13/18 6:22 A.M. The SPW provides these guidelines.  https://spswg.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/spw-signing-presentation-guidelines-2016.pdf.  And the Code of Conduct here:  https://spswg.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/spw-code-of-conduct-2016.pdf.  

Please refer to this before you conclude that this is an "explanation" of documents.

4.5. Loan Terms
The Notary Signing Agent may identify and provide a general description of a loan or payment amount, interest rate, annual percentage rate, finance charge, payment schedule, assumption option, prepayment penalty or any other loan term to a borrower in the closindocuments, but may not explain, interpret or provide legal advice about the loan terms.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Today's Notary News Tip - 34 Questions from Borrowers that the Closing Disclosure Answers (Monday 6/11/18 - Bonus edition)

If a notary wants to be a great signing agent, the notary will become familiar with where in the document stack he or she can point out answers for the borrower.

Signing agents might be interested in the great debate going on right now about how deep notaries can go when explaining documents.

I "introduce" documents by reading the title and remarking on the document's function while showing the borrower where the function is stated in the document.

Actually, I believe that a notary cannot explain anything.  Call it mincing words, but that word "explain" sounds too much like a kissing cousin of "advise." 

My friendly suggestion is that a Texas notary never explains documents unless the notary is also an attorney. 

That doesn't give notaries a pass not to know where the answers are or the primary function of the document. A good signing agent knows how to give a wonderful introduction to each document you're asking borrowers to sign.

Don't be a  notary who shrugs and says "I'm just an impartial witness."  Be a professional -- understand the purposes of the documents you're carrying around in your briefcase. You don't need to explain every detail, but you need to know what the headings say and where to find answers.

Did you know that in just ONE document-- the Closing Disclosure-- are 34 answers that borrowers seem to look for during loan signings?
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These questions can be answered by being familiar with the Closing Disclosure.   I'm working through three stacks of documents.  More solid information to come!
  1. How much did I borrow?
  2. What is my interest rate?
  3. The APR on page 4 isn't the same as my interest, right?  
  4. Does it list the final amount I bought the property for?
  5. What is my loan amount?
  6. What type of loan is this? (Not VA or FHA; I applied for a conventional loan.)
  7. Is my loan a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage?
  8. How many years long is my loan?
  9. Which property is this loan for? I am refinancing several this month.
  10. How much is my monthly payment?
  11. Do I have an escrow account?
  12. What will my escrow pay?
  13. How much are my closing costs?
  14. How much is my check supposed to be?
  15. What all did I pay for (in these closing costs)?
  16. What is the seller paying for? (When applicable!)
  17. Show me all these itemized charges.
  18. Can this loan be assumed?
  19. Can the lender make me pay this off early?
  20. What are the late charges for this loan if I pay late?
  21. How long can I wait to pay before I incur a late charge?
  22. Is there ever an increase in my loan?
  23. Can I pay extra payments?
  24. Can I pay partial extra payments?
  25. Is there a pre-payment penalty?
  26. What happens if I don't make my payments?
  27. How much will I pay in finance charges?
  28. What is APR?
  29. May I have a copy of my appraisal?
  30. What if I have decided now that I don't want this loan?  Am I obligated to sign these documents?
  31. Can I refinance this loan at any time?
  32. Can I deduct some of this on my tax return?
  33. What's my lender's contact information?
  34. What's the settlement agent's contact information?

Stay tuned!  Today, I'm working on a video on how I present documents and where to find answers in a loan package. 

---Texas Notaries---

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Today's Notary Tip - June 9, 2018 - Take the Texas SOS FREE Notary Course ASAP!!! Do as I say--NOW! Go NOW!!!

Well, well, well!

Texans, we have training --free training -- some dang fine free training, y'all!  Check it out!

Click here and learn your Texas notary laws, rules, limitations, and more!

Don't learn in groups!  You'll learn wrong.

Most random group members are not educated on notary laws.  They never read them...if they did, they would not spout off utter nonsense!

Please, Texans...go to the SOS course...take it, learn notary laws correctly and operate lawfully as a Texas notary public.

Oh, and if you are happy with the training, send the SOS a little bit of notary love.

Drop them an email --

After you take the course, post in the Texas Notary Professionals group and tell us about it!!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Today's Notary Tip - June 8, 2018 - About your notary name and notary signature...

Notaries have rules (if not strict laws) about how they sign their names, and how they print them, as well. 

The rules' message is:  stay consistent with your notary signature and when printing your name for notary business.

In Texas, the name you use to complete your application is your "notary name." That is the name you will use to perform notarial acts.

The same is true for your signature on the application--it's your mark-- an identifying action that's all your own...YOU are the only one who makes that signature. Don't switch to another version of it. 

Use the same writing style you used on your notary application. Make the same squiggle marks over and over again when you sign notarial certificates.  That way, you can be verified as YOU, a notary public,  by your signature's appearance. 

In most states, the signature on the most recent notary application is the signature that is kept by the notary public administrator of individual states so that if a document with a notary's signature is called into question as a fraud, or if it requires an apostille, your state can confirm that the signature belongs to YOU.

No matter what state you're in, these suggestions hold true.

The reason that your notary signature and name remain the same throughout your commission is to identify you...to validate that the signature is yours.

At some point (assuming you are a busy notary) a document that you notarized will go to your state's apostille office; the clerks in the apostille group will look up your signature. If you vary your signature from that you applied with, the document may be denied its apostille.

The apostille is a certificate that verifies to citizens in foreign countries who are the end-users of a notarized document that a genuine notary in a U.S. state notarized the document to which the apostille is attached.

Keep your signature the same throughout your notary career path.  It's like your notarial fingerprint; it belongs to you and shows YOU  are the one who notarized a document.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Today's Notary Tip - June 7, 2018 - An easy way to stay out of notary trouble!

Good morning!

The easiest way to stay out of notary trouble is to always, always keep your address updated with your state or county notary public administrator.

In Texas, within ten days after it changes, you must update your contact information on the Texas Secretary of State's website.  Other states have similar procedures.

Please make sure you stay current! 

Everyone uses email, so why is this so important? 

Most notary public administrators are required by law to send you a letter via snail mail in the case of a complaint.

Some laws require them must send it certified mail.

Many letters from state offices are not to be forwarded and state so on the outside of the envelope.  If you aren't keeping your records current at the Texas Secretary of State's office, and a complaint is file about you, there will be a terrific amount of easily avoidable trouble!

You'll never know about the complaint, and your commission will likely be revoked when you don't respond to it.

It's like failing to show up for a court case.  You lose if you don't respond.

You can defend yourself if you DO receive the letter in a timely manner.

However, if the letter about the complaint is returned undelivered, you will undoubtedly also be penalized for not updating your address with your notary public administrator.  The law is clear that you must keep that information current.

As a Texas notary, my notary public administrator's office is Notary Section of the Texas Secretary of State.  Their contact information is: phone: 512-463-5705 and email: notary@sos.texas.gov (Note: You can always find this information on my  Notary News website - Texas Notary Resources.)
The law requiring me to change my address is Tex. Gov’t Code  406.019 CHANGE OF ADDRESS.  
"A notary public shall notify the secretary of state of a change of the notary public's address not later than the 10th day after the date on which the change is made."
Texans may change their address at this link

Not a Texan?  Find YOUR notary laws about address changes!

To find your state's website, please like this page on Facebook  Stone's List, and see the one of my lists here:  State Notary Websites.   (This list of notary websites was originally collected by Jennifer Glover of Prestige Notaries and Notary Dash.)


Brenda Stone

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Notary2Pro Elite Package Memorial Day Special

I do not receive compensation for sharing this information.  Thanks, Brenda / Notaries & Notary News

From Barbara & Carol Ray - 

Since Memorial Day is just around the corner we wanted to remember all those who are no longer with us. We also like to have an excuse to offer a special (every now and then).

Between Friday, May 25th and Monday, May 28th we are offering our Elite Package for $155.00 (which is our Military Price). If you are interested, or know of someone who is, please call us and we can get you signed up. This is for an individual. You can still get our 2 for 1 (husbands and wives) Elite package for $195.00.

Please visit our website at www.notary2pro.com for all we offer or call us at 916.777.5931.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

I like Big Books and I Cannot Lie! (Books and Goodies for Notary Signing Agents)

I like big books and I cannot lie! 

(Love that song by Sir Mix-A-Lot too!)

My bookshelves (both real and virtual) are well-stocked with information on real estate and mortgage lending, both residential and commercial.

I own all of the books that I am listing below.

If I had not purchased these for myself, I would not recommend them.  I do, however, always disclose when it is truth that I earn 4% - 6% of the amount of the book cost if you purchase one of these from my list.  For instance, in the first book in the list that is $14, I will earn 84 CENTS from Amazon.

No one  book will give you all the answers. 

That’s why I have so many of them to give me a more complete picture about what we do.  In addition, because I write information for notaries, I like to make sure that my information is accurate.


Starting a Business

This is a great book if you are new to setting up your own business!

 If you are looking to add a sideline business on to your current notary business, take a look at this. Find out what you should do!  What fits with you, what motivates you! Then, set objectives for yourself.  This is such a fantastic book!  Check it out!!


Goodies - Get them NOW!  

Entrepreneur's Free Startup Resources

These may not be offered forever.  I found them and I am sharing. 

In one of my late night prowling through the net, I located an Entrepreneur publication on how to start a medical billing business.  That led me to a great collection of helpful letters and forms provided by Entrepreneur.com - I love this website.  If you aren't reading articles there regularly, you should be!!

Download the three zip files from the Entrepreneur.com website:  HERE


Real Estate Closings

Rent for $25 Kindle or purchase paperback used.
One of my favorites, written for paralegals, but provides a willing reader who is a notary signing agent a great deal of insight on the way deals come together. Any version is good for our purpose, so grab one at any bargain outlet you find.  Look for older versions on ThriftyBooks.com, eBay, and Amazon.

Author Sandra Gadow is a licensed real estate agent, as well as a writer, researcher, and analyst for the real estate industry. She covers every state in this book and what to expect at closing.


Mortgage Lending & Real Estate Closings Generally

Amazon States: A one-stop reference for in-depth explanations of mortgage topics
Author Jack Guttentag is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist, The Mortgage Encyclopedia helps is a great reference tool for notary signing agents. Features definitions and explanations of common mortgage, escrow, and closing fees and arcane mortgage terminology

Study guide that explains terms and concepts like RESPA, LTV, conventional loans, non-conventional loans. It’s basically a guide for getting through a test.  Those types of booklets can be very informative.

Starting a Signing Agent Business?



Forms and Property Law

Price Varies.
Only in Paperback, I think.  Book of forms for both residential and commercial law.  If you just want a book full of forms about real estate, this will do it.  I have purchased two of them for less than $10 each.  Currently, I have the 2015 version and I paid $9.99 for it at ThriftBooks.com.  Also, try eBay for deals on this book.

I love this little handbook on Texas property laws.  It is what every handbook should be.  It speaks in plain language and backs up what it says with citations.


Researching Public Records as a Business

Real Estate Title Search Abstracting  (How to abstract title.)
 Not bad for the price.  I originally ran across this on Source of Title’s website.  I figured if they promoted it as reasonably accurate, it was worth looking at. Weirdly, it has a whole chapter on personalities in the back.


Miscellaneous Guides - Public Records

How to find Records Online and in the Courthouse

Years ago, I had a very lucrative business pulling records at the courthouse.  If you are located near a courthouse, look into it. 

Note:  Anything by Michael Sankey is worth having.


Insights to the Title / Escrow Business

Interesting – How to Start a Business

How to Start a Title Insurance Company:  Your Step by Step Guide 
Wow.  Bad purchase!  Don't recommend.  Ridiculously short 18-page booklet on how to start a title insurance company.  


Commercial Real Estate / Lending / Investing

The following links to books are inexpensive Kindle books. Remember that anytime you purchase one of these, that it is speaking to the beginning investor or lender, not to a notary.  That’s why I am writing a book of my own on the topic.


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