Friday, October 19, 2018

Have I ever helped you? If so, please read...

Personal Message from Brenda


Not me -- not asking you to help me.

Help Lizzy, a Texas notary who is not well...young, single,and has Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer.

If I have ever raised money for you...or endorsed you when you needed endorsing, please give to Lizzy.

If I am your client or customer,  please give to Lizzy.

If I have ever promoted you, your book, your brand, or your offerings...please give to Lizzy.

If I have given to your Go Fund Me Page, please give to Lizzy.

If I have talked you through a signing or given you anything that helped you...

Please give a small amount and share my friend's Go Fund Me page.  If you cannot give, please share.

If I helped you when you needed help, please help her.

If I have been a pain in your but, why don't you buy my silence by helping Lizzy!  I ain't free, but for a girl with Stage 4 cancer with no income except a Go Fund Me page and government assistant, I can be bought for a little bit for a little while.

I'll be posting this a lot...I believe in it. I will always try to give you back something in return. 

Please help Lizzy.

NSG Talks - Sonita Leak - Thursday - 11/15/18 - 6:30 pm

Sonita Leak has not authorized use of this picture,
but it is one of my favorites of SL.  I love her hair and the
sidelong glance.  Beautiful lady!  Hear her speak.
We'll be talking about her upcoming Webinar, also.
Sonita Leak, the well-known notary podcaster, has picked the date of  Thursday, 11/15/18 - 6:30 p.m. (Texas time) to appear live on NSG Notary Talks or in a web conference set up.

#podcast, #notary, #sonitaleak, #notaryoftheyear, #nsgtalks

Sonita's NSG Talk Title to be announced!

Stay tuned in to Notary Side Gigs for more info.

Personal Message from Brenda


Not me -- not asking you to help me.

Help Lizzy, a Texas notary who is not well...young, single,and has Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer.

If I have ever raised money for you...or endorsed you when you needed endorsing, please give to Lizzy.

If I am your client or customer,  please give to Lizzy.

If I have ever promoted you, your book, your brand, or your offerings...please give to Lizzy.

If I have given to your Go Fund Me Page, please give to Lizzy.

If I have talked you through a signing or given you anything that helped you...

Please give a small amount and share my friend's Go Fund Me page.  If you cannot give, please share.

If I helped you when you needed help, please help her.

If I have been a pain in your but, why don't you buy my silence by helping Lizzy!  I ain't free, but for a girl with Stage 4 cancer with no income except a Go Fund Me page and government assistant, I can be bought for a little bit for a little while.

I'll be posting this a lot...I believe in it.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why Lenders Should Want to Be all "E"

Today, I'm speaking to the NSAs who read about their futures, their industries and try to absorb the entire picture so they can be ready for change and how to benefit from it.

I call you NSA Scholars!  Read up on why mortgage lenders should be getting as "E" as possible.

Docutech has published an eBook.

Sign up for their email list and download it.  I was drawn in by these blurbs from the Docutech eBook:

They mean that mortgage bankers are losing out to non-traditional "fintech" lenders like Quicken / Rocket Mortgage because traditional lenders have these problems.

  • Do not provide speed
  • Fees are too high
  • Access is slow and very controlled
  • Forcing services that the borrower does not want
  • Options are limited
  • Pricing is limited
One quote in the article said that what used to take two hours in a closing can now take 10 minutes with online notarization and e-notarization. 

Independent notaries need to see where they can provide value and support to lenders as they transition.  We still have time to identify pain points and be ready to help. 

As I said yesterday in a notary group, lenders are a bit reluctant to move into the E until clerks and recording offices catch up.  Docutech is one of the huge driving forces toward E. Docutech is tied closely to Simplifile who is pushing all the facts to lenders that will help them make their mind to grown toward all things E. 

Join my email list. Stay in touch.

Take care! Brenda

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Marketing Tips, Digital Marketing, Public Records Research & Commercial Mortgage Loans

Hello and happy Tuesday evening!  

You need to take a trip over to Notary Side Gigs and watch a few videos or join a live presentation with us.  

In Notary Side Gigs, my colleague Michelle Riley (founder of Notaries 4 Alabama) and I are trying to shake things up a bit.

We are sharing our years of wisdom and experience in a trade-off for bringing in experts who are loaded with enthusiasm and continue to be excited about the opportunities notaries have in 2018!

We have created a little program called NSG Talks.  

So far we have had these presentations and the videos are all in Notary Side Gigs!

  • ·         Process Serving - Michelle Riley
  • ·         Target Marketing -  Brenda Stone
  • ·         Commercial Mortgage Loans for Notary Signing Agents, a soon-to-be published book - Brenda Stone
  • ·         The Entrepreneurial Mindset - Mike Rudkosky. 

Different kind of stuff, huh?

We're shaking things up a little.

The synergy is fun and we are having a great time!

Below are slides that I would have used for talking points tonight if I could have gotten my computer to stay on Facebook live!  Aargh!!!!!   

Anyhow, There's MORE to see below that!

Please join my email list at  As this moves forward, you won’t want to miss a thing!!


See my presentation on it in Notary Side Gigs. 

If you are interested in my book, it should be ready by the end of the month. There will also be a companion video course-style presentation by the same name:  

Commercial Mortgage Loans for Notary Signing Agents

Presented in course form by Brenda Stone
Certificates of completion will be awarded for those who finish all seven sections.

If you like that idea, please register your interest at Stone Courses.  

When the book is completed, I'll let you know.

The course will be right along behind it.  It's my top priority now.  If you are already a student of Stone Courses, you will be one of the first notified and you’ll receive an opportunity to receive a great discount on the book and course!

If you are not a student, please sign up here at Stone Courses for either FREE course and you'll be on the "previous student list" whether you finish the course or not!

Please note:

The information below is exactly what is stated in the slides above.

It's placed here for better SEO action.
The slide show has the same information in it. 

● Watch Mike Rudkosky in Notary Side Gigs - his video is available. Actually, there are two of them.  We had a little trouble with freezing. 

● After the Storm - Now’s your chance to do good & shine (Marketing opportunities avail!) - Page 3

● Public Records Briefing - Page 5

● Digital Marketing - Page 8

Contact me at !!

Now’s your chance to do good & shine.


● Devastation to the coast again. Offer to work directly for folks who need help at no cost.

● In Florida, there’s going to be some activity in the form of modifications for those who are having trouble meeting their payments.

● Texas farm lenders may be seeing an uptick in farm loans.

● That’s an excuse to reach out to local banks and offer your services at free or low cost to help with the ruined cotton crops.

Now’s your chance to do good & shine. - 2


● Will you get a bunch of work out of it? Probably not but you’ll get your name and face in local lenders’ minds.

● Send a note to loan officers offering assistance, even if you don’t know if they lend farm funds. It’s an opportunity..

● Do relief work - show your notary brand.

Public Records - a briefing

● I have promised to work on a public records presentation. I’m well into it! Here is something that you can do right now to access one type of public records work. 

A good candidate for this type of work…

• Does not have a full-time job or works close to the courthouse.

• Lives close to his or her county courthouse.

• Is willing to go there when requested.

• Is curious enough to enjoy this type of work.

• Is a self-starter.

• Has great Google skills.

• Willing to learn to be a savvy marketer.

• Does not need this income to produce a great deal in the beginning. 

Take a look at this ONE type of work with public records and see if you are interested - I have identified several companies that do data collection. One is:

Deed Collector

Marketing companies nationwide are eagerly looking for data collected from mortgage documents. These documents are filed after a home is purchased or an equity line of credit is obtained. The documents are public records, and available to collect in the courthouses free of charge. (Definitely more to come relating to this type of work.) Website

I have had a super busy week and haven’t been able to return a message from someone who asked me about email marketing.  She asked, "What should you put in your email?"  Here's some info on that.   Let me turn you all on to a website that is all about content marketing, digital marketing, and more. I love to read it. 

Content Marketing Institute
I will be doing more tips on this. 
Bottom line:  send your clients and client targets something that is of value to THEM. I’m telling you guys, it works.

Start brainstorming!

What will appeal to that person you want to reach? 

Don't talk only about your attributes.  You need to communicate information that is important to your targeted clients.

● Would you come to NSG TALKS if it was a Brendafest? I could show you pictures of me, me, me, and talk about myself but that does NOTHING for you.

● At NSG TALKS, we are looking for things that you will enjoy because we want to engage you! That’s what you need to do.

● I have picked the most interesting people to speak to us and to give us fresh perspectives. 

My hope is that we will all be inspired and find ways to help each other. 

That goal would not be met if all I did was talk about the last surgery I had, right?

PLEASE JOIN MY EMAIL LIST -- I promise I won’t spam you...good stuff or nothing.
ALSO, please send me an email if you have an idea of someone you want to see talk and why. 

Join my email list....until then:
● Watch for Michelle’s upcoming re-appearance with a talk that will be of interest to many.

● Sonita Leak, the amazing notary podcaster, will do a talk soon, also

● WHO KNOWS who our next thought-provoking talker will be! 

Join my email list:

WRITE ME AT TEXNOTARY@GMAIL.COM...tell me who you would like to hear from!

Best, Brenda 10/16/18

Friday, September 28, 2018

Why Posts Get Removed in Facebook Notary Groups

I am sick of being the "queen of mean" because I don't believe in every Tom, Dick, and Harry promoting in a group that isn't theirs. 

This is always a group that the offenders haven't lifted a finger to do anything in except what would benefit themselves.

They do not stop to think that beneath the noise of those who are praising them are the unhappy people who want the spamming to stop.

The spammers are the rude ones, but they turn it around masterfully.

It's practically poetic how they do that.

So, what can I do to defend my position? Notta.  Just keep being that royal old b-word or let them do what they want to do.  Some days they win, some days I rally and pull down the spam.

= = = = = = =

Recently, the groups that I own or help to moderate have been struck with a storm of self-promoters, plagiarists, and people who propose all kinds of partnerships with me to sell content. I have been writing and selling content for years on my own. No benefit to me, so I decline.  That doesn't make them happy.  In fact, one person has been scary nasty about it.

This month has been particularly profitable in the way of making people unhappy with me.

I am not whining over it.

I’m just thinking it over, in writing. Trying to sort it all out.

If I can't take the heat, I should get out of the kitchen.

I realize that I have upset plenty of people this month because I take a fairly hard line approach on this.  To keep the group preserved for the greater good, a group manager will offend promoters...they  will say all kinds of things to you (and about you) in an effort to shame and bully you into allowing them to post their offerings.

As a Facebook group owner or moderator, I have learned that if  I dare refuse to add a member, remove a post, remove a poster, silence a poster temporarily, or turn off comments, my character will be assassinated.

Promoters will not accept "no."

In some cases, I have been harassed for days.  Consider this your guide for posting in a group to promote you, your cause, or your wares, and why your post may be removed.

In this article - 

Character Assault of Group Owners
Undermining Behavior
Ask first before you promote.
Common Rule:  No Self-promoting Links
Free Group Gathering
May I promote my course?
Promotion of a paid product
Free e-books
Affiliate Links that Pay Commissions
Amazon and similar programs
Affiliate Links for Courses

Plagiarists are banned and reported.

Character Assault of Group Owners

A few months back, one fellow ranted on for days to anyone who would listen complaining that I was a narcissistic, horrible, evil person. Why? I didn't agree with his continued advice to the group. I asked him nicely to let it go. He did not. I removed him.

When I see those kinds of rants about me personally, I have to question why that person would want to even be in the same group with me.

By the way, his tantrum was really about me pulling the plug on his ability to use that group to market a book. This was not clear to the audience he was addressing, but I knew. I had already been through a character assault from him on a one-to-one basis when I declined a business arrangement with him after trying to make it work.

Undermining Behavior

In a more general sense, I want to say that I don't intend to let anyone assault my character in a group that I have worked hard to grow and maintain. I also don't intend to be targeted for an argument every time I put my head into the room.

I am working on finishing up a couple of courses.  The days of making me defend myself over providing a notarial certificate form or why I have built a directory, write courses, or do anything else that I do is over.  If you don't like it, too bad.  There are easier targets to annoy and undermine in groups.

In the beginning, when I first joined in on the Facebook notary group craze, I was trying to build up the same type of audience I had in the past, but this was a tough nut to crack for a while.  I would defend myself constantly from a couple of people and tried to show them that I actually knew what I was talking about. I got tired of arguing. I won't argue.  I really will not in my own groups or one that I help moderate.

No longer interested in winning approval from peers, I use the same tone that is dealt out to me.

And, I have promised myself I will not take any more abuse or constant picking and undermining by another group member.

 It is a time waster!  I am busy!

If I own the group, I will remove the offender. If I am in another group where that goes on, I will block the offender.

Ask first before you promote.

Ask first about posting a promotional ad. I can’t tell you how much I respect that. Even if I won't do it in my group, I might be able to help by promoting on my wall.

But, when I see  a promoter advertising their stuff in a large group that someone else has built, it stinks of a sense of entitlement. If one person does it, everyone believes they have a right to do it. The group becomes garbage.

When the post is removed, all heck breaks loose.

It is not fair to get angry and malign the character of the group owner because the owner removes promotional posts. But, of course, that’s part of being a group owner.

It's sad to see adults try to pull off the old “I just wanted to help notaries and provide inspiration.”  Grow up and talk to yourself honestly.  You want to sell your s-h-#-#.

Common Rule:  No Self-promoting Links

It is common knowledge that every online gathering place (except for a very few) do not want self-promotional posts made in that setting.

Members of groups do not like excessive noise. They reported the offenders. That takes up the owner’s time to decide what to do. It is a quandary. As a group owner, you know that your character is going to be assassinated if you do not do what the self-promoter wants.

With me, I am so done with it, that I'm starting to seem like a very hard and uncaring person. And, the fact is, that I do not care to use the work I put into groups so that someone else can profit from it. If that makes me a difficult old woman, I'm going to rock the heck out of it. 

Free Group Gathering

Why would a manager of a group remove an announcement of a free gathering?

It could be for several reasons.

  • The poster didn’t bother to ask and the poster knew that was a requirement. 
  • The arranger intends to use the gathering as a recruitment tool into his or her paid program, class, or MLM company. 
  • There will be a guest celebrity promoting his or her membership program to the gathering. 
  • The arranger of the event receives some benefit (i.e., email list, recruiting into a signing service or team, etc.) 
  • One problem with this type of promotion is that the poster is not completely honest. For instance, the poster has begun a networking group to whom he plans to sell his course. 

Interestingly, the people who most often want to promote things in groups are those who use the group ...

(1) as an information channel that must serve them upon demand

(2) a source for answers; the poster asks the same questions over and over again, but refuses to take ownership for learning the information

(3) to promote themselves and causes that benefit them.

May I promote my course?

Two years ago, a notary came to me and said that she wanted to promote her notary course in the Texas Notary Professionals group. I told her no. I told someone no last week.

If any course is promoted in a group that I own, it will be my course or a course of my choice.

Promotion of a paid product  

This is straight-up advertising and using someone else’s platform. If you have books, courses, websites, or calendaring apps to sell; networks to buy into; or other content and products that you want to sell it's time to get your own group and grow it.

Once you have your own group then perhaps you and another group owner could exchange the rights of advertisement. Some groups will allow you to post if you ask first and are not one of the posters who only drop in if something is needed, never to help support other members.

Most of the time, this type of post will be removed from notary groups.

There are two groups where the owners allow them to stay up. However, one of those groups has lost members because of the promotions.

Free e-books

If I give someone an ebook I am going to collect an email address, advertise something in it, and those are both valuable opportunities for me.

No, you cannot promote your free ebook on my platform. Not without letting me know and talking it over with me to see if there's any benefit to me, my audience, or to build the content of my assets.

Affiliate Links that Pay Commissions

Amazon and similar programs
I post an occasional Amazon affiliate link in my own content and into my groups but I disclose that it is an affiliate link and that I may make as much as 4% to 6% from a sale.

However, I am not going to let anyone else use my group's real estate like that. sorry, I guess I am just not very nice.

By the way, if you are an Amazon affiliate, be sure and make that clear when you make a post with Amazon affiliate links in it. It's not my rule, it's the law. You have to say that you are getting a commission from the product if you are

Affiliate Links for Courses

It is misleading to post an endorsement of a course if you are receiving a commission for making that endorsement.

You must disclose how much you are making from the sale if the audience purchases from your link.

In fact, if all you do is drop into a group and spread affiliate links, I'll probably just remove you.

Plagiarists are banned and reported.

I have read almost every article that's ever been published on notary topics.

 I can usually spot the style of the National Notary Association publications, most of the writers from the American Association of Notaries, and the writing style of the primary writer from the American Society of Notaries.  So, it doesn't matter if I've read the article that is being copied and pasted by a  plagiarist--I will often figure it out when I see it on Facebook.  That's a weird skill that I have.   I can often tell when a writer speaks in his or her own post and drops in quotes without acknowledging the original publisher.  A quick Google will reveal the content theft.  So, plagiarize at your own risk in Facebook groups.

If you copy and paste material without giving the author credit for his or her work, you are a common thief and I want nothing further to do with you.   I report plagiarists to the author from whom they have stolen content and to Facebook.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

NSG Talks for Notaries - Michelle Riley - Become a Process Server

Hello, friends.

Great news for you!!

Alabama private investigator Michelle Riley kicks off  NSG Talks on Tuesday - 9/25/18 at 7:00 p.m. CDT  with an informative and entertaining presentation "Become a Process Server."  I saw Michelle do this one at the 2017 NNA Conference --  she kills it!   

Come to the Notary Side Gigs Facebook Group at 7:00 p.m. CDT tomorrow evening where I will do a quick introduction on Facebook Live and tell our audience about upcoming talks for notaries by talented professionals. Our current group of speakers are dedicated to creating, publishing,  and curating from the web high value content for notaries public. 


Join the NSG TALKS email list.  

NSG TALKS will just keep getting better!

 Note: see the video on NSG TALKS  at the bottom of this article.


Surviving and Diversifying . . .

All presenters are delivering talks on topics that fall under a broad category that we believe fits 2018-2019: Surviving and Diversifying Your Notary Business During Slow Times.  

The audience will be treated to great content, handouts, video presentations, and a Q&A session.

This will all happen at the Notary Side Gigs Facebook Group where almost any kind of opportunity can be pitched to the 1200+ notaries in the group! NSG rules: be polite, post your ads only once per week with clear details about the opportunity, company, or product, and don't spam other threads in the group with your ads.  Easy!  

Join the Notary Side Gigs Facebook Group  before tomorrow evening. 

Show up at 6:55 p.m. and hang out with us for an hour!

You can't beat the price!  (Free!)

Future NSG Talks 

  • Becoming a process server
  • Non-loan marketing strategy for 2019 
  • How to reach clients who need your services
  • Finding and nurturing a niche 
  • Content marketing strategies for notaries
  • Working through slow times
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new!
  • Developing a field inspection business
  • The officiant business

Current schedule for NSG Talks

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

DocVerify - the only company providing online notarization set up for independent notaries

Dear Darcy Meyer - please pass along to  DocVerify the following.

Thank you from Texas.

I have been a Texas notary for more than 20 years.   (Maybe 30, but who's counting!?)

 If not for DocVerify, I could not have moved forward to understand the way that online notarization works from a "hands on" view.

It’s been interesting to see that DocVerify  is the only company willing to allow Texas notaries to set up independently as online notaries. As of four months ago, no other technology company was willing to allow a Texas notary to purchase a single seat on a platform and operate independently. Sad for Texas notaries, but true!

I'm not sure what's caused this bizarre lockout of the those who were qualified for online commissions by virtue of their traditional commissions, in Texas.  

In Ohio and other states, notaries were asked to provide input...encouraged to do so.  If Texas notaries were offered a chance at involvement, I didn't know about it, and the others didn't share if they were involved.  Again, without you, we'd know very little.  

You may never get the recognition that you deserve for this by notaries public, but I am grateful.

I hope your platform is my online notary home for many years-- I'm going to stick with you. 

Thanks again for helping us out...your monthly fees have been a small price to pay.  

I receive no compensation for this statement or for endorsing my experience as positive with DocVerify.  I have received no special assistance. 


Brenda Stone

Texas Online Notary (still learning!)
College Station, Texas 77845

Sunday, August 5, 2018

7 Steps to a Flawless Notarial Act

Follow these steps every time you notarize!

Notarizing a deed is the same as notarizing a permission slip which is the same as notarizing a million dollar loan transaction document.  I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice. But, here is how I notarize documents. I perform the same steps each and every time.
(Feel free to click on the image and download it to print.)

STEP 1-Identify the Signer. 

First, I ask for ID, and I identify the signer. If there is no ID, I can’t do anything for a signer.

STEP 2-Start a journal entry. 

At the same time that I identify the signer, I start a journal entry.

STEP 3-Is the signer alert? 

I gauge the signer’s alertness and awareness about signing the document. I don’t grill the signer on the meaning or purpose of the document. I might ask if he is aware of why he is signing the document, but only if I am not sure that the signer is alert. 

It’s none of my business why he or she is signing the document, only if the signer knows why.

STEP 4-Make sure the document is complete.

I look over the document, scanning it for blanks. If there are blanks, I ask the signer to complete them. Once completed, I move forward. I don’t give the signer the answers to put in the blanks. If it doesn’t apply I will say, “Feel free to call someone if you need to.” They usually just write N/A and initial it.

STEP 5- Note the act to be performed.

I look at the certificate to determine the act that you are going to perform. I do not ask the signer to raise his or her right hand for any notarial act. It’s just a little bit dramatic for me and it is not required in my state; it may be in yours.

Step 5a-If a certificate of acknowledgement is attached to the document, the document may be signed before the signer meets with you. If it isn’t, the signer must sign the document before you complete the act. I ask the signer if she has signed the document for genuine purposes and for the reasons stated within the document. Some people ask the signer if they have signed the document of his/her own free will, etc. I don’t do that because that is covered under “genuine purposes.” If ever I think that a person is being coerced, I won't notarize the document. I have never run into a situation of coercion.

Step 5b-If a jurat is attached, you must see the person sign the document. If the document is already signed when the signer arrives, the signer will need to re-sign the document. I ask the signer if she swears or affirms the truthfulness of the statements she made within the document and if so, to please sign the document.

Step 5c-If a verification is attached, I do not have to see the person sign the document, but I must perform an oath. I ask the signer if he swears or affirms the truthfulness of the statements he makes within the document.

Step 5d-If no certificate is attached, show the signer samples of a certificate of acknowledgement, a jurat, and a verification, and ask which one the signer would like attached to the document. Once the signer chooses the certificate, perform accordingly as stated in 5a, 5b, or 5c above.

STEP 6-Complete the certificate and journal entry.

Complete the certificate, sign it, seal it, and complete the journal entry.

STEP 7-Issue a receipt.

By law, many states' notaries are required to provide an itemized receipt to anyone that pays for notary services.

Notaries: We are public servants. 
We took an oath to know our laws and to uphold them.

If we aren’t going to become familiar with our notary laws, yet we still 
charge for our services...isn't that fraud?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

How do I know if the document is legal?

Notaries aren't required to have legal knowledge.  That's what lawyers are for.  We don't judge documents to be right, legal, or effective.

Another new notary concern is: 

"How do I know if the document is okay to notarize?"  Answer:  That's not your problem.  If you want to know if there is any kind of document that you may not notarize, call your state's notary public administrator.  Asking on Facebook isn't the best way to get smart on notary skills.

New notaries are helpful people.  That's commendable, but it's also a trap for new notaries.  People want them to help find internet forms for their situations, help them fill out documents, help them decide what to say in a legal document.  Notaries should steer clear of all that.

It's not what you do.  That is not your purpose.

This article isn't for teaching a full-blown course, so I am going to boil it down into this:

  • Notaries are official witnesses--if asked at some time in the future, a notary can say "Joe Blow appeared before me and signed a 'Blah Blah Document' on May 30th 2016." (In Texas, the notary would be keeping a journal of notarial acts. Some states do not require journals.)

  • Notaries identify signers of documents.

  • Notaries watch as signers sign documents and...
  • If documents which are to be acknowledged are already signed, the notary asks the signer "Do you acknowledge that this is your signature....?"

  • If a document is to be sworn, the notary asks the signer to re-sign the document. 

  • Notaries administer oaths, asking signers or others "Do you swear or affirm your statements are truthful?"

  • In some states, notaries may make a certified (to be true and correct) copy of certain types of documents.

Notaries don't give opinions on whether something is legal.
Notaries don't suggest what goes in blanks. 
They do not help write legal documents. 
They don't help locate free forms (in my opinion, that's as bad as drafting legal documents).

Next time someone comes to you and asks you to notarize a document, remember that it is not your problem whether the document is legal, correct, or written right.

You are a witness; identify your signer and move forward.

When you don't feel you can properly identify a person, decline to notarize. If you don't know what you are doing, decline to notarize. If you don't know what your notary laws say, get  basic notary training, today.  

Don't scam the public. The public thinks you have learned how to be a notary--you signed an oath saying you are upholding the laws. How can you uphold the laws if you don't even know the laws? 

You certainly should not handle loan documents if you aren't trained.  

You will get yourself into trouble and you may really hurt the person whose loan documents you are handling.

If you are in Texas, please take the free training on the Secretary of State's website.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Significant to notaries--Texas AG Opinion Request: Must Guadalupe County Clerk Record Electronic Documents without e-Recording System?

9/30/18 Update:  There is still not an opinion on this request that I can find.
Recently, I ran across a pending request for an opinion by the Texas Attorney General’s (AG) Office.  
The response of Ken Paxton, Texas AG, will almost certainly affect how quickly online notarization is adopted widely in Texas and so many other things.  

How so?

Because many notaries believe that as long as counties without erecording systems in place prevail in Texas, online notary activity will be slow to expand.  The response to this request for an AG opinion will affect all of Texas as to how quickly online and electronic notarization activity can be adopted statewide.

Guadalupe County Attorney Asks for Answers

The questions posed to the Texas AG in Letter No.  RQ-0235-KP comes from Guadalupe County, Texas where clerks require hard copies be presented for recording and there is no e-recording mechanism in place.

Asst. County Attorney Robert Etlinger asks the Texas AG critically important questions to help sort out this dilemma before the problem creates a landslide of rejected recordings and other misunderstandings.

Summary of the Question (Link)

Whether a county clerk whose office does not accept electronic documents for recording must accept and record a printed copy of an electronic document that does not comply with the original signature and other requirements of certain provisions of the Property Code.

Quick Review:  What are recordable documents?

Documents that are “recorded” in the official public records of a county are primarily the kind that signing agents handle:  deeds, deeds of trust, and other documents relating to the conveyance or encumbrance of real property. 

Guadalupe County’s  Letter Summarized

Without being too technical –

A-Guadalupe County does not accept e-recordings – only original paper documents may be recorded.

B-They face problems because of experienced “Filers” who are accustom to using e-recording systems and they  believe that all they need to do is print out a copy of the e-signed and e-notarized document to record it.

C-They also face problems because some county recorders will record plain copies of documents. They do not ask for originals. That perpetuates the idea that copies can be recorded.

D-The letter lays out three types of documents; none of them are originals with ink signatures.  Can they be recorded?

E- It points out that without original documents with ink signatures (but rather hard copies of printed electronic documents) to record, there are violations of several laws of The Texas Property Code by accepting them for recording.

F-It notes that the decision on these issues will affect the future when and if the county begins to e-record documents-- once any recording of copies gets started, it will be hard to stop.

Read the letter at the link above.  
Stay alert for updates.

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.  And the Code of Conduct here:  

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 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: (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 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 - I love this website.  If you aren't reading articles there regularly, you should be!!

Download the three zip files from the 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, 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  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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