Sources used in this article
aside from my experience are
Keep it simple!
Standing out to a title company means that your work is neat and clean; you haven’t missed a certificate or overlooked a signature.
Standing out to a title company is getting the job done right every single time and not drawing attention to yourself.
Check your work, keep it simple, neat, and correct.
Not standing out is how you stand out!
Being More Appealing to Title Companies
This is a little scary to write. Some won’t like it.
I’m going to tell you how a former “insider” thinks when receiving completed mail-a-way packages. We could always tell which notaries knew their laws and those who didn’t.
I will never forget a California notary signing agent named James. I had been writing and working with notary laws long enough that I knew to check requirements for a California acknowledgment certificate. I looked it all up and prepared a perfectly stated notarial certificate for California with the exact verbiage as required by the state’s laws.
We went the extra mile. Rather than it saying he/she/they on the certificate like store-bought forms do, it said “she” which was accurate. It didn’t have a colorful border. Those were the only differences between the one that we sent out there and the one that came back to us.
The notary had slashed through the certificate I sent. He wrote “See California Ack on next page.” So, we had to pay extra for filing fees because he added a certificate and included the number of pages on his certificate. I could not remove my original certificate. It had to stay and be recorded.
We had to get a $4.00 check for the extra page and write a letter about the reason for the check that we were paying on behalf of the borrower.
Try to imagine this conversation in a title company.
“We love it when certificates come to us with fancy colorful borders. We have to measure from the border to the page’s edge. If the border is too close to the edge of the paper, that creates a problem, but we ADORE using rulers.
And, those little form fields, check boxes, cryptic messages, and sloppy writing—it’s just like a puzzle! Thank you! And, it reminds us of Christmas to get half-sheets that have colorful borders and a ¼” margin.
Challenges are the best!"
SAID NO ONE IN A TITLE COMPANY EVER.
IN FACT, THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE!
You are welcome to disagree with me!
Stand out by Being Invisible
Don’t be fancy, colorful, or use weird page sizes.
The notarial certificate should be the same size as the recorded document. Half-size sheets will cost extra money or extra time and look like rooky work.
Plain black ink on white 8 ½” x 11” (or 8 ½” x 14”) certificates ROCK!
If you write information on the certificate to make the notarial certificate “connected” to the document, please consider that title companies may be required to pay extra to have pages recorded if your writing goes into the margins. The clerk must take a new page attached the original pages using staples to the new page and record that. ALL writing and marks in many counties must be within the one-inch margin.
If there is ink from a stamp or writing on the backs of pages, those back pages are then required to also be copied and recorded when adds more cost to recording fees.
Loose Certificates May Cause Problems
If there is a certificate attached to the document, a notary will complete it without writing in the margins 90% of the time.
But, on the other hand, when using a loose certificate, the writing is usually right up in the top margin to “connect the certificate with the document.”
The loose certificates are often full of check boxes and lines. Some of them have so many boxes and lines that they look like puzzles.
Is this against the law?
Not that I know of, but it’s not mentioned in Texas’s notary laws to introduce all those elements.
If you take a notary education course, you’ll be told that you need to use fancied-up certificates.
Guess what! The course providers usually have a pad of those products to sell.
I just wonder if those who endorse the use of congested half-sheet certificates have ever gone to the recording clerk with a deed of trust to record, especially with one of those little slips of paper having been attached as a notarial certificate.
Confused? Check with your Secretary of State.
Don’t take my word for it.
I am 99.99% sure you can make your own simple and clear notarial certificates.
Unless your state has laws that you must create a record of details on your notarial certificate that “matches” the document, it isn’t required for you to check boxes and fill in little forms inside of more little boxes. (The last time I checked, Arizona did have this in effect as law and some states’ notary public administrators recommend it.
I am not an authority on this; check your laws.
Once you ascertain that you can legally make your own notarial certificates try your hand at making them to have them on hand.
Bigger Worries: Scanners and Copiers
Anyone with a $200 color copier could, in about four minutes, duplicate any certificate you attached so that it could be fraudulently attached to another document. If that person is going to commit fraud, he or she will have access to a good color copier. It won’t matter what you do.
The positive value here is if the underlying document you notarized gets separated from the document, you won’t wonder what the certificate should be attached to. That’s it. It is good information for honest people, but only if it isn’t in the margins.
Grommets, Wax, and Ribbons
The only way to secure one piece of paper to another would be to use wax, ribbons, and grommets. Tampering would be obvious! But, still, fraud is easily done.
· The notary’s signature block is cut and pasted onto a new certificate.
· Lay on copier or scanner.
· Color copy setting.
· Hit the button.
Don't work overtime trying to control what happens to your documents after they leave your hands.
If you don’t know how to make your own notarial certificates or understand why you need them, please don’t aim for title company work just yet.
This article began as part of a bigger blog update about working for title companies. The points above may distinguish you as someone who is catching on fast to the title and mortgage business.
From one who has worked inside title companies closing loans of all types and law offices where residential and complicated commercial documents were drafted, I suggest that you try seeing their world and put yourself in their shoes.