Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Notary is pushed off Stairs by Borrower!!!!

Well, I thought I had heard it all. I hear allot of wonderful, interesting tales here at 123 from our members. Some are entertaining and funny while others are very sad and depressing. This, unfortunately is one of these stories and unfortunately it is the worst to date. It is nothing short of horrendous and shameful. Although I have her permission to tell her story, I promised her I would not reveal her or the area she lives in. So here we go…

This particular notary who is female took a signing from a signing company, she confirmed her appointment, prepared her docs and met her borrower at the the specified time. As she went through the documents, he saw that his interest rate was 1/2 percent more than he had been told. He then became enraged. He requested (using vulgarity) that she leave his home immediately. She packed up her things up and prepared to leave the premises. As she proceeded to the door the borrower followed, continuing to rant and rave using foul language incessantly. He was VERY angry with this 1/2 of a percent increase that nobody had bothered to inform him of (sadly, a story we all are familiar with and have heard many times) and, to top it to make matters even worse off, the loan officer had not been in contact with him and had been unreachable for several days.

So, as she walked out of the door onto his front porch there were 4 steps to go down to the walkway that would lead to her car… But, before she could take that first step — with the force of both of his hands on her shoulders he pushed her down and off the porch. She went flying off the porch, and by the grace of God she somehow pivoted her body onto the grass instead of his cemented walkway that was directly in front of her but unfortunately in trying to break her fall she broke her left wrist. In disbelief and shock she just laid there. The borrower went back into the house and shut and locked his door. However, fortunately for her, the borrower’s neighbor who was mowing his lawn at the time witnessed the whole thing. He called out to his wife to call the police and the paramedics and he came to her aid and sat with her until they arrived. (A knight in shining armor). The paramedics attended to her and after the police got the story from both the notary and the neighbor one of the officers went to the door of the borrower , rang the bell and the borrower did not answer. At that point the officer yelled out to him to open the door or else. He did eventually open the door, and then was immediately handcuffed and placed under arrest and was put in the back of the police car.

Now folks get this — as the paramedics worked on our notary to prepare her for the trip to the hospital and the police filled out their report the borrower (hand cuffed in the back seat of the police car) was still ranting and raving non stop with vulgarities that they (the police and paramedics) needed to get this you know what off his grass and property. One of the police officers obviously fed up with this behavior as well as the noise went over to the borrower and told him that he needed to shut up and slammed the car door. He then asked the neighbor if this behavior was characteristic of this man. The neighbor and the wife just looked at each other and nodded yes… I just cant believe this man and his behavior, I am still in awe of all of it.

The paramedics said that if she had fallen onto the concrete instead of the grass she would have broken both wrists and god knows what else in the process. All things considered she was lucky-it could have been way worse.

She ended up staying in the hospital of 4-5 days instead of the day and half she was originally told due to an infection she developed in her wrist.

Now it is 1 month later and she is finally back to work. She is healing well I asked her how she felt about her career now (she is a full time signing agent) and if she felt like giving it up…and she said no way. She says she loves her job and knew this was just something that happened. Kudos to her! She and DA have filled charges and he has 3 counts against him and there will be a civil suit as well. I hope he gets ALL that is coming to him….I say throw the book at him.

Now, of course the signing service that gave her the assignment wants to know why the loan wasn’t closed. Well get this; When she called in to tell them what had happened from the hospital — the person on the other end of the line laughed and said “you could have come up with a better excuse than that”. So, in order to clear her name she had to send in the police report, hospital records etc….( and yes she did manage to call the day of the signing)

So, all of this leaves me with a few thoughts. I really feel that this could have been avoided if the loan officer had done his job. This is so often the case where the loan officer knows exactly what the numbers are way ahead of time but avoids sharing this information with the borrowers and we go out at the final hour when they know these borrowers are desperate and for the most part are stuck and cant turn back now, and they regrettably just sign. And we get stuck in middle — and in this case — pushed down a flight of stairs. Now some of you will disagree and put up a fuss but this is why when I call and confirm with the borrowers I ask them has the loan officer been in touch and have they gone over the figures with them. If the answer is yes then I ask them what are the numbers supposed to be. This way if the number con-inside with what I see, we are good. If not, I can alert the hiring party that we have a problem before I waste the borrowers time or MINE. I can avoid problems at the table-situations like the one I just described to you here. (aLthough it is rare and the first time I have heard such of a thing happing it is now a reality that it is possible). This technique does not always work but it is sure worth a try. And it might save you some trouble. I have been doing it for years. Now I know some of you will chew my head off about this technique of mine but this is my business and I run it as I see fit-just as you will run yours as you see fit. But, remember this is for the most part why are economy is shot…to many lies and games being played in the refinance word, and we are usually abandoned and stuck in the middle.

Now, most of you know I preach about your worth and the fees that you charge — this story just reinforces my feeling that you need to be paid what you are worth. I know this is an extreme case but we stick out necks out every time we take an assignment. We NEVER know where our notary assignments will take us or what we will have to deal with when we get there. We deal with bad attitudes, late documents, traffic, bad neighborhoods, filthy homes, terrible smells, pets, incompetence, etc., and sometimes bad people. So my point is you need to be paid what you are worth. If you continue accepting these low fees that they are offering nowadays not only do you hurt yourself you hurt all of us: the notary community as a whole…..Now in this case a higher fee would not have stopped his unthinkable behavior but I feel that because we deal with so much adversity in this business we need to have our pay more in line with our efforts and the things that we are subjected too. For me, without fair compensation this profession is just not worth the effort or trouble.

Until next time!! BE SAFE!!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tantrums of a Borrower!

In my earlier days of signing loans I was called by one of my long time clients to do a loan closing in an very influential neighborhood. I received the docs the night before (Don’t we just love those companies of ours that get us the paperwork in a timely manner) I called the borrower to confirm time and address, prepped the docs, and got everything ready for the next day.

A well dressed man
The next morning I made my way to the borrowers home, rang the bell and was met by a young, handsome male dressed as if he was aboout to go play tennis. He rushed me in the door, sat me down in the kitchen area at the breakfast island, and asked for the paperwork. It was obvious that he was in a hurry. I asked for his identification and he ignored my question and once again I asked for the paperwork which I obligingly gave him. At this point he slide his ID across the table. With me on one side and him on the other, I took out my notary journal and began doing what I always call ‘housekeeping’. As I began filling out the journal he began just signing away. I tried telling him to make sure he signed as printed. But he ignored me and just kept on signing. (I didn’t make to much fuss about the signature as it was one of those squiggly signnatures that matched his ID. I have come to learn over my years as a signing agent that if the signature matches the ID. It will not be a problem.I have learned over the years which battle must be fought and won and which ones to let go.) And after all we are not he signature police….

The temper tantrum
But back to the story; because that is another story for another blog… lol. He continues signing very quickly and is finished just as I am finished with my journal entries. I ask him for them so that I can review them. Keep in mind he didnt read them at all. He hands them to me and as I am checking them he asked me about the interest rate… so I fan through until I get to the note and read off what the terms are. And he suddenly flips his top. He snatched the doc’s from me and starts jumping up and down, throwing his hands around in the air, yelling and screaming that now the rate was incorrect and he was going to be upset when he saw his children and ex wife. (I guess that was what the hurry was all about. He was going to have them come and visit or he was going to them after we had finished) Now picture this grown man screaming and yelling obsenities, jumping up and down, kicking the chair and the counter like a child then all of a sudden he takes the back of his hand and swipes the counter clean (this is where I am still sitting by the way) of all the objects that where on the table; nick nacks, crock pot and everything else went crashing to the floor.

Sorry, I can’t tolerate this behavior!
In disbelief and awe, I got up and start to put my stuff away. I’m thinking to myself this man is a slice or two short of a full loaf. I tell him that I must go at this point. And I will not tolerate this sort of behavior. But as I hastily began putting my stuff away he begins to calm himself and start to ask me whether he can keep these docs and I tell him that these are the property of the lender. He then immediately snatches the signed ones from my hand and tells me to bad but he’s keeping them irregardless. I let him that at this point this is fine with me and as I move to the door to let myself out he says to me to my shock and disbelief and that it was a pleasure to meet me and could he possible have one of my cards.. I did not even turn around….but I did answer him calmly and say;”" Are you kidding me!!! I will not be leaving my card nor would I be returning under any circumstances. He didn’t say a word. and I let myself out, After I got back to my office I wrote title a long detailed email regarding the closing and I never heard another word about it…..and of course I did get paid.
All I can say is that it takes all kinds…..

Until next time….be safe!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Price Fixing What Is It Really About?!?!

Many new notaries call into 123notary with questions regarding what fees should be charged for their services.(it is is by far the number one question asked) They have no idea and are lost as to what to charge. They find it very confusing due to the many different services that are asked of us. This is a new business venture for them and they are searching for answers and certainly most want to be competitive but are also concerned that they will be paid fairly for the services that they will provide. I usually start by telling them that the first rule of thumb is to know what their state allows per signature per notarization as each state is different. Then there are the fees charged for our other services such as regular notarizations for the general public where travel is involved as well as jail visits, a loan signing which will include doc preparations, travel, mileage, and printing costs such as paper, ink, etc. These fees in MY experience range from as low as 25.00 to 300.00 and will depend on many factors. But having said that It seems that there are some of you that you feel that if we share prices then we are engaging and practicing in ‘price fixing’. I disagree. But first off what exactly is price fixing? I did a quick search on the internet and you can read what I found as examples on different sites below:

Price fixing is a practice in which the prices for goods and services are manipulated in a way which is designed to benefit specific companies or individuals. In a simple example of price fixing, two rival gas stations could meet and decide to offer their gas at the same price, creating an artificially high price for gasoline which consumers would be forced to pay through lack of choice. Usually, this practice is illegal, and in some nations, it comes with severe legal consequences.
“If two companies happen to sell competing products at the same price, it is only considered price fixing if collusion can be proved. In other words, if two supermarkets both sell packs of a dozen eggs at the same cost, this would not be illegal. If, however, someone could prove that the owners of the supermarkets held a secret meeting in which they decided to sell their eggs at the same price, it would be considered price fixing.

“Often, price fixing results in price gouging. In a free market where businesses adjust prices to meet supply and demand needs, prices can fluctuate a great deal, but they are generally considered fair. When people collude, they usually elevate prices significantly, creating a price discrimination situation in which prices rise well above a level which would be considered acceptable. Many people believe that this practice hurts the economy as a whole, which is one of the reasons it is frowned upon.”

Now none of us are banding together in a back alley or secret meeting place practicing collusion, price gouging, or anything of the sort. We all just want to paid what our services are worth. It is not unlike any plummer, dentist, maid, etc wanting to be paid a fair price for the services that they provide. And my take on it is just because we give each other a ball park or share personal pricing information does not mean that we are engaging in any thing illegal or involved in this ‘price fixing business’.

IMO, when we share information on fees we are providing examples, not recommendations. I have many ask what I charge personally for regular notary work and I freely let folks know that since I am in California and I charge a minimum of 50.00 for travel and 10.00 per signature per notarization (10.00 is the standard) and I limit myself to a 20 mile radius for this price. In fact many notaries in other parts of the US tell me that they can hardly get 20.00 for travel..let alone 50.00. When it comes to a loan signing there are many more factors for me to consider. I will want to know from the hiring party how many loans there are (in other words is it a refi with a second, piggyback or straight refi,etc), distance, fax backs required, etc and whether I will have to print or will they be overnighted to the borrowers and available at the signing location. All of this information will be key in determining what price I am going to charge. I never ever ask a company what they are willing to pay. This is my business and although much of what we provide is considered a community service I still need to know that I am going to recoup my costs and make a profit so that my family and I can eat.

So I think it would be fair to say that when we share fees with each other these are ment to be for informational purposes only. Every notary will have to access what their operating costs are and then determine a price that they can get in their area and in turn live with and of course they must stay competitive by knowing what others are charging in their area. This is no different than any other business .Don’t think for one second that other business of like kind don’t keep up with their competition.

In closing, for us as traveling notary publics…we should never really be accused of price fixing by sharing information. There are just way to many variables in what we do. Every area and situation will be different…but it never hurts to have a point of reference and then do your homework and map out a price point that you and your clients are comfortable with
Until next time….

'that notary gal'

Certification; Is It Worth The Trouble?

Certified by another agency?
To get certified or not, that is the question!? As of late I get many questions regarding certification. Many of you have been certified by another company before you came to 123 and you feel that that should be sufficient and you wonder what the benefits would be in obtaining our certifiaction or any other certification for that matter. And as most of you come to find out just about every site that you list your services on offers some sort of certification.

Certification is NOT a necessity
Now I will be the first to say that while I do feel certification is very useful and has its advantages (which I will go into to depth later) I want it to be clear that it is not a necessity or mandatory for any notary to be certified to do a closing. Keep in mind that this is is not to be confused with training because you can recieve training in many ways without being certified. Jeremy can tell you that in my early signing days before I began my work here at 123 although I received adiquite training it was not until he gave me the oral exam that I became ‘certified’ with 123 and I had done several hundred closings prior to him giving me the test. In fact, he gave me the test orally via my cell phone while I was traveling to a signing. LOL Many new notaries are of the mind set that they HAVE to be certified in order to be a ‘closing agent’ or conduct a closing. They feel it has some official capacity or is a mandatory requirement of their particular state. Let’s be very clear: It does not. It is purely elective and a personal choice. All that is technically reguired to conduct a closing is that you are a commissioned notary in your state in good standing and have some knowledge of what is reguired of you to facilitate the closing of a loan. There has been many a notary that have never been as they call it “certified’ by anyone and they do an exceptional job. They were fortunate enough to have mentors and/or material that provided them the necessary information they needed. And in the early days before such training existed they had to ‘wing it’. It was the doing, hands on (and mistakes) that really made them great signing agents. Then there are others that are so called ‘certified’ and have no clue as to what they are required to do. Can anybody say NNA newbies!? So my point is that although certification can be quite useful for educational and marketing purposes it is not pre requiste for a signing agent.

Certification; Its critical for marketing
IMO, certification IS however a necessity for marketing yourself. Lets face it the whole objective is to stand out from your competition. With most sites offering certification testing and have certification icons which rest next to your name it is my firm opinion that it is imperative that you get certified with whomever you advertise with. It says to your potential clients that you took some extra steps toward excellence in your field. The marketing benefits can be staggering. Here at 123 we have ran the statistical data and find that the notaries that have the certification logo next to their name get 78% more clicks on their profiles than those that don’t. That is impressive data. And so it behoves all of you to get certified sooner than later. It only takes a few minutes of your time and the benefits can be enormous. Many notaries have reported back to me that their business has doubled even trippled due to the certification. And with the economy being what it is, this can only help give your business a boost. And it could make all the difference in the world in the successes or failure of your business. So come on guys and gals…don’t delay, GET CERTIFIED!!!! You have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose!!

Until next time…

‘that notary gal’