Saturday, January 30, 2016

NO Drop boxes Please!

I know allot of you use drop boxes (Fedex,UPS,etc) to drop your doc's. And before you say it, I know some of you have no other options that are close to you. In this case your options are limited. You are forgiven :). Maybe you have had issues with this or maybe you haven't. But regardless it is something to consider, if at all possible please don't drop your packages in drop boxes. Because. If it goes bad and the docs get lost and you have no documentation It can cause you a great amount of grief, stress and aggravation and in the end it could cost you a valuable client. To prove my point, here is one story of several that has been shared with me. I had a notary just the other day call in to 123notary. From her tone she was obviously very upset. It seems she had completed a signing successfully and had dropped her docs on a Friday in one of those infamous drop boxes of Fedex and it was now Tuesday and (she gets that dreaded call) the title company still hadn't received them. (I thought to myself, this is going to be bad.) When the notary and title went to track them, there was no tracking information available. To make matters even worse there was a substantial amount in a cashiers check also in the missing package. The assignment that had been given to the notary was the purchaser of the property. SO now everyone is upset and confused as to what to do. Now in my mind I'm thinking why in the world would you drop a set of docs in a drop box especially with a large amount in a cashiers check. This to me is is a disaster waiting to happen. The first thing I let our notary know is that unless absolutely necessary you should always hand your packages to a driver (and ask him to scan them or take them to hub or service center, have them scan them and get a receipt. This way YOU are off the hook. Which brings me to another point...PLEASE remember when you are required to fill out the shipping labels you should always list their name as the shipper and the recipient. This serves two purposes. One, if it gets lost it will go back to them not you. And Second, if they (the hiring party) doesn't pay their bill then you won't get the bill.. If you put your name in the sender's section and they don't pay their bill it will without a doubt go to you... Until next time! Be safe! Carmen

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The signing from hell......

The Signing from hell…. I have been a notary signing agent for many years now and for the most part I have enjoyed it tremendously. I love the freedom and independence that it affords me and I enjoy meeting wonderful new people from all walks of life. As with most jobs there are good and bad days. This is the tale of one of those bad days. Probably the worst day as a signing agent ever-for me that is. The story begins Get ready for a hell of a story. Here we go. I got a call late on a Friday afternoon from one of my title company schedulers (Fidelity National Title) for a job on the following day, a Saturday. I gladly accepted. I received the confirmation and then proceeded to call the borrower to verify time and place. Saturday came and I made my way over to the borrower’s home. When I drove up to the borrowers home the first thing I noticed was the house was VERY run down, and I couldn’t help wondering to myself if the bank knew what they were doing in granting a loan for this property but who am I to judge. Going up the stairs… So I parked and then proceeded up the stairs to the house and could see and feel that the whole house was crooked, like on slant. It was obvious It had once been a single family house that somebody who obviously didn’t have a contractors license had chopped it up and made some what I call make shift apartments out of it. And you could actually see the termites crawling on various pieces of exposed wood. But again it is not my place to judge. So I went to what looked like the only real front door (as there were several) and knocked. I heard what I thought was an animal with paws approaching the door. The Signer and his long clicking toe nails! But to my surprise it was a young man. But not just an ordinary man but a man with the longest toe nails I have every seen (that is what I heard coming to the door the clicking of his toe nails hitting the floor as he walked). He was also the filthiest person that I have seen as well who living in a house and not on the streets. He was wearing dirty boxers and a dirty torn tee shirt. Then to top it off there was a smell that I cannot to this day describe. While I stood motionless in disbelief and shock, I heard a sweet woman’s voice saying ‘is that her, is that the lady…tell her to come on up…please come on up’…and I cannot tell you why but I went into the door way and accened up a dark stairway and I heard what I assumed was the young man that opened the door who now was behind me start turning about 4-5 locks one by one and as they clicked and locked behind me and I became terrified..truthfully I thought I was going to see my maker that day but I kept on climbing the stairs and the further I ascended up the stairs the stench got worse. The air was so thick… I could have cut it with a knife… I could hardly breath. There was absolutely no ventilation. The air was so thick I could have cut it with a knife. And I thought to myself I must have lost my mind. To this day I still cant explain why I didnt just turn around when the front door first opened and just leave. When I reached the the top of the stairs it was very dark and as my eyes started to adjust there was more horror. Dishes and trash pilled everywhere and there were two extremely dirty mattresses one on the floor which the young man who had let me in proceeded to ly down on and cover himself up with a dirty blanket and the other which was sitting up on a mattress frame was the lady who I presumed had called out to m. She was sitting on the edge of the mattress with two swollen legs that resembled tree trunks with clearly to me looked like flesh eating disease. There was an abundance of open sores and I’ll just leave it at that. She then says to me that they had just painted the floor and I was to sit in that area…I said excuse me….and she then pointed to a 10 foot corner that had a coach that clearly had been freshly painted…I thought to myself I must be in the twlight zone or on one of those candid camera tv shows…. The signing begins.. I sat down and asked for the documents (they had been overnighted to the borrower; it was one of those WAMU deals, and I guess it it obvious now why they went out of business…lol) and the signers ID. She looked puzzled but asked the young man to get up and look for the requested items….he reluctantly got up and looked for a few minutes but to me it didnt seem that he was really looking or knew what he was looking for. He was wandering around aimlessly and then told the lady that he could not find them. She accepted this and all I’ll say is that I was so grateful that the ID and and loan docs couldn’t be found…I immediately got up let them know I had to go for I had another appointment and if the missing items came up please call so we could re-schedule another appointment (yes, I lied) and then with the young man in front leading me out I proceedded to the stairway and headed down the steps. No ID? No problem, let’s reschedule.. time to go!!!! Thankfully he had the unlocked those locks and he was opening the door when I reached the foot of the steps. I thanked him and bolted through the door gasping for air as I went. I really didnt realize how much I was shaken up until I reached my car. I fumbled for the key, opened the drivers door, sat behind the drivers seat and began trembling. I could still smell that dreadful smell. Dear god, I had brought it with me. Before I could compose myself, in a state is horror, I once again heard those clicks of those toe nails and looked up to see the young man at my passenger side car door excitingly letting me know that he had found the loan doc’sI could hear him saying “Oh Miss, Oh miss I got what you need” and me being the quick thinker I am, I asked him had he found the ID as well. He looking disappointed said oh no…and walked back to his house. All I could do was just sit there and try to regain my composure. Soon after however I felt sick to my stomach and I opened the door leaned my head down towards the street concrete and everything that had been in my stomach come up….After about 15 minutes I started the car up and went home. I opened my front door and stripped down and left it all outside. Clothes, briefcase and all. I took a long hot shower and washed the clothes I had been wearing. After this I immediately sat down and sent Fidelity a very long recap of all of these events and told them NOT to send a request that I go back…ever. When Monday came I got a an apology via email from Fidelity and that was the end of it. I never heard one thing about it ever again. Shortly after however, I did receive my full fee of 150.00. Of this I was thankful. I was polite through the whole ordeal! In closing, there is one thing I want to add. Although I was very uncomfortable with the whole situation. The borrower and who I presumed was her son, never new for one minute that I had issues with any of what I described here. I was cheerful, kind and professional throughout all of it. Until next time… Carmen

The lady and her husband....

Sometimes I just don't get what some folks are thinking!!! Seems a notary accepts a signing for the same day that her husband was being released from the hospital. But rather than not accepting the job or making other arrangement for her husband she decides to pick him up and take him to the signing with her. And of course she feels that she cant watch him if she leaves him in the car she drags him to the front door Introduces him to the borrowers explains that he has just been released from the hospital and she had no other choice but to bring him along. The man is on a oxygen and from other information that I was able to get out of her he was not well at all. So not thinking any thing about this behavior she drags him on in the borrowers living room sits her husband down in an arm chair and tells them lets get to it. She doesn't want to rush them but she has to get her husband home. I am listening to this story and I am think "WHAT, Is she serious??? I asked her, Do you see anything wrong with your behavior? She says, "No, what was I supposed to do? It is obvious she has no clue. She felt that she had no other options. I saw a couple but hell it was to late now. Damage had been already been done. It seems that the borrowers had complained BIG TIME...ummm, duh...I asked her, 'Did you think for one minute that they wouldn't". She actually didn't think so. Its funny how folks seem to think they can say and do anything they want but are surprised that there are consequences for their behavior. I asked why did she just find someone to take her place, She said bottom line she need the money.... So needless to say she lost a very valuable client. Thanks for reading Be safe! Carmen

Monday, December 21, 2015

No, you can't give it back....

Recently, I have gotten quite a few calls regarding fees that the notary sees on the borrowers HUD's. These are relatively new notaries and they are bewildered and troubled at some of the notary fees that they see. Some of the fees are upwards of 250.00 and I assure them that this is nothing unusual. What is troubling to them is that they are getting 80-90 dollars (often times less) and after seeing the HUD they now want more money and/or want to give the job back. Out of the several calls I get regarding this topic, I had one new notary in particular who was VERY angry. She did not understand completely how this fee thing worked or even how to distinguish one caller from another. In other words she didn't know if it was a signing service or a title/escrow company on the line let alone what questions she should be asking. So I had to spend some time with her educating her on the differences between a signing service call and title company call. She was totally lost. Once I explained it throughly, and although she now understood the differences she still wanted to get the money listed on the HID or give the job back. I told her she could NOT do this. I told her,that It was not professional and unethical. She must keep her word by not tarnishing her reputation. She had agreed to the price and she should keep her word no matter what. Her reputation was now at stake. I also told her that she should consider this a bought lesson. The best kind in my opinion...:) I went on to tell her that now that she understands how this notary gig works, she needed to sit down and crunch some numbers to see what fees she will be most comfortable with. This way whatever she sees on the HUD/settlement statement it wont concern her because she will have gotten what she feels is a fair price for her services. As I told her, If I am getting what I feel I deserve, I don't bother or care about what numbers I see elsewhere. Not my problem... Until next time..... ~Carmen

Where and when did it all go wrong?

The longer I stay in this business the more I see things that just don't sit right with me. For example, I for the life of me don't understand why we as notaries don't demand more from the companies that use our services. Doesn't it strike anyone other than me odd that when we work with various companies they demand a copy of our commission, E and O insurance (usually with very high limit), copies of insurance and drivers license and anything else they can dream up, but they in turn DON't supply ANY information about who they are (well, except for their contracts about don't do this and don't do that). Is this because we don't ask and/or demand this information? And why don't we ask? Are we afraid? After all, WE are providing a service, WE use our time, cars/gas, paper/printer, ink, supplies, etc, and then extending credit to them. We jump through all of these hoops without ever really knowing if we are going to get paid. Unfortunately for us, we work on a wing and a prayer. As I often say, we don't know any of these companies from a can of paint. Sure, as a last hope, we can go to and other sites (which I recommend highly due to no other options) and search the forums to see what other notaries experiences may have been but that is really not the efficient way of doing it and that does not guarantee payment. When and how did this become an acceptable standard that we jump through hoops to work with folks that take our jobs, dictate our fee and to add further insult NEVER are required to prove their credit worthiness?!? I mean anyone running a service orientated business (like we do) would typically ask a potential client to supply them with payment either in advance or immediately after the services were rendered. If they needed to establish credit with the company an application for credit would be in order and perhaps a profit and loss statement as well as their credit report. This would show whether they are credit worthy and have the means to pay. And if they didn't pay us after an agreed amount of time we would have the necessary information to help in collecting the debt. This is just the way a business should be run. Unfortunately for us it is just the opposite and it is time for us to do something about it. We need to change the way we do business. If we don't pay more attention to who we work for and how we handle our payments from them they are going to be more instances where we won't be paid. Just something to think about! Until the next safe! ~Carmen

Look em' up before you go!

I often get calls regarding different companies that many of you work with or are contemplating working with. Usually you are wondering whether they pay or not. Other times it is to let me know something that a company may be doing that is unusual or that they just don’t pay at all. But here as of late in the span of a week. I have received two calls where the notary has went out to do a job with a company that they did not check out first. Now there is nothing unusual about this because they could have caught them off guard and/or they didn't have time to check. But what is unusual is that these particular individuals decided not to bother checking one way or the other and now that they are being stiffed on want myself or Jeremy to call on there behalf and demand payment for them. Now most of you know me, I never mind helping any of our members but this is really not either myself or Jeremy's place to call. As a competent business owner, because that is in fact what we are as traveling notary signing agents, it is the notaries responsibility to make sure of the companies worthiness before you work with them-certainly not after. And as unfortunate it is that hat there is now a problem it is ultimately the notaries burden at this point. As my mother use to say is a lesson learnt that you will never forget. Remember when you get a job PLEASE check the company out throughly. You can search our forums and some of the other directories to find out If there is information on them. If you find no information on them then you need to decide whether you want to take a risk or not. If you happen to accept a job and find out later (before you actually do the assignment0 that they have a bad reputation then by all means let them know and return the job back to them. It is very sad that this is our only option because if were were really operating our business wisely we would have credit applications, require a profit and loss and require them to provide references. After all we are the ones doing the work and providing credit as well…… Until next time... ~Carmen

What to do when the phone stops ringing....

For some of you the phone has stopped ringing altogether...dead silence. "What am I going to do?" you ask yourself and me as well.... Market, market, market and then market some more. In the dead times this is what you should be doing especially if you are full time traveling notary/CSA and want to keep it that way. Most people I speak with don't want to work an 9-5 and many of you told me that they would rather 'die' then go back to that same old 9-5 routine. :) I understand completely. We all love the freedom and independence that the notary profession gives us. And even though our lifestyles are unique the flexibility of a traveling notary is usually there for all of us. (Which would account for its popularity, I assume) You cannot sit on your laurels and think because you have paid advertising in place that that is all you need to be successful. With interest rates starting to climb and applications for loans significantly down signings are beginning to dwindle. If you are in an area where there are no state restrictions on travel fees then you need to think about general notary work. Get out there to those convalescent facilities, hotels, hospitals, etc. have a card or flyer to give them. You may offer them a referral fee or perhaps you want to offer a discount on services. Hand out flyers and/or business cards to everyone. Make sure you have a website and be sure to link it to all the places that you advertise. Call ALL the companies that you have previously worked for and let them know you are thinking of them and are still available for all of their notary needs. And last but not least. Make sure all your listings/advertising is up to date and current with all the services you provide I personally take Paypal and credit cards. This is an added benefit to potential clients. Also list any credentials you may have. These are just a few suggestions. If you have more then please comment and share. Until the next time! Be safe! ~Carmen