Author Archive

Demanding Respect As A Primary Agent

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in General

Every agent sets out to achieve the one goal to become the primary agent in a highly populated/ high volume area. Completingimages order can determine your spot as a primary agent but the trick is keeping the top spot. There is always a new, young, hot shot agent that comes in on the scene to make a statement on why he should be #1. I will break down the facts on what agencies and title companies look for in a good candidate to demand the primary spot.

Great communication skills

Believe it or not, most agencies would love an agent that communicates with them. In this line of work communication is key. You may not have to speak with them physically, but communicating is a great way to ensure the spot of primary agent. One way to ensure that you will keep your spot as the primary agent is to accept new orders when they are sent to you. Granted, we do know that most agents are out on the field all day and will not be able to look over new orders once they reach home. If that is the case, make the effort to communicate with the client with a simple phone call or email. Once the client gets any idea that you’re not interested, they will quickly replace you. Give the client’s a piece of mind. Simple right?

Great turn-around times

Quick turnaround times will help you keep the primary spot with any company. Most clients are under a great deal of stress dealing with cranky lenders nagging about orders. Most lenders are willing to wait 48hrs max for an order to be returned back to them. So we all have a part to play on getting this turnaround time possible. The first thing any clients or agencies will look for is a person who is willing to have orders returned back in 24hrs or under in case of any discrepancies.

With great communication and turn-around times demanding respect as a primary agent is a giving!

Mistakes That Can Lead To Claims

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in Mortgage Closing Services

Failing To Require Personal Appearance By A Signer: Experts all agreed that failing to require a signer to physically appear before you is the most common mistake that lands Notaries in serious legal hot water. Notarizing without a signer’s personal appearance is violation of law in every state and territory, and can result in major financial and legal penalties.  The Notary admitted that she had done notarizations in the past where she spoke with signers by telephone to ask if they signed documents. The Notary’s commission was suspended.

Failing To Properly Record Notarial Acts: Too many Notaries fail to keep a record of their notarial acts, especially in states that do not require it. But that’s a problem because a properly maintained journal is your best protection if someone makes a claim against you. In essence, your journal is a record that you did everything right. Without the journal, you could find yourself trying to remember a notarization that might have happened years earlier. In addition, a poorly kept journal record can convince courts that you were sloppy and didn’t take the job seriously.

Failing To Obtain Satisfactory Proof Of Identity From A Signer: “Unless the signer personally appears and presents a valid ID, the Notary just cannot do the notarization. Period.” Busch said. “Otherwise, they will likely end up being sued, since more than likely there is a fraud being perpetrated.” Mistakes

Engaging In The Unauthorized Practice Of Law: While most Notaries would never walk into a courtroom pretending to be a lawyer, many don’t realize something as simple as telling a signer what notarization to choose or answering questions about a document is the unauthorized practice of law, which could lead to a lawsuit and other legal problems for the Notary.  Non-attorney Notaries should never prepare, complete or answer questions about a signer’s documents.  

Few Homeowners Refinancing, Are Inspectors Affected?

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in Field Services

untitledThere were a lot of positive changes in the mortgage world last year: Foreclosures declined, property values increased, interest rates maintained historic lows and home sales climbed. As the recovery plowed ahead in 2013, home sales dominated new loans, making up 49 percent of new mortgages; up from 25 percent in the same period the year before.  </br> The rest of those origination come from homeowners refinancing their mortgages. Refinance activity drove new mortgages in 2012, according to the Experian-Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Reports and Experian’s IntelliView tool. </br> It makes sense: In the last quarter of 2012, mortgage rates averaged 3.36 percent, according to Freddie Mac, and they finished 2013 at 4.3 percent. Rates have fluctuated in the past several months with the Federal Reserve starting to taper its economic stimulus measures, but, in general, they’re trending upward. With interest rates on the rise, refinancing may not be as appealing now as it was in 2012. </br> So how are inspectors affected? For most inspectors these number are not alarming. Field Inspectors have multiple types of inspection that are completed on a daily based. BPOs, Mortgage, Insurance and Commercial property inspections are just a list of a few known duties for Field Inspectors. </br> While refinancing is still a major factor in the Field Inspection market, it easily be replaced with other task.  

Reverse Mortgages; Potential Income To Notary Agents

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in Mortgage Closing Services, Mortgage Services and Providers

Pro_AttireWith the conventional mortgage market going through its deepest downturn in nearly a decade and a half, reverse mortgages offer a potential alternative line of work for Notary signing agents. While the current market for this type of loan, which allows older homeowners to borrow off the equity in their homes, is relatively small, the Federal Housing Administration projects positive growth in the coming years. And the potential is considerable as more of the baby boom generation reaches retirement age.

Availability Of Reverse Mortgage Assignments For Notary Signing Agents

Since HUD instituted its reverse mortgage program in 1990, market volume soared from just 157 loans to more than 114,000 loans at the program’s peak in 2009. Since then, volume has fluctuated, with around 60,000 mortgages executed in fiscal year that ended September 30, 2013.

Reverse mortgages also have become a hot topic among those at or nearing retirement age. According to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 32 million baby boomer households own their homes, and half of them have the bulk of their net worth tied up in their homes.

Reverse Mortgage Document Package Tips

Signing agents familiar with refinance loans will recognize most of the documents in a reverse mortgage package, however there are a couple of differences. The reverse mortgage actually contains two mortgages and two notes to secure payments made by HUD to the borrower, according to the NRMLA.

He has a few tips for Notaries who are considering this option. Compared to other borrowers, people taking out a reverse mortgage must be 62 years old, so they generally take more time, scrutinize the documents more closely, and have more questions, he said, so Notaries should be prepared to handle issues related to the signing.

The differences between a reverse mortgage package and other packages may not be huge (for example, there are also different riders), but Trapp recommends that Notaries spend time educating themselves on the product or take a training course before they volunteer for a closing.


eSignature, eNotarization, Webcam Notarization, And iClose

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in Mortgage Closing Services

Electronic signatureBetween the Federal Housing Administration expanding its electronic signature program. iClose, the impact of technology on Notaries has become a hot topic in social media communities. There also is a lot of confusion about electronic notarizations and webcam notarizations. Here are basic definitions of these terms to help clarify the differences between terms and processes.

Electronic Signatures

Any time you make a purchase with a credit card and are asked to sign a digital pad, or type your PIN to get money out of your bank’s ATM machine, you’re using an electronic signature or eSignature. Electronic signatures have become commonplace in the retail world, and they also are becoming commonplace in larger transactions, such making an offer on a home purchase. eSignatures can be made in a number of different ways, but they are considered as legally valid as a signature on a paper document (often called a “wet” signature).

Electronic Notarization

Electronic notarization, or eNotarization, is essentially the same as a paper notarization except the document being notarized is in digital form, and the Notary signs with an electronic signature. Depending upon state law, the information in the Notary’s seal may be placed on the electronic document as a graphic image or other available means. All other elements of a traditional, paper notarization remain, including the requirement for the signer to physically appear before the Notary.

Webcam Notarization

In 2011, Virginia authorized the commonwealth’s Notaries to perform notarizations using video and audio technology (e.g. “webcams”). The document is being notarized electronically, but the webcam element means that the signer does not need to physically appear before the Notary. To date, Virginia is the only state to permit webcam notarizations. In fact a number of states — including California, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin — issued public statements that notarizations using online communication are prohibited and signers are still required to physically appear before Notaries.


iClose is a web-based closing system offered by one settlement services provider. With this system, the borrower physically appears before a Notary to sign a limited power of attorney (LPOA) in paper form. The LPOA allows a representative of the title company or lender to sign the borrower’s mortgage documents. Typically, the borrower will then log onto the iClose system to review and approve the loan documents using an electronic signature. The title company or lender representative signs all paper documents in the closing package, including the Mortgage or Deed of Trust, and a title company or lender Notary notarizes the representative’s signature.

Notaries Keeping Busy During The Off Season?

Written by Debrisha French on . Posted in Mortgage Closing Services

fallingmoney10The holidays are finally over! We are slowly getting our finances back in order.  After the holiday season, less people are willing to go through the process of refinancing their homes. With closing costs and numerous other fees, who could blame them?

So how are notaries keeping busy during this horrible off season? I have spoke with many notaries affiliated with our company and was able to get a shed of light on these questions. Most notaries in the off season perform field inspection in their spare time. No matter what time of the year it is, inspections are always being performed. Its also a great way to stay busy during your down time.

I know your probably wondering how could I possibly make any money doing inspections when I get paid way more doing signings?  If you’re looking at the opportunity in numbers then of course there is no logic in completing inspection. However, a Field Agent will tell you its not always about dollar amounts. In this line of work, dollar amounts mean nothing without volume.

If you break it down, the math is quite simple. On a average, a Notary may receive 2-3 signing request on a day if any. Being that this is the off season you will be lucky to get a volume of such a day. On the other hand, an Field Agent will average about 10-20 orders a day. If an agent is located in the states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, or even Florida, their volume would be a lot higher because the market is really good in those areas. Like Notary Closing Agents, Field Agents cover multiple counties which also makes their income margin much higher.

Once the market does pick back up, most Notary Agents continue with the field inspections on the side to keep additional income coming in. In this business there is more than enough volume to share the wealth. With all that being said, what are some other great ways for notaries to stay busy during the off season?