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Posted by Dorothy/MI on 4/22/05 11:00am
The following is a compilation from several experienced people that frequent this board, i.e., Brenda- TX (most of the list below is from her), Sylvia/FL, Art/MD. This appeared in a number of posts and I have copied and pasted it, and saved it for future reference, along with my general advice to newbies (Hugh, please excuse me for using your favorite term) that I usually post in response to questions about getting started.
If you know what a notary signing agent is, then you probably know whether or not you have enough background to wing it or whether you need to take a class.
Depending on the area that you are in, you may or may not be able to get work, i.e. many areas are saturated with notaries who fell for the NNA get rich quick scheme. Having said that, if you think you want to pursue this business, read every notary board you can find, learn all that you can learn, network (if possible) with other notaries and MARKET, MARKET, MARKET yourself. There is no fast road to success. Also be sure that you want the life style that we have to live (last minute signings, slow and or low pay, not being able to have much of a social life, especially from the 15th to the 25th of each month, be prepared to sit at a kitchen table trying to work while dinner was cooking, phones ringing and borrowers jumping up to answer, kids screaming, dogs barking, couples fighting, etc). All of us could tell you stories that would either curl your hair, or make it fall out,. You also should be someone who does not require a structured life because in this business (if you treat it like a business and not just pin money) almost everything is subject to change. It is not unusual to have five signings in your appointment book and end up with one or none due to cancellations or rescheduling! You will have little or no control over your schedule; you might have one for 9 a.m. and not another thing until 8 or 9 p.m. or 4 or 5 one day and then none for the next several days. And the problem with starting new in a saturated market is that everyone wants experience and references. When I started 3 years ago the business was at its zenith and the first 2 or 3 months, I was lucky to get 2 or 3 signings a week and I turned down nothing! I also worked at least 40 hours a week just trying to get business. Also, you will need a fast computer, a hi speed internet connection, a fast laser printer(PCL6), a plain paper fax machine, a copier, a reliable car and a cell phone with at least 1500 anytime minutes. Don't expect to recoup your initial investment for at least six to twelve months.
Here are some suggestions:
(1) Purchase Kathy Poston's book (see http://www.signingregistry.info) Consider the Signing Registry's mentor program.
(2) Purchase Monica's book (see http://www.amrnotary.com)
(3) Make sure to learn your state notary laws well.
(4) Do a google search for notary signing agent training.
(5) Read http://www.gomobilenotary.com and this forum to get the feel for what the job involves.
(6) Consult the Small Business Admin's site at http://www.sba.gov to learn how to research your area's opportunity. Crunch the numbers and see if you think you can make a business of it by the area you will serve.
(7) Consider buying Laura Vestanen's book on developing non-loan business. See her website at http://www.professionalnotary.com. Her book is about $10.
(8) Advertise yourself here for free as a mobile notary. Better idea - purchase the $39.95 membership and use the zip code tool and the list of signing services to market yourself.
(9) Read the link listed in my profile on what I did to get started.
(10) Ask your state's Secretary of State office if they recommend any courses for you.
(11) When you post here, if you want to get more specific help, create yourself a handle and include your state's two letter abbreviation (BrendaTX, for instance)
(12) Read http://www.NotaryDepot.com - get a free advertisement there.
(13) Get a website. (Try http://design.adaptiveview.com/ - $200 for the whole thing.)
(14) Have business cards made. (http://www.vistaprint.com)
(15) Some say read http://50statenotary.com, and some say not to read it. Victoria Ring writes a book with a good overview on the business. (Disclaimer: don't take anything anyone says at face value...do your own research, but you can get "concepts" from her book.) There is a section in her newest edition on marketing to title companies and lenders, if you are interested.
(16) Read forums and email a notary from your state, but don't pick someone from your own backyard or you may be disappointed. For instance, I would never train my competition. I think it's foolish to be trained BY your competition. A notary four hours away might be willing to chat awhile on the phone with you about how to get started for YOUR area.
(17) Peruse used book stores/thrift stores/library used book sales and pick up books on related industries such as mortgage, finance, real estate, property law.
(18) Consider a real estate finance class (Thanks Joan OH)
(19) Contact http://www.wildsignings.com for information on their training course. They sell a book.
(20) About documents - Learn what these documents are:
AFFIDAVIT FOR HOME EQUITY TRANSACTION-
AFFIDAVIT OF MARITAL STATUS-
APPLICATION FOR P.A.I.D. PROGRAM-
AUTHORIZATION TO CANCEL CREDIT LINE-
BALLOON NOTE ADDENDUM-
CORRECTION AGREEMENT LIMITED POWER OF ATTORNEY-
DESIGNATION OF HOMESTEAD AFFIDAVIT-
DOCUMENT CORRECTION AGREEMENT-
ESCROW ACCOUNTING ADDENDUM-
ESCROW DISCLOSURE FORM-
FIRST PAYMENT COUPON-
ID LETTER ľOR-IDENTITY STATEMENT-
INFORMATION PRIVACY ACT-
INITIAL ESCROW DISCLOSURE STATEMENT-
MORTGAGE OR DEED OF TRUST-
NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT, SALE OR TRANSFER OF SERVICING RIGHTS-
NOTICE OF PURCHASER-
NOTICE OR RIGHT TO CANCEL OR RIGHT OF RECISSION-
ONE AND THE SAME NAME AFFIDAVIT-
PAY OFF DEPARTMENT-
PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT RIDER-
QUIT CLAIM DEED-
REAL ESTATE ESCROW AFFIDAVIT-
REQUEST FOR COPY OF TRANSCRIPT OF TAX FORM 4506-
SECOND HOME RIDER-
SETTLEMENT STATEMENT & SETTLEMENT CHARGES-
SIGNATURE CERTIFICATE AFFIDAVIT-
TRANSFER OF LIEN-
TRUTH IN LENDING-
UNIFORM RESIDENTAIL LOAN APPLICATION-
WAIVER OF ESCROW ACCOUNT-
~Some of these forms will be available to see listed at
Specifically at this link you can look for forms:
(Find a brief explanation of these at http://www.nbsigning.com/dwnlds.htm [thank you Dogmonger!])
(21) Determine all zip codes you will service. Make a chart in Excel with these Column Headings
Travel Fee -
Base Fee -
Total Overnight Fee -
Total eDocs Fee -
Travel Time -
(22) Figure these amounts for every Zip Code you service. Keep the chart over your desk, in your car and in your calendar.
(23) If you want to use a calendar online, try http://my.calendars.net
Buy an HP laser printer with the correct PCL drivers
Buy a fax machine (for outgoing faxes)
Subscribe to MaxEmail for incoming faxes
Buy a copier (or just get an all-in-one)
Make sure you have a cell phone with good reception and plenty of minutes.
Better to have DSL or Cable for downloading edocs.
Stock in Bayer aspirin for the headaches
Consider getting a digital recorder. Use to make notes etc while driving. Unless you have 4 hands, it's hard to drive, drink coffee, write down a phone number and name at the same time.
Always make sure you have ample supplies of legal paper, and refill toner for the printer cartridge.
If you do all of the above, YOU WILL BE A SUCCESSFUL SIGNING AGENT. However, there are no short cuts that I am aware of unless you have an uncle in the business.