Category: Mobile Notaries News and Advice

Make Sure to Notarize as You Go

Sometimes we all need a reminder, but make sure you notarize as you go.

Make sure you have all of your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed before you go to a signing.

Stamp on Site

Remember, as they always say the customer comes first, but in reality, the law comes first. Not having everything you need for a signing can make you afoul of the law.

We’ve been made aware of too many notaries who are not notarizing on the go.

You cannot wait until you get home to stamp a document!

Not only is this just plainly unprofessional, it leads to a host of problems for the notary, including the fact it is illegal.

Additional Issues Arise for Those Who Don’t Notarize as They Go

Time and money. Two of the things most of us cherish.

But, if we don’t notarize as we go, we lose both.

Not only do we lose the time of having to go back to make the signing legal, we also have to waste the time of our signers, who are probably not going to be happy about it. And they will and do complain about it.

Time is money you could have used to perform another signing or a myriad of other things that are more important to you than fixing a signing.

And that same time is money as well, for our signers.

Error Rate Rises

To be the best, you have to do the best while making your signers feel comfortable and happy.

We’ve talked about how to be a go to notary before, and getting our signings right the first time is a big step in the right direction.

Let’s face it. If your error rate goes up, the confidence your clients have in you wanes. Whether they are private clients, or a signing service such as ourselves, it moves you down the list of notaries they want to use.

Bad signings reflect badly on you, and will make your partners less likely to work with you in the future.

The Deadly Trifecta

Some things we never want:

  • Wasted Time
  • Wasted Money
  • Wasted Effort
  • Increased Error Rate
  • A Lack of Faith from our Clients

So, please, don’t wait until you get home. Get your signings right and notarize on the go.

West Virginia Notary Law Updates in June

New updates to West Virginia Notary Laws Update on June 17th.

The bill focuses on remote online notarizations (RON) and remote ink notorial acts (RIN).

Executive Order Exemption

The main crux of the bill is to extend an executive order from last year. The actual new bill, SB 469, was signed into law and begins on June 17th, 2021. It pertains to the validation of virtual notarization acts.

Notaries will be required to register and be approved as an online notary.

This bill will impact anyone using or planning to use remote notary services. In some cases, the update might change some aspects of current documents.

RIN refers to acts by remotely located individuals, whereby the individuals exchange wet-signed documents but verify identities and acts using a communication technology platform.

To be honest, we are not lawyers, and their article is really good, so we would recommend you visit the National Law Review to read more about the new bill.

Federal Judge Bans Eviction Moratorium

A federal judge in Washington DC struck down the national eviction moratorium across the country on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Fiedrich of the District of Columbia ruled that the CDC does not have the authority to create and enforce a law regarding evictions. In other words, it is outside of their purview.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the legal authority to impose a national eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling could potentially impact millions of households that have fallen behind on rent.

Challenge Incoming

The Department of Justice has indicated that they plan to appeal the ruling. They have now appealed the ruling. The Biden administration has said that they are reviewing the ruling and considering their options in regard to the ruling.

The Justice Department has asked the judge to put a stay on the ruling while the appeals process plays out. No response has been given on whether or not the stay will be granted. The judge has now temporarily stayed the ruling.

The Biden administration has indicated it is attempting to pass a 50 billion dollar relief package for renters and landlords. During the moratorium it was declared that back rent would be owed when the moratorium was lifted, though no good process has been set forward, and industry analysts have indicated it will be very difficult to collect back rent for those who could not afford it, or used their stimulus funds for other expenditures.

State and Local Impact

The federal order will not preempt certain eviction moratoriums at the state and local levels.

But, expect more appeals to be filed in those locales based on this ruling. Though a complete list of local and state regulations regarding the eviction moratorium is outside our purview, one of the states whose moratorium will stand is New York.

The ruling will not affect New York’s laws because they are more stringent than the federal measure, said Sen. Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, who sponsored the moratorium legislation in the Senate.
 
“It doesn’t have any direct effect at all,” he said.

The Argument for the Moratorium

Proponents of the eviction moratorium are varied.

Some say that any evictions will make the Covid crisis worse, making the virus easier to spread. They assert that is why the CDC has the authority to enforce the moratorium as it affects public health.

Others assert that during a time of crisis it is unethical to allow evictions. Many of them believe that a rental property is an investment, and that the landlords chose to take that risk.

The more fringe proponents believe that rent is unethical altogether.

The Argument Against the Moratorium

For those who support ending the moratorium, they say that while renters have been provided stimulus, landlords have not. And there have been no provisions enforcing renters to use any of the money from stimulus checks or the expanded unemployment to pay rent.

Some landlords have been hit harder than others. Most have been willing to work with renters to get through the pandemic by updating leases or allowing renters to pay what they can afford. Others have stated they have tenants that are abusing the eviction moratorium altogether, with no plan to pay rent, or use any of the stimulus funds to pay rent.

Regarding the investment argument, landlords have asserted that the moratorium goes beyond simply opening up their risk in investment. They say that if the units are empty, then that is the risk they take in the investment. But, since the renters are allowed to stay in the properties, the landlords are forced to pay additional losses that fall outside of what their investment should entail.

It should be noted that some areas and leases require the landlord to also pay utilities and other costs, and they should not be forced to do so, as many landlords find themselves in the same financial predicament of their renters. Their have been a number of court allowed evictions across the country for abuse of this. In one, tenants ran up $2,000 of utility costs in a single month to spite the landlord.

The Job Market and Unemployment

As the economy has rebounded, many employers are looking for workers. Local business owners we have spoken with say they have job openings they cannot get applicants for.

Others have indicated that the few applicants they have had, have no interest in the job. That they have basically asserted in job interviews they are only doing so to meet unemployment requirements.

While we’ll admit that some of this is anecdotal, the job problem is very real.

The coronavirus pandemic forced many businesses to close their doors and turn away customers and employees, but as many of those businesses and restaurants begin to reopen, they are looking for employees to fill available positions as they keep up with increased demand for their goods and services.

The Effects for Notaries

This was always going to boil over at some point.

For notaries, better or worse, this will result in a large amount of foreclosures across the country. After those foreclosures will come a lot of property sales, most likely much larger than the amount normally seen.

This can be seen as a financial positive for notaries.

This may be slightly tempered by the drastic increase in the price of properties during the crisis. Some economists have argued that Covid has created a bubble in the housing market. One that may lead to another crash in housing prices.

An earlier end to the moratorium, while still popping the bubble, may do so before it gets too large. Most of us remember in 2007 the bubble was too large and left many homeowners under water, compounding the crisis.

Whatever way you personally feel about this situation, it is something that will have a large effect on the notary industry.

The New Notary Rules

We stand again in a revolution, but what are the new notary rules?

  • Are we in the new wild west?
  • Are the bars set today going to be the bars of tomorrow?
  • Will the laws be consistent, or are we going to need to pull our hair out figuring every minute change?

It’s Time to Be Flexible

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Online Notaries will Need to Be Flexible

While in the long term rules will probably be standardized, that is not the case as of this moment. At this time we have:

  • Temporary Rules
  • States with Competing Specifications
  • Differing takes on the Hybrid Model
  • Specific signings that still must be done in person
  • Questions over whether and which signings will stay legal across state lines

The one closest to being hashed out completely are accepting legal signings in one state to cross state lines. But, there are still a few hang ups in the new notary rules.

Complicating the process are signings that must be done in person. The prevalent thought is that some things like wills or specific trusts must be done in person to truly verify the signer is not doing so under duress. But, to us, that raises a bigger question. If we have to be in person to verify a will, might things like signing off on your home fall in the same boat.

Should there be an age limit? How do we know if someone is fit to sign? Sure, we may face these issues now, but doing so over a webcam is a different ball game.

Are We Playing Follow the Leader?

Who do we depend on for our information, and are we just playing catch up as an online notary?

Most of us would probably agree we don’t want to follow the leader, we want to be the leader. But, as new notary rules blossom and the name of the game changes, that will be difficult for all of us.

It is easy to create a page or a spreadsheet to help navigate the online regulations, but keeping it updated in a timely manner is a different beast entirely. And, unfortunately, most of us are not lawyers and don’t have all fifty states sending us updates as they occur.

So, maybe the leader will be the one who can see what is coming, or at least can find new information the quickest.

Stay on Your Toes Until the New Notary Rules Stabilize

It’s time to get in the game, or to prepare for it. We’ve already spoken about a new mobile office, but how else can you prepare?

Take some time to think about it:

  • Acquire the equipment you need
  • Register in your state if you can do so
  • Practice using the technology. Even if it is not the exact one you will use in the end, understanding the process will help you adapt quickly to any new technology or software you end up using.
  • To go beyond that, understand the technology. You may end up using different platforms for different signings. But, if you understand the process and the mechanics behind it you’ll be an online notary that companies will want to go to.
  • Make sure your clients or signing services you do business with know that you are online and on time.

We may know the general direction the ship is sailing, but we need to be ready to arrive at any of its possible destinations.

The New Mobile Office

As times change and mobile notaries look towards a new hybrid model, what does the new mobile office look like? Mobile notaries already know how to do business on the go, so what is needed to maximize efficiency in the online era?

How do we do so under the new notary model?

Much Stays the Same

The more things change, them more things stay the same.

Alphonse Karr – French Novelist

We still want to do business on the go, if possible. We all want to maximize our business efficiency, as well as profit. And we all would like to do so with the least amount of hassle.

So where do we start?

We all want to still maximize our gas efficiency by taking several simple steps. And we’d like to keep some semblance of a mobile office.

What’s in the New Mobile Office?

You may not have much of a change at all.

Most of us already have our laptops. Some of us already have vehicles with internet, though you don’t have to have a vehicle with internet as long as you have a recent smart phone. The fact is, most of us already have everything we need.

If your vehicle does not have wi-fi (mine does not), you can set your phone up as a mobile hot spot and connect directly to it. Of course, if it does, you can just connect directly to it.

Keep it Quiet

The biggest issue we may run into if we want to do a remote signing on the go is noise. It won’t do you any good if you are drowned out by traffic, trains, parades or just loud areas.

So the big question will be how you track down quiet areas within the route(s) you would normally take for your business. Hopefully a quiet place you won’t get interrupted in during your signing, be it a security guard or anyone else.

This may even be a place that is only quiet part of the day, but we may be looking at places like:

  • Parks where you have an out of the way area.
  • A quiet portion of a large parking lot, or maybe one at night where security won’t be there to interrupt.
  • A rest area.
  • Where your current mobile signing is. People are used to contractors doing computer work before or after a job.
  • A friend or family’s home.
  • Or anywhere else you can find that is nice and quiet.

New Equipment

With any new venture comes new equipment. A mobile office for online signings may not require much, but there are a few things you may want to look at.

  1. Drop Cloth or Background – If we are in a vehicle, we may not want to advertise it. So we may want to use a drop cloth, or maybe a background that is a little prettier, behind us. Make it look like we are in a closed office, or maybe a beach in Hawaii.
  2. New Light – If you end up doing a signing in the evening, or you surround yourself with a drop cloth, you are probably going to want to look into a light. Vehicle or laptop lights are great, but they tend to not provide that nice bright and even light you would have in an office. With LEDs, lights don’t use up much energy, so you can easily get one or two that will make the mobile office look like a static one.
  3. Noise Cancelling Microphone or Headset – Let’s face it. This goes beyond mobile. Have we ever met any kind of office that is perfectly quiet all the time? Client communication is key. Ideally, we’d like them to understand us, and vice versa, just as well as if we were in person. Even a face to face at Starbucks. So a noise cancelling microphone or headset may be the best way to keep out unwanted noise. Just realize if you are twenty feet from the train tracks it won’t do much help.

Recently we were asked if we really should go mobile for online signings. And the answer was simple.

I may prefer to do a signing in the office, but I prefer money more than that.