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October 21, 2001
Working From Home as a Mobile Notary Public
By Alyice Edrich

One becomes a Notary Public by simply passing the state required notary test. One becomes a Mobile Notary Public by agreeing to travel to the home, office, or hospital of the person requiring a form to be notarized.

Can one make a living at it? Not likely. Most states have a mandated fee for each notarial act that can be as low as fifty cents a signature to as high as ten dollars a signature. Some states even have a set fee one can charge for travel expenses.

So where do the big bucks come from?

Becoming a Loan Document Signing Agent, that's where. A Loan Document Signing Agent simply meets with borrowers who are refinancing or getting a second mortgage on their home. The notary then goes over the documents by pointing out some key facts, witnesses the signing of the documents, and then notarizes certain forms.

The fee? It's a whopping $50 for two hours worth of work.

Is that all that is involved? "If that's the case, I am jumping on the band wagon right now," you may say.

The truth of the matter is that a Loan Document Signing Agent is an independent contractor who owns his or her own business. As with any business, there are behind the scenes work that must take place. Work such as hunting down clients, advertising, filling out contracts, setting up appointments with borrowers, meeting with the borrowers, returning packages, and keeping up with current laws.

I asked a few notaries/loan document signing agents some questions about their jobs and here is what they had to say:

Question: What is the best part about your job?

Answer: Brenda Lynch, California -- "It's the people that I meet and talking to them for the short
amount of time that we are together. I recently met a nurse at Loma Linda hospital. She works in the unit where my daughter, Bailey, will be when she has her open heart surgery. I look forward to the possibility of her caring for my daughter."

Victoria Rivera, Florida -- "It is meeting with people and helping them. There are many people that I conduct signings with that are a real joy to meet. I also enjoy helping other notaries, giving them the benefit of my knowledge and experience."

Question: What is a typical day?

Answer: Brenda Lynch, California -- "My typical day is dropping off and picking up my three
girls, while trying to get in a signing or two."

Victoria Rivera, Florida -- "My typical day is getting up around 7:30, grabbing a cup of
coffee, and spending time with my husband. I check my email, the phone rings and I
start my day. I talk with other notaries as well as companies that I work with, I review
the prior day's signings to make sure that everything is done properly, then I send the
forms out. Once that part is done, I prepare for the day ahead. The afternoons and
evenings are usually spent doing signings, and processing invoices."

Catherine Lewis, California -- "A typical day would be answering phones, setting
appointments, meeting with clients and notarizing documents, and light bookkeeping,
while trying to handle some personal matters."

Question: What is the toughest part of your job?

Answer: Brenda Lynch, California -- "Juggling my everyday life while trying to accommodate the
borrowers. Sometimes, they act as though I have no life, as though I have no other
commitments."

Victoria Rivera, Florida --"Getting companies to realize that I am more than just a
notary.' I would like them to realize that I also have a business to run and deserve to be
paid accordingly. It is also dealing with loan officers who want notaries to sell the loan,
or perform illegal acts."

Catherine Lewis, California -- "It's the toll this job takes on my personal life. I have
forgotten what it is like to actually come home from work after 5 p.m. and having the
evening all to myself. It's not having Saturdays free to visit with friends, to go to the
movies or bike riding, like other folks. Saturdays are just another work day, for me."

Question: Victoria, you were named September's Certified Signing Agent of the month, for the
National Association of Signing Agents, how has that helped your business?

Answer: Victoria Rivera, Florida --"It hasn't assisted me in getting more jobs, but it has provided
a greater opportunity to help others. I have been in this industry since 1996, I have
gained respect in this industry because I do my best with each and every signing. Word
of mouth is a tremendous resource."

Question: What is the strangest thing that has happened to you, during a signing?

Answer: Brenda Lynch, California -- "It was probably when a husband and wife got into
a verbal fight in front of me. The wife was yelling at her husband, then stormed upstairs
and wouldn't come back down to sign the loan documents. The husband stayed
upstairs, banging on the door, begging her to come down to sign. He said that he would
explain everything to her later. When she finally came down to sign the papers, she
made sure that she made a lot of derogatory comments."

Victoria Rivera, Florida --"I had a company call to cancel a closing that had already
been closed a week prior. I have had borrowers who were stroke victims, as well as
amputees who were bedridden with roaches all over them. I have had a lot of weird
things happen, each one being an adventure."

Speaking of strange things that have happened, I have heard some pretty hilarious stories over the year and a half that I have been doing notary signings, some are listed below:

One notary said that she met with a male borrower, sat down at the table to prepare the loan for signing, when the borrower's dog commenced to pee all over her briefcase. As she sat there in shock, the borrower acted as though nothing had happened. As the notary began rinsing off her briefcase, in the kitchen sink, the borrower's dog went over to the notary's purse and began peeing on it. Since the borrower was not apologetic and refused to put his dog outside, the notary packed up and left.

A male notary went to a signing, sat down at the kitchen table to commence the loan signing process when the couple's newborn baby began to cry. The wife got up, unbuttoned her blouse, plopped out her boob and began breastfeeding her infant. The husband turned bright red, as the male notary sat there in shock, trying to figure out how to continue with the signing without staring.

One notary arrived at a signing just as the borrower pulled up in her car. The borrower looked at the notary and said, "What are you doing here?" The notary said, "We have an appointment." The borrower said, "I decided I don't want the loan, I don't like how the loan officer handled things, you can go now."

Another notary had barely sat down to commence the signing process when the wife of the borrower began flirting with him.

Other incidents are where notaries have had:
· to sit on crates, outside the house to sign documents
· to stand up in a garage, signing papers on top of closed boxes
· to spend four hours at a signing as the borrowers read every paper, word for word
· to sit on the floor because the borrowers didn't have any kitchen table or chairs or because they did not want to take off their table decorations to make room for signing

Most notaries will agree that a typical day is uneventful, as far as these incidents are concerned. They will also agree that the best part about becoming a Mobile Notary/Loan Document Signing Agent is the fact that you are your own boss, with the ability to accept or not accept jobs.

A great site to help you get a feel for what this career entails, and to eavesdrop on a few message boards, is at http://thedabblingmum.com.

Alyice Edrich is a freelance writer providing original content for several online sites and print publications. She also performs copywriting and editing. She is currently a columnist for Suite101.com, Webseed Publishing, DM Ezine, and Wz.com and she also writes for different genres; such as family, how-tos, business, essays, interviews, and spirituality. Visit her website at http://thedabblingmum.com.

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