Alright folks. Here is my final batch of tips for the smart and discerning NSA. These tips are more technical based. It’s the little things that I’ve found to make all the difference. Once you add everything up, it results in real savings regarding both time and money. Learn from my mistakes lol . As always, take what works for you and leave the rest!
1. Sign the Settlement Statement & Closing Disclosure first!
- These are the most important documents to start with. I always find these docs in the package and put them at the top of the package before I get to the signers. It’s important to start with these, because if these are wrong EVERYTHING will be wrong and there’s usually no point in continuing the signing. Explain this to the signers and make sure they are comfortable with the facts and figures detailed within. Afterwards, you can continue with good confidence. If your signing service/company wants the documents sent back to them as they were sent to you, place tabs in the documents so you know where to return them. Otherwise, leave them at the front.
2. Keep track of your orders!
- A member on here named Evan actually gave me this information and it changed my life (Thanks man ). Not only should you print every order form you are assigned to for your records, but once a week (I choose Sundays) you should input your orders into a program to keep track of everything. This is great for accounting, taxes, and payment management. Snapdocs has a free program for this. It calculates mileage travelled, who you work with, and even sends you a monthly income summary. This is invaluable. I’ve also heard NotaryGadget works for this. However, you have to pay for that one. Put every single thing you do into this, including general notary work, to get a concise picture of what you’re doing each month and how much you’re actually making. This also allows you to quickly see who hasn’t paid you and for how long they haven’t paid you. Take out the guesswork and stay on top of this!
3. Know which states allow you to witness.
Some documents have witness requirements. The signer is usually not made aware of this. Signing services who expect you to provide a witness should pay you extra for this. The standard is $25. Do NOT provide witnesses unless you are paid! You need to know what state your document is coming from beforehand, because otherwise you can’t complete the signing without witnesses. When I first started I was sometimes unprepared for this and the signers had to find a random person to witness all of a sudden. We’ve grabbed gardners, neighbors, and more. What’s important is that they have an unexpired ID. Record their information in your notary log (check state laws) and get them to sign it. This covers your butt. Often times, witnesses cannot be related to the signers by blood, marriage, or adoption. Usually signers are not told ANY of this before the signing!
To my knowledge, there are 5 states that require witnesses for mortgages/deeds:
- Connecticut (Notary can act as a witness)
- Florida (Notary can act as a witness)
- South Carolina (Notary can act as a witness)
- Georgia (Notary can’t witness)
- Louisiana (Notary can’t witness)
4. Buy legal size clipboards.
- I keep two legal size clipboards in my briefcase at all times. These are amazing! I got mine at Office Depot and then asked my engineer friend (who has lots of tools) to remove the metal clip part. Afterwards, you’re left with two completely flat wooden boards. This allows you to perform a signing no matter where you are! I’ve done signings in garages with no solid surface. I actually had to sit on a dog crate . Because I had the boards, we were both able to sign with no issue. The legal size takes care of letter and legal size papers. I’ve also signed on glass tables or tables with lots of indents, mess (usually from kids but sometimes just a dirty home), or iron lattice work patio tables with many holes. These can make it hard to sign or mess up the documents. Wooden boards take care of that.
5. Deduct everything.
- We’ve already covered that you should be using 1 specific credit card for only business transactions to make taxes easier, but what should these be? I’m not an accountant, so do your own research. However, as a business owner, you can and should take advantage of this. This past year I deducted everything that could be associated with my business. Some of these include: Home wifi, electricity, rent (based off your office space), food while working, gas, ink, toner, paper, printer, scanner, Microsoft/pdf subscriptions, NNA membership, website, continuing education, car repair, car maintenance, car insurance, business cards, pens, notary journal, E&O insurance, and more. I parked my car downtown 2 weeks ago and someone broke the window out and robbed me. That was $300 to fix and is going on my business card expense as it’s a business vehicle. If American billionaires don’t even have to pay taxes, you better use the system for yourself, too!
My poor baby
Hope this all helps you out there and good luck!