Main page for North Star Notary

I am attempting to provide information for Notaries and Notary Signing Agents(NSA) to facilitate their business.  In this line, I am also listing software that I use to further my business and any NSA may find useful.

(as I find more useful software I will be adding them to this list)

  • Notary Gadget  The best solution for keeping track of signings, income, expenses, tax info, mileage, etc  The “CPA” report really helps for tax time too.
  • Page Separator   Sometimes when we start out we don’t have a dual tray printer, because they are expensive.  So here is a product that will allow you to separate out the legal size from the letter size and all you have to do is change paper to print it all on the correct size paper. Neat, eh?
  • Software Supply   I mean, really, who doesn’t need software to run their business?  I know I do… try to find the software you need here.
  • Official Notary Journal – App for either IOS or Android to eliminate the need for paper journals in most states.
  • Notary Rotary – A great website to list your profile in order to get jobs. I love this site and get a lot of work from them.

Email North Star Notary, LLC

Getting Paid

I think we all know we like to get paid for the work we do.  So my question is????  What is the preferred method for getting paid??

Do you like having to call your settlement/title companies to get paid for signings you did what seemed like eons ago?  I doubt that anyone likes doing that.

Then there is the invoicing issue. Do you invoice immediately or at the end of the month, which is what I am leaning toward right now?  Which is better for you?  By the way, my preferred software to track these things is Notary Gadget and it handles both situations very well along with customer reports to help you manage the invoices. The end of year “CPA” reports are great too.

I have one customer that pays me directly and I love that.  I wish more did that, don’t you?

The best tool for Notary Signing Agents

When I first became a Notary Signing Agent, I had to find a good way of keeping track of things.  Like income, signings, expenses, mileage…. a million things.  Sooooo being an IT developer, I thought about how to do this using technologies.  Being basically lazy, I opted for creating a dynamite spreadsheet instead of writing a full blow system that resided on the WWW.  That worked fine, but it was constantly being tweaked and changed.  OK, so I was never satisfied, I agree.

Then came along a post on one of the industry message boards about the available software and thought I would take a look at things.  I opted easily for Notary Gadget.  The cost was low and it actually worked!!  It is intuitive and darn, did I tell you it worked?!?!?!?!  IT DOES!!

One of the best finds ever was Notary Gadget… yep


Notary Gadget


Do notaries speak a foreign language?  Perhaps listing some of the terms we use might be helpful

Acknowledge: To admit the existence, or truth of a statement and accept responsibility.

Acknowledgment: A formal declaration made to authoritative witness by the person who executed the document that it was freely executed.

Acknowledgment Certificate: A written statement, affixed to an agreement, signed and sealed by an-authorized official that states in a form, usually prescribed by law, that the official took the acknowledgment of the person who signed the agreement.

Administer: To give or apply in a formal way.

Affiant: One who makes a swearing statement in an affidavit.

Affidavit: A written declaration made under oath before a notary public or other authorized officer.

Affirmation: To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true. An affirmation replaces “swearing before God.”

Affix: To secure (an object) to another; to attach; add to.

Appointment: The act of designating for an office or position.

Attest: To affirm to be correct, true, or genuine; corroborate.  (see affirmation)

Authenticate: To prove or verify as genuine.

Certificate: A document testifying to a fact, qualification, or promise; or 2) A written statement legally authenticated.

Certified Copy: A document certified by a notary to be a true and correct copy of the original.

Civil Action: Not a criminal action. A lawsuit for the purpose of protection of private (not public) rights and compensation for their violation.

Civil Liability: The responsibility and obligation to make compensation to another person for damages caused by improper performance of duties and acts.

Closing Agent: Closing agents can be the lender, escrow, title, closing service companies, etc. A closing agent actually performs the closing process, which includes, disbursement of funds, the issuing of title insurance, if applicable and recording of the deed. In addition, the closing agent, if a notary, can also notarize the applicable documents in the loan package.

Commercial Paper:

  1. Any of various short‐term negotiable papers originating in business transactions.
  2. A document whose purpose is to transfer money such as a check, bill of exchange or draft.

Commission: A document describing the notary’s appointment and term of office.

Credible Witness: A believable witness worthy of confidence. Creates a chain of personally known individuals from the notary public to the signer of a document.

Dispose: To store in an orderly manner. In relation to notarial journal, to store for seven years.

Duress: Constraint by threat, coercion.

Embosser: A pliers‐like device, that when squeezed together with paper between the jaws, makes raised areas and indentations on paper. Used as a protection device. Not an official notary seal; but may be used in addition to the official notary seal.

Errors and Omission Insurance: An insurance policy designed for the protection of the notary when held liable for honest mistakes. The insurance policy absorbs the notary’s costs and financial liabilities up to an agreed limit.

Felony: A crime more serious than a misdemeanor and punishable by a more stringent sentence.

Journal of Notarial Acts: Notarial journal prescribed by law to record notarial acts.  (It can even be a smartphone APP for that purpose)

Jurat: An affidavit declaring when, where, and before whom it was sworn. (Old Latin Notary Term)

Jurisdiction/Venue: The locality where a cause of action occurs. The state and county where a notarization takes place.

Loose Certificate: A document with notarial wording that is separate from, and attached to, the document being notarized. It is used when no wording is provided on the document, when that provided wording does not comply with the state’s requirements, when there is no room for the notary seal on the document, or when a pre-printed certificate has already been used by another notary in the case of multiple signers.

Misconduct: Behavior not conforming to prevailing standards or laws.

Misdemeanor: An offense of lesser gravity than a felony for which punishment may be a fine or imprisonment.

Notary Journal: An official record book of notarizations performed by a notary. Required by law in several states. All entries must be in chronological order and have all required fields completed at the time of notarization. If must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary and kept in locked and/or secured area.

Notary Public: A person commissioned by a state government to serve the public as an impartial witness with duties specified by law. The notary has the power to witness the signing of documents and to administer oaths.

Notary Seal: An official stamp or embosser used by a notary to seal notarizations. It must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary.

Notary Signing Agent: National Notary Association is using this name for a Notary Public that is trained to do loan document signings.

Oath: A statement by a person who asserts it to be true, calling upon God as witness.

Personally Known: Familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to eliminate every reasonable doubt that the individual has the identity claimed.

Power of Attorney(POA): A legal instrument authorizing one to act as another’s agent or attorney.

Resignation: Written statement that one is resigning a position or office.

Revoke: To cancel or rescind.

Satisfactory Evidence: Sufficient means of identifying a signer which meets criteria set forth by law.

Sanctions: The penalty for noncompliance specified in a law or decree.

Signing Agent: (See Notary Signing Agent)

Signing Service: A company who subcontracts signing appointments to “Loan Document Signers” (Notary Signing Agents) for signing of loan documents and notarization. The sole purpose of this company is to act as a “Go-between” company, between the client and the notary signing agent”.

Subscribe: To sign one’s name in attestation, testimony, or consent.

Subscribing Witness: A person who appears before the notary on behalf of the principal. The subscribing witness must have been requested and/or authorized by the principal to get the document notarized, must swear under oath or affirmation that they either saw the principal sign the document or heard the principal acknowledge that they signed the document, must sign the document before appearing in from of the notary or in the notary’s presence, must establish identity through personal knowledge of the notary or through the oath or affirmation of a credible witness known to the subscribing witness and the notary, and must sign the notary’s journal.

Suspend: To cause to stop for a period; interrupt.

Swear/Sworn: To make a solemn promise; to vow, usually before God.

Testimonium clause: At the end of many documents and certificates that follows the form “witness my hand and seal” or some variation thereof.

Venue / Jurisdiction: The locality where a cause of action occurs. The state and county where a notarization takes place.

Verification: A confirmation of the truth of a theory or fact.

Waiver of Fees: A statement which waives or gives up the right to charge for notarial services.

Witness: A person who watches an action take place.

IOS 7 gotchas

IOS 7 for iPhone and iPad has lots of nice new features.  There is no doubt Apple has done what it feels it can for the new IOS.

That being said, I found something that I didn’t see mentioned in the blurbs about the new features.  Maybe this new feature got lost or was under the covers.  Apparently Apple has decided to enable the feature called “Background App Refresh” which is located under Settings –> General and causes the device to consume battery life at an alarming rate.  Turning this to disable and limiting the notifications to only what you need will help conserve the battery life and make your IOS 7 experience much more enjoyable.


Mortgage Rates Highest in More Than Two Years

Mortgage rates were convincingly higher today, continuing last week’s move toward the levels not seen in over two years. Those levels were reached by some lenders today as they rose above July 5th’s highs, while others aren’t quite there yet. On average, today’s rates are slightly higher than July 5th, but only by a small margin. 30yr Fixed best-execution was already up to 4.75 on Friday and some lenders moved into 4.875 territory today.

As we discussed on Friday, markets continue to take a defensive stance against the prospect of the Fed reducing the pace of their asset purchases. As investors withdraw from bond markets, the prices of mortgage-backed-securities (MBS) fall, forcing lenders to offer higher rates. The combination of the Fed asset-buying speculation, seasonal absences among market participants, and debate over the next Fed Chair nomination is creating a very uncertain environment where traders are more apt to trade according the momentum. One analogy is that it’s easier to go with the flow of the current than to swim against it.

That’s essentially what’s making this run higher in rates seem so effortless and incidental over the past two days. That also makes it hard to know where the current ultimately leads. It could be that rates have further to rise before they level-off again or that they would have already leveled-off if not for those environmental factors that advocate uncertainty. The next big opportunity to shed light on this question arrives on Wednesday afternoon when we get the Minutes from the July 31st Fed meeting. Everything between now and then is potentially risky.

Loan Originator Perspectives

“Another day, another set of higher rate sheets and round of PM lender price worsens. Sound like a broken record at this point, but we are in a rising interest rate environment, and any temporary lulls don’t indicate otherwise. Any borrowers fantasizing about July’s pricing need to be realistic, what matters is the future, not the past, and the future is higher rates.” -Ted Rood, Senior Originator, Wintrust Mortgage

“Very little economic data today and rates continue to rise. We are still advising to lock in at application as we see nothing on the horizon that indicates a reversal of the current uptrend.” -Alan Craft, Branch Manager, Prime Mortgage Lending

“Lock when you can because waiting for a dip in rates will take a lifetime most likely. Lock when the quote is given for a refinance and when a contract is in hand or even verbally agreed to on a purchase. 5% here we come. Sub 4% never coming back. Reality is coming into picture and the last 12-18 months of super low pre May 2013 rates is a bad dream at this point.” -Mike Owens, Partner, Horizon Financial Inc

“Total breakdown of recent technical support levels leave us in a high risk scenario until the market decides the selling is overdone. With uncertainty in the timeline of FED tapering and a few weeks before the major employment report we can see this continue to drag out. Although yields have jumped substantially over the last week, inevitably the market will trade back down….I would hold off on locking today as the market should give something back over the next few days….Nonetheless, the consensus is to lock at origination.” -Constantine Floropoulos, Quontic Bank

Today’s Best-Execution Rates

30YR FIXED        – 4.75%-4.875%
FHA/VA                  – 4.25% or 4.75%
15 YEAR FIXED – 3.75%-3.875%
5 YEAR ARMS     – 3.0-3.50% depending on the lender


Aug 19 2013, 5:19PM