Being a real estate notarized document is an integral part of doing business in our country. Realtors, home sellers, buyers, and even potential renters depend on having notarized documents at their disposal for important purposes.
Not only does it verify your identity, but it also confirms that you have read the contents of the document and that they are your words. This helps eliminate potential fraud or false statements.
In this article we will discuss some easy ways to be a real estate notary so that you can start practicing your skills and supporting the real estate industry!
Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be considered as professional legal advice nor as an official statement of the law. Only a legally qualified attorney could offer such informed guidance.
Find a notary seal that you like
Now, what kind of certification real estate brokers and notaries need is a license. These licenses vary from state to state and are specific to their profession.
Most states require people working in the mortgage lending or real estate industry to be certified by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as well as being licensed by their individual state board.
However, some other certifications are available. For example, your state may only require individuals who work in residential sales to be NAR certified but none at all for professional notaries.
Some additional credentials include becoming pre-certified through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Chartered Property School, The Royal Institution of England, or University affiliations such as those offered via CPDU or Continuing Education Programs.
Purchase a notary book
Being a real estate notary requires that you purchase a notarization service booklet or “book”. This service manual contains information about how to properly notate documents, what equipment you need to do so, and how to carry out your job as a notary!
Most states require people who are notaries to take an exam before they can use their certification. Many state offices also require members to be certified annually by now. These tests and applications are usually done through educational institutions or via websites provided by state governments.
Some countries have national organizations made up of notaries which hold certification exams for member notaries every few years. If this is the case where you live, then these groups should be able to help you get all of your test requirements taken care of.
Practice notarizing documents
Being a real estate notary is more than just signing legal papers, it includes practicing notarization of documents. You must be able to read, write, and speak clearly so you can explain what is in a document and why you are witnessing it.
You will also have to be familiar with the local laws related to notarial practice. For example, in some states you cannot take credit for someone’s signature, only legals may do that.
Running through all this quickly isn’t easy, which is why there are notaries who are trained and certified.
Know your clients
As mentioned before, notarizing documents is an integral part of real estate transactions. It’s also one of the most important parts — something you should never take for granted!
As such, it’s very important that you know who all of your clients are. Who they come from, what their situation is, and how well they do in difficult times are key pieces to knowing if you can trust them with their legal affairs.
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, but you should definitely feel comfortable around them and look into their background.
Likewise, while some people may seem like “hard salespeople,” more than likely, there’s a reason why they push hard when buying or selling a house. Sometimes, those reasons involve money!
If someone seems shady or untrustworthy, chances are they’ll try to make as much off of you as possible. You shouldn’t let this type of person influence you; instead, you must remember that notaries are professionals so you can’t assume anything about them.
Know your location
Being a notary means being an agent for another party, so you must be familiar with at least the surrounding area of where you will be serving as notarization officer.
Not only should you know the address of the property that you are witnessing, but you should also be aware of the surrounding areas such as what street it is located on, how many streets there are in close proximity, and if there are any signs or buildings around that match the property’s description.
Be familiar with the laws in your state
Being a notary is one of the highest certification levels you can achieve in real estate, but before you start taking oaths, you must be sure that you are licensed! In some states, being a notary doesn’t require any formal licensing at all, while other states require only professional designation (i.e., master certified public accountant).
However, almost every state requires that you be familiar with their specific laws related to notaries. For example, in California, you have to swear an oath as a notary and then verify that you know the law. This means that even if you aren’t officially commissioned yet, it’s good to be prepared for when your dream job comes up so that you’re ready!
There are also several resources available to ensure that you’re informed about the rules governing notarizations. For instance, most counties have a department or organization that oversees notarial services, and they typically offer free training too.
Pay your bills on time
It sounds weird, but it’s actually very important! As a notary you are responsible for verifying documents in court. If someone files a lawsuit or an appeal, their case will stall while they look up your notes and testimony concerning said document.
It can be costly when you do not pay your bills on time, so make sure to stay within budgeted limits. A good way to manage your money is by having both monthly expenses (like rent) and weekly expenses (groceries, utilities).
Keep track of how much you spend and compare with your budget. If you notice that you have spent more than expected, try looking into ways to reduce spending. For example, if you know you should be paying two bills per month, then only pay one every other week to save money.
Also remember that credit cards do not give you access to all the money, and therefore do not use them unless necessary.
Keep your equipment in good working order
It is important to keep your notarial materials up-to-date, as well as have adequate supplies of stamps, pens, note pads and other necessary items.
It’s also helpful to be able to quickly access all of these resources, so that you do not need to stop what you are doing to go get something!
There are some national organizations that offer free certification for becoming a real estate notary, but it is still wise to invest in quality professional tools.
We recommend having at least one set each of regular notebook and legal pad paper, lined and blank index cards, and an erasable pen (for notes) for every member of your team. Make sure everything is easily accessible!
And don’t forget to stay organized yourself! If you make lists ahead of time, you will spend less time looking for things when you need them.