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CHAPTER 7
ALLOWABLE NOTARY FEES


The state of California has placed a limitation on the fees a notary may charge for their services.  Of course, the notary is not required to charge for his or her services and can in fact reduce the charges to whatever amount they wish, but the notary may never charge more than the prescribed fees. 

Prescribed Fees

  • For notarizing one signature on an acknowledgment, Jurat, Proof of Execution: $10 per signature.

  • Deposition: $20 plus $5 for the oath and $5 for the certificate.

  • Protest: $10 plus $5 for serving a notice of nonpayment and $5 for recording the protest.

  • Services relating to immigration papers: $10 not inclusive of the signature charges.

  • Certifying copy of powers of attorney: $10

  • Copy of journal entry: $0.30

Remember that only a person who is qualified and bonded as an Immigration Consultant under the Business and Professions Code may assist a client in completing immigration forms. A notary may not charge any individual more than $10 for each set of forms, unless the notary is also an attorney who is rendering professional services as an attorney. This fee limitation applies even if the person is not performing notarial duties.

Voting Materials or Military Pension Documents
Simply stated, you are not allowed to charge any fees to notarize these types of documents.

Travel Fees and Extras
While state law has limited the fees for notarial acts, no limitation is placed on a notary for travel costs and other related expenses. Full time notaries most often work as mobile notaries rather than out of an office. Let’s look at just one of the available options to you as a mobile notary.

Loan Signing and Special Fees
Whenever property is purchased or refinanced, there are several documents which require notarization. Even if the property is purchased without a loan, the Grant Deed which legally transfers ownership of the property must be notarized. Typically, of course, property is purchased through a Deed of Trust which means that the new owner has borrowed the money and promises to pay the loan back under the conditions stipulated in the loan agreement.

As you might imagine, thousands of home purchases and refinance agreements are entered into daily and this means a lot of notaries are needed to complete the transactions. While many banks, escrow companies and lenders have their own full time notaries, a great amount of loan signings require the services of mobile notaries who can travel to the home of a borrower, a bank, or escrow company where there are not enough notaries to meet the demand.

As a mobile notary, you may be requested to provide notarial services after regular business hours, for example, or on Saturdays and Sundays or for companies that simply have more volume than their full time notaries can handle.

If you are interested in providing loan signing services, you will want to become certified as a loan signer. While this is not a legal requirement, many loan signing agencies, banks, or escrow companies will not want to risk using your services unless they can be assured that you know the business and will not make errors. To become a certified loan signer, you will want to take a seminar (typically one-day) or do a home study course which provides certification after testing. In addition, many companies that engage your services will want you to complete a certification program with them as well. Again, the effort to become certified is minimal and you will be worth more in the marketplace and to the public. If interested, go to www.certifiedloansigners.com for more information.

Loan signers are currently making on average from $50 to $150 per loan signing depending on whether they are working through an agency or directly with the lender or escrow company. Loan signings should take around 60 to 90 minutes to complete and many experienced loan signers complete 4 or 5 loan signings per day if they have marketed their services well and have proven their professionalism to the companies seeking mobile notaries.

The fee is standard regardless of the number of signatures to be notarized. These fees do not violate the set fees of $10 per signature because the excess amount is considered travel charges. When you enter your fees in the journal, be sure that you do not enter more than the allowable legal fees for the notarial services as your travel fees should not be included in the journal entry.

Allow me to introduce a word of caution if you are a new notary concerning the market rate for mobile notary fees. There are some loan signing agencies who are attempting to attract new mobile notaries for fees under $50 per loan signing. Accepting fees like $30 or $40 per loan signing does not compensate the notary nearly enough for his or her time, travel expenses or other related business expenses, not to mention the taxes you will need to pay at the end of the year. The adage that says you get what you pay for holds true especially with this type of profession and you will want to ensure that you are treated as a professional and paid accordingly.

Click here to open Chapter 7 in PDF format including Chapter Summaries and Check your Knowledge Quiz.



 



 
 

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