Notarize This!

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This past Friday I played hookie from my Realtor duties. I woke up at the crack of dawn – maybe a tad before the crack, somewhere around 5 AM, and got myself ready for the long haul up to lovely Concord, California. I’m originally from the East Bay (Berkeley, to be precise), so I’m somewhat familiar with Concord. Well, by “somewhat” I mean that I could find it on a map and I know that it gets pretty hot there in the summertime.

What was it that drew me up to Concord, California so early in the morning of what turned out to be a glorious Friday? The National Notary Association was having a six-hour, state-mandated seminar for training of Notaries Public, to be followed immediately by the required test to become a Notary Public. For some reason, I got it into my head that it would be cool to be a Notary Public, so I sacrified a day and several hundred dollars in pursuit of that notion.

What’s so cool about being a Notary Public? Well first off, the name just sounds cool, doesn’t it? It has a certain ring to it. “Seb Frey, Notary Public.” Or I can say at cocktail parties, “Yeah, I’m a Notary Public.” Of course, all that comes within the context of being The Real Estate Guy – licensed California Real Estate Broker and Realtor, naturally. However, practicioners of the Real Estate profession do not have a squeakey-clean reputation – often times being seen as being just a step or two above a used-car salesman. I don’t think I’ve ever met a used-car salesman, but from their portrayal in popular media, close association with these folks can’t be a good thing.

But when is the last time you heard anything bad about a Notary Public? I personally have never heard anyone speak poorly of a Notary Public, although if you scour the internet you’ll find diatribes against corrupt notaries public who, for example, help illegal immigrants obtain legal identification documents through fraudluent exercise of their notarial duties. But corruption is everywhere, and generally speaking, I think, Notaries Public have a good reputation.

The possibility exists that I may actually be called upon to notarize documents as part of a real estate transaction – possibly even one that I’m involved in. While there is a general prohibition against a notary notarizing any document which is part of a transaction that the notary will benefit from, the law does specially say that an agent may notarize documents in a real estate transaction which the agent is involved in.

More likely, though, I’ll be notarizing documents for people who walk in off the street. The receptionist at my office is a Notary Public, and when she’s around, she does a fair amount of notarizing. But many people come by at odd hours looking for a Notary Public, and I often have to send them away. But soon – assuming I pass the test, that is – I will be able to personally notarize their documents! At $10 per notarized signature it will be awhile before I make my first million, but you have to start somewhere. 🙂

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