Category: In the News

High Real Estate Prices and the Impact on Notary Work: Challenges and Adaptations

The real estate market is currently experiencing a period of remarkable growth and high real estate prices, with property prices soaring in many regions. While this trend can bring financial gains to homeowners and investors, it also has far-reaching effects on various sectors of the economy.

Notary work, which plays a crucial role in mortgage and real estate transactions, is no exception. The surge in real estate prices presents both challenges and opportunities for notaries as they navigate the evolving landscape.

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Mortgage Rates Continue to Climb

Would be buyers took another hit this week as mortgage rates continue to climb. Under normal circumstances, housing prices would fall, but low inventory continues to raise prices, as demand is exceeding supply.

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Student Loans and the Housing Market

We doubt anyone was thinking about student loans a few months ago, except for those that have them. But, they have a looming effects on the housing market, already hit hard by high interest rates.

Why Student Loans will Affect the Market

Look back to the pandemic. Extreme measures were implemented to ease the economic suffering of so many people. In that regard, payments for federal student loans have been frozen.

And that is about to change. At the beginning of October the freeze ends and potential home buyers will see another bill coming their way.

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Notarizing Someone’s Blood

We’ve seen some strange individual signings, but our tales of the bizarre has a new story. One of which a notary had to notarize someone’s blood for authenticity.

Wait, Did You Say Notarizing Someone’s Blood

This is already the talk of the skate board industry. Skating legend Tony Hawk had blood removed so it can be added to paint. The paint would be used on a limited line of skateboards.

We’re not talking about mortgage or title. The integrity of blood is on the line.

Those skateboards would then be sold at a high price to collectors of skateboards, as well as fans of bloody things.

We imagine the conversation went like this:

  1. Collect blood
  2. Mix blood into paint
  3. Paint neat designs with said blood.
  4. ???????
  5. PROFIT!

And at the end of the day, they needed a notary to certify the blood was authentic, and not some blood from someone pretending to be Tony Hawk.

But the real question is:

Did the notary ask for Tony’s signature in blood for their kid’s wall? We kid, we kid.

Notarizing Someone's Blood

It is All for a Good Cause

If we can get serious for a moment.

This limited edition of one hundred skateboards helps a couple of charities, not the new vampire skateboarding team.

Ordered by bottled water company Liquid Death, proceeds will go to 5 Gyres, as well as Tony’s personal charity, The Skateboard Project.

100 of the fully notarized and bloody skateboards will be sold for $500 apiece.

And that is the story of person who was notarizing someone’s blood.

Sunshine Signing Service

Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services!

Increase your efficiency and bottom line with Sunshine’s Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services. Sunshine is always there when you need us.

Or Call us at (727) 817-0000

Notary Fees are Decreased in Mississippi

In a defeat to static notaries, Mississippi has passed a bill to lower notary fees in Mississippi.

The changes essentially make the maximum amount that can be charged for a signing to five dollars. That is five dollars a signature for documents notarized.

This may be a blow to storefront notaries, as the benefit of offering notarizations may have decreased as a different loss leader may offer more value.

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Remote Notarizations in New York Expired

We’ve talked quite a bit about temporary rules, and the temp rules for remote notarizations expired in New York.

Lost in the shuffle of the return to our national holiday, the rules allowing remote notarizations in the state of New York expired. All notaries in the state were alerted before the expiration started, but new rules are yet to be issued.

How We Got Here

Governor Cuomo signed an executive order in March of 2020 implementing emergency rules for remote notarization, as well as a slew of other things. All of these were stated to end in July 2021.

The order included things like remote notarization, travel restrictions, a state of emergency, among others. All of those have been rolled back, but only a few, like using online notaries are stuck in limbo. A couple of other orders have already been extended, including paid leave rules.

What is up Next for Remote Notarizations in New York

Remote Notarization Rules in New York Expire

A bill has already been presented to the state Senate, where it has already passed committee. It is expected to be passed through the legislature and signed by the governor, but the exact timeline on that is unknown.

What is known is it will pass. What, if any, changes to the original order remain to be seen, as the bill could still go through some negotiations.

As we move forward it is important to stay on top of things. Expiring rules, new rules, updated rules are all coming, and they will be hard to keep track of.

States, Counties, Online Notarizations and Complications

New complications are as states move to go forward with online signings.

As states move to approve their versions of RON signings, it has come up across the country where specific county or local laws prohibit things like the way recordings are legally performed. This is now leading to a move to get specific counties to jump on board.

But, that is easier said than done, and certain states could have ongoing issues.

There are still limitations to the usefulness of RON, and it remains to be seen if these limitations will recede over time. While all counties in Oregon now accept electronic recording of documents notarized by the traditional in-person method, not all counties accept documents notarized by RON.

JD Supra

A Tad Bit Confusing

Maybe more than a tad.

The variety of laws regarding online signings and the variety of hurdles remain significant. While there is no doubt what direction we are headed in, the path to the destination may seem like the Wonderful Wizard of RON.

As we continue to travel the maze, we would recommend you get any training and/or licensing you need. You will need.

How Can You Avoid a Potentially Invalid Signing

Complications for Online Signings

To be honest, there is probably no perfect solution.

But, work with your clients, the ones who do business there. They cannot operate if the signing is invalid, so they are quite invested in the situation.

You can try to check by using a search engine, but that may be futile. Even if you find what you are looking for, does not mean you understand it.

But, we would recommend to know your area. Even if that means calling or going personally to ask. It may not be the core of your business, but it sure would seem that you know your business if and when it comes up. And if you are properly networking in the community, it will come up sooner or later.

Imagine being able to step in and rectify a problem before it starts. Now that kind of expertise and customer service will go a long way into making you their go to notary.

Sunshine Signing Service

Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services!

Increase your efficiency and bottom line with Sunshine’s Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services. Sunshine is always there when you need us.

Or Call us at (727) 817-0000

Federal Judge Bans Eviction Moratorium

A federal judge in Washington DC struck down the national eviction moratorium across the country on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Fiedrich of the District of Columbia ruled that the CDC does not have the authority to create and enforce a law regarding evictions. In other words, it is outside of their purview.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the legal authority to impose a national eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling could potentially impact millions of households that have fallen behind on rent.

Fast Company

Challenge Incoming

The Department of Justice has indicated that they plan to appeal the ruling. They have now appealed the ruling. The Biden administration has said that they are reviewing the ruling and considering their options in regard to the ruling.

The Justice Department has asked the judge to put a stay on the ruling while the appeals process plays out. No response has been given on whether or not the stay will be granted. The judge has now temporarily stayed the ruling.

Judge strikes down Eviction Moratorium

The Biden administration has indicated it is attempting to pass a 50 billion dollar relief package for renters and landlords. During the moratorium it was declared that back rent would be owed when the moratorium was lifted, though no good process has been set forward, and industry analysts have indicated it will be very difficult to collect back rent for those who could not afford it, or used their stimulus funds for other expenditures.

State and Local Impact

The federal order will not preempt certain eviction moratoriums at the state and local levels.

But, expect more appeals to be filed in those locales based on this ruling. Though a complete list of local and state regulations regarding the eviction moratorium is outside our purview, one of the states whose moratorium will stand is New York.

The ruling will not affect New York’s laws because they are more stringent than the federal measure, said Sen. Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, who sponsored the moratorium legislation in the Senate. “It doesn’t have any direct effect at all,” he said.

Democrat and Chronicle

The Argument for the Moratorium

Proponents of the eviction moratorium are varied.

Some say that any evictions will make the Covid crisis worse, making the virus easier to spread. They assert that is why the CDC has the authority to enforce the moratorium as it affects public health.

Others assert that during a time of crisis it is unethical to allow evictions. Many of them believe that a rental property is an investment, and that the landlords chose to take that risk.

The more fringe proponents believe that rent is unethical altogether.

The Argument Against the Moratorium

For those who support ending the moratorium, they say that while renters have been provided stimulus, landlords have not. And there have been no provisions enforcing renters to use any of the money from stimulus checks or the expanded unemployment to pay rent.

Some landlords have been hit harder than others. Most have been willing to work with renters to get through the pandemic by updating leases or allowing renters to pay what they can afford. Others have stated they have tenants that are abusing the eviction moratorium altogether, with no plan to pay rent, or use any of the stimulus funds to pay rent.

Regarding the investment argument, landlords have asserted that the moratorium goes beyond simply opening up their risk in investment. They say that if the units are empty, then that is the risk they take in the investment. But, since the renters are allowed to stay in the properties, the landlords are forced to pay additional losses that fall outside of what their investment should entail.

It should be noted that some areas and leases require the landlord to also pay utilities and other costs, and they should not be forced to do so, as many landlords find themselves in the same financial predicament of their renters. Their have been a number of court allowed evictions across the country for abuse of this. In one, tenants ran up $2,000 of utility costs in a single month to spite the landlord.

The Job Market and Unemployment

As the economy has rebounded, many employers are looking for workers. Local business owners we have spoken with say they have job openings they cannot get applicants for.

Others have indicated that the few applicants they have had, have no interest in the job. That they have basically asserted in job interviews they are only doing so to meet unemployment requirements.

While we’ll admit that some of this is anecdotal, the job problem is very real.

The coronavirus pandemic forced many businesses to close their doors and turn away customers and employees, but as many of those businesses and restaurants begin to reopen, they are looking for employees to fill available positions as they keep up with increased demand for their goods and services.

CBS 4, Miami

The Effects for Notaries

This was always going to boil over at some point.

For notaries, better or worse, this will result in a large amount of foreclosures across the country. After those foreclosures will come a lot of property sales, most likely much larger than the amount normally seen.

This can be seen as a financial positive for notaries.

This may be slightly tempered by the drastic increase in the price of properties during the crisis. Some economists have argued that Covid has created a bubble in the housing market. One that may lead to another crash in housing prices.

An earlier end to the moratorium, while still popping the bubble, may do so before it gets too large. Most of us remember in 2007 the bubble was too large and left many homeowners under water, compounding the crisis.

Whatever way you personally feel about this situation, it is something that will have a large effect on the notary industry.

Sunshine Signing Service

Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services!

Increase your efficiency and bottom line with Sunshine’s Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services. Sunshine is always there when you need us.

Or Call us at (727) 817-0000

Mortgage Rates Rise as Lenders Attempt to Limit New Applications

Mortgage rates are starting to rise as lenders try to stem new applications.

Lenders have been swamped with new applications as low interest rates have led to rising home prices and, more importantly, applications.

Why Slow Apps?

While low interest rates have kept the real estate engine moving during the COVID era, some lenders were already finding the low interest rates untenable.

A couple of large lenders had already capped applications based on loan size, while instead focusing on things like fulfilling PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loans. One large lender we know of stopped fulfilling home loans under two million dollars.

Other lenders stepped forward to fill the gap, but growing numbers of lenders are growing wary of the large number of loans at such low rates.

Lenders Raise Interest Rates

The Bustling Housing Market

As millions have lost work and thousands of businesses have failed, the housing market has helped to buoy the economy.

The massive drop in rates has led to large gains in home prices in most markets, while refinancing has opened the door for lower payments during a time when many need them.

But, long term forecasts are more uncertain. The last thing the industry wants to see is a market with declining prices as we move forward. And let’s face it, neither do buyers, especially after so many were left under water for so long after the real estate crash of 2007.

How Far Will Rates Rise?

Right now we are seeing rates rise between a quarter and a half a point. But, some analysts see this continuing as lenders try to make loans more profitable, hedging their bets from the low interest rates.

Refinance rates are a little more stable, but higher rates appear to be on the horizon. Business outlets like Fox Business are starting to advise those looking to refinance to do so sooner than later.

Has This Affected Notaries?

In some cases, yes. Between the busy market and some notaries sitting out signings due to the pestilence, there has been a notary squeeze for some.

Online signings have (very) slowly started to creep in, but quickly changing rules, no national standard, and work from home have all complicated the situation.

While work from home has been a blessing for many, large institutions are running into issues with training. In an industry where a single typo on a 40 page doc can wreck a transaction, training employees to exacting standards in all 50 states is onerous.

Especially when you are training tens of thousands of them.

If we’ve learned anything in the last year it is to expect the unexpected. Notary demand will remain strong, though.

Sunshine Signing Service

Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services!

Increase your efficiency and bottom line with Sunshine’s Mobile Notary Services and Online Notary Services. Sunshine is always there when you need us.

Or Call us at (727) 817-0000