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Content Sections:
1. Notary Terms
2. Loan/Mortgage Terms

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

Acknowledged: signer confirmed or admitted to the notary that he or she signed a document.

Acknowledgement: declaration by an individual before a notarial officer that the individual has signed a record for the purpose stated in the record and if the record is signed in a representative capacity, that the individual signed the record with proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or person identified in the record.

Acknowledgment, certificate of: 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: person making a statement under oath.

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".

Apostille: Authentication document for Hague Convention members.

Attest: To affirm to be correct, true, or genuine; corroborate.

Authenticate: To prove or verify as genuine.

Before me: act was conducted in the presence of the notary.

Certificate: notary's certificate on an affidavit.

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 to include 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.

CNSA: The acronym CNSA means "Certified Notary Signing Agent". The basic definition of a CNSA is a Notary Public who has been trained by an approved entity to handle the execution and notarization of mortgage, refinancing and real estate transactions.

Commercial Paper: 1) Any of various short-term negotiable papers originating in business transactions; or 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 third person worthy of confidence who personally knows the document signer and verifies the signer's identity. 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 ten 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.

Execute: making or completing a signature.

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

Instrument: "document."

Journal of Notarial Acts: An official record book of notarizations performed by a notary. Required by law in the many states and officially recommended in most 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.

Jurat: An affidavit declaring when, where, and before whom it was sworn.

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

L.S. (locus sigilli): Indicates where the official notary seal imprint is to be placed. Latin term Locus Sigilli means "place of the seal".

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 preprinted 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.

Notarial Act: act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record, that a notarial officer may perform under the law of North Dakota, including taking an acknowledgement, administering an oath or affirmation, taking a verification on oath or affirmation, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument.

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: A Notary Public who has been trained to handle the execution and notarization of mortgage, refinancing and real estate transactions.

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

Personal knowledge: having an acquaintance, derived from association with the individual, which establishes the individual's identity with at least a reasonable certainty.

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: 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.

S.S. or SCT: Indicates where the notarization is performed. Latin term Silicet means "in particular" or "namely". Commonly referred to as jurisdiction.

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

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

Signing Agent: A Notary Public who has been trained to handle the execution and notarization of mortgage, refinancing and real estate transactions.

Signing Service: A company who subcontracts signing appointments to "Loan Document Signers" (Notary Public) 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 public.

Stamping device: a physical device capable of affixing an official stamp to a tangible record.

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

Subscribed: "signature" or "signed."

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 on oath or affirmation (formerly known as jurat): declaration made by an individual on oath or affirmation before a notary public that a statement in a record is true.

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.


Borrowers Affidavit: This document must be signed by the borrower in the presence of a notary public. In the document the borrower attests that they have not done anything to affect the title to property, that they are not the subject of divorce or bankruptcy proceedings, etc.

Borrowers Certification: Document that states that the borrower/s have applied for a mortgage loan from the “Lender”, understand and agree that the lender has the right to the full loan review process, and fully understand that it is a Federal crime punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, to knowingly make false statements when applying for this mortgage.

Borrower Information: This document is to be completed entirely by the borrower(s) and signed.

Certificate of VA Eligibility: Document issued by the Veterans Administration to qualified veterans which entitles them to VA-guaranteed loans. Obtainable through local VA offices by submitting form DD-214 (Separation Paper) and VA form 1880 (request for Certificate of Eligibility).

Closing Instructions: This document contains instructions from the lender specifying certain loan requirements and conditions.

Compliance Agreement: Document signed by the borrowers stating that they will help the lender after closing to correct errors in the documents at the lenders request. This is meant to only apply to clerical errors so that the loan will meet requirements from Fannie Mae or FHA, etc.

Consumer Choice Disclosure: This disclosure is provided to the borrower because they may have inquired about a lender-affiliated mortgage or escrow company. The lender is stating that any referrals were only suggestions and that the borrower is free to choose any company that he/she desired.

Deed of Trust/Mortgage: This document secures the subject property as collateral in consideration for the loan, and is recorded with the county. Have the borrower check that the loan amount is correct and that the length of the loan is accurate. Since this document is recorded, as long as there are no specific restrictions in your state and/or county, have the borrowers initial every page. The document is a standard form; therefore the terms and paragraphs in the body of the document may, or may not apply to the loan. This document will need notarization.

Deed of Trust/Mortgage Riders: At the end of the Deed of Trust/Mortgage there may be a list of Riders (additions or amendments) to the document. If one or more of the boxes are checked, then the appropriate Rider will be attached. Examples include the Condominium Rider, 1-4 Family Rider, and Balloon Rider.

Direct Endorsement HUD/FHA Insured Mortgage: This is a mortgage program developed by the federal government. It allows purchasers to obtain a mortgage with a minimal down payment. FHA mortgage insurance is required because of the low down payment to the risk. When the mortgage is paid off, funds must be received by the lender by the first of the month or another month's interest is added to the payoff.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) Disclosure: Federal law requires creditors to make credit equally available without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status or receipt of income from public assistance programs.

Escrow Account Disclosure: Account held by lender containing funds collected in conjunction with monthly mortgage payments. Also known as impounds, the funds in this account are held in trust by the lender on behalf of the borrower, and are used to pay expenses such as property taxes and homeowner's insurance.

Escrow Transfer Request (Irrevocable Assignment of Escrow): This form must be signed by the borrower if the borrower's lender has an escrow account. Since the new lender gives credit to the borrower for the amount of money in this account, this document instructs the previous lender to send any funds remaining in the escrow account to the new lender when the mortgage is paid off.

Escrow Waiver Agreement: This document allows the lender to waive its right to require the borrower to establish an escrow impound account to pay for such things as real estate taxes or hazard insurance premiums.

First Payment Letter: This document states when the borrowers first payment is due, and what is has been estimated to be.

Flood Certification: Federal law requires that you obtain flood insurance, if you obtain a mortgage, and you property is in a designated flood zone. This fee is paid to a third party to determine the flood zone status of your property, and to notify us of changes to the flood zone map that effect your property during the life of your loan.

Good Faith Estimate: Written estimate of costs the borrower will pay at closing, provided by a lender within three days of loan application.

HUD-1 Statement/Settlement Statement: This document is generated at the close of escrow and details all costs and expenses that are associated with the transaction. Included in the HUD are: the settlement charges to borrower, the amount of the loan to be paid off, the gross amount due from the borrower, the principle amount of the new loan, and any other deposits or fees. If there is an amount or an “x” on line 303 or 1601, that will let the notary know that there are additional funds to be collected from or provided to the borrower. Generally, if there is no addendum to the HUD, there will be a place on each page of the HUD for the borrower's signature.

HUD-1 Addendum/Acknowledgement: This is an additional page that may be attached, and verifies that the borrowers have read and understand the HUD. This document will require borrower's signatures.

Loan Application/1003: An initial statement of personal and financial information required to approve a loan provided by the borrower and necessary to initiate the approval process for a loan. This document is required by lenders prior to loan approval, borrowers must sign original copy at time of closing.

Loan Servicing Disclosure: The collection of mortgage payments from borrowers and related responsibilities (such as handling escrows for property tax and insurance, foreclosing on defaulted loans and remitting payments to investors). Will disclose whether the borrower's loan will be sold.

Lock Confirmation Worksheet: A lender's guarantee of an interest rate and related points for a set period of time, usually between loan application and loan closing. Protects borrower against rate increases during that time.

Mortgage: See Deed of Trust.

Mortgagors (Occupancy) Affidavit: This document is used by the Federal Housing Administration to insure the loan, or by the Veteran's Administration to guarantee the loan, or by a Private Mortgage Insurance Company to insure the loan. This document also states whether or not the borrower intends to occupy the property as a primary residence. It also determines if a property is located in a special flood hazard area. This document will need to be signed and notarized.

Note: The Note is the loan agreement, and it outlines the terms of the loan. The note includes: address of the property, loan amount, lender, interest rate, date on which first payment of the new loan is due, where the payments are to be mailed, monthly payment, percentage charged by the lender if the payment is more than 15 days late.

Notice of Right to Cancel: If the loan allows for the borrower to cancel the loan that is being signed within three business days (including Saturday) this notice will be included. National Holidays are excluded from the calculation of three business days.

Overnight Fee Statement: This allows the lender to use overnight express mail to payoff the previous mortgage. Let the borrower know that this fess is already reflected in their HUD-1 statement.

Patriot Act Disclosure: Closing agent must confirm each Borrower's identity with an acceptable form of valid ID. Closing agent must sign and date this form. Borrowers must sign and closing agent must complete and sign the bottom section of the “Important Applicant Information” sheet that follows.

Payoff Letter: This document authorizes the lender to payoff the old loan with the funds from the new (refinance) loan.

Payoff Statement: Itemizes the old loan with other fees that may include: prepayment interest, optional insurance, fees required for payoff, funds to be credited, and funds to be retained. This tells the borrower(s) how the amount of payoff of the old loan was reached. Generally, the total payoff amount on this statement will match the payoff amount listed on the HUD-1 statement.

Privacy Disclosure: States that the lender does not disclose any nonpublic information about the borrower to anyone, except as permitted by law.

Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form (4506): Allows lender to get a tax return transcript, verification that you did not file a federal tax return, form W-2 information, or a copy of a tax form. This document is for each individual borrower, so there should be one for each borrower.

Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (W-9): Allows lender to request and review tax return information from the borrower, and/or governmental agencies. This document is for each individual borrower, so there should be one for each borrower.

Signature Affidavit: Document that records your legal name and signature, and any other variations of your legal name.

Subordination Agreement: This document alters the priority of existing liens against the property, such as an existing HELOC or second mortgage, ensuring that the new Deed/Mortgage will be placed in the first position on the title of the property. There may be multiple subordination agreements. This document requires notarization. This document will usually have notarized signatures from the entity that is agreeing to the terms of the subordination agreement. Notarization of the borrower(s) signatures must also be completed on the agreement.

Tax Authorization Form: This authorizes the lender to withhold monies from the borrower's monthly payment to pay their taxes and insurance.

Truth-In-Lending Disclosure: Federal law requires written disclosure of the terms of a mortgage by a lender to a prospective borrower within three business days of application. Discloses the following to the borrower: annual percentage rate, finance charges, amount financed, total number of payments, and the amount of each payment associated with the loan.


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