Proper notarizations: tips for the consumer

Services for Real Estate Pros with Mobile Notary Services

I received a call last Saturday from someone requesting mobile notary service.  The document was part of a Colorado Professional License application. This wasn't the first time this person had this particular document notarized. 

Why a second time?

rejectedThey were doing it for a second time because there was a critical error with the first submission of the application: the notary didn't add their notary signature.  So the teacher's application was rejected, and it had to be resubmitted.

There is no need for this kind of inconvenience.  If the consumer knows what elements to look for in a notarization, they can point out any errors to the notary and have it corrected on the spot. 


The following are some of the most critical parts to any notarization:

The notary certificate should indicate in what state and county the notarization took place.  This is what is called the 'venue'.  For example:


The notary certificate may have been prepared by an agency with a venue other than where the notarization is actually taking place.  If this happens, make sure that the notary lines through the incorrect wording, initials it, then inserts the correct wording.  If the notary certificate indicates 'County of Pueblo', but the notarization is physically taking place in the county of 'El Paso', then the word 'Pueblo' will have to be lined through and corrected.

commission expirationThe commission expiration date: 

Every notary in Colorado has a commission expiration date, and it should be indicated on the notary certificate.  For example: 'My commission expires December 27, 2009'

This can be written in by hand or done with a stamp.



The date of the notarization should also be indicated in the notary certificate.

notary embosserNotary Seal: The notary certificate should bear the notary's seal.  In Colorado, this can be done either with an ink stamp or an embosser.

notary ink seal


Also, don't be worried if the notary doesn't place the notary seal exactly where you think it should be. If the document has the words 'Notary Seal', but there isn't enough room in that spot, the notary may choose to place the seal in a spot where there is enough room -- as long as they don't cover any of the wording on the document. And if there isn't enough room, don't be alarmed if the notary takes out a separate sheet of paper, called a 'loose certificate' , and completely ignores the notary certificate on your document.  This is commonly done if there isn't enough room on the document for a notary seal, or if the wording on the document doesn't conform to Colorado law.  The notary will write the words 'See attached certificate' on the original document and staple the loose certificate to it.

he/she/theyGender and number elements:  If the notary certificate has the wording 'he/she/they' to indicate who appeared before the notary, then only one of the words can apply and the others should be crossed out.  For example, if the notarization is for a male, then the words 'she' and 'they' would be crossed out.


Check to make sure that the notary spelled your name correctly.  If not, then have the notary correct it.

notary signatureNotary's signature:  This is the reason why the teacher's application was rejected, but it is one of the most important elements. 

Make sure that the notary signs the certificate with their correct signature.


If you are a victim of an improper notarization, you may not want to use that same notary again.  However, you may want to file a complaint against them.  You can do that through the Colorado Secretary of State using a Notary Complaint Form.  See under: General Information --> 'File a complaint against a notary'

approvedThe consumer should not have to be inconvenienced by an improper notarization.  If you know what to look for, you can avoid having to go through what this teacher had to go through.  No one wants to have their application (or any important document) rejected -- especially if it's through the fault of someone else.

Hopefully these few tips will help you to avoid any inconvenience or costs due to an improper notarization. 



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Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

I wonder if anyone that comes up with these schemes ever looks into what the penalties are.  Just boggles my mind for the amount of money, the risk bad people will take.

Apr 14, 2009 02:17 PM #1
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Leon Austin

Colorado Springs Mobile Notary
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