Where To Find A Notary Public

Now you know you need a notary, where should go? Notary publics are not free but what they can charge is limited by state law, usually a few dollars. That means the best option is the one that is easiest and most convenient, since price isn’t a differentiator (in Maryland, it’s $2 per notarial act).
Your Company

The cost of having someone certified to be a notary public is usually very small (in Maryland, you are certified for four years and it costs $20), so administrative assistants in many companies will be notaries. When I bought my house, I used a company notary to notarize the document. It’s, by far, the most convenient way to have a document notarized because you’re already at the office.

Your Bank

In the case of financial documents, banks often have notaries to notarize financial documents. If they are not financial documents, chances are your bank will refuse on the basis that their insurance doesn’t cover it (which makes sense). When I was looking for a notary, I tried calling my local Bank of America branch and they refused because it wasn’t a financial document.
UPS Store

This is probably the easiest way to get a document notarized because almost every UPS Store owner is a notary. To confirm, go to UPS Store’s store locator to find a store near you, and call to double check the listing is correct. The listing will show you the Products & Services they offer and Notary Services is usually listed under “Additional Products and Services” (the last section, in the third column), but double check to save yourself a trip. Also, find out when the notary will be there because they might have out sick or have stepped out.

Actually, you can’t notarize documents on your behalf. I added this because with the low cost of certification, you might be tempted to become a notary public. At least in Maryland, it’s explicitly stated that “Notaries should refrain from performing any official acts for members of their immediate family or any acts where the notary is personally involved or may benefit from the outcome of the document.” It’s a simple conflict of interest issue.

So the next time you need a notary public, check to see if someone in your company is a notary. If not, head over to a UPS store. I wouldn’t bother searching the web or doing anything else to find a notary because it’ll only cause you headaches. My first reaction was to hit up Google and I emailed three or four local notary publics, none of them replied. I walked into the UPS store and was done in five minutes.

Important Antique Questions

How old does an item have to be to be an antique?

There is a great debate about how old an item has to be to be considered an antique. The standard is 100 or more years. There are some antique dealers out there that like to say 50 years. This is so they can sell more items as antiques and charge higher values.

Is my item valuable because it is an antique?

Just because the item is an antique does not mean it has a high value. Age is one of the many factors in determining an antique value. Here is a short list of factors that make an antique valuable:

  • The age of the antique
  • The condition of the antique
  • Rarity of the antique
  • Market demand for the antique
  • Maker of the antique
  • Quality of the antique

How can I tell if my antique is real?

Trying to determine the authenticity of an antique can be very hard. Most popular antiques went into reproduction as soon as they hit the market.  Even if the item is from the correct time period it can still be a reproduction. Most of the time the term period piece is used to represent this. Research is one of the best tools you can use to determine the authenticity of an antique. If you have any uncertainty about the authenticity of an antique I would suggest finding a specialist in that field to help.

How does the condition of an item affect its value?

There are many answers to this question. Damage can have a dramatic effect on the value of an antique. If an antique is very rare, minor damage is going to have less of an effect on the value than if the same damage was on a mass produced antique that can be found rather easily. With common antiques minor damage usually has about a 25-50% effect on the value.

Where do appraisers get there information for an appraisal?

We get our information from many sources. Here are some of the resources we use:

  • Comparable sales over the last 5 years
  • Past auctions
  • Antique retail dealers
  • eBay
  • Antique trade magazines
  • A network of appraisers and specialist

Should I clean my antique?

Cleaning an antique can cause damage. This damage may not be seen right away. Before cleaning an antique make sure you research the best method you should use to clean your antique. The recommended way to do this is to have your antique cleaned professionally or to ask a specialist. Many cleaners today can have harsh affects on antiques. Dusting your antiques and general cleaning will help protect your antique items and their values.

What is the best way to sell my antique collection?

The answer to this question varies a lot depending on the situation of the sale. When selling antiques you have many options. Depending on your situation and the amount of work you want to do will determine what your best option is. Here is a list of places to sell your antiques:

  • Auction houses
  • eBay
  • Consignment with an antique store
  • Private sale
  • Newspaper or online ad service such as craigslist

When collecting antiques your best tool is knowledge. Doing some research can save you time and money.