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Printers 101:

As a full time signing agent, your printer is arguably the most important piece of equipment next to your smartphone.  Dual tray laser printers are a must for their speed, reliability, features, and cost per print.  Inkjet printers just don't' cut it even though some notaries may swear by them.  The problem with inkjet printers is that many of them do not have enough memory, offer no options for a large second tray, and are unable to handle a large volume of printing due to their smaller, more expensive cartridges. In addition, inkjet print outs have a tendency to smudge versus a laser print out.  Therefore, a laser printer with a second large tray (Example 500 sheets) to handle legal or letter size paper is imperative.  Since there are a plethora of brands, models, and price points to choose from, we've compiled a list of what to shop for, reliable brands, and models.

1.  Look for a laser printer with a minimum print out of 30 pages per minute and 64mb of memory.  Loan packages on average are 100+ pages and their associated pdf files can be up to 8mb compressed and 100mb uncompressed.  The faster your printer can print, the more you'll appreciate your investment and less time waiting for print jobs.  However, like computers, faster printers command higher prices for better performance.

2.  Be sure your laser printer has an option to add at least a second 500 sheet tray and then purchase this option.  As you know, most loan docs are mixed letter and legal size and so your software or printer will automatically pull from the correct tray without lifting a finger.  Having a second tray eliminates the drudgery of manually changing paper sizes if you only have one tray.

3.  Price out the toner for the printer you're interested in buying.  Printer manufacturers produce high yield toner cartridges (up to 10K-25k pages) that can be cost effective but somewhat expensive.  In our experience, they are well worth it even though they may be twice as expensive.  We will have a separate post on how to buy ink cartridges at a later date.

4.  We highly recommend HP as a printer manufacturer due to our experience and especially if you're under a Windows operating system.  We've had an HP 2430n for the past 10 years and have literally printed thousands of pages to it while still running like new.  The only caveat is that you need the Windows version of Acrobat to take full advantage of its automatic dual tray features.  Brother and Xerox are also reliable brands that many notaries purchase.  From what we've read, Xerox and possibly some Brother printers have more advanced firmware when it come to printing to dual trays (does not rely on Adobe Acrobat) and in theory, more Mac OS friendly.  However, please call Xerox and Brother to confirm this if you're under a Mac OS.  We can't recommend Epson since they have discontinued manufacturing laser printers here in the US.

5.  Check to see if the printer is serviceable with OEM parts.  Typically, printers that are under the $300 or $400 range are considered "Disposable".  If a disposable printer breaks down, you may be caught in a bind to purchase a new one and stuck with cartridges that are not compatible.  We highly recommend investing in a printer where the fuser, rollers, pads, etc. can be replaced.

6.  Consider buying an all in one printer which consolidates your equipment.  Multi-function Copy, Scan, Fax and Print units are the way to go if you don't have much desk space.

Models we recommend as of December, 2013:

1.  HP LaserJet Pro 400 Printer M401dw - Great printer for it's built-in wireless capability, respectable speed at 35ppm, and affordability:

2. HP LaserJet Enterprise P3015n Printer - Faster than the 400 at 42ppm but wireless capability is optional.

3. HP LaserJet Enterprise 600 Printer M602n - The fastest printer in the group at 52ppm but wireless capability is optional.

4.  Xerox Phaser 3320 - Low cost printer with respectable 37ppm speed with built-in wi-fi.  Although, we can't vouch for Xerox reliability.

5.  Xerox Phaser 3610 - Fast 47ppm printing but wi-fi is optional.  Although, we can't vouch for Xerox reliability.

6.  Xerox WorkCentre 3325 - Feature rich, multi-function, printer with respectable speed, wi-fi, and affordability.

7. Brother HL-6180DW - Fast 42ppm, built-in wi-fi.  Although, we can't vouch for Brother reliability.
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If you are unaware of the new requirements from Fidelity National Financial that began last month on November 1st, 2013, secondary background checks are now required for its preferred lenders and any of its subsidiaries: Bank of America, BMO Harris, JP Morgan Chase, Union Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo.  This list may expand in the future.  FNF will only accept two vendor's background checks at this time from the National Notary Association or Sterling Info Systems.  You will also need to fill out their release form where we've attached a link for download.

FNF approved Background Check Companies:
National Notary Association: or 1-800-876-6821
Sterling Info Systems: or 1-800-899-2272
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