From Zero to 40 Loans Signed–part time–in Seven Weeks: No Longer a Newbie
123: I’m happy to hear that things are going so well! A few months ago, you had done zero signings! What happened? Did you take our advice?
Jennifer: Yes– I did my Notes section as you suggested. I highlighted my background as a notary for a venture capital firm, and my experience with documents and technology; also, I described what kind of person I am. I took a chance. Once I got that first signing, it all changed. For a few weeks, when I would tell a company on the phone, “This will be my first one,” they would say, “No thanks.” But finally, one escrow company hired me. I told her, in desperation, “I just need someone to give me a chance.” I guess she heard the sound of my voice, and she said, “I’ll give you a chance.” That’s how it started.
I was terrified. I didn’t sleep the whole night before. I arrived a half an hour early for the signing. The people said, “You could have come to the door early. We saw you sitting there in the car.” It went ok, although I made a few mistakes. I made quite a few mistakes at the beginning. I did not write my name on the acknowledgement…and one time I forgot to write my commission expiration date…once, on the Right to cancel, I put the transaction date instead of the rescission date. The escrow company fixed it for me.
I had six signings from that company. Then, I had some from a signing company that contacted me–from 123notary. All they asked me was how many signings I had done. I exaggerated a bit (not recommended), and got the work, fifteen jobs over the course of a month. The documents were different from what I had been signing. Sometimes there are new documents I have never seen– a Loan Summary. I called the company that hired me. The company ended up calling Wells Fargo, and they said “Oops, that was not supposed to be in there.” The biggest challenge I have had is that some lenders wait until half an hour before the signing to get the documents. I have to print the docs, put in signature flags. Once, there was no Note! I called and said, “There is no Note. I am at a signing. Did I screw up?” They checked–and they had not included it. Also, the signing co said, when I asked about payment, “YES– we are going to pay you. But what notaries do not realize is that sometimes notaries do not show up and that costs us money.” They pay in 60 days. But I checked their reputation and got all their policies in writing when I signed up. I am willing to wait to be paid in order to start out.
If the signing is far away, I barely get the documents before I have to print and leave. Some places require copies of the IDs, and borrowers do not always get these. Somehow taking pictures with my phone does not come out well. I am going to try a different method to get this done.
The hardest thing, I think, for me was I didn’t realize how much prep work I would do before each signing. I may be one of the few who do so much prep, but I feel that’s the only way to really be prepared at a signing. The prep work includes printing docs if needed, (which also reminds me that I go through much more paper and toner than I thought I would), going through and dating everything, putting signing stickers in appropriate places, logging all notarized pages in the journal and then the business tracking aspects. For example, I have a log to keep track of all mileage – and it took a while to train myself to look at the mileage reading BEFORE I left for the signing, sending invoices to those who require them, sending out confirmation messages that closings are complete when required, or going to designated sites to update the status of closings, etc. And then finally, staying on top of who has paid and who hasn’t, tracking supplies, advertising and other expenses for taxes.
You have to learn to NOT have expectations when you do these signings; you have to not be afraid to ask questions (of the company I work for). I have seen at least 5 or 6 different forms of signature affidavits. And you have to be prepared for everything. How do you treat the borrowers? How will they treat each other, and how will I handle that? I have tried not to call the company at a signing, so I go over all the docs before I get there. And you never know who you are going to run into: I did a signing for the brother of a college boyfriend, someone I had known many years before. It was fine with him, but I did give him the option of using another notary.
But it is working out! One of the companies I found out about at 123 calls me practically everyday now!
I also met someone at a course I was taking. He said, “Oh, you’re a notary? My son works for a title co; here is his card.” They gave me quite a bit of work, and I worked very hard. One time, the wife said she did not know the husband was supposed to sign, and I went to meet him at a baseball game to get his signature. The company offered to pay me $125 (more than I had asked) because I went the extra mile!
40 signings in, I had a signing where the person was not very friendly. I would not have done well with that 30 signings ago. But by the end, the person told me how much personality I had and how much she appreciated my comments! I feel so much better now about the whole process. Seven weeks– and I am getting one job a day by now! It’s great. If I hadn’t started following the advice of 123, who knows how it would have gone?