Return to Table of Contents for – Notary Etiquette 104
1. Dress for success.
Business casual is great. People get complaints more for dressing poorly than for being a horrible Notary. So, go to Men’s Wearhouse first, and then buy that Notary course you were thinking of. And remember — it’s not what you know — it’s how you look! Notaries who show up in shorts and flip-flops get some serious complaints and even a bad review on their profile. In short, don’t dress like me.
2. Forms you should carry
Carry loose Acknowledgment, Jurat and other certificates in your Notary Carry All Bag that you purchased from the NNA. Carry a thumb printer, wipes, and pens with you. Nothing is worse than a Notary that doesn’t have pens except one who wears flip-flops. Having good professional equipment makes you look like you know what you are doing even more than actually knowing what you are doing.
3. Arrive on time
Nothing is worse than a late notary other than one who wears flip-flops.
4. Follow up punctually
If you have to get the FedEx back, do so immediately. Do not wait to drop a package unless you are waiting for a callback. If you wait 90 minutes or more for a callback, consider that title needs their docs back and it might make sense to just drop it. That is a judgment call, so think carefully about it. If you get emails, answer them asap.
You have to be available after signings for up to the rescission date and sometimes later. If you become unreachable after the signing, you will get very serious complaints. The worst complaints we get about notaries are that they were rude, or unresponsive after they had completed work.
5. Don’t be rude
If someone is rude to you, don’t reciprocate. Your reputation is on the line. You can get penalized for being rude even if the other person deserves it. So, watch yourself!
If you are uncomfortable with animals in the room with the signing, you can politely ask if the animal can be put behind a firmly closed door. Dog owners assume that since they enjoy Fido jumping over them that it’s okay that Fido jumps all over you — after all, it’s okay because Fido’s a nice doggy.
7. Where to sit
You are the facilitator of the signing, and you call the shots where people sit at the signing. It is often easier if you sit at the head of the table with husband and wife sitting next to each other. That way when person #1 signs and turns over the document, the second person can turn it over and sign it assembly line fashion.
8. Tips for Jurats
In a Jurat, the signer has a choice of doing an Oath or Affirmation. Many Notaries today are very politically correct to the point where they assume that the borrower will be offended by an Oath and by default only do an Affirmation. This is offensive to those who want an Oath and also not legal. It is up to the borrower to choose which type of Notary act to choose, so just say,
“To execute a Jurat, we will need a statement made under the penalty of perjury as to the truthfulness of the document… would you prefer to swear under Oath under God or affirm on your honor?”
9. Leaving a business card
At the end of the signing it is not bad manners to give them a business card. You never know when they will need another notarization.
10. Do you answer the phone during a signing?
It is generally a bad idea to have phone calls during the signing. Some signing companies forbid this altogether. However, you might not be able to get your next job unless you answer your phone. So, if the phone rings, give the caller a minute before you cut them off. It is rude to answer the phone only to tell someone you can’t talk, and it is rude to the borrowers to have a long conversation with someone unrelated to the loan. This is a judgment call. However, it is sometimes hard to get a chance to talk to a Notary due to the fact they are always busy, because they are either at a signing, between signings, eating, or at church — with notaries this busy there is no good time to talk to them… ever!
Please Also Read:
Best marketing resources for Notaries. This entry goes over active vs. passive marketing in detail
Notary etiquette from Athiest to Zombie