Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

November 5, 2015

Have you ever been tempted not to go into a borrower’s house?

We are all under pressure to make a living and please our clients. But, sometimes you have to use common sense as well. Notaries are called to do signings regularly. You don’t know the condition of the house or neighborhood until you get there.

If George Carlin were a Notary, he would say that going to notary jobs in decrepid homes makes you feel good twice. When you accept the notary job you say, “I’m making money.” When you open the front door and run for your life you get to feel good a second time and say, “I’m saving my life!”

By the way, how’d you like to be a leftover? If they were taking people out to be shot I wouldn’t mind. I might even volunteer! Sorry, my childhood memories of Carlin’s tape stuck in my brain I guess.

Anyway, we have a story about a notary who knew Carmen. This took place years ago. She went into a house that was so filthy, she contracted a serious bacterial infection and had to be quarantined in the hospital. It was like having Ebola. It was called Legionaire’s disease and it was life threatening.

Other times, the house has rats, or other unclean animals running around. Sometimes it is the humans who give you the creeps. Carmen did a job years ago for some guy with long toe nails. Every time he walked around you would hear the click click click of his toenails.

Don’t feel bad by refusing to go into a house. You might be saving your life, sanity, or well-being. Just Google your nearest Starbucks and request that the signing is done there.


You might also like:

The lady and the handwritten will (her house was a complete mess)

Borrowers and their filthy homes



  1. Yes, I’ve refused to enter a house because of its condition. Several years ago I was asked to do a refinance signing and given an address not too far from my home. Good deal, huh? I drove up in front of the house and thought I’d surely been given a wrong address. The weeds in the yard were more than knee high and there was plywood on the windows. It really looked deserted. I pulled up the street and got on the phone to the lender thinking I’d be given a corrected address. But \no, it was correct. So I described the conditions thinking the lender would certainly back our. I knew that when I was in the mortgage business, no lender I knew would have accepted the property. Well, they still wanted the loan and when I refused to go into the house, the lender asked if I’d call the borrower and ask him to meet me somewhere to sign the papers. So, I did. We met at a nearby Barns & Noble. Sure enough, he was a scruffy fellow I would not have wanted to meet on a dark street, or in a dark boarded up house.

    Comment by Dorris S. Cox — November 17, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

  2. Wow, this is a familiar scenario. One time I performed a closing on the hood of my car so I didn’t have to enter the premises. Standing in the driveway was just as gross as I stood in horse manure and had an inquisitive four-legged friend the entire time! Fortunately, this was just a single page signing!

    Comment by Kelli — November 17, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

  3. I did a closing in a questionable neighborhood. The party had 3 adult pit bull dogs that growled at me. They put two of them in the basement for my protection, and the third eyed me the entire time we were signing. When I rose to leave, and walked toward the door, the dog bit my sleeve and a bit of me. She was a new mom, of 9 puppies the night before I came, and she was protecting them. Things are not always what they seem.
    They were very apologetic and appreciated my coming to them since they could not leave the puppies.

    Comment by Jeanne Steidtman — November 18, 2015 @ 3:53 am

  4. The worst conditions I’ve encountered…a hoarder. When you entered the house there was barely enough room to walk for the piles of debris and papers. I had to conduct the signing with the papers on my lap. After the signing the customer wasn’t happy because her copies were not on legal paper and she filed a complaint with the title company who dinged me anyway.
    The second worse was the filth everywhere, dogs and cats roaming the house, junk piled everywhere and I believe this is the location I carried home some unwanted guests that it took me weeks to dispose of.
    I have promised myself to never get trapped in this situation again.

    Comment by Rod McGarrie — November 18, 2015 @ 5:07 am

  5. I had something like that happen to me and the lender was all upset, that I did not want to go in, I told them I could meet them at a Starbucks and they refused, so I told the lender to find someone else.
    What bothers me is some lenders just want to get it signed and don’t care what else is going on, well let someone else then, I am not willing to do it, for what we get paid, I care about my life.

    Comment by Maria Brenton — November 19, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

  6. As above, I drove up to this house and thought I was at the wrong address. I called the lender and sure enough the address was correct! This place was so bad. Weeds, garbage, old tires,etc in the front yard. Windows boarded. I called the borrower and told him I was outside and to please come out. He did and we signed on my front seat. It was winter and cold and of course I had to have the heat on. I kept gagging. All in all it wasn’t pretty. My advice is to never go into a house when you are uncomfortable. It just isn’t worth it.

    Comment by Nancy — December 7, 2015 @ 8:07 pm

  7. I am new to this business having recently retired from a government position. Based on my 40+ years in law enforcement I would say that the agent in this case made the right decision. ALWAYS follow your gut feeling… No amount of money is enough for taking undue risks.

    Comment by John Coates — December 10, 2015 @ 3:26 am

  8. I was requested to go to a sellers home to have them sign a “sellers package”. The home was in an upscale neighborhood and documents would be signed by a woman as the owner of an LLC. When I arrived for the appointment I parked across the street in shade. I noticed a woman sitting in a Mercedes about a hundred feet behind me. When I got out to get my supplies the woman also got out and called me by name. She said we couldn’t go in to the house because her husband was ill and asked if we could sign in her car. I agreed. Once we were in the car she began to drive off. At that point I realized that I had let my guard down and became very nervous. I asked where we going and she said to find a shady spot. She drove around the corner and she signed papers. She then took me back to my car and again parked a ways back so that no one from the house could see her. There were many things about this signing that made me nervous but one thing I learned is that I will NEVER get in to another persons car again. It could have ended much worse. Next time I would ask them to get in to my car or meet me in a public place. Lesson learned: always keep your guard up.

    Comment by G Yubeta — November 30, 2019 @ 4:38 pm

  9. I do not even have to tell my stories. I am shocked at the way the notary is treated and beat out of the money we should receive for completing these jobs. We encounter so many unsafe situations that could cost us our lives and the main focus is how much they could low ball us like we do not have a family to take care of. When I first started, I tried to get as many jobs as possible and most were low paying jobs so I worked ALLLLLLL day to make a certain amount. The lender did not have the papers until several hours after the appointment and was too exhausted to drive the distance to complete the signing. The notary company offered $85, I refused (it was not worth the drive), then he offered $125, I still refused (I was exhausted). The lender called and asked me how much did he pay and I explained about both amounts and the lender saide, I will pay you the entire $500 if you rest a moment and close the deal (of course I could do that after resting a moment). The notary rep called and scolded me for telling the lender and begged me for $50 of the $500 until I caved. It was a slap in the face to know that I was originally making $85 and he was making $415 but when the tables turned, I became the bad guy. That really opened my eyes and I have since then learned to take care of me and request what I believe a signing is worth with the possibility that I will lose it if they do not want to pay. Oh well, we work to hard driving all day, eating unhealthy in some cases and waiting all day for papers, entering places where we do not know what will happen to us, etc. I love reading these post because I have just added something else to my list of things I do not plan to do if I encounter a situation like some of those you all encountered. Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by MICHELLE BAILEY — January 21, 2020 @ 12:02 am

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