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

January 1, 2018

Following directions is more important than you think

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In,Popular on Twitter — admin @ 3:55 am

We quiz people on all types of topics ranging from Notary questions, loan signing questions, to situational questions and following directions. The problem is that only 50% of our seasoned Notaries follow directions and the newer ones only about 25%. These are not good odds if you have something to lose.

People who use 123notary are often title companies or brokers who could lose thousands in commissions or fees if you goof on their loan. Knowing what you are doing (not claiming to know what you are doing but actually knowing) is part of the equation. But, following directions is the other part. Many Notaries just ignore what you say and do what they normally do rather than following directions.

I have two recent stories of brokers who lost large amounts of money because the Notary did not follow directions. One lost $5000 because the Notary did not show the pages in the order he was instructed to. The result was that by the time the signer got to the document that the broker needed signed to get a commission, he no longer wanted to sign. In another case, a broker lost $3500 because the Notary did not follow directions about something else.

Then there are the Notaries who don’t bother to learn how to fill out a certificate form. If you forget to initial a change, the entire loan might be ruined or put on hold. I get so many complaints of Notary mistakes that it isn’t funny. Then there are the Notaries who do not fill out the additional information on a loose acknowledgment, and then the acknowledgment gets attached to a different document. Next thing you know you could end up in court.

So, sloppy work, incorrect work, and not following directions can get you in big trouble fast. Not keeping a good journal could also get you in trouble, but the trouble might not come for years. But, errors on certificates will get you in trouble fast!


You might also like:

The Chad question about following directions

Marcy overlooks the instructions in the 30 point course

The green pen question revisited



  1. I feel that the helpful advice is being directed to only one side of the equation.

    Of course following LEGAL directions is important, but not all “directions” are FAIR. New word to consider “fair”. When we receive (at the point of the incoming call) an assignment we either set or agree to a fee. Very often when the docs arrive much more is called for. Some common examples:

    Print the documents three times, complete the package twice; third copy is for borrower.
    The docs are sent as 14 separate PDF files, and we are asked to print 2 copies of form 7854.
    The “work order” says to use black ink, the cover sheet of the documents says blue.
    We receive inaccurate contact information, wrong addresses, with the name spelled wrong.
    We get a call, in route, demanding a document be replaced, with no facility nearby to print it.
    The usual and oft mentioned issue of late, no, or “modified” payment.

    Some instructions go way beyond our role as notaries, casting us to be clerical assistants. An example: Be sure to FAX some things to A, others to B, and a few to C. That is their job, my role is to send the entire package, via FAX once. If they want some docs to go to others they can find and send them.

    A major annoyance is the “cover” sheet. It mentions processing of documents that are not in the package, as determined by looking twice for them. Then a call is made about it “that document only applies to condos, we list it in case the paperwork is for a condo” – thanks, half an hour wasted.

    I could go on and on, the point is that improvements can be made by the originator and sender of the assignment; not just by the notary.

    It would be nice to see a series of blogs covering how to fairly (not just pay) work WITH the notaries. They can do much to “clean up their act” – but that in never mentioned. Why?

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — January 1, 2018 @ 4:13 pm

  2. The above comment is sound. I have received lots of documentation that was a mess. Keeping it in order was it least of the problems. Understanding what needed to be done was number one problem especially with vague instructions or redundant instructions that were generic and didn’t fit the documentation. Now I wouldn’t mention these things except for the fact that most of the documentation we get is very good. So we know the difference between good and bad. When you need help and call the bank the title company or even the signing agency, no answer. Now I have one other thing to say when looking at a closing disclosure, I’ve always been told we are not to give legal advice. That includes pointing things out on the closing disclosure we are not to point things out. We are to give them the sheet of paper and say that information is on this page. If I’m wrong about this correct me. The amount the borrower is to give is on be closing disclosure. The amount he is to receive it’s also on the closing disclosure. Am I to tell him to write a check if he hasn’t already been notified by his loan or title company? This is not clear to me of whether I’m giving him legal advice.

    Comment by Mike Holden — June 26, 2018 @ 2:13 pm

  3. Good article I agree, I want to check into your test soon. Thanks Jackie

    Comment by Jackie Brown — June 28, 2018 @ 3:54 pm

  4. We Have to read directions and look for changes in packages. NOBODY tells you these things ahead of time. I caught the check box on the 4506-T, and the demographic information (instructions to sign/date) before ANY COMPANY wrote an email about the changes. If you don’t catch initial lines, the borrower sure won’t. I have gotten criticized for being thorough and going through my printed pages against the PDF, but I have caught errors that way, including pages that didn’t print correctly. Printers are not infallible. RIght now I have seen 3 different types of Loan Modifications/Loss Mitigations. Not every one of them has the same set of documents, even though they are only about 2-25 pages long. We all printing 3-15 pages of instructions. Some of them REQUIRE our signatures/initialing. It comes down to 2 things: 1) be thorough, 2) don’t let ANYBODY rush you!

    Comment by betty — December 21, 2020 @ 5:07 pm


    Comment by Dennis Brooks — December 30, 2020 @ 1:48 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *