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January 13, 2012

Borrowers and their filthy homes

The notary who was very ill
A while back I had tried to reach one of our notaries (and she has become a dear friend as well) for some time but with no response I started to worry. When I did finally reach her she shared a horrifying story with me. She confided in me that she had been quite ill. In fact she expressed to me that she was very near death.  I could hardly believe my ears what she had begun to tell me.

Coming down with a flu
She had had a busy week with notary work and she became ill with what she thought was the flu/cold. She did not quite know what was wrong but knew that her body was telling her something was not quite right. This was more than a cold. She eventually ended up in the hospital and with her stay her body continued to slowly shut down. She was literally dying right before the doctors and staff’s eyes. They ran test after test and could not come up with anything.

But, what was her illness?
They were baffled. What they did know for sure is if they didn’t do something and do something fast she would surely die.  They were clueless, was this an infection or was airborne or contagious?? They continued with the tests but nothing. They were afraid to give her any medication for fear that it would kill her. If they didn’t know what was wrong how could they treat her. So they quarantined her and everyone that tended to her wore masks, gloves, etc. They were stumped/baffled to say the least.

A test for Legionnaires disease
Now, If it weren’t for what she would call her ‘angel’ she would not have lived to tell this story. There  just so happened that there was a young intern at the hospital (who’s sex it still unknown to her to this date; not that it makes any difference) suggested for them to  run the test for Legionnaires Disease. Why he or she suggested or thought to test for this is still unclear but as far as our notary and I are concerned, it was our heavenly father above. The doctors ordered the test and what a shocker those results were, positive-BINGO-that is exactly what she had. Now you may ask what exactly is Legionnaires Disease?? I have posted a summary below.

Legionellosis is a potentially fatal infectious disease caused by gram negative, aerobic bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella.[1][2] Over 90% of legionellosis cases are caused by Legionella pneumophila, a ubiquitous aquatic organism that thrives in temperatures between 25 and 45 °C (77 and 113 °F), with an optimum temperature of 35 °C (95 °F).[3]

Legionellosis takes two distinct forms:
Legionnaires’ disease, also known as “Legion Fever”,[4] is the more severe form of the infection and produces high fever and pneumonia.[5][6]

The disease was traced to a borrower’s home
If it sounds scary well it is…When the notaries test came back positive the CDC was called in.  Can you believe it! Haz-mats and all. And they wanted to know EVERY place she had been., Every detail.  Being barely able to communicate she let them know all of the places she had been. They traced her steps, they checked her home and all the places that she had been after she had became ill and low and behold the LD was ultimately traced to a BORROWERS home that she had closed a loan for. It seems the borrower had never cleaned/serviced their air conditioning unit and whenever it was warm and they turned it on it was blowing the LD bacteria into the air and our unfortunately notary had breathed this deadly bacteria in while she was there closing her loan. Our notary let me know that the house itself was filthy and she says now with her near death experience she will never enter a filthy home again.

No more dirty homes
She says that if she arrives to a house  that is not clean for notary work, she will not set foot in it. She immediately (but kindly) offers to take them for coffee and they sign the paperwork at the coffee shop. No exception! She told me that she had to learn allot of things all over things that we just do naturally and take for granted, like eating walking, etc. The disease had essential destroyed her immune system and left her weak…so she felt that no signing job was worth what she had been through..so NO more dirty houses.

The borrowers were immune
What got me is that the people that lived in the house never got sick…the CCD said that because it was their filth they were immune to the bacteria. But any friend, worker, etc that entered that house and stayed any length of time on a hot day with that uncleaned air-conditioning running would get deathly sick. So next time a house is really filthy you may want to think twice about entering it.
Until the next time. Be safe!


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  1. An astonishing and very important post, possibly the most important one yet. All notaries can say a prayer for our comrade to swiftly recover fully. I have learned a most important lesson. It might be “difficult” to change the location, but considering the risk – there really is no option. May she swiftly recover.

    Comment by Kenneth A Edelstein — January 13, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  2. I had a closing a few months ago where the borrower had 18 cats and 22 filthy aquariums. The house reeked. She stated she had been on vacation and hadn’t had a chance to clean up. I asked her to open her windows while we signed and she was slightly offended. I called my signing company afterward and notified them of the situation and they thanked me for staying. It seems after reading this that I’m lucky to have survived that situation. Glad to hear she’s doing better. What great information!

    Comment by Lisa — November 21, 2016 @ 12:39 am

  3. Ok, so I get that the house is nasty, but how do you work around it, what do you say, how do you get them to leave their home? That is part of what we do as a mobile closer…

    Comment by Tammy — November 21, 2016 @ 11:24 pm

  4. Thank you for this article. I am always amazed at how dirty some people keep their homes and horders homes are pretty scary too. Inviting them to a nearby coffee shop is what I will be doing from here on out. Yes, thank you.

    Comment by Elizabeth croteau — March 17, 2019 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Thank you for this information and thankfully this notary recovered although it sounds like she will be dealing with some longtime difficulties because of this illness. I have like most notaries been in some awfully filthy homes….tried to get the signing outside on their patio table….the problem with trying to get them to go to a different location…is the location of the new place….A good majority of my signings are in mountain locations and everything would be 5-10 miles away. So far, I have been lucky to get them to sign outside the home…had to stay in one house since they didn’t have anything outside to sign on….

    Comment by A.C. Dye — March 17, 2019 @ 6:24 pm

  6. I can imagine calling the title company or signing company and telling them I am not doing the signing because the borrower’s house is dirty. I doubt that I would get many signings from that company after that!
    But I do agree, its not worth the risk…

    A good laugh at comment #2 above about he cats. I did one at a small rural house with 64 cats! The borrower seemed proud of the fact that she had 64. She asked if I thought her house smelled like she had 64 cats. I told her it smelled like she had 100…..

    Comment by John Strapac — March 17, 2019 @ 10:34 pm

  7. Glad for this article!

    I also go to more than hoarders because it looks like a garbage truck exploded!
    Garbage everywhere, but I never want to get very ill!

    I think NNA should know of this serious case of illness so that we can have signing outside at least or rescheduled to a coffee house.

    Comment by DeborahPlanet — January 13, 2020 @ 3:12 pm

  8. Tammy, buy a Good metal clipboard, Staples has them in stock, and offer to sign in your car.

    Comment by betty — January 13, 2020 @ 4:07 pm

  9. I also have been in some filthy nasty dirty homes, I pray that all the documents are signed correctly so I would never have to go back, I too tell the signing companies there houses were filty, I dont care, there is no excuse for a filty house, unorganized I can understand but filty no excuse. I wish that notary God Speed and a full recovery.

    Comment by Gloria Gebbia — January 20, 2020 @ 9:40 pm

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