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December 18, 2010

Notary Etiquette from A to Z

Notary etiquette from A-Z

Here are some basic rules of notary etiquette to keep you out of trouble and on good terms with your clients.

Don’t park in the driveway?
But, that is what driveways are for. They are for parking in. Wrong! They are for the borrower to park in, but NOT for you to park in without permission. You could be taking someone’s spot, or blocking someone. You might be leaking coolant on their driveway too. If there is a snowstorm and a snow plow will destroy your car, or if there is nowhere else to park, then ask to park in their driveway. Most people will not mind if you park in their driveway, but a few will mind.

Introduce yourself at the door.
Its good to have a pre-canned speech to give at the door. Let the borrowers know your full name, and that you will be assisting and supervising (facilitating) the signing of their loan. Let them know that your job is to introduce the documents and figures in their loan, but not to actually explain any of the concepts particular to their loan. Let the borrowers know that the lender is the only one qualified to answer specific questions about their loan.

Confirm the signing
Its polite for the notary to call the borrowers and confirm when they will be coming, and especially who is to show up at the signing. If Aunt Matilda is on the loan documents, she needs to cancel that visit to the hair salon and be at the signing.

Don’t make unpleasant remarks
Don’t make negative remarks about anyone regardless of whether they are associated with the loan or not.

Don’t discuss politics
Stick to talking about neutral topics like traffic and weather. Politics can run people the wrong way. Freedom of speech does not apply to notaries on the job. You have more freedom of speech in Moscow than on a signing. Talking about the wrong subject matter can get you off of a signing companies list, and then you lose work.

Speak clearly
A notary who mumbles, or speaks incoherently will not be a favorite with anyone. People need you to enunciate on the phone and in person.

Don’t rush the borrowers
Unless you agree on the length of your signing ahead of time, its rude to rush the borrowers. If you are having a night with ten signings and you will be late to all of the rest of the signings, then you are in a pinch. If you legitimately have to leave at a certain time, you can mention that you have to leave at 8pm, and that they are welcome to read their borrower’s copies for the next 72 hours and cancel the loan if they are not happy with any of the terms or figures.


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  1. In regards to “Don’t park in the driveway”, please be aware that many gated communities have banned on-street parking. Check with the homeowner if street parking is allowed when you make the confirmation call. (This is true especially in Florida.)

    Comment by PWinFL — December 18, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  2. In regards to “Don’t park in the driveway”……where I live most of the time that is ONLY place to park. When I was a new signing agent, that piece of information caused me a lot of stress, but have since realized that I have to do what I have to do. I try not to block in vehicles, but that isn’t always possible.

    Comment by Dawn — December 20, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  3. Where I live in FL, people get cranky if you park on their grass in front of their house on the street. They pay good money to keep that St. Augsstine watered, weeded, fertilized and don’t want it crushed by the weight of a car, torn up when its wet by incoming and outgoing tire tracks and burned by your catalytic converter. And if you park in the road its illegal and if someone is blind enough to hit you, you are also at fault in the accident. I find that if I park at the very end of the driveway, if for some reason someone has to leave or pull in, they can usually manuever around me. And of course, if somebody has to leave and I’m blocking them, I always apologize and let them know I’ll move right away. Never had an issue in 7 years.

    Also, as far as small conversation, alot of the homes I visit, people have pets; dogs, cats birds, fish. I find they LOVE to talk about their pets. So if I’m looking for a conversation starter or mover, I will broach the subject. It melts even the coldest customer. If they have no pets, I look for something in their home and comment on how nice it looks, etc. Art, nice neighborhood, anything. Occasionally, I’ll come across the ALL BUSINESS TYPE who I can tell after a few comments just wants NO small talk, just let them concentrate on the details in the paperwork. (In other words, shut up and let them sign and go on with their day). In that case, I point out the key info on their docs and let them do the rest.

    Comment by Laura — April 5, 2011 @ 2:55 am

  4. I live in a rural / country area. A lot of signings take place at the home, where you cannot even see the house from the local road. I park next to the house, but away from the house and othercars

    Comment by David Leidy — August 8, 2015 @ 6:28 pm

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