Confirming a Notary Signing
As I continue to teach people and quiz Notaries on the subject of confirming the signing, I realize that the subject is more complicated than I previously realized. When confirming the signing with the borrower, there is a lot to go over. But, sometimes you don’t have the means to know what you should ask, especially when you have not received the package. Sometimes there are instruction pages with requests for checks or Quit Claim Deeds where non-borrowing in-laws need to sign. You might not know this until the last minute, but you could put it on your list of things to ask about during your initial call.
Since there are so many things to ask about during a confirmation call, it makes sense to keep a cheat sheet in your wallet with a list of things to ask about.
THE CHECK LIST
It is common for Notaries to confirm that the borrower(s) has/have a current government-issued identification card. That is not good enough. If the name does not match, you will have a very short or cumbersome Notarization. You can avoid a three hour trip that you don’t get paid for by making sure the ID proves that the name on the document is authentic.
Make sure all of the signers will be present. Not all signers are borrowers. It is common to have a non-borrowing spouse, or even in-laws who are on title. It is also common for people to sign off title if they don’t want to be part of a loan. There might be Grant Deeds or Quit Claim Deeds in such cases.
3. Paperwork going back to the Lender
There are often personal checks, cashier’s checks, tax or insurance forms or copies of ID’s going back to the Lender. Make sure that if there is anything going back, that it is in a folder on the signing table when you come so you don’t have to waste time finding it or forget.
To do a signing, you need a surface to do the signing on. Normally, homeowners sign on their dining room table. Many title companies are making sure that the table is clear before the Notary arrives to save time and grief. If you don’t make sure there is a surface, you might be signing on the floor or crouching to sign on a cluttered coffee table.
Many signers are not aware of how long a loan signing takes. It might take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours depending on the length of the package, the degree of familiarity with the process and how much reading the borrower intends to do. The Notary should confirm how much reading the borrower wants to do, because the Notary needs to be on time for his/her next appointment. Find out in advance how much time the borrower wants, otherwise your schedule might get very off track.
Many Notaries go over the fact that they are the Notary, what their name is, what their function is, and how they cannot answer legal questions, etc. Introducing yourself is great. But, if I am quizzing you with one minute to go over confirmation, and you waste the entire minute explaining the details of how you introduce yourself and forget to mention that you made sure all the signers would be there with ID’s that match the names on the document, you will fail.
7. The Numbers
If you want to go over numbers on the CD or HUD-1, you can think about that. These days, the Lenders normally do a good job of that on their own, but a last minute brush-up can reduce the chance of last minute surprises.
8. Where to Park & Directions
If you want to go over directions and where to park, that matters too. That is the last thing I want to hear if I quiz you, but in real life, where to park can be a serious consideration.
The purpose in confirming a signing is to introduce yourself and go over all issues which would cause a glitch in the signing to make sure the glitch doesn’t happen before you get in your car and drive. Be prepared to confirm a second time after you have the documents printed out as you might learn more about what needs to be done after printing. Be prepared to cancel the signing if any information doesn’t check out as well. Be thorough, don’t leave any necessary information out, and you will have a more organized and stress free profession.
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