CONFIRMING THE SIGNING & AT THE SIGNING
Return to Table of Contents for – Notary Etiquette 104
1. Call to confirm the signing.
First introduce yourself on the confirmation call. Then go over all pertinent points. Make sure the ID proves the name on the documents and that all the signers will be there. You should also verify that there is a clean table to sign on. You should go over how long the signing should take, if there is anything going back to the document custodian and if they have used morphine or Jack Daniels within several hours of the signing. Nothing beats a sober signer or a well-organized Notary Public.
2. Introduce yourself at the door.
It is good to mention that you are Joe the signing agent and that it is your job to facilitate the signing. Mention that they can address all of your questions to you, but that you cannot answer specific questions about their loan, but only general questions about loan documents and Notary procedure.
3. Small talk is good.
People like a friendly Notary who can talk about small talk. But, avoid any topics that could be controversial such as gender issues, sex, guns, and how born-again Christians should have a second birth certificate for when they were born the second time.
4. Don’t discuss guns and religion.
Unless you are notarizing the Obamas, don’t bring up Joe the plumber, or religion. But, if you are notarizing the head of the NRA then you might reconsider guns. If you ask him to shoot you an email, don’t be surprised if he asks what you want him to shoot it with! Yee-haw!!!
5. Don’t park in the driveway.
The driveway is for the residents to park in, not you. You are their humble servant who parks on the street (sorry).
6. Call if you’re going to be late.
If you are going to be late, call and let them know ahead of time rather than keeping people hanging.
7. Don’t rush the borrowers.
On the other hand, if you have another appointment to go to, let them know when you have to depart. If you are under a time crunch, you can discuss their right to rescind if applicable and remind them that they have borrower copies.
8. No drinks on the table
Drinks can spill, so unless you want your Deed of Trust drenched, keep the drinks on a chair or a separate table — no exceptions.
9. Know when to call the Lender.
If the borrower asks questions, you need to know in advance which questions you can answer and which questions to refer to the Lender. You should have the phone numbers for Title, the lender, and any other relevant party. You can answer questions about what information is where in the documents as well as Notary questions. You should not answer questions specific to their loan.
10. Middle initials
If the signer doesn’t want to sign with their middle initial, politely tell them that they need to sign the way their name reads on title otherwise their loan might not fund.
11. How long to wait for return calls
If you try to reach one of the contact people for the loan such as Title, Loan Officer, Lender, etc., and they do not answer, try to give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. Twenty minutes to an hour seems reasonable.
12. Dress for success.
People get very put off if you do not dress like a business professional. Business casual or business formal is fine. Avoid jeans and definitely don’t wear flip flops, shorts, bathing suits, heavy makeup, short skirts, or night club apparel. Signers get in trouble all the time for not dressing for success.
13. Don’t bring your kids.
Believe it or not, some Notaries will bring their family to the signing. This is very intrusive and rude. Either keep your family at home, or in the car, but don’t bring them to the signing.
14. Don’t complain.
Don’t tell the customers how bad certain signing companies are or who didn’t pay you. Keep your personal business personal. It makes a terrible impression if you talk about this stuff.
15. Don’t give opinions about the loan.
The worst thing a Notary can do is to give an opinion, especially a negative opinion about a loan. You can get fired, blacklisted or even sued because of this. Some borrowers might cancel their loan because you told them they were getting ripped off.
16. Following instructions
If you were asked to sign in blue, then sign in blue. If you were asked to start at page four, just do it, don’t explain or make excuses, just follow instructions. If you are asked to fax back page 1 to 28, don’t complain, just do it.
17. If you make a mistake
If you make a mistake as a Notary, you might have to go back out there and fix the mistake. So, don’t keep people waiting. Go back out there and clean up after yourself.
18. The grace period
As a Notary, you might be asked to answer emails after a job is done. There might be a problem, error, or just an inquiry. If you don’t answer your email or phone because you are on vacation or just don’t feel like it, that can cause a big problem.