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January 15, 2019

Notary Etiquette 104 — Confirming the Signing & At the Signing

CONFIRMING THE SIGNING & AT THE SIGNING
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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March 7, 2011

Don’t park in the driveway?

Don’t Park in the Driveway?
 
This sounds like a dull topic, but the type of responses we get, keep getting better by the day. This issue is the least clear cut, and most confusing issue that notaries face.  Yet, so few notaries ever have this issue cross their mind. 
 
Don’t Park in the Driveway.
Its rude and unprofessional to park in the driveway.  You are leaking fluids on someone’s driveway, preventing them and their family from parking there, and potentially blocking someone.  But, sometimes, there are situations where you should park in the driveway.  You could make several Seinfeld episodes out of this topic.  There is a general rule, and there are dozens of exceptions.
 
(1) I’m confused, isn’t that what driveways are for?  No! The driveway is for the borrower to park in, not the signing agent.  You are a guest, and not the resident.  Don’t park there without permission, and don’t ask permission unlesss you really have to.
 
(2) 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.)
 
(3) 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.
 
(4) If there is a snow storm, you need to park in the driveway, otherwise the snow plow will cover your car with snow.
 
(5) In rural communities, driveways might be more than a half a mile long, so it behooves you to park in the driveway in such a situation. In winter, it wouldn’t be safe to walk up such a long driveway.
 
(6) Some notaries say, they always park in driveways taking care not to block someone in and never had any trouble. Other notaries say that they would never park in someone’s driveway no matter what.
 
(7) One lady says that a customer complained that she parked in the street instead of the driveway.
 
(8) There might be signs on the street not allowing street parking. That means you are forced to park on the driveway.
 
(9) In some neighborhoods the streets are very narrow, making it a better choice to park in the driveway.
 
The bottom line is that if you value etiquette and manners, and take them to the highest level, just ask where the borrower would like you to park, and then everyone will love you, and might even love your leaking coolant too!

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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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