The problem with the signing agent industry is that education is simply not taken seriously. Newer signing agents will take a certification course somewhere, pass by the skin of their teeth, and then say, “I’m done learning”. The effect is that their brain turns off, and there is no more curiousity to learn or thirst for knowledge.
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Here are some common mistakes that are really dumb that newer signing agents do.
(1) Call the lender about the 1003
The 1003 is always wrong. It is not a final document by the way. The natural order of documents in terms of the finality of information starts with the 1003 which is an application. This application is typed up by minimum wage workers who systematically make mistakes, and the lenders as a group seem to think it is okay to make mistakes on loan documents for loans of half a million dollars. First of all it is NOT okay, secondly it upsets borrowers, and thirdly, it leaves signing agents in a perceived quandry. They think they need to call the lender if information in this document is wrong. This is the one document you can do cross outs on. It doesn’t matter. The next version of information about names and numbers would be the Good Faith Estimate. It is once again a preliminary document and just an estimate. The final document with numbers is the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. If there is an error here — then it is time to call the lender and perhaps even redraw the documents or just cancel the entire loan process
(2) Just cross out and initial
Many lenders have low standards. We live in a world where standards are pathetically low. Just because a handful, or more than a handful of the lenders you work with have low standards doesn’t mean that you should. There exists a concept called “Best Practices”, and that concept involves not making a mess unless you really are compelled to. If names are wrong on documents AND THE LENDER IS NOT AVAILABLE (which is the norm), you can initial under the last few letters of the last name. This is clean, and the processor can cross out after the fact or do whatever they like. YOU are not compelled to cross out. Just leave a voice mail for the lender to let them know what you did and why. If there are errors on the notary certificates, once again crossing things out is unprofessional and messy. Keep in mind these are LEGAL documents and making a mess on a legally binding document seems very questionable at best. It is cleaner to get a loose acknowledgment, staple it and start fresh without the cross outs. So, when do you need to cross things out? On the right to cancel if you need to change dates, and there is no borrower copy with the dates left blank — THEN, and only then in my experience are you compelled to cross out the old date and write in a new date and have the borrowers initial
Guess what. The day of the signing is NOT included in the (3) days to rescind. Many newer notaries don’t know this. The reach for their rescission calendar because they can not think on their own. Learn to calculate, learn to count, and learn to think. Learn when the Federal holidays happen and learn to calculate rescission dates when a signing happens right before a Federal holiday.
Many signers think that there is detailed information about the prepayment penalty on the TIL. Wrong. The TIL states that you will, won’t, or might have a prepayment penalty. That is not what I consider detailed, that is merely a tidbit of information.
Few if any newer signing agents, or even experienced signing agents can discuss the APR and sound professional doing so. Learn and memorize a professional sounding definition of this figure so that when asked, you will be able to answer FLUENTLY, even in your sleep.
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