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July 18, 2010

Confirming the signing

As a notary, there is a lot to know. There are notary laws from your state, navigating your area, business and interaction skills, and much much more. Most notaries take some sort of a loan signing course to get into the mobile notary business. But, loan signing courses don’t tell you everything you need to know! There are always things they don’t tell you because the author either doesn’t know, forgot to put in the book, or didn’t think was important. Other situations don’t hae a set way of being handled and can only be dealt with using a personal approach. This blog entry will deal with some select hot tips on how to handle a signing.

Confirming appointments
As a notary, signing companies will offer you jobs, fedex you a package, and expect you to show up on time to the appointment. How often have you gotten to an appointment only to find that the borrower is surprized by the numbers, or didn’t realize that their cousin Sam needed to be there for the signing, since Sam was on Title? The lending profession is filled with tricky characters who promise one thing, and then when the borrowers see the paperwork with the notary sitting there, they feel pressured to sign, even when they don’t like the fact that they have been hoodwinked. The notary often has to sit through long conversations with the lender that should have taken place BEFORE the signing, not during. Lenders are often sloppy, and don’t fully inform the borrower about all of the numbers on the loan. So, what does the notary need to do to avoid this type of drama? A thorough confirmation call solves the problem.

Going over the numbers
Once the notary has the loan package in their hand, they should call the borrower and go over the Rate, APR, and payoff amounts listed in the Settlement Statement. The notary should go over all Escrow payments, and what the monthly payments are, prepayment penalty, and if its an Adjustable Rate Loan, what the cap is, etc. Additionally, the notary should have the borrower read their ID to the notary, and what the NAME is on their ID, and confirm what individuals will be at the loan signing. Thats a lot to go over. However, it only takes three or four minutes, and will save you hours during those times when there are suprizes — which seems to be 25% of the time. If the borrower is not happy with any of the numbers, cancel the appointment. Don’t waste your time getting into someone else’e drama.

How much time is needed?
Another aspect is discussing how much time the borrower would like to have signing the loan. Its not the notary’s job to sit for six hours while the borrower reads every word in the whole package, and then rereads certain important documents. The notary and borrower should agree ahead of time how much time the borrower needs to that the notary can plan their evening and other appointments. The notary should explain that the borrower has three days not including Sundays and Federal holidays to cancel their loan, so they can skim through it and read their borrower’s copies after the fact. The borrower can cancel in writing and the loan is off, if they cancel before the deadline.

Scheduling and venues
Explain to the borrower when you will be coming, and let them know if you might be slightly early or late… and how late. Some borrowers have issues with their homes. Some have family over or rambunctious children. Others have pets. I always offered to take pawprints just in case Fluffy ever got lost. I’m not convinced that cat pawprints are as unique as human fingerprints though. Its the thought that counts. If a borrower can’t sign at their home for any reason, its good to find a good cafe or restaurant where you can sign. Don’t forget to read in the forum about drinks at signings. Thats a very popular and critical topic. You don’t want your “tall latte” all of the right to cancel, otherwise you will have a very “short signing”.

You might also like:

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  1. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

    – John

    Comment by Contact Form — August 24, 2010 @ 12:51 am

  2. Thanks for this. Had to meet with a notary yesterday.

    Comment by Casey — April 6, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  3. I always ask the borrower, when I confirm the appointment, if the lender or title has called to go over or explain the documents that they will be signing. This accomplishes several things. It gives me an indication as to the foreknowledge of the borrower. It motivates them to seek such counsel from their loan officer. And it lends the conversation open to discuss some things that they might encounter such as sending money in or getting a check back. While I do understand the need to discuss as many details as possible, the discussion of interest rates, APR, and escrow could get you fired from a favorite title company. The spirit of this article above is well intended and well written.

    Comment by Dave — December 2, 2013 @ 2:33 am

  4. Hello I’m a new notary public and jut finished my class for a loan signing agent. I was told that notary public does not anwers any question pretaining to loan document. If the borrower have any questions to refer him to his loan officer or lender. Is this correct? I read in your ad that a loan signing agent has to go over percentage rates etc.

    Comment by Yolanda — December 20, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

  5. I’ve found that any and all of these listed measures just don’t cut it. I agree with Dave, I’ve been told, and have seen in other articles, that the notary CANNOT go over the documents with the borrower, other than to tell them where to find the information on a document. Even asking if title, or the lender, has gone over the documents with the signer is not foolproof. All will always say yes, then the signer wants to read the fine print. They don’t bother to read it all, if they do in fact get the document before hand, despite the requirements that the signers get the documents three days prior to signing. I still end up calling Title, the lender, my signing company. It just doesn’t matter.

    Comment by Ann — January 14, 2019 @ 4:41 pm

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