I was requested to make a list of how notaries go from getting a bunch of signings to none. Basically how they became a DO-NOT-USE-NOTARY. No one is perfect and we know that, but we still get a lot of mobile notaries that have to be put on a DO-NOT-USE list. All different reasons, some are worse than others. So I have put together some things of what typically will get you put on that list. Every one of the listed items is from situations that were similar.
5. Changing Times or Dates of the Signing
This is simple. Do not take it upon yourself to change the time of a signing. If you call to confirm a signing with the signer and they ask to change it to a different time, before agreeing, tell them you need to check with title to make sure that is okay. For all you know title has that time for a reason. They need it to sign by a certain time in order to fund the loan.
I have seen notaries even change the date of the signing because the next day would work better for them. They call the signer, get it changed and then sign the next day. Now the lender can’t accept the documents because the dates don’t match. Basically, if the time needs to be changed, always check with your client first. Most of the time it’s okay for the time change, but you need approval from your clients first. Plus you ALWAYS want to keep them in the loop as far as any issues or possible changes.
4. Giving Legal Advice or Personal Opinions
As a mobile notary you will sign more than just real estate signings. These also include structured settlements, deeds, wills, and POA’s. Our job for the most part is to verify identity of the signer and notarize documents. Our job is not to give our opinions or advice on what they are signing. Plenty of signings or loans have been ruined because of the advice or opinions the notary may have had.
Remember, what might seem like a bad deal to you might actually be the best deal for them. When a loan officer or account executive finds out that the signers did not sign because of something that was said by the notary, I can guarantee you that notary will never be used by that company again. These companies keep a list of their DO-NOT-USE notaries. So if you get asked for your opinion, politely tell the signers that legal advice is illegal for you to give and any questions should be directed to whomever is overseeing that signing.
3. Not Being Professional
We get a lot of notaries that get placed into DO-NOT-USE lists because of something that falls into this category. Now there a quite a few things that fall into this category and I’m going to list some of things that have happened that made notaries DO-NOT-USE. First are notaries showing up to signings dressed unprofessionally. I’ve heard of notaries showing up in shorts and flip-flops. Not sure how they thought that would be okay.
Then you have the hygiene issue. Notaries arriving at a signing smelling like they haven’t showered in days. Or they are not groomed properly. They show up looking like they had their head out of the car window, or are being the notary version of Freddy Kruger.
You always need to be dressed professionally. This is how you represent yourself as a business.
Another thing would be engaging in unprofessional conversations. Whether you were overheard from someone else or you might have offended someone nearby.
Last thing is to stay professional when conflict arises. There are times when signers take their frustration out on you because the numbers are not right or whatever it may be. Stay calm and professional. If the signers are screaming or being rude, don’t come back at them the same way. You are the professional. Kill them with kindness. In the case of the situation being violent or the situation is completely unacceptable for you to be involved in, remove yourself from the scene, and immediately contact your client. As long as you can remain professional, you should have nothing to worry about.
2. Not Following Instructions
Not following instructions is an easy way to be banned and become a do-not-use notary. Instructions are in place for a reason. Each signing has its own set of instructions. You don’t want to assume just because it’s going through the same company you‘ve done a lot of signings for, it’s always going to be the same. Sometimes there might be a special requirement, or it has to sign a particular way that is different than usual.
Making sure you check the instructions on every single signing will save you the hassle of correcting mistakes. This will also ensure that the signing was done correctly and you’ll continue to receive signings.
Some of the other big things that we get back as far as notaries not following instructions are notaries are not calling to confirm with the signers. This is important for a couple reasons. This call is not only to confirm the signing time but to inform the signers of anything they will need to do before hand such as, getting copies of their ID’s or preparing additional documents that are required to be sent back. Keep in mind this does not apply to signings where in the instructions the notary is told not to call and confirm.
The last thing I’m going to touch on is Fax Backs and Dropping the package for shipping. These 2 out of most other things in the instructions are the most commonly missed. Not making a drop in time can be huge. If the signing is going to happen later in the day, try and check if you’re going to be able to make the drop in time for pick-up. If you’re not going to make the drop in time, make sure you call your client to let them know.
Never hold on to a package unless instructed to. Your clients need these documents. Last would be faxing back. A lot of companies require fax backs as that allows them to start funding until they get the originals in hand. Not making the drop or faxing back is a sure way never to be used again. Simply follow your instructions.
No one is perfect. Eventually you’re going to make a mistake. It happens. Just because you made one does not mean that company is going to stop using you. You will never be judged on the mistake, you only be judged in how you handle the mistake. Chances are your client will call you to fix your mistake. Try your best to accommodate them to get it completed ASAP. DO NOT start blaming others or demanding fees for your mistake. This is part of being a signing agent. When mistakes are made, you’re expected to be willing to correct them in a timely and professional manner. By working with your client they know that they can count on you even when corrections are needed. This will show your professionalism and reliability as a signing agent. Basically, if you make a mistake, be willing to correct it.
By being aware of these things, it will help keep you working and receiving signings. Remember, no one is perfect, mistakes happen, so be willing to fix them. Follow your instructions for every signing. Always be professional in appearance and mannerisms. Never give legal advice or your personal opinion on a signing; it’s not your place to do so. Lastly, never change the time or date of a signing without checking with your client first. You never know what other schedules are affected by that change. Keep these in mind and you should not have to worry about being placed as a DO-NOT-USE-NOTARY.
Also, strive to find ways to stand out from other notaries.
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