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Notary Bulletin

Getting Ready For Your First Signing Assignment

Notary-First-Signing.jpgYour first loan signing assignment is often the most intimidating. Here are some basic tips from experienced mobile Notaries to help ensure things go smoothly.

1. Preparation: Confirm the time and location of the appointment with the signer, and make sure the signer will have a satisfactory form of identification ready for the appointment. When visiting a home, it’s a good idea to find out if the signer has pets — if so, ask if any pets can be kept outside or in another part of the house during the signing to prevent distractions. Be sure to ask for a contact person at the lender or title company who can be reached from the signing table if the signer has any questions about the documents. Also, give your contact information to the signer in case of any last-minute changes or emergencies.

2. The Document Package: Be sure the loan package is complete and flag any documents requiring notarization. Review any specific instructions such as requiring use of a specific ink color when signing documents.

3. Travel: Make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone, your vehicle has fuel and is ready to go, and that you have clear directions to the appointment location. If you use a GPS, be sure to enter the appointment location ahead of time. Allow plenty of time to reach the signing location on time and have the borrower's phone number in case you need to call from your vehicle. As a safety precaution, it’s a good idea to let a family member know where you are going and how long you expect to be gone.

4. The Signing: Make sure you present a professional appearance to the signer and dress according to the instructions of your contracting company. When you arrive, introduce yourself as the Signing Agent. Evaluate the signing environment and make sure there is a clean, sufficiently roomy workspace to complete the signing. Once the signing is underway, present the documents and point out designated signature and initial lines. Remember as the Signing Agent you may not answer specific questions about loan terms or give advice — call the loan officer or other designated representative. Be sure to follow all proper steps of notarization and record all necessary details in your journal.

5. Wrap Up: Thoroughly review the documents to make sure everything has been signed, initialed and notarized properly and that you have all the documents in the package. If instructed to do so, notify the signing service or lender the assignment is complete and fax any copies as required by the contracting company. Make sure the documents are packaged and ready for shipping or courier pick-up. If a courier is picking up the finished loan package from you, be sure you hand it to them in person. Never leave a loan package unattended on your doorstep. If you’re shipping a completed loan package, it’s best to hand the package over in person to an employee at an authorized shipping center and get a receipt with a tracking number. Avoid unattended drop boxes and never simply leave a package on a counter or give it to anyone without obtaining a receipt. Be sure to follow proper reporting, completion and invoicing procedures to ensure timely payment of your fees.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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