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Signing Agent Tip: 5 steps to a mistake-free loan signing

A person signing a document with a Notary

Updated 3-11-24. Every party in a mortgage transaction hopes for a smooth loan signing. Mistakes, no matter how small, can be a headache for everyone involved. As Notary Signing Agents, there are several things we can do to help ensure that our signings are error-free:

  1. Touch base with the signer
  2. Review documents and instructions before the signing
  3. Check all your Notary tools
  4. Know who to contact with questions
  5. Double- and triple-check before leaving the signing

1. Touch base with the signer

Calling the signers to confirm the details of the signing ensures that you have the location, date and time correct and so do they. You can also verify that the appropriate parties will be there, including any witnesses, if required. Equally important, you can remind the borrower to have photocopies of their ID and any other required documentation that will cut down on time spent at the signing. Speaking to them prior to the appointment also lets them ask any questions about the process and gives you sufficient time to find the answers to their questions — or have someone from title or the bank address them directly.

2. Review the documents and instructions before the signing

If possible, review the documents before heading to your signing so if you have any questions, you can have them addressed beforehand. That’s especially important if you are not familiar with the type of loan or you are notarizing out-of-state documents. Determine what color ink is required, how many forms of ID are necessary, and verify if there any additional instructions such as obtaining necessary documentation from the signer. Doing this allows you to familiarize yourself with the transaction and keeps the signing moving along.

3. Check all your Notary tools

Is your Notary stamp inked? Do you have multiple blue and black pens? Do you have a paper clip, binder clip or stapler to attach the check they gave you? Is your cellphone charged? Do you have your journal? Making certain you have all the necessary tools, in working order, saves time at the table and allows you to focus on the task at hand: getting those documents signed accurately. Also, having everything you need in your notary bag shows the signer you are prepared and take your job seriously. It also helps to keep the appointment going smoothly and on time.

4. Know who to contact with questions

It’s likely that the signers will have questions at closing. You won’t know the answers to some questions while others you shouldn’t answer. It’s important to know who to contact. Prior to the signing, ask the title company or signing company for the contact information of the individuals who can answer questions. Having that information handy could be the difference between a borrower signing and not signing.

5. Double- and triple-check before leaving the signing.

Let the signers know you want to just do a quick double-check before you head out to ensure all the documents are signed and notarized correctly. They will appreciate the thoroughness you are showing, and it allows you the opportunity to catch any notarization errors. Scanning through one more time before you drop the package will give you additional peace of mind and, hopefully, alleviates you from having to make a second trip out to have documentation corrected.

Marcy Tiberio is a NNA 2015 Notary of the Year Honoree and owner of Professional Notary Services, Inc., in Rochester, New York. She can be reached at

Related Articles:

5 tips for mobile Notaries to always be prepared

5 mistakes that cost mobile Notaries time and money

Additional Resources:

Signing Agent tools & resources


Add your comment

Frieda Hooper

25 Jun 2018

please let us see

Ingra H

06 Aug 2020

I enjoy and appreciate the mini quizzes and tips.


04 Apr 2022

Spot on tips. Amazing how many signing companies won't give you a contact for questions

Victoria Watts

04 Apr 2022

Another tip is to verify that the name on their ID matches the name on signature line of the documents. If not, before the appointment is the time to rectify the situation.

Maritza Pizarro

05 Apr 2022

Great tips!! Thank you!!

Sharon Bolte

19 Apr 2022

We are not receiving contact information from the signing companies.

Denise Randall

13 Mar 2023

Does the color of the pen really matter? I thought it could be black or blue

DALRY Forbed

14 Mar 2023

Just a note: when you receive your new notary certification for E -Notary Signing, your previous certificate is null and void. You are required to use the new notary number for all your signings. Both paper and electronic signings. I just thought I would pass on this bit of information. Hope it helps, for any who was a little unsure, as I was.

Natalie Reif

05 Feb 2024

When confirming the appointment, I always ask the signers if the name(s) on my order match the spelling on their government ID’s, including middle initial/name.


25 Mar 2024

Be careful in having anyone sign where there are blanks on the document. I recently had a default of notice, and foreclosure, on the same page, where they were signing as the borrowers on the deed of trust. After that was my notarization. The default of notice and foreclosure had many blanks that would be filled in at the time of default by the lender or the title company be careful with having them sign anything that has blanks in it, and when your notarization is the next page, it looks like you have notarized, not only the deed of trust, but the default and noticed a foreclosure

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