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Notary Signing Agent Tip: How to prepare for your first loan signing

Updated 1-31-24. You just landed your first loan signing. What do you do now? How should you prepare so the signing goes smoothly?

As an educator and mentor to thousands of Notary Signing Agents across America, this question comes up all the time. I teach a simple, 4-step process to make sure your first loan signing (and all your loan signings) goes smoothly:

  1. Confirm the details of the signing appointment
  2. Read the instructions
  3. Print the loan documents
  4. Call the borrower to confirm their information

But before you get to these steps, there is something you should have already done before accepting your first signing: Make sure you know how to use your dual-tray, laser jet printer. I cannot tell you how many times I've had students land their first signing and not be able to print the loan documents because they have not taken the time to test their printer prior to their first loan signing.

Here is your first pro tip: Make sure you know how to adjust your printing settings and can print legal and letter size paper prior to your first signing appointment.Now that we have that covered that, let's talk about specific steps you take when you land your first loan signing appointment.

Step 1: Confirm the appointment details.

As soon as you get the signing appointment, confirm the time/date and location with whoever gave you the signing, and plan your time. An assignment from a signing service usually has a pre-assigned time and date. If for some reason you do not see this information on your order, ask your signing service contact if it is your responsibility to reach out to the borrower to determine the time and date.

If you get an order assigned from a signing service and you see “TBD”  that means “to be determined”  which tells you a time has NOT been set yet, and you need to ask if it is your responsibility to reach out to the borrower to set up the time/date and location. If you received your signing through a direct source the same step would apply.

Once you confirm the location find out how long it will take you to get to the signing location and FACTOR IN TRAFFIC times to get there. Being late to your first appt is not a good look and between Waze, Google Maps and Apple Maps this is easier than ever. The time to get to an appointment is too often overlooked during the nerves of your first signing. So don't forget.

Speaking of nerves, make sure you give yourself enough time to complete your first appointment. I tell my students to give yourself at least 2 hours for your first signing. It shouldn't take that long (typical signings take 45 to 60 minutes), but the last thing you want is the pressure of a time crunch to add to your first signing experience.

Step 2: Read ALL the instructions you were sent.

This is the most overlooked step by new signing agents. Signing services, lenders and escrow officers will send some of the more detailed instructions in the body of the email or as an attachment to the documents. They may want the docs signed in a certain color of ink only, they may need a copy of the borrower’s insurance card sent back with docs, or they may want you to keep the loan docs in the exact order as received. It could be anything.

Make sure you read the entire email you were sent: the body of the email and any or attachments if they are any.

Too many signing agents fail to read the entire email and go directly to printing docs and miss the more detailed instructions.

Needless to say, if something has been missed, this will significantly reduce the chance you get assignments from them in the future.

Step 3: Print and prepare your loan docs.

Another big mistake new Signing Agents make is not printing according to PDF size. More specifically, you need to print your loan docs on legal and letter size paper.

In addition, new Signing Agents too often do NOT actively look for any attachments that may have been sent to them. Make sure to triple-check check you have printed everything that needs to be printed.

Pro Tip: Before you print, be sure you’ve flipped through the documents electronically. Sometimes a document isn’t fully scanned in or is cut off, and catching this now, before you head to the appointment, will let you fix the mistake and save everyone time.

Once you print them, flip through the documents to be sure all documents are printed according to page size (legal or letter) and printed clean (sometimes there can be smears or bad prints). Catching these issues beforehand will prevent a second trip back to the borrower.

Secondly, flipping through the docs gives you time to get familiar with the docs so you can see where signatures, initials, and dates are located.

If you have time before hand, you can mark pages with arrow tags on the loan docs to ease your mind to ensure you don’t miss any signatures or initials. Remember, absolutely NO highlighting the loan docs.

Step 4: Call the Borrower and confirm basic information.

To ensure the signing starts flawlessly, simply call the borrower (the signing service, escrow officer, realtor or lender will give you the phone number. If not, locate the phone number on the loan application) and confirm the time, date, and location of the signing.

Ask them if there is any special designated parking or gated access required.

Confirm the signers (single or joint) and the spelling of their name on the docs.

Lastly, confirm that all borrowers will have an unexpired ID at the appointment.

Follow these simple steps before your first signing and it will make it a lot easier.

If you want a comprehensive checklist that covers what to do before, during, and after every signing, or if you want to receive additional training on how to do loan signings and get loan signing assignments, join the Loan Signing System family.

Mark Wills of Loan Signing System is a Notary educator, a mentor to more than 4,000 Notary Signing Agents and a Forbes Real Estate Council Member. For more information on how to market your loan Signing Agent business, please go to

Related Articles:

How to make more than $50 per loan signing

Where do you start looking for Notary Signing Agent work?

Additional Resources:

Loan Signing System

Notary Signing Agent Resources


Add your comment

Ardel Richter

01 Mar 2021

Beg to differ... steps 3 & 4 should be reversed. Call the signer & confirm the Appt. BEFORE you print. Generally, if you print docs earlier than 12 hours prior to the signing and then it gets canceled or there are changes to the docs, you probably won't be paid a print fee for the unused docs---and then you have to shred them, too! Work smarter, not harder.

Michael S Kapphahn

04 Mar 2021

Mark has done it again another awesome Video full of advice that is fire 🔥🔥🔥 Thank you Mark and NNA I live new ways to improve my business


04 Mar 2021

I agree with Ardel on this. Appointments can get changed often, dont print docs days in advance.

Tina McWilliams

04 Mar 2021

Mark does put out great videos, training, etc.... Both my husband and myself have done his course and followed everything. But have done the calls and just about all we have talked with want a year or more experience. So, right now we are dealing with the signing companies lower pay. Which gets discouraging, because we really want it to be full time. I guess time will tell.


04 Mar 2021



04 Mar 2021

Great tips! Thank you Mark and I do agree with Ardel above. I find most the time signing agencies want you to confirm the appointment with the signer before they release the docs.

Cathy V

04 Mar 2021

Thanks for these steps. Sometimes in our rush to just go to the actual signing, we miss a step or two that will just cause delays at the table

Sherette Hayes

04 Mar 2021

Thanks Mark for all your help. I feel very prepared to go on my first appointment.

Rosie Matta

04 Mar 2021

This is so helpful! I'm a new student of Mark Wills and am so amazed he partners up with the NNA. This combo makes me feel certain that loan signing agents will be well educated and successful in this business! Rosie M. Matta, Notary Public Midland, Texas

Lisa Mach

04 Mar 2021

Mark never steers us wrong. Those 4 steps are pivotal in building this LSA business.

Chelsie Brantley

04 Mar 2021

This is great tangible information that can truly be digested to prepare for the first signing as a new signing agent! I’ve done over 20 signings thus far, but I can definitely recall my first experience. Both the NNA and the Loan Signing System prepared me well. It can just be overwhelming with the breadth of information that you try to recall for your first signing. This helps a signing agent recall steps they can use the day of the appointment!


04 Mar 2021

I have been following this advice and have been error free in my signings from the start! Thank you Mark Wills, my LSS training has been so incredibly valuable!

A Jeff Tregembo

04 Mar 2021

Mark always provides great info and this info is extremely valuable to new signing agents preparing for their first signing. The first signing can be extremely nerve wracking.

Jeniece (Nicole) Lyons

04 Mar 2021

New signing agents really need good advice, such has what's been provided. I personally believe the order of actions above are listed correctly. You want to have a simple grasp for the numbers the signer(s) are expecting to see, then the docs can be corrected prior to the signing, if need be. It's not about working smarter versus harder. It's about putting the signer first... you'll get return business that way. Don't have a scarcity mindset...return business is worth the ink and paper my friend.😁


04 Mar 2021

I 1st started LSS in November of 2019, with no background in the mortgage industry nor did I have any knowledge of what a notary true purpose is. After completing this course, I am now more knowledgeable as a notary and a signing agent. Mark's course teaches you how to get your business started as well as how to build a successful business. I am more than happy with my 1 year results as a LSS signing agent and student under his leadership and guidance.

Raeann Tobin

04 Mar 2021

Great info! Follow the System. We have grateful clients with lots of positive feedback to prove it.


04 Mar 2021

Loved this it’s so helpful 🥰🥰🥰🥰

Enrique Castro Jr

04 Mar 2021

Great video and great advice. Mark is truly the best


04 Mar 2021

This article was worth its weight in gold. Very detailed on what do for first signing. Awesome read!

Sharon Kuger

04 Mar 2021

Good advice posted on NNA. It’s true to contact and confirm appointment with signer. Then after speaking to signer proceed with printing. The other details are on point.

Lisa Ford

04 Mar 2021

I really like your teaching style and although I have been doing it since December and made mistakes. I have learned a lot from your Mentorship program and now I am taking my time in the signing agent class. You are good with sharing your wisdom and expertise.

Anna Larson Collins

04 Mar 2021

Thank you for this most helpful information.


04 Mar 2021

I appreciate you making this video it’s very helpful

Patricia Harrison-Evans

04 Mar 2021

Great always a plus to get added information


04 Mar 2021

As a LSS trained student, this article hits at the core of the nervousness you get as a newbie. Preparation is the foundation of having a flawlessly executed signing. Following these simple but important steps outlined here will help you to calm yourself and allows you to overcome the "paralysis" of fear. Thank you for this timely written article.

Sherylette L Humphrey

05 Mar 2021

Wow... this article was exactly what I needed to get me started for my first loan signing appointment. Great information! Straight to the point and major tips I would've probably overlooked.

Brian Balch

05 Mar 2021

Some SS want you to print and show up even if you cannot confirm the appointment. They'll pay a trip fee, sometimes the entire fee. Reading all instructions will guide you on this.

Teshia Gonzalez

05 Mar 2021

Thanks for the tips! This along with the course, I really feel like I’ll have it in the bag when I get that first signing.

Tim Keegan

05 Mar 2021

I 100% agree, printing docs should be done after confirming with the signers for sure.

Sade Smith

05 Mar 2021

These are all facts. LSS is the best and helped me so much as a signing agent. Marks continued mentorship and education is awesome.

Kimberly Thompson

05 Mar 2021

Truly priceless information, thank you for making this available as it is very helpful and makes so much anxiety and worry about my first signing disappear.

michael obrien

05 Mar 2021

interested in videos thaks

Christine Meek

06 Mar 2021

Great advice for the first time signing. Sometimes step 3 sand 4 are switched - I may not get docs until RIGHT before the appointment but SS wants you to call within 2 hours of receiving the assignment.

Michelle Shamis

12 Mar 2021

Great tips with confirming the appointment and taking the time to review the instructions!! Thank you Mark!

Brenda Osemwegie

23 Mar 2021

Well, I joined his course and must say It is not at all what is is cracked up to be. The market is saturated and the list of places to apply is a joke especially Snapdocs which he does an interview with that is years old. If you are new to the market with no mortgage experience you will suffer. Yes he has those clips "I made a 100,000 in 2 days, LOL! but look at all the other innocent people that have made nothing but ran a rat race to be told oh, It's because you have not done your part. Do I regret signing up. NO. Just another homebase business that gave me hope and took my money. Can you be successful, maybe. but it's not as easy as they make it seem.

Calandra France

06 Apr 2021

Yes yes yes. These tips are GREAT and helped me feel so much better walking into my first signing. I am confident even as a new signing agent because of Mark & the LSS.

Chris Parreira

24 Apr 2021

Great advise Mark! Yes always take your time for your 1st signing. Now it always takes me 2 hours to complete most sugninga with 2 signers. In calif you have to hsve a line in your journal for each notarizations and it has to be done at the signing table. I have had up to 25 notaried docs. How can I make this more efficient? There is no way it can be done in 45 minutes if you ate doing it correctly. Any advise please would be appreciated.

Wanakee Marie Brown-Belin

06 May 2021

Thank you, very helpful.

Peggy Pulliam

17 May 2021

Very helpful.

Ahmon Muhammad

25 Aug 2021



12 Jan 2022

OMG! Finally, someone is honest enough to tell the truth. Thank you Brenda Osemwegie. I'm a newbie and haven't accepted any signings due to my Son's illness. Everytime I tried to find a mentor or pay to get classes that might help me, they are asking for an arm and a leg in fees. I met with someone for lunch for mentorship and she ate her food so fast that I didn't get to order mine and then she got up and left. No I can't mentor you or thank you for meeting me. It was just horrible. I lost my Son to Cancer before Christmas and now I do have to go out in the work field after retirement. I have 2 grandchildren that we have to help raise. I really need to know the different loan packages.

National Notary Association

12 Jan 2022

Hello Sonya. If you need information about different types of documents SIgning Agents encounter in loan packages, you may want to check out our NSA Document FAQ series of articles in the Notary Bulletin. These articles answer question and provide helpful tips for Notaries about common loan documents. Here's an example on General Warranty Deeds:

Serey Kieng

02 Jun 2023

Hi Mark! I would like to thank you so much for your loansigningsystem courses. Your tremendous knowledge will be very helpful to be ready to get a first business and to avoid the nervousness due to a new student. Today is my last day of my class( June 2- 2023. I had enjoyed to learn your new systems in the last six months. I will pursue to tell the others to join this special classes to become a loan signing agent. Again, thank you so much.

30 Jun 2023

Mr. Willis can you confirm the following information as it pertains to NSA's loan signing career? I have heard through other Notary platforms that Title companies, Lenders, etc., are no longer hiring independent NSA's to contract with due to the economy. Is this information something NSA's need to take into consideration for the future?

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