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Wisdom From a Seasoned Notary

As a Notary Signing Agent, you are expected to uphold the highest of professional standards.  This encompasses the way you conduct yourself, the way you dress, and the grasp of knowledge you have regarding the transactions you handle.  There is also a special emphasis on your ability to handle difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Whether you are at an office or in a client’s home, you never know what you might encounter.  Regardless of the situation, you must always keep composure and act as the consummate “Professional” that you are.  There could be a situation where the documents aren’t correct and the client wants “You” to explain “Why”.  You simply address this by telling them you will call the company that gave you the assignment and resolve the matter. In the case of a real estate closing, you may need to take it a step further and reach out to the Title/Escrow Company or Lender.  No matter the scenario, always stay calm and collective.  It is your job to make the client feel that everything will be okay and that the situation will be resolved quickly.

If you are a new Notary Signing Agent, it is imperative to recognize the importance of obtaining proper training until you gain the necessary field experience.  In some cases, the client’s livelihood is hinging on the transaction you are closing, and a mistake could prove very costly.

When performing a purchase closing, it is very common to walk into a room and have multiple people, including buyers, sellers, and realtors, with all eyes on you. This is an opportunity for you to “Shine”.

Command the attention of the room by introducing yourself and announcing your role as “closer” for the transaction.  Additionally, I always ask the receptionist to seat the buyers on the right and sellers on the left.  This helps eliminate confusion.  Let them know up front that there are many papers to sign, but that it will go quickly. This is how I prefer to set the tone for the closing.  No matter what, don’t get involved in any “cross talk” that may take place around the table. It is your job to complete the closing in a timely matter and not become engaged or distracted.

I often hear borrowers gasp when they see the big stack of documents I place on the table.  I assure them that it looks far worse than it actually is, and that the process will go quickly.  I have found that familiarizing myself with a line or two from each page allows me to explain the current document quickly, as they are signing the previous one.  Be thorough, answer questions, but be quick and concise.  If you set the stage in this manner, everyone involved with follow your lead.  A closing conducted by a seasoned signing agent typically takes 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the amount of documents and number of signers.

Upon signing the last page, it is critical to review all documents one final time before concluding the closing.  It is much easier to fix an error at the signing table than after the fact.  Also, if errors are made, we all know how this can reduce your chances of repeat business from a client.  Additionally, making corrections after-the-fact is a serious inconvenience and hassle we’d all prefer to avoid.

One final piece of “wisdom”, and while it may seem obvious, how you dress is a HUGE deal (or deal breaker in some unfortunate cases).  Always keep in mind that you are a direct representation of the company that hired you.  I prefer to keep a couple of “go to” outfits reserved just for closings.  Your appearance can make a big difference in repeat business.  If a client trusts that you will represent them well, your chances of hearing from them again dramatically increase.

With anything in life, there is always room for improvement.  Wisdom and Confidence originate from Knowledge and Experience.  Whether you are a seasoned closer with over a decade under your belt, or someone who is just conducting their first signing; your willingness to learn, grow, and improve will determine your success in this competitive business.

Anne E. Fields, Professional Loan Closer, Fields & Associates, www.afieldsandassociates.com 

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