By Melissa Haley—Ask any seasoned Notary Signing Agent about what can go wrong during a signing and you’ll hear all kinds of stories. An experienced Signing Agent typically makes a habit of doing certain things before arriving at the designated location and during the signing to ensure time isn’t wasted and documents are successfully signed.

  • Always call the borrower to confirm the appointment.
  • Let them know up front if there are conditions to signing that will be required so they can be prepared to comply.
  • Make sure they know the ID requirements for your state and will have the proper ID available.
  • If the lender requires copies of the ID, homeowner’s declaration page, or tax return, let the borrower know so they can have them ready when you arrive. Inform them if your state requires witnesses.
  • Provide a contact phone number for yourself, in case the borrower needs to make any changes to the time or place due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Confirm the location and get directions, if possible.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to have the documents early before the appointment, verify spelling and middle initial, if any, with the borrower to avoid discrepancies at the table.
  • Always bring your confirmation with you so you have phone numbers handy of who hired you as well as any lender contacts they may have provided.

An experienced Signing Agent will also carry with them certain supplies. Being prepared will help to eliminate many minor issues.

  • Common forms such as standard acknowledgment and jurat forms in case existing wording on the document is not compliant with prescribed wording by your state or if there is not enough room on the document to complete the notarial block properly. Other forms, although less common, may include acknowledgment for signature by mark.
  • Plenty of pens should also be a staple in the bag or briefcase of a Signing Agent. Five to six of each black and blue is usually sufficient even for multiple borrowers.
  • A pad of paper or post-it notes is useful for jotting down notes by both the Signing Agent and the borrower.
  • Make sure your cell phone is always charged.
  • Stock up on supplies such as paper and toner.

These simple things can decrease the stress and help to make any signing go more smoothly. While there may be some issues beyond the control of the Signing Agent that will make for an incomplete signing, following these simple preventive measures will go a long way to signing success.