by Jennifer Craven
You’ve been commissioned as a notary public in your state. You’ve completed training and become National Notary Association certified. You’ve spent hours studying sample loan documents and signing up for online notary directories. Finally, you get the call you’ve been waiting for: it’s your very first notary assignment!
What are the next steps? What can you do to make sure your documents are 100% error-free? How can you get mentally and physically prepared?
Below are essential steps you can take to make sure you are ready for your first notary signing.
Starting your mobile notary business
Your first signing is your very first business transaction. There are some things you will need to have completed beforehand. Here are the basics for how to get started as a notary.
Become commissioned as a Notary Public in your state
This is the very first step, and every state has different requirements and laws. It’s best to check out your Secretary of State’s notary requirements to get started. The NNA also offers step-by-step instructions and classes for each state that can make the process very simple.
Also, you will need a notary stamp and journal before completing your first notarization. There are many online sources for this, but the NNA is great when it comes to supplies!
Get NNA certified
It is well known that the National Notary Association’s Signing Agent Certification is the industry standard. Some signing services will not hire notaries who do not have this certification. You can check out your state’s certification options. They include basic certification (passing the test and background check), or you can purchase a training course through the NNA as well.
Complete outside training
There are so many amazing resources to help you grow as a mobile notary and loan signing agent. Are you looking for more business advice? Are you feeling less than confident about loan signings? You will want to research different training programs and weigh the costs vs. benefits of each as they pertain to your business.
Put yourself out there
The best advice to begin marketing your notary business is to sign up with many signing services and notary directories. We, of course, think you should start with Notary Jane.
Signing companies work directly with businesses and title companies who need regular notary services and it’s important for you to be in their system. Directories (like Notary Jane) provide a place for those looking for a notary to find you. Do your homework to weigh the pros and cons to see which services are worth your time and investment.
Your first notary signing
Once you have taken the necessary steps to get the work, it will come! There may be nothing more intimidating than your very first assignment. After all, in this field, you are expected to be an expert even though there is no formal or required training. No matter how prepared you are, it is normal to feel nervous at the beginning.
The first step is to make sure to understand the requirements of the signing.
- What type of closing is it?
- Will it require faxbacks/scanbacks?
- How many signers are there?
- What is the contact information for the signers?
- Are there written instructions from the signing company or client?
These are the basic questions that should be answered in your initial call or email confirmation for the job. Typically, this information is immediately available, but you may want to keep a checklist handy to make sure you get all the information upfront.
After understanding all the details and thoroughly reviewing any instructions provided, you will need to reach out to the signer to confirm the details of your appointment. The signer may need to bring specific documentation or a check, and you will want to remind them of this when confirming the appointment. If you are unable to reach the signer, continue to try. You might be able to text or email them if that is appropriate.
Never go to a signing without having confirmed the details with the signer beforehand.
Preparing the documents
Once the details are confirmed, you will likely need to print the documents, unless they are being mailed to you. It is extremely important to print them on the right size paper, as specified in the instructions. You may want to invest in a printer with dual trays so that you don’t have to split the document by page size. Depending on the type of closing, you’ll want to print 2 copies: one for the lender that will be signed, and one for the signer to keep.
You should take time to review the package so that you are prepared to explain the critical documents and understand where signatures are required. It is completely fine to rehearse what you will say; many training programs provide a script to get you started.
A helpful hint is to mark each spot where a signature is required with a sticky tab. This way, you won’t miss any signatures and the signer will know you are prepared.
The document signing appointment
You’ve taken the necessary steps to set up your business, you’ve landed your first signing assignment, and you’re prepared because you’ve taken the time to review the documents and instructions to ensure success. Now it’s time for the moment of truth. YOU ARE READY!
Every successful NSA (Notary Signing Agent) follows these simple rules when conducting a signing:
- Dress for success! It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Take pride in your appearance because it will give you confidence.
- Be prompt (if you’re not a little early, you’re late), professional, kind, and patient. Remember, the signer is likely just as nervous as you and it’s your job to put them at ease.
- Go slow and double-check each page. The signer will appreciate your diligence. Always remember that you’ve done the hard work and have come prepared.
- Take your time and be as patient with yourself as you are with the signer and everything will be just fine!
Once the signing is complete, it is very important that you follow the specific instructions to return the documents. They may need to be scanned back or mailed, or both. By reading the instructions and following them very carefully, you are ensuring more work from this client.
Onto the next signing
Once you’ve completed your first signing, you will immediately feel more comfortable and confident. Like most things, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. By following the steps and tips provided, the entire process will become automatic and your confidence will grow with each new assignment.
You should be very proud of yourself; you’ve started your own business, and your first signing is your first transaction! Congratulations!
Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up with Notary Jane and join the directory so those looking for a notary in their area can find you!