Notary Signing Agent Role - What We Can and Can't Discuss
I am a Notary Public. I am also certified as a Notary Signing Agent; which means, I can notarize real estate loan documents. This is sometimes referred to as “a closing.” As a Mobile Notary, I do not work out of a notary public office, but rather travel to the client location. I love this and so does the customer, because it offers privacy and convenience! There are some questions that I do get quite a lot when I am conducting a real estate closing and I’ll talk about the most common ones in this blog.
IS THIS A GOOD INTEREST RATE?
- While I certainly have my own opinion on interest rates, and I have been in the mortgage industry for many years, when I am on the job as a Notary Public I cannot offer an opinion on interest rates even if the customer is willing to talk “off the record.” A Signing Agent’s role is to verify the identity of the signer, obtain any oaths/affirmations and ensure the documents are signed and notarized in all the right places. It is understandable that the client wants the best rate out there and hopefully that is the case. I personally know that many factors influence the interest rate you have on your loan like, which type of loan program you go with, your FICO score, whether you buy down points, etc. but, I am not allowed to talk about any of this. Your lender is the BEST source for your questions and hopefully you have asked these questions before the notarizing begins. Even so, the Notary Public should always offer you the opportunity to call your Lender, Escrow or Title Company if you have any last minute questions during the closing.
WHEN WILL I GET MY MONEY FROM THE LENDER?
- Signing Agents often notarize loan documents for customers who are refinancing, purchasing or selling property (real estate docs) and if they expect to receive money from either the refinance or the sale they sometimes ask me if I know when they will be receiving their money. While I would have no way of knowing when they will receive funds from the Lender, what I can do is direct them to the Closing Disclosure which is part of the closing package and show them the section where it lists the “disbursement date” and I always tell them to check in with their Lender or Loan Closing Agent to verify when funds will be disbursed.
WHEN WILL I GET MY ESCROW REFUND?
- If there is money in your old escrow account at the close of your new loan, you probably want to know when you will be getting the money paid back to you and who will be sending it to you. It would be so great if I could offer my own personal experience to my clients, because I have gone through the purchase and the refinance process myself. When we refinanced, we received a reimbursement check from the previous Lender and it was a seamless process. My new Lender had already advised me on what to look out for and true enough, the check came from the previous servicer. So, when I am asked this question, I refer them back to the Lender, Escrow and Title Company.
DO YOU WORK FOR THE LENDER OR TITLE COMPANY?
- It makes sense that clients ask this question. They have usually spent months dealing with first the Lender then the Title and Escrow Company. Now it’s time to close the loan and an appointment is set up for a Notary Public in their area to facilitate the loan closing; they assume that I work for the Lender, but I do not. I am a 3rd party vendor, contracted by the Title or Escrow Company to conduct the loan closing. But rest assured Notary Signing Agents are Notary Publics who have received special training and received background clearance to conduct loan closings. We have gone through quite a bit of scrutiny to receive our titles. Some agents like myself, have taken it a step further an obtained the coveted “Fidelity Approved” which means we have been more rigorously reviewed by Fidelity National Title (FNT) and our E&O insurance meets the Fidelity (FNT) standard. Fidelity approval is not easy to get, so if you have a Notary Signing Agent who has this stamp of approval you know they have earned their stripes!
I am a member of the National Notary Association so I have access to a great library of blogs and articles on all things Notary. Here is a link to one you may find of interest and that is in line with the items I have discussed:
In my profession and also as a consumer, I have had the opportunity to meet some very knowledgeable and trustworthy folks in the lending business. Please feel free to contact these individuals if you have any questions!
Felix Figueroa, Area Vice President with the Figueroa Group at Ticor Title Company
Megan Lower, CMPS, Branch Manager at Academy Mortgage Corporation