If your closing is being conducted by a notary signing agent, there is much that borrowers can do to prepare themselves to ensure that the closing will go more smoothly.
- Have contact information for your loan officer: The first thing that borrowers must understand is that the notary signing agent does not work for the lender or title company. Notary signing agents are independent contractors who work for many different companies, and sometimes several different lenders in one day. In many cases the notary signing agent has received the loan documents just an hour prior to the closing, so their knowledge of your loan is limited to the information that is in the loan documents themselves. Therefore, have a phone number for your loan officer handy so that, if there are any specific questions you have regarding your loan terms, funding, etc., you have someone to whom you can direct those questions.
- 3-day right to cancel: If you have a 3-day right to cancel, it will reduce the amount of time that your closing takes if you use those 3 days to read your documents more closely, get answers to any additional questions you have, resolve any issues, etc. It isn't necessary to spend the time reading every word of every document during the closing. There is a lot that can be accomplished during those 3 days. Errors can be corrected, problems resolved, etc.
- Identification: In most cases it will be necessary to provide a photocopy of your ID (i.e. driver's license) to be sent back with the loan documents. This is something that you can do in the days leading up to the closing. On the subject of identification, make sure that you have at least 2 forms of ID that are current. There is usually a form that the notary signing agent has to complete that requires the information from 2 forms of ID. Some of the forms that are acceptable are a passport, military ID, birth certificate, social security card, valid voter registration card, employee ID, … to name a few.
- Cash due from you: If there is money that you will have to pay at closing, be prepared. Know the amount, and know to whom the check should be made out to. Also know what form of payment is acceptable. A personal check may not be acceptable.
- Cash to you: If you have money coming to you, decide in advance how you want to receive it. Have your bank account information handy, and possibly a voided check. You will usually have a choice to receive the funds through the mail, by overnight delivery, or have them wired to your bank account. Find out what you will be charged for wire transfers.
- Stipulations: There may be additional information that you will need to provide on closing day. Get with your loan officer to find out if you will have to provide insurance information, homeowner's association information, etc. In short, find out all of the things you will need to have on closing day. Not only will this ensure that your loan can fund on time, it reduces the amount of time that your closing will take.
- Potential problems: Let the notary signing agent know of any potential problems. For example, if you are physically challenged in any way, be sure to mention it. There are many ways in which he or she can do to make the signing process a lot easier for you. If the signing will be in a location that doesn't have adequate furniture or lighting, this is something that you can mention too. In other words, don't hesitate to let the notary signing agent know of any potential problems. It lets them know how they should prepare.
- Statement of Information: Sometimes there will be a form included in the loan documents that asks for a lot of information from you, such as dates of residence, employment, marital history, nearest relative, etc. Try to have this information handy in case you have to fill out this form.
- Finding the location: The notary signing agent needs to know how to get to the location. Usually they will have located the address using a locator tool, but not all addresses can be found. So be prepared to give the signing agent directions. If you live in a gated community, let them know how to gain access. If it's a business, let them know the name of it, office number, etc. Usually the only information the signing agent has is an address. It also helps if you can give a brief description of the location, or any landmarks. If it's in a rural area, knowing the mile markers where they should slow down or turn is a big help.
- Contacting you: Make it easier for the signing agent to contact you. Provide a cell phone number if you have one so that if they do experience any problems, they have a way of getting in touch with you.
- Cooperation: Try to understand that the notary signing agent has a difficult job to do. He or she may ask you to sign the documents in a certain way, or give you some other instructions. These are usually instructions that have come directly from the lender. You might want to sign using your favorite ink pen. But if it's the wrong color ink, don't be offended if you have to use the one provided to you. There may be other things that will be requested of you. The signing agent will also want to spend some time after you have signed all of the documents so that they can review them to make sure that everything has been signed properly. This usually takes just a few minutes. The signing agent is only doing their job, and doing the best they can to ensure that your loan closing goes as smoothly as possible.
That, in a nutshell, is why notary signing agents do what they do. We want to make your closing as convenient and comfortable for you as possible, and ensure that everything goes smoothly.