Signing Service Forces 2nd Appointment, Leaves Borrowers Confused and Frustrated

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One of the ways a San Diego notary can find work is through what is called a signing service. These companies are hired by escrow & title offices, attorneys and others to find notaries around the country that can fulfill their orders. Many of these professionals believe that signing services are the most convenient way to have their client’s documents notarized. While there is an element of convenience knowing you can send all notary work to one source, there are some common issues that can cause problems at the signing table. Hiring a signing service means adding one more layer to the already complicated closing process. Instead of the notary being able to communicate directly with the lender or escrow company, the signing service becomes the first point of contact. This can add time and confusion to the process because there are so many people involved.

"As a San Diego mobile notary, I find it is best when the title or escrow company calls me directly to schedule their closings."

I occasionally accept work from signing services but prefer to work directly with the escrow company as it cuts down on confusion and misscommunication. Last week I accepted an offer from a signing service I hadn’t worked for before but thought I’d give them a shot. The borrowers were completing a refinance and had already signed their entire loan package a few days earlier. However, they now had to re-sign the grant deed and certification of trust, because the notary assigned to the closing changed the appointment date set by escrow. What the notary didn’t know, was that the borrowers hadn’t had three business days to review their closing disclosure. This three day rule, known as the “Know Before You Owe” rule, went into effect October 3, 2015 and is a requirement of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for certain types of loans.  This mistake meant certain documents had to be re-signed and re-notarized, which is where I came into the equation.

While confirming the appointment with the borrowers, they seemed confused and uncertain of what needed to be done, why they were signing again, etc. Since multiple notaries were now involved along with an escrow company, lender and signing service, this information hadn’t been properly relayed to the borrowers. Unfortunately, I find this situation to be pretty common when dealing with many signing services.

Once we were at the signing table, the borrowers had some questions that were outside the legal scope of a notary, so we tried calling the signing service but there was no answer. We called the number for the escrow officer which was provided by the signing service, but it turned out the signing service gave us the wrong escrow officers contact information. At this point, the borrowers were very upset about the confusion and lack of communication.  There wasn’t much I could do since the signing service didn’t provide me with the proper contact info. We were eventually able to get ahold of the lender, who was able to answer the borrower’s questions and we completed the signing.

What should have been a ten-minute signing, turned into more than an hour with the borrowers. As you can see, signing services can add an element of complexity and confusion to the closing process. As a San Diego mobile notary, I find it is best when the title or escrow company calls me directly to schedule their closings, rather than going through a signing service. I work closely with escrow and title companies in San Diego County to provide the best possible experience for their clients, without all the added confusion and extra personnel that sometimes comes with hiring a signing service.

If you would like more information about how I can help your title or escrow company, please call 619 731-0878 or email me at info@lukeeastmannotary.com