9 Typical Notary Signing Agent Document PackagesBrenda Stone
If you are new to the notary business, you may feel like receiving the documents for your assignment is like opening up a box of Cracker Jacks and digging out a prize.
Are there 200 pages in that file or 20? 500 or 50?
Will I need to notarize something? How many documents need notarization?
The guessing game can be fun for about three minutes, but then you need facts. Today’s article may help you better know what to expect when you receive an assignment. We will analyze assignments in this article based on the following variables:
- Size of the package (pages)
- Number of notarizations
- Other nuances of the deal
This article can’t cover ALL the different types of lending or real estate packages, but we will hit the most common types. Please note that some states’ loan packages may require more notarial acts and pages than other states.
The information reported within this document is my experience. It may not be exactly what your state will see in the same assignment types, but at least you’ll know to ask around about them in your own state so you will know what to expect.
1 – Cash Real Estate Deals and Seller Packages
The time of the appointment is usually not flexible, but the package is only about 20 pages and one or two notarial acts. You will probably have to fax back the documents immediately.
2 – Loan Modifications
There are about 35 – 40 pages in a loan modification package. The fees offered are usually lower than notaries like—around $40. The good side is that the time and date for signing is generally left up to you. Scan backs are common. The way to make these profitable is to get three at a time that are close together.
Or, you can go by and sign up the borrowers on the way to do something else.
3 – Texas Property Tax Loans
There are about 48 pages in a Texas tax loan package. The fees offered run between $50 and $100. They are usually easy and quick.
Tax loan companies are either a dream to work for, or they micromanage you. There is no in between. The good ones let you and the borrower work out an appointment time before the end of the month. Good ones that are flexible pay more.
There is a downside in that some borrowers have more than one property that is about to be foreclosed upon for non-payment of property taxes. I have notarized as many as 40 tax liens in one appointment for an equal number of parcels. Tax lenders are willing to pay you more when that comes up, in my experience.
This type of loan isn’t found in other states, to my knowledge.
4 – Refinance Loan
The size of the package runs about 125 – 200 pages. There are usually 8 to 12 notarial acts required. However, I did one last month that had over 20 notarial acts! You may have to scan back some of the documents. If the collateral is the borrower’s home, there will be a Notice of Right to Cancel in the package. If the collateral is an investment property, there will not be a Notice of Right to Cancel in the package.
5 – Purchase Loan
There are usually 125 – 200 pages involved in a purchase if there is a loan. Cash purchases are different as you will see below. You will need to notarize about 10 – 15 documents. Having to scan back several documents ASAP after you complete the appointment is not uncommon.
6 – Equity Loans and Lines of Credit
Most states’ notaries love equity loans. In my experience, these loan types seem to run from 125 – 150 pages with 15 – 20 notarial acts on average.
However, when I signed an equity loan on my own home a couple of years ago, I was surprised to see that the package was 46 pages long, there was no title company involved—only a quick title search done to ensure the title was clear, and there were not many documents to be notarized. The banker worked for a homegrown Texas bank, and I signed the documents at his office. 46 pages is unusual, but the amount I borrowed was only about 10% of the equity, so it was virtually no risk for the lender.
Scanning back multiple documents is common.
Texas only – when the collateral for an equity loan is a Texas homestead, things get a bit confusing. By law, a Texas home equity loan must be signed in one of three places and never in the borrower’s home.
These locations are —
- Title Company Office
- Attorney’s Office
- Lender’s Branch Location.
The notary will need to pay to use a conference room in one of these offices and should quote the hiring party $35 – $55 over her notary fee. Hiring parties are usually well aware of this fee increase.
Beware – Because it isn’t easy to get a title company or attorney to let you sign loans in their offices (in some Texas areas), I have heard of trainers telling notaries how to get around this requirement in Texas by renting an office (for about $25 per use) from Regus or other shared space locations where an attorney has set up a temporary office in the same building. It is NOT the same thing as meeting in an attorney’s office. My title company source says “Don’t do it! It doesn’t meet the requirements of the law.” It is also highly deceptive and unethical.
7 – Piggy Back Loans
Some assignments come with two loans. These are called “Piggy Backs.” One loan covers 80% of the amount needed, and the other loan is smaller and quicker to pay off. It is about 20% of the loan.
The two loans may come from different lenders. Never hesitate to ask “single or piggy back?” when you are offered an assignment. There may be a “piggy back” that the scheduler forgets to mention. There will probably be two sets of 150 – 200 pages. The number of notarial acts will run about the same as in other loans—10 to 20 in each set of documents.
Scanning back is almost guaranteed.
8 – Reverse Mortgage Loans
These are large loan packages. The page count is 200 to 250. You will need to notarize about 15 documents. These take longer because the borrowers are usually from 75 to 90 years old. They will either be very well informed or clueless. Reverse mortgage borrowers must receive a certain number of hours of counseling on the loan features and ramifications. The upside is that if a loan officer likes you, you can become the go-to notary for all of that loan officer’s work. Scanning back is possible.
9 – Commercial Loans
Commercial loans come in many different types: construction, interim, purchase, equity, refinance, renewal and extension, to name a few. The packages run from large to very large (150 to 500 pages). You may have 50 or more documents to notarize. The good part is that the borrowers are usually experienced and they sign quickly.
New notaries should be able to handle loan packages flawlessly before jumping into commercial mortgage work. The notary should be experienced, competent, and professional. Multiple signers are common and the notarial certificates will be for companies or entities, not individuals. There may be multiple properties involved. You need to know how to read a HUD-1 if you handle these loans.
One more thing
Some of these assignments may require you to pick up a check for closing costs. I have also had to pick up various receipts to show proof of repairs made, copies of prenuptial agreements, powers of attorney, and other documentation.
We’ll be back next week!