Where Loan Signing Agent Work Comes From
Recently, I have observed that there is a bit of confusion among new notaries regarding where real estate and loan signing work comes from and how to connect into that flow. Below is a list of sources of work for real estate deals and loan signings. I’ve tried to put the sources in order from most common to least common. Hopefully, this will help clarify where loan signing and real estate work comes from and how it gets to notaries.
Platforms are not hiring you or paying you. A platform is a website that acts as an exchange where hiring parties see notaries’ profiles and can text out a notice of assignment to hundreds of notaries in a certain area. A platform automates the process and notaries are assigned quicker, presumably.
These websites are used by different types of hiring parties, for instance, both title companies and signing services use platforms to find notaries for their assignments. Notaries do not pay to put their names on a platform. The companies that use these websites pay an amount per job to use them. Platform sites in existence that I am aware of are: SigningOrder.com, NotaryDash.com, and SnapDocs.com.
Keep in mind that platforms aren’t working for you, you are not their client, so it is doubtful that complaints from notaries to the platform will create must interest by the platform. Platforms are working for the parties who are paying them to use the platform to hire notaries.
- Pros – Offers of work seem to come more regularly. It’s another place to advertise without having to pay. You are exposed to many more companies.
- Cons – Payments offered to notaries are lower than via other methods, but notaries can counter-offer. Everything is done by text message and email, so if you prefer phone calls and voices, you won’t like it.
Signing services take orders from title companies and distribute them to notaries. They may do this through a platform, through the use of their own private notary database, or by relying on an online directory like NotaryRotary.com.
The signing service pays the notary.
- Pros – For new notaries, signing service work is ideal because there is usually a helpful person who can walk you through problems that come up without having to go directly to the title company or lender. As long as signing services pay my fee, I am happy to work for them, although some notaries are quite negative about these types of companies. I say remain professional, just say “no” and let other notaries do what works for them. You never know how speaking publicly in a negative manner about a company can affect you in five years. People move on to other jobs. Maintain professionalism in all of your relationships.
- Cons – Fees are lower and often come slower than when working for title companies.
Title companies provide title insurance and facilitate the closing process. These businesses work differently from state to state. For instance, the way things are done in California and Arizona is not the same as the way things are done in Texas or New York. In small towns in Texas, for instance, title companies close their own loans using their employees. They may not use notary signing agents and prefer to handle their deals internally. However, this is a foreign concept to notaries from California where there are not only title companies to work for, but also escrow companies.
To find notaries, title companies may use a platform like those mentioned above, the company’s database of notaries, or a directory like NotaryRotary.com. To develop a list of title company clients from whom you receive work directly, you will need to have a marketing strategy of direct solicitation or have someone to refer you to that office.
- Pros – Fees are better. No hand holding (usually). Payments come faster.
- Cons – You are expected to know how to handle most of the jobs you receive, be experienced, careful, and 99% error free.
There are some title companies and lenders whose deals are funneled through law offices. Theses types of assignments are all over the place as far as fees, payment terms, etc. However, I am mentioning them because you may receive calls and assignments from them. There is nothing to be suspicious of. But I can’t really give you any more insight because I don’t have enough feedback from my own experiences or from other notaries.
Lenders generally turn the loan over to a title company to facilitate the process of closing. However, on occasion, you may be called directly by a lender to go to a home or office to meet with a borrower. This is rare but it does happen. Make sure when you take an assignment from a lender, that you know where to send your invoice. Otherwise, the invoice may wind up in a dark hole because there is not an established system for payment to the notary. I remember doing one directly for a certain national lender years ago. It took many calls to get paid. They kept saying, “But, that file has already been closed.”
Some title companies occasionally send out a “mail-away” package. This means they send the documents to the borrower and tell the borrower to find a notary. The borrower pays the notary. Personally, I do not do a “loan signing” when this type of call comes in. I tell the caller to pull out all the documents to be notarized and have them ready. I do not go through the other documents. I perform as a notary, only, charging only for the notarial acts and a mobile notary fee, if any.
Occasionally, notaries report that they have been called by a real estate agent to handle a small package in the agent’s office. Other types of stakeholders in the mortgage lending and real estate landscape could also call to schedule your time. It will pay to answer your phone to all callers, even if you do not recognize the number. Several years back, I received calls from an oil and gas company to handle the execution of purchase loans for manufactured homes. Again, in these situations, make sure you know who will handle the invoice for your services.
Everyone have a great week! Enjoy the cooler weather.