When it comes to notarizing a loan document, many things can go wrong. It takes only one notary signing agent mistake to invalidate the notarization and cause issues later on. Recognizing potential notary signing agent mistakes before they happen is critical.
Some of the most common notary mistakes lenders make include using the incorrect form, failing to name an assignee, or leaving off another crucial clause (like an escape clause). These little oversights could end up costing you dearly if you don’t catch them before they become major problems.
Top Notary Loan Signing Agent Mistakes to Avoid
Here is our list of top 8 mistakes to avoid as a loan signing agent:
1: Avoid Notary Seals That Are Not Reproducible
Notary seals are a common feature on documents that require the highest level of trust and authenticity. A notary seal signifies that a document is unaltered and verified as official. These marks are beautiful, but they also have disadvantages that you need to understand before making a final decision about getting one for your documents.
Notary seals typically have some sort of design or image associated with them. The problem with using a notary seal that isn’t reproducible is that it cannot be used on digital or electronic documents. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, this is a signing agent error that can put you in an inconvenient position.
2: Avoid Certifying Copies of Public Records (Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, etc)
Many notaries do certify birth and marriage certificates every day with no problems, but it’s important to note that as a loan signing agent in the united state, it’s in your best interest to decline any request to certify copies of public records.
Notaries public who certify copies of public records run the risk of being challenged by third parties and audited by state authorities. Certifying copies of public records is a critical notary signing event mistake because you’ll be held liable for certifications you provide as a notary public if that certification causes problems down the road.
3: Avoid Confusing Job Description
Not all notaries are created equal. While many states do not require notaries to have any license or certification, many people are still confused by the distinction. As a result, a lot of customers are turned off by the industry and avoid using the services altogether.
You can help keep new customers coming in and your existing clients satisfied by clearly and concisely explaining the basics of what you do and why.
Most notaries specialize in one or two things, such as signing and witnessing loans or electronic signatures. Others take on a broader role and may offer notary services as well as legal documentation, such as deed transfers or wills. Not being able to pinpoint your role as a loan signing agent can hinder trust and credibility with customers and prospects.
4: Don’t Fail to Check IDs and Verify Income
As an authorized signer on a loan, you are responsible for that money being repaid. This means you need to be certain the person who is signing is financially qualified to do so.
Notaries are not required to verify a person’s identity or income, but it is in your best interest to perform these verifications just the same. Not verifying the identities of the people who are signing the loans is a common loan signing mistake that puts your reputation and livelihood at risk.
A person could sign for a loan with a large amount of money and then disappear without a trace, leaving the notary and the lending institution responsible for repayment. Also, if the person who is signing does not have an adequate source of income to qualify for the loan, you could be held responsible for repayment.
5: Failing to Use Your Stamp or Seal When Signing Loans
One of the most common notary signing agent mistakes to avoid is using another notary agent’s stamp or seal to sign loans. All notaries sign with their stamp or seal. It is your unique mark that identifies you as the notary who signed the loan. However, some notaries use a generic stamp, such as “notary public” or “authentication” instead of one that includes their name and the state they are licensed in.
This generic stamp is fine for some situations and types of documents, but it is not acceptable when signing loans. On the back of your stamp, you need to include the name of the state and the notary number you were assigned when you were sworn in.
Make sure you use this stamp when signing loans. If you are working with a company that offers notary services, ask them to use their company stamp when signing loans, otherwise, the document would be valid.
6: Avoid Placing The Notary Stamp Impression Over Text
The notary public stamp is a critical component of the notary process. It is the unique combination of ink, paper, and pressure that makes a notary public stand out as an official witness.
However, some protocols and practices can make the notary process more efficient, safe, and secure. Some details can take away from its efficiency, safety, or security. One of such details – and one of the deadliest mistakes to avoid as a loan signing agent – is placing the notary stamp impression over text.
7: Letting Borrowers Leave With The Originals
Before making copies of documents for the borrower, ensure you have everything you need to complete the loan. However, you’ll want to avoid a common notary signing agent mistake of letting the borrower keep the originals.
Indeed, borrowers need to retain a copy, so they have something to prove they own the property or have the funds necessary to purchase it. But never let the borrower take the originals. You want to make sure you have the original copy of the documents in case of a dispute. You also don’t want to run the risk of having the borrower alter the documents in any way.
8: Avoid Filling Notarial Certificates Incorrectly
In the notary world, many procedures must be followed correctly or else risk losing validity. Failing to follow a procedure can invalidate documents, rendering them unnotarized and therefore void.
Unfortunately, it is easy to make mistakes when so many rules must be followed precisely. There are numerous different scenarios in which failure to fill out a form correctly will invalidate your notarized document and render it void.
For example: If you fail to include your name as the Notary Public on a document, then the document can no longer be considered notarized because you did not follow the correct procedure for signing your name as a Notary Public.
Being a notary loan signing agent is challenging. It’s a profession that requires the perfect balance of professionalism and friendliness, attention to detail, and the ability to think on your feet.
As a loan signing agent, you must also have an eagle eye for details, manage time efficiently, and remain organized during chaotic situations. So don’t get worked up if you find yourself making any of the above loan signing agent mistakes, instead focus on integrating new procedures and automating tried and tested processes.