Hey everyone. Just want to advise to be aware of accepting signings after hours in certain areas. A while back, I took a signing at 5PM. I sort of forgot that it was starting to get dark sooner. I was in a rural area and I can’t describe how dark it was. I couldn’t see the houses, let alone the addresses on the houses. It was like a scene out of Halloween. I called the borrower and asked them to turn their porch light on. This also goes for sketchy neighborhoods too. You can accept a signing in a town that has good and bad parts. I make sure to map the location so that I know if I want to take the signing or not. (That’s right, put the caller on hold if you need to map the location) I just told a company, I could not accept a signing in a particular part of town at 6PM. No Thank You!! At night, you may be reluctant to get out of the car. Just be mindful of the time and the areas you’re going to. All money isn’t good money. I make it a habit to give my husband the address to all my signings that I go to before I go. I’ve never had an encounter, but with these times, we have to be careful for NOTHING!!!
As the daylight wanes, so it is that I begin to refuse to accept assignments later than a 4:30 start time. I’ve no interest in going to peoples’ homes in the dark, not for any amount of money. Biggest pet peeve–idiots who hang their Christmas decorations right over their addresses.
100% Spot ON! I’m more and more conscious of the neighborhoods/zip codes I accept after dark. I completely STOPPED going to certain cities after noon! In North Florida where I am, there is a shortage of NSAs in rural areas and the “city” notaries get all of the requests. There is 1 very dangerous rural area that I stopped taking signings because (1) they are 1 way in, 1 way out - 2-way VERY DARK roads where oncoming traffic refuses to dim high beams!; (2) I must be blunt to say some are not welcoming of certain races - although I’ve not had a problem with those I’ve closed on - its the other folks who ride around with flag covered pick-up trucks with people in the back with guns. If I’m seeing the same exact truck passing me 3 times, I’m being followed. No thank you.
I live in Northern Jersey, and face same situation with daylight change, 4-5 pm is already dark for us… I’ve been facing similar situation trying to locate the houses numbers. The other night I was for about 10.minutes in front of a wrong house, I felt terribly ridiculous. Good idea to let hubby about the address you’re going to, I’ll start doing the same. Thank you
Don’t feel bad. I accidentally rang the wrong doorbell and the homeowner refused to answer the door but instead called the police on me because the “Scary Black Lady” had no business ringing his doorbell and parking in front of his house. By the time the cops came, I was at the right house and conducting my signing. Another neighbor kindly came to tell me that my car was going to be towed and that the guy had called the cops. He told the cops, some black lady was ringing the doorbell. I moved my car in a panic, but realized after the fact there was no “No Parking” signs anywhere. The cops asked me if I rang his doorbell. I explained to them that I had the wrong house. They said, no problem. But the homeowner who called wouldn’t even give me eye contact. So it behooves us to see the addresses on houses.
I only take night signings if they are within 10mi of my home and my cut off time is 7p. I usually call the borrower and ask them to come to the door if I cannot see the home address number. Most of the borrowers know you cannot see the house number in the dark so they will come to the door or turn on the porch light to illuminate. Since I am in NJ I will decline certain areas after dark.
I totally understand the need for extra caution while working after a certain hour; However, don’t let your guard down just because the sun is out or it’s during morning hours.
If they ask, NEVER tell them they’re the last signing regardless of the time of day/evening/night. Tell them you have another signing within 45mins. This causes them to believe someone will be looking for you in a short period of time.
Walk to the door with your phone in your hand, and FAKE the conversation at the door. "Okay Ms. Smith I’ve just arrive to my 5 pm signing and I’ll be seeing you next at 6:30. Again, it let’s the person at the door know someone will be looking for you shortly.
Ladies, text a friend the address of the signing and tell them to expect a call from you in 1 hour. That way someone knows where you are and will be expecting to hear from you shortly.
Position yourself in the signing location so you can see anyone and everything in the room. Have your back to a wall so no one can up up to you from behind.
Be safe ladies, and as @stephanyredd said “Not all money is good money” #SafetyFirst
That’s just my two cents on the matter.
Good Points. I’d like to believe we aren’t being sent to the homes of suspects, but I will keep that point of ensuring I am facing everyone.
WOW, Thanks so much for the update
WoW! That’s an experience… what an ugly expression, the Scary Black Lady
Always remember that you pay taxes as well, and can park anywhere as long the parking sign and hours say you can.
Just before Thanksgiving changed my signing times to daylight hours only. People making these appointments need to reconsider signing appointment times for fall/winter hours. Changed my hours after walking to my car in Kingston WA and 2 big black bears were there to greet me. If this was an in the dark signing, would never seen the bears and would have been bear bait. Calls I receive state difficult to schedule bookings in WA, I suggest they change to daylight appointments. Seems to go in one ear and out the other.
I understand your concern about closing in certain areas after dark. I lived in San Francisco for so long I’m not so afraid any more. But daylight doesn’t always save you. One real example. I don’t remember the notaries name or even the city. But the situation could be anywhere.
The notaries husband was getting worried when he couldn’t contact his wife and she was considerably late getting home from a closing, in a good neighborhood. He went on her computer to find the order and address. He called the police to meet him at the address. They found his wife, alive, thank god, on the floor inside the front door. The house was for sale. So, no one lived there. The people called her claiming to be from a well known signing company she already worked for. She did not notice the different phone number. She accepted the order. The people took the for sale sign from the front yard and broke into the house from the back. The house had electricity on as it was a show home I believe. They did this to steal her notary journal.
At the time I lived where I had the choice to keep my journal by various methods. I chose to scan the notarized docs and keep them on an external drive I locked up. Not every attacker is out for money or rape. Many are after people’s ID’s and financial information.
thanks for the tip and showing care for the women you are more than appreciated.
Always, have to be mindful of how scary the industry can be for you ladies. Driving to strange locations at all times of the day, not knowing who or what awaits you on the otherside of the door.
As a man, I would be concerned about certain locations and times signings needed to be completed.
Be safe, and be alert.
Thanks for the story.
It gets dark now around 5 to 5:30 so I don’t take signings after 4pm. Too much is going on and Covid19 is on the rise.
For after dark signings, my husband drives me. He will either go for a walk or sit in the car and visit with his friends on the phone (depending on the neighborhood). I let the clients know that my husband is waiting for me in the car as we have a joint appointment after the signing. I have also started being more careful about which zip codes I will accept after dark.
I’m so happy to see this subject! I’ve been feeling miserly for not accepting evening appointments. However, on dark & rainy nights my vision is horribly limited, and the money isn’t worth the driving stress. I also don’t take appointments after 5 p.m., unless they’re local and I’m familiar with the area.
I’m on the same page as you. It seems to be darker out than ever before! I had to go to a rural area the other night and I actually asked my husband to drive with me. I’m so glad he was with me, the road was so dark and far off the map that we couldn’t even tell where we were at! Yes we had GPS but the service went out. If my husband wouldn’t of been with me I probably would’ve been in tears! I made the decision of never again will I be doing that. My husband goes with me to closings that are later and may be a little far out and just hangs out in the car. I also will send him the locations for signings that I have that day. Times are different and we have to watch out for ourselves.
Not a loan signing experience but one from my Census Bureau work (I’m a field rep) - went to an address as night as I could not reach people during the day…driving down a dark, unlit road (we’re very rural here, no street lights) - thankfully was going slow - looked just in time to see that I was driving straight into the river from the boat launch ramp - the UNMARKED and UNRESTRICTED boat launch ramp!! I think that was the end of my days of night work!!
I remember one from a loan signing - property, again, was on the river but I was in a community - could not find my way out and, like you Nikole - GPS out…drove around for about 15 minutes, just as I was getting ready to call a sheriff to escort me out I recognized a street sign and worked my way out. It was nervewracking!!
YES! I don’t accept signings after 4:00pm- the signing companies need to be mindful of the
“possible “ situations as well!!! Great story