First refi took 4 hours

I did my first closing today (Texas notary). It was a refi and although it did take me 4 hours, I think I did ok. I just need to know what is slowing me down and what I can change. NNA says you have to enter every notarization in the journal, and I assumed an entry for each borrower. It was a fairly newly-married couple and the co-borrower had an AKA. This slowed me/us down A LOT. 40 entries to be exact. Also, there were a ton of blanks on various pages they had to fill. There has got to be a faster way. Also, the borrowers were young and very nice, but they did want to understand what each document was and were not too keen on reading. (Kinda deer in headlights at times.) There were 177 pages, and multiple documents that looked like multiple other documents. Help!

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177 pages is a bit much, but not unheard of; ditto duplicates or close; but even 2 hrs of the 4 spent on this is waaay too long; did they really have to fill in ALL the blanks? (often the Tax info sheet is blank, but B doesn’t complete it). Only thing I can add is there are a few Lender/TC combinations that are just so over-the-top with their repetitive paperwork that I make a note to NEVER again accept a signing from them. One tip: Before they sign ANYTHING, quickly go over the 1st page of Closing Disclosure & the Note, the First Payment letter (all of which contain basically the same info, just arranged in easy-to-understand ways) and the RTC. Once they’ve ‘got’ that, the actual signing goes quickly as all their questions/concerns have already been handled.


If you waited until you were at the table to fill in the majority of your journal and prep your certs, then that’s where a huge portion of your time went; from reading the Texas handbook, it looks like you are allowed to use the Modern Notarial Journal - one ID entry for each signer but you can check boxes for the docs notarized and/or list them if not already in the pre-printed list - not a single entry for each signer for each document, like CA.
Also, this is beyond your control, but if they had to sign w/ the a/k/a, that always increases table time. Unfortunately, repetitive paperwork is beyond your control too. The “deer in the headlights”? Well, I get it but you’re just there to present the docs and get them signed and notarized. If they had numerous questions about this paperwork they can be referred back to their LO to get answers to their questions - also remind them that they have 3 days to look everything over and get their pertinent questions answered by the LO.

I hope you priced yourself at a rate to hopefully compensate you properly for this 4-hour ordeal

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, the aka was a time killer. Where do I find the Modern Notarial Journal? I assume that’s a little different from the basic journal I have. Can I find one and immediately stop using the journal I have, or do I have to finish this one?

Best price for hard cover modern journal !

I can use this in Texas?

Pick up the journal here

That Signing would have took me less than 25 minutes. Preparation is everything.

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Yep I agree. It takes me 25 to 30 minutes. And my best signings are the ones that are 3-5 minutes drive from my house:). And great fees too:) So awesome to get those!

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It was 177 pages and I am a new notary. I’m trying very hard but how anyone could do that in under even an hour or two is beyond me.


All due respect to anahein_notary (I’ve read your previous posts and do respect your knowledge) and VIPnotaryCO, but no - 25 minutes for 177 pages, including identifying and entering all journaling requirements? I find that incredibly hard to believe .


Regardless of what anyone says you can greatly reduce the time you spend per signing.

I prepare by doing some notary yes’ & no’s before hand.

  1. I hand the signers their copy so they can follow along as we go & make them aware if why they got it before the end of the signing. If they need to pause the signing for any reason they are not throwing me from my rhythm.

Not one time has a couple been leery of me doing this. Typically… one “leads” in signing while one will read through & check numbers, etc. If something is wrong the reader will stop things to get clarity.

Most people have an idea of what they are signing. If they have a good team… they know what to expect when you show up.

  1. Tag pages that require signatures with tiny post-its. All you should really be doing is flipping to those pages for signatures when with signers.

You should have the return copy in front of you as if you are going to read it. Handle the docs as though they are a book. You can sit, flip to the tagged pages (not page by page), and have them sign. By the time you are done you should have a stack of docs face down as if you flipped thru a magazine or book.

They only need contact with what they sign from the copy of the docs you have.

They have their copy in hand & you now have no reason to be shuffling your docs (the copy that is to be mailed / faxed /emailed back) when they have ?'s or discuss things amungst themselves.

  1. Everything I need to do on the docs is done before I show up to start the signing so when flipping pages the signers only need to sign (& date).

I stamp, date, sign before I start my trip to them. You can also pre-fill your log with as much as you can before you arrive. It makes completing a quick sign here then done process.

  1. Use technology if your state allows it. Texas does. I DO NOT keep a physical journal. Gave it up after my 2nd notary task.

I use NotaryAct and track the signing as a package. You can track the type & number of the various forms in the app under one mass occurrence. You can name the actual forms in the app.

Some will grimace at this BUT I have walked into court and placed my iPad Pro in a judges hand for him to review when he asked for my journal. He watched as I pulled up the info he needed and was elated with the ease of use and the amount of detail present.

Note… I do not profit from anyone’s use of the app. I just find it useful & it saves me carrying yet another thing that could be separated from me. It limits my risk of exposing peoples private info by design as a perk. There is no hovering / covering entry as you should with a physical log to prevent curious eyes. 2.99 /month

  1. Get confident in your work & establish a rhythm/flow in what you do. You will spend way less time per signing as you gain confidence and more experience.

I saw a sign a mechanic posted that read “You did not pay me for the 15-30 minutes that it took me to repair your precious vehicle. You paid me for the 20+ years of experience that allowed me to repair it in such a short period of time.”

The same is true in this line of work. Learn, gain experience, adjust & you will become more efficient.

Be warned… there are highly anal-retentive people. You may come across someone who wants read every page line by line.

That is another issue entirely.

That couple was likely just as new to the process as you were and just wanted to get things right.

This link shows if the app is accepted by your state:

(Why the forum keeps changing the numbers on the points is beyond me.)


Question: Did you enter every notarization in your notarial journal? This is how your question reads, as you indicate there were 40 entries. If that is the case, this is where you were slowed down in the process. Your journal entry is to indicate the single appointment, listing all signers, the type of signing performed (jurat or acknowledgement) and the document(s) type (Refi packet; DOT; POA). If two signers, that would have been only 2 entries. Often times there are blanks in a document - not all of them require completion by the signer(s). Usually the title company will let you know whether a form requires the signers to complete the form. If you are unsure, call title before you go to the signing. That “Deer in the headlights” look is common, unfortunately. But, you are supposed to know the forms (not necessarily the content). A review of the form should give you enough information to explain what it is and how it’s used in a sentence or two. Rather than sitting with signers who take time to read every form, a quick, concise explanation of the form will help you get out the door quicker.
I agree with everyone else that you should have all your signature pages flagged (in the beginning this is helpful until you have a few more signings under your belt), and all notary pages already filled in with the exception of your signature and stamp. Depending on the signers, a document of 177 pages should have taken an hour or less to complete. Good luck going forward.

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This was such a useful response to the initial post. Thank you for helping this newbie out. You are awesome!

not in CA. requires entry for each notarization so if two signers and 10 times you stamped, 20 entries. it is a PITB but required. this does take a lot of time but I do it prior to arriving so I do not sit there while they are waiting. But with driving 20-30 min to a signing and doing that prior and sitting during I average 2 hours for each signing.

why would you take lets say a 4 page document and just provide them the last page for signature? I always state one to sentences about the document and state please sign and date page 2 and hand them both pages. usually they will turn to second page and sign/date. sometimes they quickly look at it (less than 15 seconds) and then sign/date. I am okay with that timeframe and most of mine are completed in 35-45 min sitting at their home to sign (depends on # of pages, notarizations and # of signers)

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My process works for me.

It keeps me in control of the signing process & efficiency.

I prefer to lay out the page and place my finger where they sign. They don’t get handsy with the paperwork and inherently understand that those are off limits while typically following my pace.

Plus… you would be amazed at how many people will sign the wrong place or start filling in blanks that they have no reason to be touching. This keeps that from happening.

Not everything I do will work for others. I simply do what works for me. If it minimizes the time spent on a signing and falls into increasing my bottom line I am willing to test it.

Everyone should find something that is natural for them that works while being willing to try new processes. You never know what may prove to be useful.

but do borrowers ever want to see the other pages… I feel they at least want to glance at them and not blindly sign a document without seeing the previous pages of the document. how much pushback do you get? I wouldn’t feel comfortable signing a document on a 2nd, 3rd, 4th page etc without quickly glancing at the document to make sure it is what the NSA told me the document was at least.

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That is the point in my having placed their copy in their hands at the start and explain to them that it is their copy and they should follow along as we complete the lender copy to be returned.

I do not all signers to wrangle lending copies. Plus it keeps the pages clean.

You will eventually come across signings that originate from certain places where they are so picky that the county will reject paperwork that is less than pristine.

You are making things easy for yourself here.

I do what makes my signings as efficient for ME as possible.

You’re over thinking things. If companies actually valued CS over profit there would be a lot less profit. It is a part of what we do…not the only thing we do.

do you find they read the documents while you are sitting there then? I had one couple do that and it took longer as it was constant what document are we at (from the wife) who read then signed everything. I do like doing signings with one company so I know the documents very very well and explain fast and pleas sign/date second page is easy or whatever. I get uncomfortable when I do not know the documents that well (or the order/requirements by that specific title company) and those documents do take me longer to do