First Time Notary-Horror Story

I’m a newly commissioned notary and just did my first notarizations yesterday, which encompassed doing a loan closing. I am also doing the online course to become a certified loan closing agent. Before taking the job, I let the rep at the company know I am a very green notary.

I thought I’d done everything correctly, and I did properly make sure everything was signed, initialed, and notarized, but I inadvertently neglected to print out the escrow forms. Why? I cannot tell you this. Of course, I will not be getting paid for my work yesterday because Coast2Coast Signings (I know they have a bad rep, but this is not their fault) has to send another notary out to do the entire package again.

I spoke with Bruce at C2C about me not being paid at all for my work yesterday, and he said it’s because the entire package has to be redone so the dates on the entire package match. Lesson learned that I jumped into quickly.

The other thing is that the signing took a really long time (about 2-3 hours) for 2 signers.

I would love any advice for new notaries, and please share any horror stories where you’ve made errors you have paid for.

First of all not sure where you’re located (sounds like CA) - sure hope you’re in a state that allows notaries to do loan closings.

That said, Find a good loan signing course that will help you wade through this. You need good certification - you also need to worry about being a good notary before you jump into being a good loan signing agent. You are handling peoples’ biggest financial transactions of their lives…you need to know what you’re doing.

2-3 hours for 2 signers at a closing is too long. And yes, you SHOULD have known to print the escrow documents. I noted in your other post you were not familiar with a regularly used form that’s common in loans in your area. You need good, comprehensive training before you take any more loan signing assignments.

I would suggest you contact Carol Ray at Notary2Pro, invest in her training. In the meantime, concentrate on polishing up your notary skills while you study to be a signing agent…and take no more loan signings until you’re sure of what you’re doing.

Good luck



Thank you for the advice. I am doing the signing agent course through the Notary Learning Center, because the live classes in my area are limited. For example, when I signed up here for the class on July 17th, if it had gone forward I would have been the only student there. The next class would have been in August, but I was told by the rep that they rarely do classes in this area.

Yes, in California notaries are allowed to do loan closings. In hindsight, I should have followed my first instinct to call the company back and cancel my appointment because of my inexperience. I even told the representative right away that I had no experience and was not yet certified. He said he always likes to give people a chance.

The form was a fillable PDF form that I was supposed to tell the borrowers how to fill out. In California, it is the unauthorized practice of law to tell borrowers how to fill out forms, or advise them on any aspect of their loan, hence I called the agency. I emailed about the form before the appointment as well, and was told to just have them sign it. Well, it was certifying to contents, so I could not just have them sign.

So, you are right, I am way too inexperienced to be doing this right now. I will contact Carol Ray at Notary2Pro, but I am kind of limited in funds at this time.

I can’t speak for the Notary Learning Center - but I have heard VERY good reports of Carol Ray’s program - honestly? If you really want to do this and have no prior experience with real estate documents, you can’t afford NOT to contact Notary2Pro.

Best of luck to you


Susan Littlefield,

If you are interested in taking our courses we will be happy to work out some payment arrangements for you. Thank you Linda H for recommending us to Susan. This is such an important responsibility that we hold in our hands that not knowing what you are doing can be devastating to borrower’s and ruin your career before you even get started.

Our number is 916-777-5931 Susan and we are here for our students from 8am to 8pm PST (CA time).



Hi Carol,

I just watched your introduction video at your website and it was pretty inspiring, and the “35 days later” segment had me laughing. That was really great.

I will call you sometime within the next few days to discuss your agent signing course. The Notary Learning Center’s program is a correspondence course, so you learn on your own without video instruction. I would do better with video instruction, which it looks like your course is.

Thank you so much.

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Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Take the Notary2Pro training!!!

Thank you, Notary, I will be doing that soon. :slight_smile:

Happy to hear this Susan. Good luck to you!

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UPDATE: I contacted the Notary Learning Center and asked if they had video instruction with their course. Although the materials TELL you what to do at a signing, it’s difficult figuring it out without having any other kind of instruction.

They are giving me the live class for free, which includes the lecture and hands-on instruction. I will attend on August 1, but I may still take the Notary2Pro program after this as well. I just need to make sure I am well prepared and certified before I try this again.

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The first few are a little scary. You will soon be doing them in your sleep, in fact I find more mistakes from lender and title companies than I make. Best advice is that I mark all places to be signed with stickers. Even places that need checked or initialed. They can get real expensive so I cut up post it notes unless I find them on clearance for nearly nothing. After they sign the whole package I flip thru them again even though I checked each page as they signed. Occasionally I see where I forgot to stamp. Borrowers like to talk. This helps you not miss anything unless you’re sent a form here and there that is unfamiliar. Call them if you have a question about where or if they sign. They would rather you call than have to correct. It makes them look better to title and lenders and it makes you look better too.
Get your certification and have fun with it. Your biggest gripe will be all the signing companies dropping their fees.


My opinion is that you should not use borrowers mortgage transactions as your practice. It is a huge deal for the borrowers , LO and Title. Please learn the skill and read up on the mortgage industry, review mortgage documents and take as many classes you can to insure your confidence.

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Thank you, Mary. Exactly what I am doing now.

try to find an experienced loan signing agent to go out with you for your first few loans, after you have passed some loan signing courses, I did everything with nna and passed their tests first.

Are we allowed to take people out with us to signings and shadow us?

Anne, I called and left a message with a notary I’d spoken to before, but I have not gotten a call back. I don’t think it’s usual to take someone along to shadow because the documents are personal information.

N, I would guess that you’d have to check with the signing company who assigned you and the borrowers to see if this is possible. You would need permission from someone.

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I advise my students to never take anyone else to a signing with them. 2 reasons. One is that it is an invasion of privacy for the borrower and there has never been a greater concern for borrowers security than right now. Also, a lot of experienced NSA’s have developed some very bad habits and I do not want to see everything I teach my students to be turned upside down by someone who continues to use and teach their bad habits onto the people they mentor.

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Carol, excellent points.

Hello Annet,
I will be taking the Signing agent course with NNA.
I still waiting on my study material that has not either loaded in the system or by mail.
any suggesions