It is not about you, a note on customer service

I have seen numerous posts where an NSA comes in to a person’s home and demand they put their pets up, or turn the TV off. I saw one particularly bothersome post where an NSA agreed to meet signers at a specific restaurant and then demands they sign outside in the heat. I believe I read something, in response to their worry about their baby, that the baby will be fine in the heat for a little while. What?? If I was signing in any of the situations and somebody coming to my home or to meet had the audacity to request any of those things, not only would they get their behind chewed out, they would be told to leave and I would complain to my lender and the title agency. I suppose we have some type of perceived power that lets some get away with making demands on a signer that you have no right to make. If you were worried about Covid… Stop taking signings, I did for over a year and subsequently lost the only two title companies I worked for. I would make the same decision again. Or if you are worried about a specific restaurant not making for an easy signing, talk to the signers about it BEFORE the date of the closing and see if they’re willing to move. If they are not excuse yourself from the assignment. As far as pets, noise, bad smells, or even smokers go…. Noise and smells are part of the job. I keep vapor rub in my notary bag and if the noise is too much I pause and do a lot of pointing. Regarding pets, the correct way to handle that is to explain that you have allergies, ask IF the animals will be put up but quickly explain that if they won’t it is no problem, you will call and get another notary for them. If someone lights up during a signing, ask if you can excuse yourself while they finish. If it is too smoky when you return ask, while apologizing, if you can move to another location as you are allergic. My point is that this is their “event” and they are to be assisted and accommodated, not you.


Agree. need 20 characters to post…


Yes, we’re present to facilitate their signing.

Our demeanor at their choice of signing location is to be professional start-to-finish performed with courtesy and consideration. Agree with the modifications noted above by dmpigford when being confronted with exceptional circumstances.


Glad somebody gets it.


Not going in nobody’s house if they can’t or won’t put their animals away. I’ll be polite about it but I’m not doing it.


When confirming the appointment, I respectfully ask signers if they have pets and if so, would they mind “putting them in a separate room during the signing.” It works well every time! Pet are considered a part of the family and people may take offense being asked to “lock them up”.

Also I believe most companies include in their instructions that if you are uncomfortable or do not feel safe, you do not have to remain in the situalion.


You are 100% correct!


I agree. I do the same. I haven’t had any problems with people putting away pets to conduct business.


That’s your choice. I hope that you work that out before the signing and give the signers a choice as well.

1 Like

Absolutely! And so far, none of them have had a problem putting their animals away. I’m not there that long anyway so it’s not a big deal.


Maybe those things might work for you, HOWEVER, for the safety of the NSA, dogs, cats, and any other animals should be placed away from the area while the singing is going on, they do cause a distraction, I’ve been a notary for 18 years and know first hand that this is a huge distraction. I ALWAYS, ALWAYS try to accommodate the borrower in any way that I can, but my safety and health are NOT AN OPTION.

PLEASE SHOW ME WHERE IN ANY AGREEMENT THAT SAID NOISE AND SMELL ARE A PART OF THE JOB? These particular things don’t stop the signing but no where have I seen this to be a part of the job. WOW!!!

I wear my mask to protect myself and the borrower and I am always grateful for their accommodations, however, it seems that some people think animals are human and deserve a place at the table, which keeps me scratching my head. The last time I checked animals are NOT human and should be treated as such, an animal.

From my experience, as a notary for 18 years, I haven’t had any major problems that I couldn’t handle, but some of the information in your post is just not accurate.


I have to say, at least to parts, I disagree.

While trust and respect are earned through one’s action, courtesy and decency are the price of existing in civilized society; that means that, while an NSA should endeavor for the convenience of the signer, the

Moreover, we are not only being paid for our presence, but for our professionalism. We will not notarize without ID or where the signer obviously does not comprehend what they’re signing.Going through the closing, explaining the purposes of the forms, managing problems (e.g.: messed up dates, misspelled names, inapplicable forms, etc…), documenting the notary act and knowing the proper way to do things are all part of the service. Remember, the purpose of the notary is to provide a level of assured integrity in the signing of transaction documents.

We work for the title company, lender, law firm or other professional company as part of that team. We have the right, and responsibility, to prevent distractions (e.g.: pets, tv, kids, etc…) that may inhibit our ability to complete the signing timely, accurately and completely. We also have the right to do our work in comfort and safety, in a clean signing environment, not exposed to viruses, allergens (if we are sensitive) and other dangers. If a signer demands I remove my mask, “as a patriot”, I refuse or cancel the signing. If I get the slightest hint of physical danger, the signing ends there. However, if I’m not fond of the wallpaper, it’s reasonable for me to put up with it for the duration. We all live on God’s green Earth.

That having been said, we have the responsibility to show courtesy and decency to our signers, as well as those paying the bills. Agreeing to a restaurant as venue, then demanding the parking lot, is unreasonable. Expecting a signer to put their child at danger is excessively unreasonable. Again it’s all a matter of reasonable levels of courtesy and decency.

I carry wet wipes (for sanitizing and fingerprint ink), shoe covers, masks, throwaway pens, clipboards, magnifiers and other items for the convenience of the signer. In a case where title messed up and sent only half the transaction document, I agreed to meet the signer at 10pm to finish at a diner, so we wouldn’t wake up his spouse and children.

However, if the signer (and in some cases their attorney) lack basic decency and courtesy, I indicate that I have certain ground rules as a professional; I offer to discontinue/cancel the signing and allow them to ‘spin the wheel’ for an NSA who can tolerate their behavior.

Finally, I’d like to point out that ‘the rules’ should not change; if you ask for pets (at least the rambunctious ones or those bigger than a loaf of bread) to be out of the room, do it always. If you don’t do signings at public restaurants, that rule should also always apply.


On the other side of the fence. I traveled 2 hours round trip in a winter storm. The temps were 38 and the wind was gusting to 25 miles per hour. I was not told anything about the signing being outside in the storm. With the weather like it was I didn’t think to ask if we were going to be inside. When I arrived the signers were dress like Eskimos. They had set out a 4x4 shaky card table with 3 lawn chairs for us to set in. We were going to be in each others face about 3-4 feet apart. And of course, the wind would have made the papers almost impossible to keep on the table. They said because of COVID we would have to conduct the signing outside. I was NOT told ahead of time of this outside situation. Guess what I did. I told them good-bye and left. Because of the unusual circumstance the title company paid me full price as if I had conducted the signing.


What exactly does not work for you? Is it working out the pet situation before the signing that is too burdensome? Perhaps you find asking the signer(s) if they mind moving the closing to a different location if you believe the planned place will not work as too much trouble. Because offering a choice, giving time to make necessary preparations for your expectations or needs are common courtesies.
Regarding a domesticated animal being a health and safety concern, I guess I have to assume you are allergic. If you are allergic, I do not know how much difference putting an animal in the next room will make as hair and dander will still linger.
I have been a notary for 15 years and know firsthand that you CAN conduct a signing under challenging conditions, you may not want to, but that is your choice. Also, some are not as easily distracted as others, so again, in situations like these, it may be best to excuse yourself from the assignment and have a notary that can push through distractions to take the appointment.
Regarding my statement that smell and noise “are part of the job,” maybe you would better understand what I meant if I said that smell and noise come with the territory. I’M SORRY THAT YOU DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEANT. WOW!!! However, leave a closing without the docs signed and call the signing service, title company, or lender and tell them you left because of a smell or too much noise and I bet they will point out in their agreement where that is covered.

This statement tells me that you are the NSA that puts commands and demands on a signer without bothering to call.
However, it seems that some people think animals are human and deserve a place at the table, which keeps me scratching my head. The last time I checked, animals are NOT human and should be treated as such, an animal." But, again, that’s your opinion. Over 54% of households disagree with your view of how people should treat a pet. The importance of pets to their owners is also proven by data showing that pet supplies and accessories are among the fastest-growing markets in the country. So you may disagree, but it is unquestionably not your decision to make for others.

I will end with this. Accuracy refers to the closeness of a measured value to a standard or known value. I wrote a post about my opinion. As I give no values to which you can measure or compare, saying my post isn’t accurate makes no sense.


The purpose of a notary and the purpose of a notary signing agent are significantly different. Typically notarizing a single document doesn’t require absolute quiet and no distractions. I would also argue, though this may insult some people, that most loan documents do not require the quiet and ability to concentrate that taking the MCAT does. However that’s actually not the point. The point I think they choose to pass on the opportunity because that then gives the signer the choice to ask for another notary and they lose that signing. To me it’s not about working under conditions that you can’t do your best at. about are situation That another signing agent wouldn’t have a problem with and they choose to pass on the opportunity to let the signer know what they need To conduct a signing. I think they choose to pass on the opportunity because that then gives the signer the choice to ask for another notary and they lose that signing. I am not saying that you should not try to take control of the signing and move it as fast as possible and ensure you are in an environment that you can both inform the signer as needed and ensure the documents are signed dated stamped etc. correctly. I am saying that when the issue that causes you to not be able to. Conduct Signing is one that could have easily been prevented and no attempts to prevent the issue were made… That’s the problem. I liked the spin the wheel of fortune and see if you can find an NSA that were tolerate that treatment

Courtesy goes both ways…

I make it a practice during confirmation calls to ask for a quiet place, preferably with a table and no distractions. Unfortunately, these days, common courtesy is an oxymoron.

I say ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Would you mind…’, rather than making impolite and terse demands. I rarely find anybody so recalcitrant that they choose to be uncooperative.

If I get there and there is a wolf hybrid growling at me, I obviously will not be able to do my job. It would be unreasonable for me to object over a 15-year old Shih Tzu sleeping in the corner, only raising it’s head to ‘woof’ once in a hushed tone upon my entrance (which has happened, and was the source of much laughter). If I am allergic, it becomes a health/safety issue. FYI, I’ve had a ‘friendly’ Dalmatian ‘puppy’ that I just met ‘play’ so energetically it broke two of my fingers; I try to exercise common sense in my requests.

I did one outdoor signing (early March - still wintry) early in COVID-19; after my visit to the ER for asthmatic episode, and the beginnings of pneumonia, I decided that was no longer acceptable in the cold weather.

I do place some ‘demands’ on my signers.

Reasonable quiet is necessary, as I am giving instructions on what the documents are, and how/where to sign them. I don’t allow any papers on the table except those I supply (I even include note paper), so that the package is not confused with other papers. The only pens used are those I supply, so we don’t have a situation involving the wrong color of ink (I leave pens with the signer due to COVID-19). The papers move in the direction around the table in the direction I instruct, so that papers stay in order. These rules are for the signers’ benefit as well as my own, as it prevents errors from delaying funding or causing other problems.

I would also point out that, while a R/E closing does not require the level of concentration of MCAT’s, LSAT’s or bar exams (‘Baby Bar’, tax Bar or multistate Bar/UBE), for some people it actually does; pushing for minimal distractions helps both the signers understanding of the documents and the quality of the finished documents.

I used to explain the difference between Democrats and Republicans (changed here to Party A & Party B, although I won’t say which is which):

“Party A is concerned about what Party A has and Party A gets; Party B is concerned… about what Party A has and Party A gets.”

In short, certain folks will forego things that will benefit them, solely if they see that their ‘opponent’ (or ‘counter-party’) gets the same benefit. It’s nonsensical, but alarmingly common.

If we fill our concerns with controlling other people, we lose control over ourselves. Courtesy and decency are something one gives to others that they usually refuse to keep - they often give both right back.



WOW. Well Said!!! I’m shocked to hear there are notaries doing these things! I would never. No matter what…you are a guest in their home. Wow!:flushed: Audacity is the right word!


Sometimes it is about US/me! As a Notary Signing Agent I see myself as a valuable commodity in the financial services/loan services marketplace. It seems that on occasion some of us lose sight of our value to the fine tuned running of this operation. Please consider the following:
While I do not discredit the value of the customer in loan transactions, for the few minutes that we are in their presence as the loan signing officer, we are the most important person in the room. In our hands and under our control is most of their personal and much of their financial information. By the time we leave the room we have access to their SSN, information about other properties they may own, credit information, Bank locations and account numbers and sometimes children and other relatives’ information. By the stroke of our pens (signer and notary) we are at the end of a process that will be one of the largest financial transactions in most peoples’ lives. A mistake by us can cost time and money on the part of the individual, the escrow/title representatives and the lender. I’m sure most of us have had a loan signing that is on a tight timeline (due to close tomorrow or perhaps even later today). This is a situation where you cannot afford to miss getting a signer’s initials or forget to append your stamp or today’s date on a document.
How we do what we do is important to the confidence placed in us by the others in this loan chain and the trust of those sitting across from us in the loan closing process. Sometimes when we enter a room we are the face of what has been a nightmare of a real estate loan process and they can be prepared to take it out on us. Up to that point we carry the burden of all that has transpired before our presence. But, by the time we leave we can make the difference and be the one competent, bright spot that concludes the process on a high and more confident note. While the customer should be valued – so should we. If you have been in this business for any period of time you have shrapnel from transactions that have not gone well at some point in the process. It’s not asking too much that clients be prepared to treat us with a little consideration. That includes requests for a dedicated signing space, the ability to focus on the task at hand for a quick and efficient process, and all that may take to get us there. For each of us that will be different, so there is little room for coulds and shoulds from one of us to the other. We only have one pair of shoes that we walk in at a time. So, I choose to walk in mine! When I step into a client’s door to help close their loan transaction I come armed with an arsenal of competence, know-how and experience to put them at ease in the first minute with my presence as a stranger in their environment. I would hope they have put a little forethought into that as well as they expect, and I have requested what I need, in preparation for my arrival. For some of us that may be asking that pets and children find distractions elsewhere while the adults at the table take care of important business. For others of us it means bringing kibbles and bits and crayons to the table to make those family members part of the process. There is no one size fits all way of doing this. If it’s working for you. It works!


Pets, smells, babies crying and messy kitchen tables are all part of the process I guess but I did nearly reach my limits Tuesday when from the start of the signing and throughout, the signer was shouting -shouting- in my face continously.

Twice I reached for the phone, letting them know I was done and twice he dialed it back, only to return to shouting until we were done.

Some days are better than others.

1 Like

In your face communication is considered abuse. I’ve left a couple of signings when the signer(s) felt they could get aggressive with me. Once I retreat to my car and drive away about a block or so I call the agency to let them know what transpired and that I would not be returning to the signing table. I’ve never not been paid for my effort.