NSAs deserve more money

Consider:

-We work in an industry that throws around hundreds of thousands of dollars every minute
-We are educated and licensed
-We are trained
-We work on a time-crunch under high-stress
-Our work can either successfully close or negate weeks of preparing a loan
-We are the only piece of this process that needs to go in the field and work face to face
-We have a multitude of expenses
-Prices are increasing across the world for a variety of goods and services (yet going down for NSAs)
-Add Covid 19 into the mix and we are putting our health on the line

For a little context, I only accept offers that are at least $100. The most I have ever seen offered is $175. Even that is too low once everything is considered. The money is THERE. It’s not going to be affecting anybody’s bottom line if NSAs get an extra hundred (or couple hundred!) per assignment! It’s not. Signing services can still take their portion and be happy. And if somebody is going to be unhappy about it then I’m sure there’s someone else in the process that the costs could be pushed off onto without upsetting anything in the long run.

Why cant it be possible to increase rates for NSAs?

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I know this logic is skewed, but it’s always cracked me up that our fee is ‘returned & then some’ by just the interest charged on the very first mortgage payment…and there are 359 more to go.

But, the reality is: There’s just too many of us and the law of supply & demand is at work.

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Karl Marx falsely suggested that labor creates value. I can spend 3 years creating a sculpture that I personally value at $35,000. Does that mean I can sell it for $35,000? No. Why? The potential buyer might think your statue is ugly. So although you worked hard that doesn’t mean you created value, or enough value. Unless you create something for personal satisfaction then you have to create value for other people.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all got $175 per signing? Actually it depends on the frequency of those jobs, doesn’t it? I’d rather make $90 per signing at a rate of 2 a day versus two $175 signings a week.

Market conditions change. In fact, they’re likely to change given the current state of our economy. The flexibility of being an NSA is appealing. So more people become notaries. With more notaries comes less individual bargaining power. With less bargaining power comes lowball offers. And as frustrating as it is, there will always be notaries who will work for less than the ideal $125.

Maybe these lowball notaries prefer quantity over quality of pay. Maybe they personally have lower standards of living. That’s on them. Your self valuation is on the opposite spectrum. Who is right? Neither. Because it’s subjective.

An 18 year old living with their parents while in college will love $80 signings at a part time rate. Who is anyone to tell them their value is wrong?

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I only accept $250 for a signing which includes printing,scan backs, traveling 30 min to an hour, sitting and notarizing for 1 hour and going to FedEx. I don’t get a lot but will not waste my time scanning back 200 pages for $75, traveling and sitting there for over an hour, then scanning/Fedexing. Abuse stops with us. Of course I have 17 years of experience. Stand up and say no I will not accept$75. If you want to be a Mother Teresa and work for free go ahead. Attorneys are getting $350 for the same work.

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You also have to acknowledge that other notaries don’t mind a $75 signing. Why? Maybe it’s very close and on the route to another signing. Perhaps scanbacks aren’t an issue because they have a fast scanner that can process 200 pages with little involvement. Maybe for them FedEx trips aren’t an issue because they can send signings in bulk instead of individually.

I’m not saying you’re wrong for only accepting $250 signings. But I definitely don’t think it’s abuse if a notary wants to do several $75 jobs in a day.

Loan signings pay more than minimum wage with complete flexibility. It’s appealing to college students living at home with low cost of living.

I just find it ironic that notaries claim “I’m worth $150” a signing but if a title company says, “I’m worth $300” for my involvement in the loan then somehow they’ve crossed some lines. It goes both ways.

There’s a limit you will pay for a pack of letter sized paper. You rejecting their price of $20 is you saying, “You might value your paper at $20 a pack, but I don’t.” The same can be said of a title company looking at a notary charging $250. Do title companies think notaries are abusive? No. They’ll just move on to a notary that charges a reasonable (market value) fee.

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No surprise there - and you won’t at those fees (of course, depending on your location.) If I, in my area, had demanded that, I’d have been out of business in 6 months.

Yes they are - for good reason - paying for more expertise and higher liability

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I have been doing closings for 17 years. I am experienced not a college student who just became a notary.
Keep learning though! You will get the expertise.I often get calls from Title companies to go and redo a closing that was messed up by an inexperienced notary.

You are in Florida! I am in DC. The cost of living is 10 times higher here than your state with no state tax and cheap living. It is what it is.

Oh. I was using a college student as an example. I wasn’t speaking for myself.

I guess it depends on how many signings you’ve done in 17 years. If you only accept $250 then you aren’t getting a lot of them. I assume. I’ve only been a notary for 2 years and I find the job easy. No critical mistakes. I’m still getting jobs so I must be doing something right. Again, I’d rather do several $90 signings in a week instead of 1 big $250 a week, or month. For me, it’s about time and resource management. Scanbacks require no effort on my part and I’m confused why some have issues with it. It hardly warrants an extra $50 added to the fee. That’s my opinion though.

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I don’t live in Florida. I’m in Pennsylvania. Perhaps my account says Florida? Either way, cost of living definitely plays a part. Maybe a $250 signing is common for DC? If so then good on you. In Pennsylvania $125 for a signing is a solid standard.

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Oh, sorry. You were referring to the other commenter.

Not so much cheaper here any more - granted we’re not on the same level as CA but our Gas is over $3/gal, milk is 4-5/gal, meats are through the roof; about the only thing cheaper here is some housing but even at that rentals are $1200+/month…

Not as cheap here as you’d think - and I’m in North Central Florida - it’s even higher the farther south you go

Care to share some specifics?

How much travel time do you spend per day driving to assignments? How many pages per package are your typical signings? Do you print your own documents? How long do you spend preparing for a signing / prepping a package? How long do you spend at a signing? Do you allow the signers to review the documents and ask questions? How do you get “several” assignments in a day (In my area I’m lucky to get one or two offers in a day). What do you mean by “several”? 3? 7? More? Less? What are your living expenses? Are you married? Do you have kids? Are you the sole provider for your family? Do you do this work part time or full time?

It’s nice that you are fine making $75 per signing, but without specifics as to your personal situation, it doesn’t carry much weight when you say it is perfectly acceptable pay.

Some of your questions are a bit telling with regard to your personal economic philosophy. So although I won’t answer every single question (there’s a lot here that’s irrelevant), I’ll try to explain some of how and why I operate the way I do.

First, just to clarify, I said a $75 signing could make sense while providing reasons. It comes down to time management and overall efficiency. If I have a signing at 11am and another one at 5pm, then it makes sense to take a $75 job at 1pm provided it’s somewhat nearby the first signing.

With my small Chevy Cruz, $25 worth of gas (even in today’s economy) easily gets me through the various commutes for the day. So if I have 3 signings ($125, $75, and a $100) equaling $300 of total pay for that day, then only $25 can be subtracted for gas. If you want to get technical then subtract $8 for paper (barely). I always have a backup toner cartridge, and I usually set aside $100 a month for that. So that’s about $5 per signing for extra toner. All in all, I’m finishing that day with $245ish. Obviously taxes come into play, etc but I’m still making more than a lot of professions. I would consider that a good day even with the $75 job added to the mix.

Let’s say it’s a slow day and I’m only offered a $75 job. Will I take it? Depends. If it’s under an hour away then why not? Maybe I’m good with $ for the month and I met all my fiscal goals. Perhaps I’ll shoot back with an $85 counter offer (either asked for directly or via “too far” option). They usually work in $10 increments. Either way, it’s $ in my pocket.

If I rejected all offers under $100 then I’d probably lose out on $500 a month easily.

My home office setup is designed to be as easy and efficient as possible. With the occasional printer jam, that’s pretty much hands free. My scanner can do about 1/3 of a large packet at a time. That takes less than 2 minutes of actual hands on time. Uploading takes no time at all. So I find scanbacks ultimately trivial. In fact, I reject jobs not because of the pay but usually if there’s too much handholding involved (too many rules). Some people don’t mind the handholding.

The point is, all of this caters to my personal preferences and realities. Am I a single father with 3 kids? No. Some professions aren’t necessarily designed to sustain people with a lot of life baggage (whether it’s children, expensive habits, etc). That’s like a 40 year old man who has to pay child support for 3 children, while paying rent and groceries, complaining about McDonald’s wages. Sorry, but McDonald’s wasn’t designed to support people with that level of life baggage.

Loan signing agents are a diverse group. There’s people more focused and dedicated than me making $8000 a month. Power to them. There’s also college students doing it part time making less than $1000 a month. Or as a side hassle. Power to them. Some, like yourself, feel like it doesn’t pay off. To you I say perhaps you should do something else or work more efficiently if it’s too stressful. I don’t live next to a big city. Maybe you do. That could be a big issue too.

Best of luck.

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So to summarize, you came into this topic regarding how NSAs need more money in order to survive and proceeded tell everyone here they were wrong and a lowball fee is plenty of money. Then you’ve progressively back tracked and qualified every hot take you’ve made (turns out you don’t actually live off of lowball fees, and won’t accept them except under special circumstances). Finally, you even claim that being an NSA is not a real job that can be used to support oneself. Which is basically what this topic is about in the first place.

You’ve also refused to answer questions that could potentially further dismantle your argument by labeling them “irrelevant”.

In other words, you didn’t have anything productive to add to the topic at hand. Why did you feel the need to speak up and try to make us appear to be in the wrong?

No. I think you’re having a hard time reading what I wrote. So I’ll break it down even further.

I originally responded to your complaint that notaries don’t get paid enough. I said that labor doesn’t create value. Those who disagree don’t understand economics and usually get filled with resentment and hostility towards those who employ them. Just like you wouldn’t pay $40 for a roll of toilet paper, title companies don’t (often) want to pay $175 for a signing when they have a perfectly viable alternative who will accept $100. That’s how the market works.

So why did I say a lot of your questions were irrelevant? Because it doesn’t matter how many kids I have or don’t have. It also doesn’t matter how long my signings take. Why? Those things aren’t the title company’s problem or involve better time management on the part of the notary. Why should McDonald’s scale a worker’s pay if he has a $1,200 mortgage and 3 kids to pay for when a 16 year old can do the same work (if not better) for less? Labor is a commodity. So, yes, your questions weren’t relevant because they didn’t address the heart of the issue that you ultimately brought up: pay vs value.

I never said NSAs aren’t real jobs or careers. I’m doing just fine as one. I know the value I create. I know my limits and I understand that this job is incredibly easy. That’s my personal valuation. The flexibility relative to the pay I receive is appealing to me. I used to be a full time welder. Did I make more? Yes, a bit more. But I had no life working overtime. Some welders didn’t mind. They were happy making $23 an hour.

I also never implied I lived off lowball fees. I said I don’t outright reject them if it makes sense. Again, I’m not sure if you’re reading what I’m writing, but that’s a good start to grasp what I’m saying.

Signing services are doing just that: providing a service. They’re bidding on jobs, they’re making deals, all so you can respond with a text and use their software to great effect. They aren’t entitled to a cut? Wait. Are you saying they don’t provide you value relative to what they charge? Hmmm. You do have alternatives, you know. Just like a signing service has plenty of alternatives to your $175 per job requests.

Man, who wouldn’t love $175 per signing? The reality is there are plenty of notaries who enter the marketplace for whatever reason they find appealing. That’s irrespective of whatever life baggage they have. To some it’s worth it. To others it’s not.

I work efficiently (at least by my standards). Printing isn’t stressful. Scanning is easy. I take 5 mins organizing the docs so all financial papers are in the front. I never had a signing take more than an hour. I schedule my jobs effectively. For me it works.

May I suggest going direct? If volume and consistency of pay is what you want then maybe shoot for that. But that also comes with its own issues. Again, best of luck.

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Let’s go back to what you originally said:

1.-We work in an industry that throws around hundreds of thousands of dollars every minute
2.-We are educated and licensed
3.-We are trained
4.-We work on a time-crunch under high-stress
5.-Our work can either successfully close or negate weeks of preparing a loan
6.-We are the only piece of this process that needs to go in the field and work face to face
7.-We have a multitude of expenses
8.-Prices are increasing across the world for a variety of goods and services (yet going down for NSAs)
9.-Add Covid 19 into the mix and we are putting our health on the line

1.Most of that comes in the form of loans for a particular individual. Profits come from fees and interest. Notaries are but one of several fees and it’s ultimately paid for by the consumer like most things. This isn’t the reason you feel the pay isn’t worth the stress.

  1. And? It’s not like you need a degree in finance. Education involves a month at best of casual study. Licensing is merely writing a check to the governing bodies and paying a small fee at a courthouse. This isn’t to belittle notaries, but let’s be real here. This is another reason why pay might be lower. It’s EASY to become a notary. The skill threshold is lower too. At a certain point you can do the job without mistakes. Unlike other jobs, experience isn’t as important or valuable. There’s not much difference, or risk, between hiring a notary who has completed 100 signings ir one who has completed 500.

  2. Not a factor. In fact, training is incredibly limited. We are trained in stamping a paper and filling out certificates and journals. Add a few minor office skills like printing and scanning. Again, not to belittle but let’s be real.

  3. This is solely up to the notary in question. Efficiency and time management are key here. An efficient work model yields less stress.

  4. Yes and no. We can add hiccups but rarely enough to screw something up so severely as to shut down an entire closing. It’s easy to find a replacement notary in most circumstances. But 1 or 2 missed signatures aren’t deal breaking. They often provide enough time for these issues. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s not like we are responsible for buying out a company or performing a merge with millions on the line.

  5. Yes. It’s a convenience to the signer. Absolutely. But it amounts to an hour in mostly comfortable environments. Again, signers are ultimately paying out of pocket for it. If we were allowed to directly charge the signers, but they could choose from a handful of notaries, then they will probably going with the cheapest or 2nd cheapest notary.

7.As do most self employed or small businesses. Actually any business or company.

  1. That’s two separate issues. Of course high cost of living and higher prices for goods are an issue, but so long as notaries remain plentiful then pay won’t get higher.

  2. Not any more than most jobs. In fact, I’d argue NSAs aren’t at risk as much. Work retail for 8 hours and count how many up close and personal encounters you have. Office job? Lots of close encounters. NSAs are probably at average risk.

I’m not trying to be a d*ck, but these are definitely things to consider to put it into perspective.

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Please keep in mind that location plays a big part in a lot. I live in Cleveland Ohio and our cost of living is low. I get offer from title companies in California where they have someone that needs to sign here and they will pay minimum $200 however here in Cleveland you have to fight for $125 and be able to justify it. I work with companies that will give me what I am requesting, because they know my reputation and others that will say, we only get X amount and can’t afford to pay. The average prices in my area is between $90-$125 for a refinance. I have set higher standards and am working to get more direct business but until that happens, I will continue to negotiate but not turning down business because those relationships bring more business. I am a full time NSA and I’m quite pleased with what I make. I just keep expanding and building those relationships because, those companies keep me busy

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Me: NSA’s deserve more money
Maxon B, NSA - No. I. DON’T!!

I once was given a re-sign order becasue, three days prior, the signing agent had the borrowers date docs with next day’s date! Docs was re-drawn, Settlement delayed, buyers were upset, LO was not too happy, etc. Every one makes mistake, however, error of this type is not acceptable.