May I ask what part of Texas you are in?
E & O to cover signings–lots of Nots use biBerk, and they bill monthly. Its a super business deduction. Oops, I am not an accountant or attorney. …just sayin in general lots of our cohorts use them:-), my tax advisor says its deductible for me, not sure if it would be for you–we would just have to use logic.
I am located in El Paso Texas! Thank you I will see if it’s a benefit for me!
I have posted about the industry slowdown soooo many times…but, I can see that you are very dedicated to your new career as a signing agent. And for this reason, I’ll post this again…If you are interested, search for my thread “My advice to anyone who relies on this job as a sole income.”. That thread even got very heated, LOL. I’ll also tell you where to find business but keep in mind, there is a plethora of signing agents marketing themselves as well.
As for my background, I live in a large metropolitan city and I live downtown-very close to a ton of zip codes. And, I was an escrow officer in California for over 20 years, close to 25 I believe. I have been an independent signing agent for 2.5 years, and I have conducted over 10,000 closings in my lifetime if not more. I have seen this industry go through its highs and it’s lows. I’ve been laid off suddenly 4 times, and forced to take a cut in pay twice… And there has never, ever been a demand for notary publics/signing agents such as what we experienced in the past 2 1/2 years. Ever. I was averaging 7 or 8 a day, 6 days a week and around October I started looking for a “real” job. I saw this coming (one of the few times my prediction was right, LOL) and I got out In January. I still do 2 or 3 a week…still nice to pull in an extra few hundred dollars a week!
I even took a HUGE cut in pay (EO’S are paid very, VERY well–in CA, good ones get paid $50/hour or more, with monthly bonuses and OT and notary fees on top of that) in order to take a job in the healthcare industry because I am just DONE with the real estate industry. The pendulum is always always always swinging from one side to the other, and rarely if ever does it stop in the middle. It is swinging the wrong way for us right now. I started doing signings full time knowing this would happen, and had a blast while riding the wave but I had a backup plan all along (thank you God) but that plan was to get out of real estate altogether. Only 2 weeks ago, I turned down an interview for an escrow manager position with a huge homebuilder with a salary of nearly triple what I’m making, because I am just DONE having the rug pulled out from under me in real estate.
What we experienced as signing agents the past 2 years was a huge fluke. When Covid hit, title companies closed their offices to the public and were forced to use signing agents. At exactly the same time, refi rates kept going down to all time low resulting in massive volume. This has all changed. Refi rates are over 5%, and the title companies have re-opened to the public…so not only is the demand way, way down in general but something many people don’t know is that Escrow officers get paid to do their signings. Most-if not all-are notary publics. They are limited for how much they can charge (which varies state to state) but in California for example, they can qcharge up to $80 for a single loan transaction with two borrowers (Doesn’t matter if it’s a purchase, refi, or sale) and $120 for a 2 loan transaction. This is considerably lower than a signing agent’s fees to the borrower, since we can charge for travel, etc. and that’s also an advantage. And, it’s not just the EO doing them. So is their assistant(s) and even the receptionist! Gosh, at one point 2006-2007) I was taking home an additional $2000 or more a month just in notary fees. My assistant took home just as much! Plus I often had to log a few hours of OT since I was taken off of my desk while conducting these signings, and I was paid for that too. Soooo, yes! They want to do signings.
Most importantly, they save their most valuable commodity by handling the closings themselves: TIME. No waiting for Fed Ex or a signing agent to drop them off, no chasing the Notary down to make corrections (an EO is a master at signings, kid you not). Since most of the closings occurring now are resale (industry buzzword for purchases and sales), TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. There’s no 3 day ROC for resale, and they usually want to close only a day or 2 after the signing - so time is valuable!!
. Finally, the real estate agents are the EO’S client. The realtors often negotiate right in the contract which EO will handle the escrow, and they usually WANT the EO to handle it. Sooooo, no…EO’s will not be using signing agents very often-not even close.
As for the volume, there just ISN’T any, and it won’t be like it was EVER AGAIN. We were pretty much doing refi’s, with a few resale thrown in there. Even if we were struck by another pandemic (God forbid) and title companies closed back down, we will not see the volume we experienced EVER AGAIN. Those rates were just crazy. Everyone is done refinancing, and many refinanced multiple times which also added to the volume.
There will still be a need for signing agents OCCASIONALLY…Borrower is out of town and needs to be accommodated, borrower can’t come into the office at a time the EO is able to do, a few national lenders specializing in HELOCS, and reverse mortgages (which I refuse to do for less than $250, they are very time consuming and I have to wear a loan processor’s hat as well? Yeah… Pass!).
And my last point is, there are just sooooo many new signing agents now, and many will work for peanuts. One signing company I worked for a lot (Premium Signature Services-terribly unprofessional) is only paying $60 FOR A REFINANCE!!
Now, if you still want to forge ahead, you should target escrow managers at homebuilders, agents at New subdivisions, and realtors. It will be really super tough, but you seem very driven! . And I wouldn’t count on making enough money to live on. There are some here who say they do, but even these folks are going to slow down much much more.
I do not mean to be negative. NOT AT ALL. I’m being real, because you have invested a ton of money and time-if I were in the same position, I’d be grateful someone warned me. . Best of luck to you- I really hope you prove me wrong!!
Hi, its like this with any business you start. I got into Facebook groups and network with other business owners in my field of work. My first sign up was with a low paying vendor company and I remember so many people saying don’t settle for those type of companies. I never gave up and did my research. Now i am full time in my line of business and on most of my orders I set my price! I travel quite often but I love what I do! Good luck in growing business, I spent many nights on you tube and in groups finding leads. My advice to everyone is to never give up and to do your best in your line of work.
FYI: Here is the direct url Notary Cafe link to your previous thread =>
yes,yes and actually yes. That and if ya’all live in Texas? Invest in the or a power company not run by anybody with a political agenda.
Thank you!! That one was a doozy-whew!
Hi there- my experience with E&O is that, it won’t make a difference 85% of the time. You’ll need $100k to become Fidelity Approved and to sign for Old Republic and Chicago Title, but going through a signing agency automatically gives you $1 million under their policy. I just renewed mine at $25k and saved myself a few hundred dollars.
Well, that settles it then. And I quite agree with all that has been said by Angela. It’s the reality check about this business that I’ve also stated in a different way elsewhere on this forum. While I will always vigorously pursue GNW, I’m cranking up some other avenues to make money. We’re all in for a rough time when the recession hits this fall.
Pay off your credit cards, kids!
@notarybyangela16 Agree percent!
I’ve also stated a similar perspective on another thread (see below direct Notary Cafe url link) wherein I said: “maintain appropriate expectations; i.e., there are already more than sufficient tales about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc.,”
Angela!! Great response with tact and valuable information. I rather prepare than hope for a miracle, LUCKLY this is my secondary form of income (income is big word since nothing has been coming in) but I will start reducing my expenses on this and just continue to market and work with the least amount of capital I can.
I have seen some income come in from GNW so at least plan to get my investment back with this and hopefully continue to get some experience with other branches on Notary work. I have seen some work doing Apostilles and Wedding officiant but also a bit saturated.
As someone said earlier, I was 59 sec too late to get into this. I kept seeing this “Social media” coaches talk about how much money there was here. I should have done more research, but not all is lost I have enjoyed my journey and I don’t easily get discouraged AND THANK GOD I didn’t let go of my job!
Oh my word, YES. Thank God you kept your primary job!! That is EXACTLY why I keep posting this post-there are a lot of slimy and crooked “coaches” out there and I have actually run into a few of the folks who took their rotten bait, LOL.
As I mentioned, the ONLY reason I did this full-time for 2 1/2 years was because I wanted out of the industry anyways, and initially it was a temporary thing for me. YES, it was absolutely lucrative-i just did my taxes and made $112k last year, but as is typical of real estate that came crashing down starting around December.
I do want to encourage you to keep doing it on the side!! Even if you do only 3 a week at $75 each (which is the average rate in my area) that adds up! I still make between $600 and $900 a month and that’s PRETTY COOL if you ask me…
I wanted to ask you, are you signed up on SigningOrder.com and Snapdocs?? These 2 platforms have been very successful for me-Coast 2 Coast uses Snapdocs and while they don’t pay the highest rate, it’s consistent and they always pay. If so, and you still aren’t seeing any orders, drop an email to Coast 2 Coast at email@example.com or to the owner, Lisa Bittner lisa@c2csignings and introduce yourself! They are really super great to work with, truly, especially if you are brand new and they will give you orders-promise!!
Also, Snapdocs does track your availability and though I saw somewhere here (not sure if it’s this thread) where someone said it doesn’t matter, that’s actually not 100% correct (I know this because I’ve spoken to Lisa about this). Having a good response rate on Snapdocs will push you to the top of the list of signing agents in your zip code so even if you can’t take a signing make sure to respond to every request that you can. I try to maintain 85% or better if possible, even if I’m only declining them.
Which brings me to this…A word about how these orders get assigned…this was driving me nuts so, of course, I found out the answer LOL. I actually had schedulers that I was friendly with that work with each platform do a “Zoom” meeting with me so they could share their screen in order to show me how they assign, so I’ve seen this with my own eyes. And, First IS your response rate - this applies to SigningOrder.com as well. The platforms use algorithms and the higher your response rate the more frequently you’ll show at the top of the list - Even if you decline them! SigningOrder doesn’t show your response rate, but it matters because when a scheduler submits the order, they will indicate how many results (signing agents) they would like the order to be texted to. Could be 5, 10, etc. and the higher your response, the more requests you’ll receive. If no one bites, they’ll push it to 10 more and so on until they get a bite. And, the signing company also has the ability to mark YOU as preferred for them which means you are automatically included in their initial requests sent to your area. So, for example, if they mark that they want 10 signing agents to receive their request, you will ALWAYS be in their top 10 regardless of your response rate. If they only want 5, you’ll ALWAYS be one of them. Also, once you are preferred, any order you accept will automatically be assigned to you-The schedulers won’t even have to manually select you. If there are multiple preferred notaries responding to one order, the first response gets it so try and be quick. If there are more than 10 preferred agents and they indicate they want 10? Well, that’s when your response rate also counts - The preferred notaries are once again selected by response rates (algorithms).
As far as marketing to title companies, well…heck, why not?? As I mentioned, there will be times the EO can’t do the signing and those pay very, very well. I’d still target a few if I were you! . Just don’t anticipate many and be pleasantly surprised when you get one!
One final thing (promise) is to pay attention to what day of the month it is. The refi’s have a mandatory 3 day right of cancelation…so for a loan to close, the signings have to occur at least 3 business days before the end of the month. For this reason, there is usually a surge in orders right around the third week of the month (I always see posts during that time from excited signing agents saying “WOW THINGS ARE REALLY PICKING UP, YAHOO!!!” and no…they aren’t. It’s just a surge for about 5 or 6 days and even these surges will go away soon. However, you’ll have better chances at snagging a few during that time so keep your phone close to you. And most companies are fine with you moving the time a bit-if I get one for 3:00 and I can’t do it until 5, I’ll snap it up. Just be aware of when your last FedEx pickup is, so you can still have time to drop them the same day. Anything after 4, they do not expect the packages back the next day, so grab the ones after 4 even if you need to move them out. The folks are already home and won’t mind pushing it back at all. I will probably get some pushback about this-but I have never had problems moving the time around, personally. They just want them signed so the clock starts ticking on the ROC.
With all of this being said, I wouldn’t say you wasted money at all…you will for sure recoup your investment! While I’ve been typing this I snagged 2-one at $100 and one from C2C for $75…shazaam! You will recoup, Just not as quickly as if it were the same time last year.
Let me know if I can help you in any other way, I hope I shed a little light on the whole ballgame for Ya!
Notary work? Nahhhh, I shot a 44/44 this morning, maybe puts me in the money. Retirement golf–it’s what’s for dinner!
Angela, thank you very kindly for your generously offered insights. At last, someone who knows what they are talking about and is willing to share the mechanics of how this crazy order assignment maze actually works. I am very grateful to you for sharing this hard-earned information. Tip o’ my cap to you.
It Seems most of us here are seasoned and all comments appear to be accurate
I think this occupation going forward will only support part timers. I don’t believe going you can make a full time living anymore. Besides UPS here in AZ only charges 10 per stamp and the word is out they notarize.
I did quite well 8000 signings over the last few years and now very poor. Some may become busier as many notaries purge out of this so-called career. I would advise to all nebbies, drop this idea and look for a stable job. If your retired maybe pick up a few bucks. But frankly it’s over. Even most title companies are performing their own RON signings. Good luck to all and God Bless
My signing today was with a Realtor and she confirm that Titles are using using in-house closers. She said she doesn’t like it but it is what it is. Makes sense why most of my signings are HELOcs and Sellers/Buyers packages. I personally knew better that to make this a full time thing for me but there are others that have made it work! I think location and experience is key. Also, branching out into other markets are helpful.
Well may it help you to pick up additional signings. You are very welcome, ask me anything. I am happy to share!
By the way, I have to admit that I am really super hoping that the signing agent who insisted that escrow officers do not do their own signings because it would be a conflict of interest (remember her from the thread above??). Reads this thread and Posts here… Because, I went ahead and I emailed the vice president of Old Republic title using the information on the screenshot that she posted. I didn’t mention where I got her information, but I did email her and she did respond. I am saving that email for the next time I run into my “hater.”. LOL
There will always be a need for mobile notaries even when title officers do their own closings. There are rural areas or areas where its more convenient for the signers to do it from the comfort of their homes. Areas like my area service the elder population so although slow its a service that will in my opinion will survive.