Unintended consequences

As the traffic on this site has increased, I have been lured into responding to some issues and reading other topics with interest. I have been very deliberate about not using the term “newbie”, especially as it is used derogatorily, and accusatorily. I was a newbie at one time, as was everyone else in this business. But, allow me to share a recent exchange with you.
I was called for a signing by one of the agencies I have worked with for several years, but the signing was to occur in less than an hour. I informed them that I was not available, but also took the opportunity to inform them that there had been a precipitous drop in the number of signings I did for them just a year ago to now. Last year I did over 300 signings just for their company, whereas to date I have done fewer than 50. The agent took the time to review my profile to try to find out and explain the change. I was then told that it was because of my fees. I was informed that they were able to get notaries to sign for helocs or hybrid signings for $65 and full refis for $85. I informed them that that was half the rate they were paying me when I first started signing with them. I was then told, “things have changed”, where upon I was invited to lower my fees and they would guarantee me more assignments as I was one of their highest rated performers. I politely declined because I continue to get assignments from them albeit at a slower pace than before. It is also the case that they have no problem using me and paying me at the higher rate when it is for last minute, hard to fill locations, or clean up of another signing that has gone wrong.
When there is only one pie, it stands to reason that as more individuals are being served the slices will get smaller as supply drives down demand for service providers. I was assured that quality was not at issue here. At least they were honest. I guess this slow down in the market for all of us and battle for market share at a profitable rate is the unintended consequences of market saturation. I love my job and I thank goodness that I don’t have to rely on these paychecks for my day-to-day living. Good luck to all of us going forward. I’ll see some of you on the other side of the shake-out!


Thank you for a polite, professional report of a pertinent conversation. Useful, well written, and valuable information. I always enjoy your posts!


I am a “Newbie” living in a very rural area so there are not many of us out here to choose from. Even so, there are a couple of signing companies that consistently offer extremely low fees for signings. The latest was an hour drive away into a more rural area with scan backs for $70! When I reply with a “I am not available for that price but will do it for this much”, they are rude or don’t respond back. Even though I am new to this I have learned from people like yourself not to take the lowball offers as it is ruining the business for all of us. I am not in this for fun but to make money. I too do not rely on this as my only source of income. So, my point is, thank you for pointing out the issues. It is appreciated!


That is sad. Obviously the “newbies” don’t know their worth.

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The saddest thing about Tisino’s post is the undeniable stated fact that it’s all about low fees!
What isn’t stated, but is obvious, is that trying to gain experience by taking unprofitable signings WILL NOT contribute to higher fees in the future. Quite the opposite as all it actually accomplishes is ever-decreasing offers.
Please understand that there is and has been a more natural-selection process that’s been in place and working for many, many years prior to the advent of platforms. Simply the closest available notary will most likely get the signing because they have less travel/mileage cost, so their fee is less than the one who has to travel farther. When a notary accepts an unprofitable fee, it devalues all of us. The opposite is also true: a rising tide LIFTS all boats.


So true and so sad. I’ve been a signing agent for over 30 years and it’s sad to say I’ve been forced to take the new lower fees $85 $90 for full package normally over 150 pages. I tried for past few years to stand my ground on my fees but I’ve lost many title companies due to my higher fees.

As veteran loan signers we are painfully aware that the services the borrower did not shop for AKA, Title-Notary fee, has remained virtually unchanged for as far back as I can remember (two decades). The same slice of cheese just more hungry rats focusing solely on that little slice and more clueless notaries willing to accept rat shit as payment for their services.

Absolutely correct, Arichter, and I concur wholeheartedly. :angel: