What's with all these last minute signings?

I just want to understand what Title Companies are trying to accomplish with these last minute signings. It seems like every one I am offered lately is same day and no more than two hours notice! I had an offer today for a seller’s signing 40+ miles away with little more than 1 hour notice. It’s not physically possible to download and print docs and make that appointment. They’ve known for at least 3 days when this closing was scheduled. I live in a rural area and distances tend to be pretty long so I always counter for more. Last minute will get an increase as well. In these rural counties we also aren’t over-saturated with signing agents, so if you wait too long to schedule, you won’t get your docs signed in a timely fashion. TCs if you will just schedule with more advance warning, you will get a much better result. I hate to rush around at the last minute. Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part! Ok, rant over!


Just to clarify, are you referring to “Title Companies” or “Signing Services” (brokers for Title Companies that find Notaries)? I wholeheartedly agree with you if you are referring to Signing Services in general. IME, the "last minute: signings are (primarily) due to last minute cancellations by the original Notary assigned to the gig. When I’ve taken on such an assignment, I call the client to confirm the scheduled appt, and, almost always, they tell me, “Hey, I thought ‘So and So Notary’ was going to do it.”

So,last minute emergency cancellations are the primary reason why I’ve seen them happen. There could be other reasons, though.


Honestly, its both TCs and Signing Services. I’ve grabbed a couple of them and there was no last minute cancellation by another notary. For one of the assignments I agreed to take, the TC didn’t send the docs until 1 hour before the signing. Thankfully, it was relatively close - only a 15 minute drive.

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I don’t understand that either. Why don’t they just schedule it for the next day so everything isn’t done at the last minute. It all works out better when the notary has time to prepare and ask questions. Better results for everyone.

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As another Notary said, in general I agree. However in addition to notary cancellations as a real estate agent there’s also other wheels turning and the title company has to typically wait for the lender to get docs drawn or at least a confirmation that they will have the docs ready to be signed. Due to the 3 day waiting period after signing the Closing Disclosure, sellers or buyers doing something wonky so all conditions aren’t met etc. Buyers and sellers get frustrated as well with the last minute-ness (is that a word?!).

Hopefully they’re lenient with you on how soon you can actually get to a signing because of your area.

Like you about 50% of my signings are rural. I have a policy that if docs aren’t in my hands 2 hours prior to the appointment, it will either reschedule or be cancelled. I’ve had both TCs and SSs tell me, it’s only two zips codes away. I have to let them know two zip codes in rural Texas could be 60 miles away.


Yep - I learned my lesson after accepting an 8:30am assignment once for Bay City, TX. What I thought would be about a 35 minute drive was actually about an hour because it was on the other side of the city, out in the country. I swear that zip code is about 50 miles across! :laughing: I now only accept those in dire emergency and with a hefty up-charge!


Kind of like driving from Mission Bend to Lake Houston.

I’ve heard some services say that the appointments can’t be postponed because the docs are “dated” a certain date. The whole package would have to be “regenerated” in order to change the appointment date, if that were possible. Usually not, as that might also delay funding, etc. etc. Not sure if I believe that, as I’d imagine there would always be ways to incorporate some “slack time” in that schedule and still make the funding deadlines. :roll_eyes:

Sometimes (often, actually)… last-minute signings are a result of cancellations by notaries who were previously assigned. The signing services blast them out far and wide, not really caring about time or distance from the signing. They just want to get the job filled as fast as possible at the original offer price. If they’re desperate enough, they may be susceptible to negotiation. It’s up to the individual notary to decide if the job is a good fit for them. Some notaries hate the pressure of a last-minute signing. Others say that they love it. Whatever works for you, personally. There is no such thing as “normal”.

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Refi docs ARE date-sensitive due to the RTC. The rest may or may not be, depending on situation…which is not something we decide.

Last minute “emergency” cancellations are often just a case of a notary getting a better offer for that time slot since they accepted that assignment. Of course, that’s not what they tell the hiring company. They’ll say that they have car troubles or they suddenly got sick…or something…just not the actual reason that they’re bailing.

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I’ve had the same type of thing happening over in my area as well. I am over on the Northern West Coast. Our Counties too are spread far and wide! You really don’t have much of a chance to map it out, when you know you have to answer right away. Omg, my just recent signing was WAY up this logging road, thankfully I had just purchased my Raptor, so it was fine for me. There would of been no way a car without 4X4 could of made it! No warning of this prior too. Got great pics of our outdoor signing though,

Many documents are date sensitive, location sensitive, etc. I usually ask for more time that same day if possible, as well as suggest next day, again if possible. Sometimes the parties who need to sign aren’t available on different days and times. Of course, I ask for more money since it is last minute if I cn accommodate.

Most of the time you get a request where it’s impossible to make the scheduled time, these are last minute cancellations by the notary and they have to be reassigned to another notary. In cases like that, if you still want the job, accept it and THEN send an email to the signing service explaining that the timing is impossible and if you can schedule it for a little later. If they say “no” then just give it back. Most of the time in situations like that they know the circumstances and will tell you to call the signer and work out the time.

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