There are a number of  newly licensed closing agents out there, and I often get questions on how to make a good impression with a smooth closing. So here are my tips.  Remember, everyone in a mortgage closing wants a smooth signing. Mistakes, no matter how small, can be a headache for everyone. As a licensed Closer/Signing Agent, here are some key tips to help ensure that your signings are smooth and error-free.

Review the documents and instructions in advance

Review the instructions and documents in advance to identify any questions, so you can handle them and correct any errors before contacting the signers. That’s especially important if you are not familiar with the loan type or have a new client. ALTA is working on Master Closing Instructions, but we’re not there yet, so READ the instructions carefully.  Determine how many forms of ID are necessary and verify any additional instructions such as obtaining necessary documentation from the signers. Doing this allows you to familiarize yourself with the transaction and smooths the signing. Don’t print your documents before confirming the appointment with everyone, as a date change means throwing out all those printed documents and reprinting them for a corrected date.

Communicate with the signers in advance

Call and/or email the signers to confirm the details of the signing ensures that you have the location, date and time correct, and so do they. Make sure that all the signers will be there and that you can have their undivided attention. Remind the borrower/s to have photocopies of their ID and any other required documentation ready-to-go so the signing can take place on time and smoothly. In communicating with them before the appointment, ask them if they have any questions about the closing or the process. This gives time to find answers to their questions — and have someone from title or the bank address them directly, if needed.

Check all your file and your equipment.

Do you have your COVID-19 mask, your notary stamp? Do you have multiple blue pens? Do you have a paper clips or a stapler to attach the check they give you? Is your cellphone charged? Do you have your notary journal? Making sure you have all the necessary tools saves time at the table and allows you to focus on the task at hand: getting the documents accurately signed.

Know who to contact with questions during the closing

Signers may still have questions at closing. You won’t know the answers to some questions, so it’s important to know who to contact in a pinch. Before closing, ask the title company or signing company for contact information of the individual/s who can answer questions. Having that information handy could be the difference between a borrower signing and not signing, and a bad experience for all.

Double-check the file before leaving the signing.

At the closing, recognize this is an important event for the signers. You are notarizing legal documents that mean a lot to them. Your role is to be pleasant, reassuring and confident in your role as an expediter of the loan process.

Let the signers know you want to do a quick double-check before you head out to ensure all the documents are signed and properly notarized. They will appreciate the thoroughness and consideration you are showing, and it allows you the opportunity to check for errors. Reviewing one more time before you drop the package will give you additional peace of mind and, hopefully, alleviates you from having to make a second trip back to have documentation corrected.