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Notary – What would you do? Complex Situations - Tough Choices

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Notary – What would you do?

Assume in most questions that nobody answers your frantic “what should I do” calls.

A)   The buyer side loan package is huge, 235 pages. You glance thru the package and notice that the borrower’s name was misspelled, dozens of times. You don’t discover this till “at the table”.

  1.        Plow thru all the necessary changes, figuring it’s your fault because you did not verify what the ID was and what the correct spelling was.
  2.        Dozens of corrections would probably void the package; you adjourn the session and call your employer.
  3.        Borrower has software that can make a quick “global change” to the PDF and reprints the package with the “corrected name”; so it’s possible to proceed with the signing.
  4.        Use the AKA (also known as) form to notarize the misspelled name and equate the proper spelling as a valid alias. You perform notarizations of misspelled name based on sworn AKA to make it legal.


B)      You accept a near “lowball” fee. There is no mention of FAX backs when you accept the assignment. When the Edoc arrives there is a full fax back requirement on the “notary instructions”. As usual nobody is reachable due to a 6PM appointment. You do not have a scanner and faxing the package would cost half of your pay.


  1.        There is still time to ship for next day if you do not fax, you ship without faxing. You figure they are getting what they specified and what was agreed.
  2.        You hold the package till next morning and call asking for a fee increase.
  3.        You leave the completed package with the borrower asking them to scan/fax then ship.
  4.        You take your lumps, fax it all at top dollar from Kinko’s and ship; wanting to save the account.


C)      Borrower calls you to change the meeting location, fifty miles more distant, over toll roads.


  1.        You tell the borrower there will be an additional fee for them to pay “at the table”.
  2.        You decline the change mentioning your schedule does not permit the extra time involved.
  3.        You call Escrow, who sent the job, they refuse any additional fee; you dump the job.
  4.        Such is life, you cancel your subsequent assignment and comply with borrower demands.


D)     The borrower’s dog keeps “pawing” at you; thinking you are a source of Milk Bones. You ask that the dog be placed in a different room; borrower replies that they never lock their dog in a different room and refuses.


  1.        You ask the borrower to pay for new pants, if they will you will proceed.
  2.        You declare the situation a “hostile environment” and threaten to leave if dog not contained.
  3.        You call a “pause” to the signing and attempt to make friends with the dog.
  4.        You suggest moving to a nearby diner without dog; angry borrower asks you to leave.


E)      The docs are way late, the borrower keeps calling you asking when you will arrive. You don’t know when/if they ever will arrive as Title keeps (many calls) saying “we are working on final details, it should be soon”. This has been going on for three hours.


  1.        You keep trying to pacify borrower telling them the loss of rate lock would be very expensive to them.
  2.        You are not a fan of “heroic waits” and politely tell Title to put their job where the sun never shines.
  3.        You refused two other jobs during the wait – so you hang in there hoping to recoup some of your losses.
  4.        You give Title an absolute deadline, docs in half an hour or find someone else.


F)      You don’t have a racist bone in your body, you treat every human the same; and follow all rules. You are shown a passport from a country you never heard of. It’s all handwritten, even the passport number. It does not have a USA visa.


  1.        You accept the passport and include a photocopy with the statement that you have your validity doubts.
  2.        You decline the ID even though affiant claims to be from poor country and that’s how they do it.
  3.        You proceed but hold package till you can do some internet research to validate the passport.
  4.        You explain the situation to the Loan Officer and follow the advice given.


G)     This one happened to me. Identical twins, dressed and looking exactly alike. Both are on title and both need their signatures notarized. They joked when you met them how they enjoy substituting for each other.


  1.        The passport signatures are very similar, but you think you detect slight differences; you have them sign in front of you and determine based on handwriting which is which.
  2.        Mission impossible, you adjourn the session.
  3.        It really does not matter as they will be co-owners; you proceed relying on their sworn oaths.
  4.        You insist on a fingerprint next to each signature.


H)     The LO is adamant that you must backdate your notarizations to yesterday or they will incur financial damages and will sue you the notary to recoup their losses.


  1.        You insist upon a hand signed email (PDF) from the LO with the authorization to backdate. It actually arrives on your cell phone on their letterhead stationery and hand signed. You proceed to backdate it’s the LO’s problem.
  2.        You carefully spell your name to the LO stating that you hate to receive subpoenas with bad spelling.
  3.        You use the proper date and inform borrowers that it is improper for them to change the date in the notary section; then proceed to explain proper redaction procedures.  What they do is not your problem.
  4.        You tell yourself perhaps the LO is right, your watch and cell phone might be showing the wrong date.


I)        Borrower looks at the package and states that they will be taking 3-5 hours to read every word. You explain the included Right of Recision, but borrower states they will sign nothing till reading every word. Also borrower wants to confer with their attorney while reviewing the pages. Nobody is available when you make calls.


  1.        You call out for pizza and ask for the remote to the TV.
  2.        You leave package and copy asking borrower to call when ready to sign.
  3.        You tell borrower you can stay for an hour and a half, and then must take docs whatever the progress.
  4.        You demand they sign quickly and threaten to cancel the loan if they don’t.


J)       Borrower has full middle name on docs but no ID that has more than middle initial.


1)      You accept High School Yearbook entry as that has full middle name as part of ID – take pictures of all IDs, including yearbook entry and include with package.

2)      Title says it’s OK to proceed and they will drop middle initial when issuing deed.

3)      You redact the middle initial only in the notary section as that was the proven ID. Job proceeds.

4)      You cancel the signing because there was insufficient ID.


K)      During the signing the borrower lights up a “joint”, offers you one (which you decline) – and proceeds to sign all of the documents.

1)      As you did not “partake” it’s OK for you to notarize the documents.

2)      At the first sign of illegal activity you adjourn the signing and take all paperwork, reporting issues.

3)      Borrower claims “pot” helps them to concentrate and relax, you ask for windows to be opened and proceed.

4)      Wanting to be accommodating you ask instead for a Scotch and Soda to stay legal


Please use the LETTER of the question in any comments so we all know what you are referring to.



Comments (1)

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Kenneth, this test is more complicated than passing the Real Estate Exam! It just goes to prove that every job connected with a real estate transaction is taxing.

Oct 09, 2018 12:25 PM
Kenneth Edelstein

All are from "real life", being a notary is not as easy as it looks.

Oct 09, 2018 02:57 PM