Last Minute Closing at Month End

One of the things that is constant about the Notary Signing Agent business is last minute closings. There really is no excuse for them, as everyone applies for a loan and the title company and lender have plenty of time to work up the packages in an orderly fashion. However, they happen almost every month anyway, as the loan officers or title companies get near the end of the month and discover their bonus is not quite what they wanted. So, suddenly, it is a last-minute closing with everyone rushing to get it done and funded before the end of the month.

Tonight’s example: a  title company that I have not heard from in months called me at 7:30pm tonight to ask if I can do a last-minute closing in a city about an hour away. At that point, IF they had docs ready, it would put me getting there too late to start the signing by 9pm.

I usually don’t start a closing any later than 9pm because doing so means we are wrapping up after the point where most folks are no longer coherent and fully awake. As a Notary Public, part of my duty is to be sure people are aware of what they are signing (if I am notarizing it).

In this case,  I was tied up when they called & would not have been ready to receive documents right that minute, even if they had them ready.

Also, last-minute often translates into rushed and full of errors. So, I said no.

About 45 minutes later, they called back & asked if I can do the same closing. I tell them it is too late. Then, a few minutes later, they call back and offer me a really good fee if I will do it. Had they offered this fee at 7:30, I might have (probably would have) dropped what I was doing & made it happen. Unfortunately, now it really is just too late to do it properly.

With the 3 business-day right to cancel, a loan closing tonight would fund on 7-31-12. A loan closing tomorrow would fund on 8-1-12. On a refinance, they would pay the old lender the exact same amount on either day. As long as it funds by 8-1-12, they don’t have to pay another month’s interest. So, why the rush to do it tonight? Because the title company (and the loan officer) want it on their books for July so it will be reflected in their bonuses for this month. This is a needless rush that benefits the loan officer and/or the title company only, not one that benefits the borrower.

As they knew that, it’s just too bad they did not offer me the better fee on the first call.

And, just to be clear, I do offer Notary Signing Agent services on a same day (or next day or next week) basis whenever possible, and I expect to have month-end last-minute closings pop up.  I do ask that documents be received at least 2 hours before the closing to give me time to print them, review them and arrive on time — with more time needed for locations further from home, of course.

When that 2 hour deadline is just not possible, I can’t guarantee to be at the closing on time — but I will go anyway IF 1) that does not put me too late in arriving and 2) the borrowers are flexible as to the time we start and 3) they have any required copies of ID or cashiers checks that I am supposed to pick up.  None of this should be any surprise to the title companies, as these requirements are based on their instructions and general industry-wide practices.


About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed. Mobile Notary Public and Signing Agent, Freelance Writer, and Ordained Minister. Willing servant to cats. Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from Please be kind to one another.
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2 Responses to Last Minute Closing at Month End

  1. I’ve had these last minute signing many of times and didn’t realize the depths in which it went. But now I completely get it. I was just saying on some Notary forum how last minutes signings are a luxury and if they want to wait until the last minute which like you said they don’t have to then they need to pay… Great post, thanks!


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