National Notary Association: Reverse Mortgages ‘Good For Business’

While often overlooked by the notary business sector, the reverse mortgage industry can be a very positive resource for someone building a mobile notary business particularly for notaries who may reside in a part of the United States with a high population of seniors. This is according to columnist Carol Ray, the owner of a training service for notary signing agents in an article first appearing in an issue of the National Notary magazine.

In her own business, Ray says she has assisted in many Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) transaction signings and found the experiences to be positive supplements to her regular course of work.

“Over the years, […] I have assisted with several hundred HECM signings and discovered that they can be a good extra source of income, particularly if you live in an area with a lot of retirees and/or high home values,” she says. “Apart from the business benefit, they also are personally rewarding.”

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One of the reasons Ray finds the work personally rewarding is because she feels she has made a difference in a senior’s life after assisting them in the signing of their HECM, she says. As a notary, she also notices that HECM transactions can be smoother than other types of business her profession requires her to assist with, including traditional mortgages.

“Reverse mortgage signings often go more smoothly than conventional mortgages because senior borrowers have fewer questions,” she says. “Before the closing, seniors go through a lot of counseling and education, so they already are familiar with many of the documents when you arrive. When conducting a loan signing, keep it simple. As I mentioned, the loan officers often are at the signing, so they can handle any questions.”

Ray also discusses the necessity of a positive demeanor, since seniors can be naturally cautious when encountering unfamiliar professionals. This also rings true for Todd Ausherman, founder and CEO of mobile notary scheduling platform company Notaroo.

“A good reverse mortgage notary is someone who really cares about the borrower and enjoys being a part of a process that is often life-changing for the person they are authenticating,” Ausherman tells RMD in an email. “Because reverse mortgages are so nuanced, we have found that our best notaries are those who are empathetic to the borrower’s situation and willing to spend some extra time at the signing table creating a comfortable atmosphere.”

For Notaroo, Ausherman has found that it’s important and beneficial for the company to interview the notaries it assigns for reverse applications and closings ahead of time.

“If we get the feeling that this is a transactional notary, one who simply wants fast signings and to pack as many signings as possible into a day, then that person is not likely to be a good reverse mortgage notary (even though they otherwise might be a terrific forward notary),” he says.

Prepping notaries to understand the nuances specific to both lenders and title companies is also an important measure to take, Ausherman says.

“Nothing can ruin the morale of a new reverse mortgage borrower faster than missed signatures and repeated trips to the home after the signing is complete,” he says. “More so than with traditional mortgage signings, reverse signings require a notary willing to go the extra mile in an effort to make a senior’s life just that much better. To be a good reverse notary, first you have to be a good person.”

Read Carol Ray’s column at the National Notary Association (NNA).

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