Your job as a loan signing agent is to conduct the signing of the documents with the borrower by guiding them through the process, helping them to understand what they are signing in general terms, and making sure they execute (sign) each document properly and legally.
Your function as a Notary Public is to verify the identification of each signer, witness the signing, and then properly notarize each document that needs notarization.
As a good signing agent, in time you should become familiar with each document and be able to describe the purpose of the document in general terms, point out where the borrower can find certain details, and give enough information to help the borrower feel secure in proceeding with the signing. If you don’t know an answer, be helpful by steering the signer in the right direction and explaining where they can get the answer; e.g. accountant, lawyer, broker, Realtor, escrow officer, etc.
Many times you will have to field questions by saying something like this: “As a Notary/signing agent, I’m not authorized to give you that advice. The escrow officer might be able to help you, and here is her/his number,” or, “You may have to consult your attorney to decide how you should have your vesting worded.”
Recently I had to sign my own loan papers and a Notary Loan Signing Agent was sent to my home to conduct the signing. I was stunned at the extra information she volunteered as I was signing the documents. I didn’t even ask her questions because obviously I already knew the answers. What was worse, her advice was wrong in many instances. She even offered advice regarding the vesting choices on the Deed of Trust that would have been considered legal advice, and in my particular case would have been catastrophic if I trusted her advice. She couldn’t possibly know my family or financial situation and how the vesting I chose could ultimately affect my future life. She had no business getting into those things beyond a general explanation of what the terms and paperwork meant. She was obviously showing off her knowledge, but it wasn’t helpful and could have carried serious consequences for both of us.
Be sure you know your responsibilities and limits while wearing both hats.