Close Quarters


We just refinanced. This was the first time we had dealt with a lender in years, and the big surprise was closing: Instead of meeting at an office, the lender brought the paperwork to our home. Is this normal procedure?


Yes. What you're seeing is the visible part of new closing systems that have emerged around the country.

Anthony Negrete, with Negrete's Notaries in Mansfield, Ohio, says about 75 percent of all residential refinancing now take place at the borrower's home. It's not a "lender" who comes to the house; it's a notary.

"It is a convenience to the borrowers nowadays," says Negrete. "We all have busy lifestyles that do not permit us to go to our local bank or title company and miss work to sign loan documents. That is where a mobile notary comes into the picture."

The job of the notary is not to give mortgage or legal advice. Instead it's to get the borrower's signature and initials where required on all loan documents and to make sure that borrowers have a complete set of closing papers.

The process is generally quick and simple; however borrowers should ask notaries in advance if any special preparation is required. In my experience, the notary will want to physically see a government-issued identification card and also will want a copy for the lender's records.


What are the odds of a successful mortgage application.


Overwhelming. Figures from the National Association of Realtors show that 92 percent of all borrowers have success with their first mortgage application.

Even those who do not get a loan the first time out can find success. Only 3 percent of all borrowers are rejected by two lenders.

The big trick with mortgage applications is to give lenders the paperwork and verifications they need. Have tax returns and W2s on hand before applying for a loan and make sure an employer will quickly verify your job status.