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How to Become a Notary Signing Agent

To work as a Notary Signing Agent, you must hold an active Notary Public commission and pass a background check. If you’re interested in becoming a Notary Signing Agent and maximizing your opportunities for loan signing assignments, follow the steps below:

  1. Check if your state has Signing Agent restrictions.
  2. Get your Notary Public commission.
  3. Pass a background screening.
  4. Take a loan signing training course and pass an exam.
  5. Buy your Signing Agent supplies.
  6. Purchase a minimum $25,000 E&O insurance policy.
  7. Start working as a Notary Signing Agent.
  8. Join Notary Signing Agent directories.

Become a Notary Signing Agent

Notary Signing Agent Requirements

State Restrictions

Most states allow Notary Signing Agents to perform loan signing services in real estate closings. However, there are 19 states with specific requirements that may prevent or restrict Notary Signing Agents from performing loan signings. Find more details about your state’s Signing Agent restrictions.

Restriction or Limitation State
Requires attorney involvement Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia
Customary to have attorney involvement North New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Ohio
Requires a professional license Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Virginia
Limit on Notary fees Nebraska and Nevada
Limit on loan requirements Texas

Notary Public Commission

Anyone who meets the requirements to be a Notary Public in their state can go on to become a Signing Agent. To qualify for a Notary Public commission, generally you must be at least 18 years old, be a legal resident of your state and have no felony convictions.

The process typically includes submitting an application and fee, taking a training course, passing an exam, and getting your Notary supplies. You can get everything you need to apply for your commission with the NNA.

Notary Signing Agent Training & Exam

No training or exam is required for Notary Signing Agents. Although completing a training course and passing an exam are smart ways to prove you've been formally educated in the complex process of mortgage closings.

There are many vendors, including the National Notary Association, offering Signing Agent training courses and exams online. The NNA's How to Become and Succeed as a NSA Online Training course teaches you how to conduct loan signings and jumpstart your business.

Background Check

In order to guard borrowers' private financial information, the mortgage industry requests all persons involved in the lending process to undergo background screenings.

A background screening typically checks a person’s federal, state and county records over the last 10 years. It searches for criminal records, sex offender registry information and potential terrorist ties. Learn more about the background screenings required of Signing Agents.

Notary Signing Agent Certification

A certification is not required by law although mortgage finance companies prefer to hire certified Notary Signing Agents to meet Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) compliance requirements. Getting certified is a convenient way to prove you’ve completed specialized training and passed an exam and background screening.

Notary Signing Agent Supplies

In addition to your Notary seal and journal, Signing Agents should have:

  • Transportation
  • Smartphone
  • Laptop
  • Email
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Bag

Many new Notary Signing Agents also find it helpful to use a few industry supplies and reference books when starting out.

E&O Insurance

Though not required by law, it's strongly recommended to purchase a Notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to cover you against damages resulting from unintentional mistakes.

The Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW), an industry standards organization, recommends Signing Agents carry a minimum Notary E&O policy of $25,000 following a study that found most claims against Notary Signing Agents averaged around $14,000. However, some individual companies may ask Signing Agents they work with to carry a larger policy.

Notary Signing Agent FAQs

How long does it take to become a Signing Agent?

Applicants who are already commissioned as Notaries and follow the recommended industry certification process listed above can expect one to two weeks to become a certified Signing Agent.

A majority of this time will be spent waiting for your background screening results to return. Other factors will be your availability and how long it takes you to become comfortable with all procedures and requirements for notarizing loan closings.

How much does it cost to become a Signing Agent?

The cost of becoming a certified Signing Agent typically ranges from $75 to $350. Your startup costs will include your Notary Public commission, Signing Agent certification, equipment and supplies, and insurance.

How much can I charge for a loan signing?

There is no set fee schedule for Notary Signing Agents who perform loan document signings. Each Signing Agent must negotiate their own fees based on their business expenses, the companies they work with, travel and time required for assignments, and the demand for services in their area.

Be aware that the federal government strictly prohibits collaboration to set fixed fees for loan document signings, including price-fixing agreements, boycotts or attempts to persuade other Signing Agents to agree to charge an established minimum fee.

How often must I renew as a Notary Signing Agent?

The government does not define a renewal timeframe for Signing Agents within any state or federal law. However, the industry standard set by SPW requires Signing Agents renew their exam and background check every year.

Become a Notary Signing Agent