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Give your business a boost with commercial real estate signings

Boost your Notary income with commercial signings

(Originally published in the October 2016 issue of The National Notary magazine)

For many mobile Notaries, loan signings are an important part of their business. And while there are millions of signing assignments for residential property transactions, commercial real estate signings are often overlooked — and pay much more.

“This is where the big bucks are,” said Frank Marcial, a seasoned California Notary Signing Agent and the NNA’s 2006 Notary of the Year. “If you’re a commercial Notary and you get known, you get jobs from New York, Texas — all over.”

Marcial said commercial assignments can pay from $200 to $1,000, depending on the number of certificates to be signed, travel time and sitting time. (He charges up to $18 an hour to sit and wait for everyone to be ready.)

Commercial signings often involve large-scale business transactions, from the sale or refinancing of various commercial properties to various types of partnership agreements and other business documents. Marcial stressed that commercial signings are no more difficult than residential signings, and the field isn’t any harder to break into. Nor does it require any special training or education.

Breaking in to commercial signings

Marcial has been doing these types of signings for years, but he didn’t get into them intentionally. He got a phone call from a doctor at Kaiser Permanente who needed a notarization for a K1 distribution, a document used to report the incomes, losses and dividends of a partnership. The doctor asked if he was the man for the job, and Marcial said yes.

This one document, outside the scope of the typical NSA signing, led to more commercial-related signings through referrals, and the business took off from there. But this opportunity was not purely a fluke. It came, he says, because of all the time and effort he put into building his brand. He says that’s how other NSAs can start getting commercial signings as well.

When you’re doing retail signings, you’re going to come across a certain percentage of people who are in business. They often need partnership agreements signed, K1 forms notarized, etc. Marcial hands out his business card, a pen and marketing literature at every signing, whether it’s for an individual homebuyer, a mom and pop store or a large corporation. He gets to signings early and places these items on the table. That way, the principals involved in the signing take the items with them and then spread the word.

He also looked the part at signings: “I didn’t care what they looked like. I was in a tie, jacket, shoes, hair perfectly combed. That’s how they got to know me. They’d think ‘this isn’t any regular Notary.’”

Learning the ropes

Though a specialized education isn’t required, there are a few licenses and certifications NSAs should consider obtaining in order to be fully prepared. Because his experience was in California, Marcial recommends getting a California insurance license and a department of real estate license. These licenses aren’t any more expensive or more difficult to obtain, in his opinion, than the California Notary license. Notaries in other states might consider their equivalents.

The secret to commercial signings

So what’s the secret to commercial signings? “You don’t say anything,” he said. “You’re not allowed to. All you do is smile and collect your fee at the end. You’re verifying that this person signed the document,” but leave the advice to the lawyers and the CPAs.

In fact, the NSA isn’t in charge of setting up the signings or coordinating people’s schedules to ensure smooth execution. The principals’ attorneys and other professionals will negotiate the day the signing will take place, the number of Notary certificates to be used, plus the time and location of the signing. You just show up. The Signing Agent will then go over all the documents and determine there are no blank spaces, then ensure the principal has provided proper Notary certificates. Again, any questions signers may have are directed to professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, and financial advisors.

Adding up the certificates

A big reason that the signings pay so well is the number of notarizations, Marcial said. For example, in a swap rate agreement — where two parties agree to exchange interest payments — there are so many certificates, multiple Notaries could be required for up to six hours. He estimates there may be a few dozen notarial certificates involved in a typical transaction. It’s not the complexity of the agreement that determines price but the number of required certificates to be signed.

Marcial said the business has only one downside: because of the complexity of these documents, and the need to coordinate multiple parties, sometimes the Notary has to sit and wait for a few hours. But, Marcial simply charges the extra fee to wait. His main advice for breaking into the biz: take it seriously, and don’t say ‘no.’ “If your business is serious, you’ll grow financially and get known for your brand. It’s going to happen. Business will come.”

Related Articles:

By fluke and design: How 3 Notaries built thriving businesses

7 Ways to earn extra money

Revolutionize your Notary business marketing strategy

Additional Resources:

NNA Webinar: Branding your Notary Signing Agent business

Signing Agent Supplies


Add your comment

Kai A

07 Nov 2016

Id like more information. What kind of companies do I solicit for business? Where can i get more information on what to charge? How do those extra licenses help the notary? Does real estate license equal licensed realtor? What is an insurance license?

Tim Gatewood

07 Nov 2016

"You don't say anything" -- REALLY?!? How do you perform the required verbal ceremonies without saying anything? How do you determine that they signed freely and willingly without saying anything? It would appear that this statement is overly broad.

Gwen Helms

08 Nov 2016

I believe what he means to to not advise outside of your Notary Duties, even though you feel you have the answer. It opens you up to liability.


09 Nov 2016

I would love to get information on how to get commercial signings or a list of companies that may need notaries in a commercial setting. How can we contact the writer if this article?

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2016

Hi SunshineGal! If you'd like to speak with Frank Marcial, the Notary interviewed in this article, please email us your message and contact information to and we'll be happy to forward it to him.

Kelly Charpenet

11 Nov 2016

This is really very useful information! Thanks!

Linda Schnell

16 Nov 2016

I am a Notary and have a real estate license. The real estate license took more studying to obtain.


25 Jan 2017

I would like information on commercial signing. And how to get into this business.


13 Jun 2017

I would like more information on commercial signings. Besides sending an email is there a site to get info?

Irene caldwell

13 Jun 2017

Commercial signing sounds like something I'm interested in, please tell me how to get more information.

Vali Gallentine

14 Jun 2017

I would like more information on how to get involved with doing commercial signings as well and certifications please. Everyone is low balling since the new year and I'm desperate for work.


15 Jun 2017

I would love a little info on how to move into the commercial signing field.. where can i get additional info ?


05 Jul 2017

I am Interested in doing Commercial Signing, Please I would like to speak with some one or give me more information

Candy Bonner-Ibekaku

10 Jul 2017

I live in Dallas, Tx I am wanting to be a Commercial Real Estate Signer, please instruct

Debora Lee

09 Nov 2017

I live in Maryland and would love to have more information on conducting commercial real estate signings. Thanks

Alicia Smart

17 Mar 2018

I would love to have more information on commercial signings. I live in south Florida, is this a lucrative location for commercial signings?


02 Dec 2019

Hi i would like more information on commercial signings. How and where to start to look for information would there be a site like snapdoc etc.

Chad Lee Porretta

04 Dec 2019

The article literally reads "but he didn’t get into them intentionally." And this "led to more commercial-related signings through referrals, and the business took off from there." If this is the industry you don't want to just fall in your lap then it comes down to you marketing yourself.

Ramon Heard

02 Aug 2020

what notorial acts do I need to do commercial loan signings

National Notary Association

03 Aug 2020

Hello. For any notarization, you would need to be told by the customer what type of notarization you are being asked to perform. The Notary is not permitted to choose the type of notarization on the signer's behalf.

04 Mar 2021

Would like to know what else do I need , other than being a notary. I live in Washington DC, and here we are not required to take any additional training course to notarize.

Stephanie jones

08 Dec 2021

I would like information on Commercial signing in the Dallas fort worth area. And forms . I am a Loan Signing Agent.

Nita Rodez

04 May 2022

I would like to get started on Commercial signing in Austin, TX area and surrounding areas. I would like to speak to anyone that can point me in the right direction. Hope to hear from you soon.Thank you so much in advance for your help!

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