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The Cost Of Becoming A Notary Signing Agent

The Cost Of Becoming A Notary Signing Agent

Of all the things people can do to go into business for themselves, becoming a Notary Signing Agent is one of the least expensive in terms of start-up costs. But it does take a financial investment that goes beyond the cost of a Notary commission and certification.

If you want to supplement your income or make a living handling and notarizing loan documents, it’s important to look at the real-world investment to get started and evaluate what kind of return you can expect as an NSA. Here’s what you need to know:

Getting Started
 

Becoming an NSA generally starts by obtaining training, certification and a yearly background screening that meets the requirements of many of the companies that will hire you.

Excluding your commissioning costs and needed supplies, becoming a Signing Agent will typically cost a Notary between $140 and $200 depending on the vendor. Such NSA packages will include background screening, certification, and a possible training course.

Some states require additional licensing requirements and/or restrict Notaries from working as a Signing Agent. For example, Maryland and Indiana require title insurance for all closings, while Minnesota requires you to have a closing agent license.

Although certification is not required by law, it demonstrates that the NSA has the proper training and skills to perform loan document signings. Regular training will help you keep up with changes to loan packages and federal regulations.

Getting The Essential Supplies
 

Apart from your Notary commission, seal and journal, you’ll need a few other things as well:

  • E&O insurance
  • Cellphone
  • Computer or laptop
  • Dual tray printer
  • Letter and legal-size paper and printer toner
  • Marketing materials – business cards and a website

Notary errors and omissions insurance is required by many companies that hire you. The minimum policy amount recommended by the Signing Professionals Workgroup is $25,000. Some companies expect the Signing Agents they work with to carry a larger policy. A typical policy could cost $20 to $40 a year for $25,000 in coverage or $100 to $175 a year for $100,000 in coverage. The costs vary depending on the state where you are commissioned and insurance carrier.

If you already have a website, it is important to add the NSA skillset to generate business leads. Looking to create a website for your business? Check out Weebly, Wix, or Wordpress, which allow you create a website for free. You can also create business pages on social media free of cost. As far as business cards go, many companies will offer standard packages of 100 starting at $10; prices may increase the more text is added.

It is also important to make sure your Signing Agent profile is made available on several company directories such as SigningAgent.com and Snapdocs. Not all directories offer free listings, and some will require a fee to be listed. Having your information featured in these directories allows title companies, real estate agents, and escrow companies to find you thus generating more business. Always keep your profile listing up to date to ensure eligibility for assignments.

If you don’t already have a good computer, you’ll need to get one. A decent desktop starts at a few hundred dollars and can go up to $1,000. Laptops are slightly more expensive.

A reliable, dual-tray printer is crucial and is a necessity because you will regularly print out loan packages that run 100+ pages and contain both letter-size and legal-size pages. They range anywhere from $300 to $700. Because you will rely heavily on a printer, it is important to make sure the printer is able to print multiple copies at a time.

And don’t forget toner and paper. Depending on your printer, new toner cartridges can run as much as $100. But it’s always a good idea to check out local office supply stores for deals on toner and paper.

An unlimited cellphone plan is recommended because of the unlimited data, talk, and text usage. You will have more freedom using your cellphone without restriction and worrying if you are running out of minutes or the number of texts you can send. Phone plans vary by carrier but can range from $50 to $100 a month.

Budgeting Additional Expenses
 

One of the more challenging expenses to quantify is for your automobile. Because your job requires you to travel to loan signings, you need to make sure you have a sufficient budget to keep your car running properly.

Once you start getting busy, you can put hundreds of additional miles a week on your car, which adds up in terms of gas, oil, tires and routine maintenance.

Many successful NSAs find that joining various business and networking organizations in their communities is an effective way to market themselves. But the cost of membership in these organizations can vary greatly.

Overall, the estimated startup costs for this business venture range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 or more.

More than your financial investment, succeeding requires an investment of your time and energy.

But thousands of Notaries have found it to be a profitable profession. Apart from loan signings, most NSAs earn money with general Notary work.

Cindy Medrano is the Social Media Specialist at the National Notary Association.

 

 

 

7 Comments

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Kelli Anderson

08 May 2017

Great informative article!

Cheryl Cronau

08 May 2017

What is the typical charge for a notarization for personal documents in the State of Indiana?

National Notary Association

09 May 2017

Hello. The maximum fee permitted in Indiana is $2 per notarial act. (IC 33-42-8-1)

Pat

10 May 2017

Can you bypass all the testing/classes to qualify as a signing agent? I've been in the mortgage industry 29+ yrs currently conventional underwater. I know what all the docs are and what each means. I've also been an escrow officer. And in house closer.

National Notary Association

11 May 2017

Hello. Most major companies that offer assignments will require some form of background screening and proof of certification from Signing Agents they work with in order to meet industry consumer protection standards.

Janelle LaBorde

11 Oct 2017

Is there a study guide I can purchase on line or in store so that I can take the exam ? Are there any test centers in New York City where you can just walk in and pay to take the exam ?

National Notary Association

13 Oct 2017

Hello. Information about NNA courses and resources can be found here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/new-york/signing-agent. Please be aware that certain companies providing assignments to signing professionals in New York may choose to only utilize licensed attorneys.

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