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Notary Bulletin

The Cost Of Becoming A Notary Signing Agent

business-growing-resized.jpgUpdated 4-30-19. Becoming a Notary Signing Agent is one of the least expensive ways to go into business for yourself in terms of startup 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:

  • Errors &Omissions 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 your 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 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 Coordinator at the National Notary Association.





Add your comment

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)


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: Please be aware that certain companies providing assignments to signing professionals in New York may choose to only utilize licensed attorneys.

Darcel Torrencr

16 Jan 2019

where can i take the training course to become a signing agent in Richmond Virginia

National Notary Association

16 Jan 2019

Hello. You can find more information on NNA Signing Agent training at Please be aware that under Virginia’s Real Estate Settlement Agents Act, any person conducting a settlement in a real property transaction, including Notary Signing Agents, must be a licensed title insurance agent for the Commonwealth. According to the Virginia Bureau of Insurance, the handling of settlement funds, including the passing of a check for settlement costs from a borrower to a Notary Signing Agent, requires a title insurance license and an appointment from a title insurance company. Since the Virginia Bar Association has expressed no formal opposition to “witness closings,” some Notary Signing Agents do manage to operate in the Commonwealth without a title insurance license, but only in transactions that do not require them to handle settlement checks. You must be a Notary before starting the NSA certification process. Prospective Signing Agents in Virginia are responsible to ensure that they meet all qualifications to provide signing services in their state. NNA Signing Agent Certification does not guarantee these qualifications have been met. Please consult an attorney for inquiries relating to legal matters.

Cheryl Hicks

28 Apr 2019

Can I just work PT in the home with having to work for a agent ?

yolanda Martinez

07 May 2019


National Notary Association

07 May 2019

Hello, Yolanda. More information about becoming a Signing Agent can be found here:

Sonia Jomenez

12 May 2019

It is expensive to be in this business. And loan and bank companies should have some consideration and pay more to the signing agent that has to also print the documents for those signings

Robert Sikes

15 Jul 2019

Toner cartridges are available from Amazon and E Bay at 1/4 the cost of Staples or Office Depot

Bryson Henry

21 Aug 2019

How to become a NSA in the state of Alabama?

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2019

Hello. Please see this page for more information:

John Angleman

14 Sep 2019

Help with becoming licensed loan officer In Texas


03 May 2020

Is it required to be certified to be notary signing agent in North Carolina

National Notary Association

04 May 2020

Hello. North Carolina Notaries are not allowed to charge any ancillary fees for additional services. They may only charge fees as listed in the statutory Notary fee schedule. Please see here for more information:


23 Jun 2020

I am a current notary in NJ what do i need to so to become a signing agent

National Notary Association

26 Jun 2020

Hello. You can find more information here:

23 Jun 2020

I was an Ohio notary my commission expired 5/2019 I sent the information to my local office to pay for renewal and I recently received the items back advising the office was no longer there in Cuyahoga county. So I want to renew my notary, but I am trying to figure if I am also interested in becoming a signing agent so should I renew my notary and also sign up for signing agent or if I am a signing agent can I still process my notary duties

National Notary Association

26 Jun 2020

Hello. Working as a Notary Signing Agent requires a current Notary commission. There is nothing preventing a Signing Agent from performing authorized notarizations apart from notarizations related to loan transactions.


17 Aug 2020

Does the complete package include the test to be certified?

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2020

Hello. You can compare included features of each NNA NSA package here:

Ana St. Ann

26 Sep 2020

How do I become a notary signing agent in Louisiana

National Notary Association

02 Oct 2020

Hello. You can find more information here:


09 Oct 2020

How do I become a notary loan signing agent in Mississippi?

National Notary Association

12 Oct 2020

Hello. You can find more information here:


03 Nov 2020

Do I have to take the NSA test each year?

National Notary Association

10 Nov 2020

Hello. The NNA’s Notary Signing Agent Certification is effective for one year. Lenders and title companies typically require background screenings be performed annually. They want screenings no more than one year old at the time of loan signings. Your Certification date is the date your background screening was completed. Renewing NSAs should know the screening takes 5-15 days, and they should begin the renewal prior to the one-year term to avoid a gap in Certification.


09 Dec 2020

Is this a profitable venture for GEORGIA? What is required?

National Notary Association

10 Dec 2020

Hello. Effective July 1, 2012, Georgia Senate Bill 365 was signed into law as Act No. 744 to clarify that only a lender or a licensed Georgia attorney may conduct settlements and disburse closing funds in the state; and the law further prohibits anyone other than the settlement agent for the entire transaction from overseeing the closing session (OCGA 44-14-13[10]).

Melissa storer

02 Mar 2021

I'm looking into this for a career, how long does it take to be fully certified in Colorado before I can start making sufficient money to pay bills reliably?

Katrina Cotton

30 Mar 2021

What do most people purchase when determining a package to be a NSA?

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