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Notary Signing Agent essentials: Do’s and don’ts of a loan signing assignment

I'm often asked, “How does a Notary Signing Agent conduct a loan signing assignment?”

The first step in knowing how to conduct a loan signing is understanding the Signing Agent’s role in the transaction.

Outside of the obvious responsibility of gathering signatures, dates and initials on the loan documents, our role is collecting them in a manner that makes the borrower(s) feel comfortable.

While we are not there to explain the loan documents or take the place of the loan officer, we are there to provide a positive signing experience.

You don't accomplish this by setting the loan docs in front of the borrower and saying, “I'm just the Notary,” then sit back and watch them sign their documents.

So what do you do? I always like to refer to my dear friend and fellow signing service owner, Jennifer Garland, who says it best: “A Notary Signing Agent should always cover the ‘what’ and the ‘where’ but never discuss the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ during a loan signing.”

Do present the “what” and “where” 

A knowledgeable NSA should know “where” all the pertinent information (the “what'') exists within the loan documents and then should be able to point out that information to a borrower.

For instance, a Signing Agent should be able to pull out the borrower's Note (the promise to repay the bank) and point to the interest rate printed on the document so the borrower can read it for themselves and decide if they want to sign that loan document.

In this example, the Signing Agent was able to point out “the what” (the borrower’s interest rate) and “the where” (the location within the documents).

This is how every loan document should be presented to the borrower.

You conduct a loan signing by simply pointing out pertinent information that is clearly printed on a particular loan document and allow the borrower either to read the full document or be satisfied with the information you have shown them. Then you simply instruct them on where to sign, date or initial.

You repeat “the what” and “the where” on every loan document, and that is how you get through a loan signing.

Don’t discuss the “how” and “why”

Let's address the “how” and “why” that a Signing Agent should NEVER address at a signing appointment.

Let's say you are pointing out the interest rate to the borrower and they ask, “How come my rate is so high?” or “Why is that my interest rate?”

That is when you want to let them know that you are only there to notarize their documents, and those questions are best answered by the real estate professional they are working with. At that point you can offer to get someone on the phone so the borrower can get that question answered.

We never answer “why” or “how come” something is on their loan documents because that crosses the line into providing legal advice, which is unauthorized for anyone other than a licensed attorney or financial planner.

And frankly, it's the best practice to have the borrower’s loan officer, realtor or whoever gave you the loan signing answer the borrower’s questions.

One of the best parts of our job is that we are not there to sell the loan or convince borrowers to sign anything. We point out information that is clearly shown on the paperwork and let the borrower decide if they want to sign.

This is why being educated on loan paperwork is such a critical part of conducting a loan signing.

The loan documents

You want to be familiar with all the loan documents you will handle at a signing appointment before taking signings so you can conduct the perfect signing.

A good way to do this is to get a list of the titles of common loan documents — the Note, Mortgage, Deed of Trust, Name Affidavit, Compliance Agreement, etc. — then simply Google them. Examples of these documents are readily available online. Security instruments such as the Deed of Trust or Mortgage can be downloaded from Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac’s website.

Or you can take a course like the Loan Signing System that will show you step by step how to get through the signing process.

Mark Wills of Loan Signing System is a Notary educator, a mentor to more than 4,000 Notary Signing Agents and a Forbes Real Estate Council Member. For more information on how to market your loan signing agent business, please go to

Additional Resources:

Notary Signing Agent Resources




Add your comment

Sharon Moster

08 Jul 2021

While I'm not perfect, I lost a large client because I wouldn't/couldn't answer in-depth questions. Two Realtors complained to an already adversarial escrow agent (she didn't want me to take business from a friend). Also, I called the Escrow Agent to answer questions and to correct documents that the client knew to be wrong and she wanted me to push them through. I hate this kind of stuff.

Melvin O Lugo-Viera

11 Jul 2021

Love the article, very insightful


11 Jul 2021

Knowing your loan docs is crucial to conducting a professional signing. Mark’s course is the way to go!

Renée Rapp

11 Jul 2021

Excellent article! I get people that ask me all the time what I do. This is a great synopsis of our role!

Cheryl Castillo

11 Jul 2021

Good reminders on our role and the importance of being neutral/not crossing into legal advice. Thank you!

Yania Justiniano

11 Jul 2021

Awesome article! Great explanation, as always Mark Wills.

Vanessa Rincon

11 Jul 2021

Great information on this piece so helpful!

Amy Lopez

11 Jul 2021

Mark Wills is definately an expert in the industry of Loan Signings! This article perfectly explains what Loan Signing Agents can and can't do.... it's merely a glimpse of what his program has to offer! I highly recommend Mark and his course, Loan Signing System for anyone looking into beginning a career in the Loan Signing business, or to add to your career if you're already a Loan Signing Agent and are looking for ways to improve your business.


11 Jul 2021

Great article!


11 Jul 2021

This was a great article. It's very important to give a brief description of the documents and point out the information to the borrower. That gives the borrower confidence that you know what you are doing and they trust you. Be sure not to explain the documents that crosses over into being a mortgage officer or an attorney depending on the document. Read the title of the document, give a brief description of the document, point to the important information in the document, and point to where they are to sign, initial or date.

Tim in Tampa

12 Jul 2021

Appreciate this article. Your training, Mr Wills, helped launch my full time Notary signing agent career in Florida.

Patti Hernandez

12 Jul 2021

Mark Willis and his course is amazing ❤️

Damaris Loperena

12 Jul 2021

Amazingly said! One of the biggest questions I personally had coming into this business was whether I would know the boundaries within my capabilities as a Notary Signing Agent well enough to avoid potential legal issues. Your article breaks it down perfectly with the “what” and “where,” NOT the “why” and “how”. Mark, you have been an inspiration and such an incredible guiding light to so many of us notaries out here and we appreciate all you continue to do for this business. Your experience provides so much insight— thank you for sharing!

Shereeta Black

12 Jul 2021

Great article

Sandy B

12 Jul 2021

I liked being able to offer a doc summary and point out any key features


12 Jul 2021

The NNA essentials course and the loan signing courses through Mark Wills are a great combination! Both courses make everything come together and help make so much more sense to the loan signer. I feel these courses are invaluable assets to investing in yourself as you learn to become a confident Loan Signing Agent.

Jason Wise

12 Jul 2021

Mark's course, Loan signing system, has helped me tremendously. I would not have had the confidence or knowledge to do a loan signing without it. I am able to go through the what and where in the loan docs quickly and efficiently because of the course. Thanks again Mark!

Keli Hill

12 Jul 2021

Great article and super important information. Especially for new people starting out. It sets a precedence.

Rochele Lillion

12 Jul 2021

Great information! Thank you for sharing they are available to research online. Education from you and these articles help so much! Thanks Mark!

Tammy Smiley

12 Jul 2021

Mark Wills Loan Signing System is one of the best courses. It isn't a typical course, it reviews every piece of paper that may possibly be in a set of loan docs, the do's and do notes, as well as marketing strategies. It is a wealth of information.


12 Jul 2021

Great article! As always, Mark gives relevant and solid guidance on the industry.

Glen Hill

12 Jul 2021

The best course! Well outlined, real life scenarios are covered in the course. Excellent support system and amazing mentor.

Joshua Carter

12 Jul 2021

Great article! A lot of very valuable information in this.

Courtney Benning

12 Jul 2021

Well said! The best decision anyone can make in their loan signing journey is to invest in quality training. The LSS gives you that and more!

Betsy A. Jimenez

12 Jul 2021

Mark Wills what an amazing article. Thank you for reminding us notaries that we are there to provide a positive signing experience. I feel so fortunate to have you as a mentor and continue learning from you. Betsy A. Jimenez Betsy's Notary Services


12 Jul 2021

Mark has done an excellent job providing a wealth of information and a huge network of signi g agents that are there for each other in a variety of ways, just like family. If you have a question, the only way you won't get an answer is by not asking the literally 1000's of LSS NSA's resourced to you.

Ann Smith

12 Jul 2021

Great article! As always, amazing nuggets from Mark! Learning the docs has been an absolute game changer for me confidence wise.

Frances Kaplan

12 Jul 2021

Great overview of the loan signing process!!!!

Diana P

12 Jul 2021

Excellent article and advisement!

Polly Clermont

12 Jul 2021

Excellent overview on the Loan Signing Agent role. From personal experience I have signed loan documents with signing agents that made me very comfortable and ones that didn’t seem to understand the documents themselves. I appreciate a knowledgeable loan signing agent and support the education!

Lethia Wooten

12 Jul 2021

This extremely well-written article is simply a sampler of what LSS students receive and see regularly in training videos. Mark Wills is a Notary Sage whose “breadcrumb-teaching” style not only motivates the masses, but offers easily digestible guidance on how to address the most common situations a new notary might face. For notaries with more experience, Mark offfers more specialized training that includes ways to grow your business using proven marketing techniques and strategies. Not unlike this article (which is chock-full of information) LSS students are spoiled by the availability of step-by-step guidance on what it takes to be a successful notary.


12 Jul 2021

Great read, keep it coming Mark! Thank you!

Desere Williams

12 Jul 2021

Another fantastic article by Mark Wills!!! I am so happy to be a part of the LSS group!

Judy Oxley

12 Jul 2021

Thank you Mark Wills for the education and ongoing training that you provide for me and so many others. You are an amazing coach who truly cares about the integrity of the Loan Signing business!

Alexandra DeVivo

12 Jul 2021

Great info as always by Mark!

Dwight M Triplett

12 Jul 2021

The LSS is the best bar-none…without the tutelage and instructive teaching from Mark Wills, it would have been like paddling up the creek without the oars!!!

Sheri Kastrava

12 Jul 2021

With the responsibility of knowing and understanding the loan docs, catching errors on those docs, docs prep (can take 45 min to an hour), and travel time, not to mention printing 150-200 pages X2, why do signing agencies and escrow companies think it is okay to offer $50 for a signing? We put a lot of effort and time into this process. I'm just curious.

Beth Block

12 Jul 2021

Thank you for the article and reminders of my main purpose at the signing table. I love having the continued education and support from loan signing system -

Kathy Johnson

12 Jul 2021

Good info..... I have to remember what and where..... Thanks Mark.

Lisa Thompson

12 Jul 2021

Great article! Many thanks to Mark and NNA for the wealth of information and support!


12 Jul 2021

Great article that resonates with me as an LSS graduate! Always leverage the valuable resources of the NNA in your loan signing agent journey. A staple for any successful agent!

Karen collins

12 Jul 2021

Mark, that’s a great reminder to all of us Notary Signing Agents! Well said!

Christina Bunce

12 Jul 2021

Great article! Mark Wills and the Loan Signing System are invaluable!

Erica Grady

12 Jul 2021

Great article. I definitely would have been lost and confused without this course. I’m so grateful I invested in myself. Thank you

Donna Latta

12 Jul 2021

I’ve learned a lot from The Loan Signing System. I can’t wait to put it to use!!

Taquil Buchanan

12 Jul 2021

I love this article!!! We are not “just the notary”. Our job is extremely important. Thank you Mark Wills for always supplying us with the tools to succeed.

Lisa Irving

12 Jul 2021

This is an excellent article and nothing less than I have come to expect from Mark's training. I am thankful for Marks mentorship and I have gained so much confidence and knowledge since enrolling in the Loan Signing System.

Angela Kurzhal

12 Jul 2021

I am so grateful that LSA training is available for anyone that wants to take their notary business to the next level.


12 Jul 2021

Listen to Mark. I am confident and believe in my success because of taking his course


12 Jul 2021

This is a perfect explanation! Thank you Mark for sharing your tips and resources to help signing agents be successful. T


12 Jul 2021

Mark this is a great article, and I love how you simplify it, by giving the what and the where, but it is not our job to give the Why. This helps me to build my confidence in doing the perfect signing!!

Michele Gingerich

12 Jul 2021

Mark Wills, Loan signing genius, is in a class by himself and so is his LSS course…don’t miss the opportunity to learn as much as you can from him And to be the best loan signing agent possible….He has made this course affordable for everyone and his attention to detail and enthusiasm are unmatched!! So,do yourself a favor sign up for the course It’s a life-changing decision…let’s goooooo!!!!!

Kimberly Grisham

12 Jul 2021

Love the LSS course offered by Mark!

Julie Rolfes

12 Jul 2021

Great article and video Mark!

Felicia Cooke

12 Jul 2021

Thanks for the explanation of our role during signings. I appreciate any help and clarity on what I am expected to do.

Barbara Hill

12 Jul 2021

A great, succinct, reminder of what we do. Thank you!


12 Jul 2021

Excellent advice!

Jose Llamas

12 Jul 2021

Excellent article, you couldn’t have said it better Mark.

Kenneth Raichart

12 Jul 2021

Very helpful for both new and veteran NSA's.

Isela G Canela Munoz

12 Jul 2021

Valuable information!

Shanae Mitchell

12 Jul 2021

I became a notary through National Notary Association and a Signing Agent through The Loan Sgning System. I am Very grateful for the discounts and the partnership of these two together. Top notch learning.

John Cuccia Jr.

12 Jul 2021

Excellent article 👍 Thank you very much Mark!

Amy Perales

12 Jul 2021

I'm so grateful for the LSS course and the partnership Mark Wills has developed with the NNA. I hope this partnership continues because the benefits are of tremendous value! 🙌

Joni Fischer-Hietala

12 Jul 2021

Excellent article and very well said! I highly recommend Mark Wills and his Loan Signing System course. Mark is an awesome mentor who goes above and beyond to help his students and he provides continous support. He thourally teaches you how to complete a signing and the importance of never providing advice or discussing the hows or whys. Likewise, he teaches you the importance of being educated and being able to explain the documents to signers so they are comfortable with what they are signing. I am grateful for his training, mentorship and support.

Ashley Griggs

12 Jul 2021

I got certified with both the NNA and Mark Wills’ Loan Signing Systems course and, man, I don’t know that I could have been more prepared to get started in this business. One thing that I love is that they compliment each other as well as both having ongoing resources and guidance as you continue to grow and improve as a Notary Signing Agent. 100% recommend both to everyone I network with.


13 Jul 2021

Very informative. Just like Mark Wills, informative and positive.

betty ann walborn

13 Jul 2021

This was an excellent article. I am a notary and a signing agent and I love it. I took both classes on line and the exams. The process was so easy and you also can stop and take your own notes.

Linda Fluegel

13 Jul 2021

Great video and article!!

Jere Mebane

13 Jul 2021

Awesome article. The LSS and NNA have tons of tools at our disposal. Knowing the documents is a Must. We are there to ensure our Signers are taken care of and complete the transaction feeling comfortable about what they just went through. Like Mark Wills stated, we don't just say "sign and date"; this is why knowing Notorial rules and regulations, along with being proficient and knowledgeable on the various types of loans and documents Is a Must!!

M Miller

14 Jul 2021

Catchy tip that is helpful for remembering the role of the notary/signing agent. Explain what and where, not how and why.

Guillermo Hernandez

15 Jul 2021

Love this article Mark Wills is absolutely right. If you want to make thise $150 plus Mortgage Document Closings you must know your stuff. Study hard to learn the documents, it's still remains the highest paid assignments. I am all in.


16 Jul 2021

Well done! As a new student I can say that the documents are less intimidating. I am confident and you will be also. Anyone interested in this business should take this course.. Even as a Realtor this is great.

Joella blasius

16 Jul 2021

This course helped me out tremendously, I was referred here by the mark wills loan signing system and I have to say between lss and nna I felt confident in hitting the ground running!


20 Jul 2021

Always providing valuable information! Thank you, Mark! Well done! 👏🏼

Pedro Solis

20 Jul 2021

Mark Wills course is the way to go. It gave me the confidence to go out and get signings because I was prepared the LSS way.

Michael Oliver

20 Jul 2021

Very important reminder on the do’s and don’t in presenting loan documents. I’ve had a signer or two early on ask general questions about their interest rate. Glad I took the LSS course which cautions against answering questions which could be deemed unauthorized practice of law by a NSA.


22 Jul 2021

This is a great article by an awesome author!! I always pick up his work.


24 Jul 2021

Mark's course was great, and helped my husband and I make a much needed life change to control our freedom again! This article sums up our job as a loan Signing Agent so very well. Thanks, Mark!!


31 Mar 2023

can a loan officer and notary prepare and sign a trust deed without the proper documentation?

National Notary Association

03 Apr 2023

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.


08 Apr 2024

Does the same rules apply for the Deed Packages? Are we still permitted to summarize or explain what each document is? This is done during a Loan Signing, correct?

National Notary Association

29 May 2024

As an NSA, you are not qualified or authorized to act in the role of a loan officer, escrow agent or similar professional authorized to explain loan documents. If borrowers have questions, then you should refer them to the contracting company — the title company or signing service that hired you — or to their lender. For more information, please see this article:

Kim Tipton

25 May 2024

code of conduct

30 May 2024

I am new to the role, I love all the information that I am receiving in advance to taking my first assignment.

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