Amanda Farrell - 2 years ago
What is a Notary Signing Agent?
Sometimes called a Loan Signing Agent, a Notary Signing Agent is a notary trained and certified to manage loan documents. Signing agents work directly with title companies, real estate agents, and lenders or for notary network companies that work with the professionals involved in the real estate transaction.
These professionals value and seek out certified notaries who can perform their duties with a high caliber of customer service and attention to detail.
Why become a Notary Signing Agent?
Becoming a Notary Signing Agent is one of the ways to make more money as a notary. While the process of a loan signing is more complicated and takes longer than a more straightforward notarial ceremony to complete, a notary who provides this service can see huge revenue growth. Notary Signing Agents can also set their own schedule and decide how many assignments they want to take each day.
Commissioned notaries looking for more freedom, flexibility, and financial independence should consider becoming a Notary Signing Agent.
How much money can a Notary Signing Agent make?
Typical notarizations are restricted to a maximum fee a notary may charge a client. A simple jurat or acknowledgment requiring one stamp may result in a $2 – $10 payment, but a notary can charge a flat fee ranging from $75 – $250 for handling loan documents.
According to salary.com, the median yearly income for a Notary Signing Agent is $38,153. Some notaries report making six-figure incomes working exclusively on real estate transactions.
The most successful Notary Signing Agents work directly with title companies, escrow agents, real estate attorneys, and other professionals who have sway in how the real estate transaction is executed. Not only do they know how to do their job well, but they also know how to market themselves to the right audience.
Understand how the housing market will affect your business
The number of potential assignments a Notary Signing Agent gets is positively tied to the number of completed real estate transactions, purchases, and refinances. The housing market is cyclical and can sometimes be unpredictable.
There are a few market factors that impact the earning potential of Notary Signing Agents that you should know and understand, including:
- Mortgage rates – Low rates encourage both purchases and refinances. Higher rates help to cool down hot housing markets.
- Homebuyer demand – Homebuyers drive the majority of real estate transactions. Remote work has shifted homebuyer demand away from urban areas, so pay attention to the migration patterns of homebuyers in your area.
- Inventory – Supply must be able to keep up with homebuyer demand to maintain transaction levels. Even when there is a slight decrease in sales, refinancing may make up for the difference if mortgage rates remain low.
These and other factors will influence the total number of mortgage loans originated, your local housing market activity, and, in turn, the earning potential of a Notary Signing Agent.
How to become a notary signing agent
Before becoming a Notary Signing Agent, you have to be commissioned as a Notary Public first. Real estate laws are established at the state level, and some states prohibit non-attorney Notaries from conducting closings for mortgage loans. Others may require a title insurance license, an attorney to be present, or restrict the type of loan package a Notary Signing Agent may handle.
Requirements to become a Notary Signing Agent
While states may have laws restricting notaries in what kind of work they can do, there isn’t much guidance on requirements for Notary Signing Agents. After the 2008 housing crisis and the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, more scrutiny befell the loan process and the third-party service providers, like notary signing agents, hired by financial institutions.
In response, the National Notary Association (NNA) and lending and title professionals formed a special committee, the Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW), to set standards and best practices for notaries in charge of loan signings.
Some of the industry requirements established by the SPW include:
- Annual background screening
- Pass an SPW compliant exam
- Proof of errors and omissions insurance
Certification from an SPW-compliant vendor, like the NNA, isn’t required by law. However, to comply with the CFPB, title, mortgage, and other real estate professionals will want certified signing agents.
Tips before getting your NNA certification
If you aren’t a notary yet or a newly commissioned notary, you’ll want to prepare before jumping into the NNA course and certification program. It’s imperative that you eventually get the certification because it will demonstrate you’re capable of handling mortgage documents, but it isn’t designed for beginners. Here are some things to do before you sign up:
- Get commissioned as a notary
- Get comfortable with performing notarial ceremonies
- Learn as much as you can about loan signings and mortgage documents
- Enhance your knowledge with additional loan signing training courses
- Prepare for and take the NNA Certification Exam
- Work with a Loan Signing Service
- Learn to market yourself as an Independent Notary Signing Agent
It can be challenging to know where to start, especially since many guidelines vary depending on the company or professionals hiring you. In one interview with a loan signing agent on getting RON certified, she mentions contracting with a Signing Service before working independently and building her own business. Even though you won’t get paid as much, it’s a great way to learn more about the closing process, network with the professionals involved in coordinating the closing, and build confidence in your ability to conduct the signing properly.
This content is provided for informational purposes only. PropLogix, LLC (PLX) is not a law firm; this content is not intended as legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. PLX makes no representations as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of this content. PLX may reference or incorporate information from third-party sources, upon which a citation or a website URL shall be provided for such source. PLX does not endorse any third party or its products or services. Any comments referencing or responding to this content may be removed in the sole discretion of PLX.
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