How to Become a Notary & Have a Successful Business

If you’re looking for a way to start your own business, becoming a notary public might be the right choice for you. Notaries are in high demand, and there are many opportunities for growth in this field.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the steps that you need to take to become a notary and how to start a successful notary business. We’ll also provide some tips on how to market your services and stand out from the competition. Let’s get started!

Notary with briefcase walking upstairs

How to Become a Mobile Notary and Make Up to $1000 a Day

Notaries and mobile notaries are in high demand and can make a lot of money. To become a notary, you must be at least 18 years old, have a clean criminal record, and pass a state-administered exam. Once you become a notary, you can start your own mobile notary business and make up to $1000 a day.

If you follow these steps, you can become a successful mobile notary and make a lot of money by providing mobile notary services!

How to Become a Notary

After meeting the criteria mentioned above, and once you have your commission certificate, you can start your own mobile notary business.

To get started, advertise your notarization services online or through word-of-mouth. Then, set up an appointment with clients and meet them to get their documents notarized. You’ll need to bring your notary seal and notary stamp so that you can officially get the document notarized. Remember to always act professional and that the services provided are exceptional. This is how you’ll build a successful mobile notary business.

Also, make sure to sign up with the National Notary Association. You can also visit your state’s notary public website.

After you become a notary public, promote your services to local businesses, real estate agents, attorneys, office parks, and others who might need a mobile notary and mobile services.

You can also join a notary signing agent network like ours here at Mobile Notary Zone to get more exposure.

When meeting with clients, be sure to dress professionally and arrive on time. Bring all the necessary supplies, including your notary seal, notary stamp, and notary journal. Be friendly and helpful, and always follow up with clients after each appointment. If you provide excellent mobile notary services, you’ll build a successful mobile notary business in no time!

Woman with Questionmarks over her head

Handling all Legal Documents as a Notary Public

One of the main duties of a notary is to handle all legal documents. This includes everything from birth certificates and marriage licenses to wills and contracts. Notaries public must be able to properly fill out and file these documents, as well as keep track of them.

Knowing What You Can and Cannot Do

A notary public has a lot of power, but there are also strict limitations on what they can do. It’s important for a notary to know what their powers are so that they don’t overstep their bounds or break the law.

Providing Excellent Customer Service

People often come to a notary when they’re already stressed out about whatever legal matter they are dealing with. It’s important to be a knowledgeable and reliable source that makes the entire process easier for your clients.

Mobile Notary vs Mobile Signing Agent

Becoming a notary public is the first step to becoming a mobile signing agent. You’ll need to sign up for the National Notary Association (NNA) class and you’ll be required to take their background check once a year.

Remember, this isn’t a government regulation that you’re meeting. This is a standard in the title and escrow industry to work for them.

Don't be fooled by other companies' classes

There are other companies out there that offer this type of training such as Loan Signing System (LSS). They’ll claim to offer the same notary education and quality of their background check. They won’t tell you that most companies won’t accept anything but the NNA background check so you’ll wind up paying for this twice.

Another important difference is they’ll teach you practices that aren’t acceptable in this industry. Some schools will teach you that the notary signing agent comes first and the client (both the person signing and the company that hires you) comes second. Ask yourself this, in the already stressful title industry, do you think that when you hire mobile notaries they should be creating more stress and problems? Of course not. I’m sure the people that put these classes together don’t think they’re teaching people to act inappropriately. They don’t see how these people that they’ve trained create problems when they’re on the jobs for them.

The only certification that’s the standard in the industry is the NNA. All the other companies are trying to make a living doing so, but the title and escrow world doesn’t accept them.

Lightbulb surrounded by question marks

How to Become Notary Signing Agents

Notary signing agents (NSAs) facilitate loan closings for the mortgage finance industry. Before starting the NSA certification process, you must have a notary public commission. Please be aware that opportunities to conduct loan signings may be limited or restricted in some states.

Signing Agent Certification Process

Many state laws don’t address additional qualifications or requirements for notaries who work as notary signing agents. However, companies in the mortgage finance industry do have laws and regulations they must meet in order to do business.

Because lenders, title companies, and signing services are held to certain regulatory standards, they set the bar high for the notaries they hire. While every company’s guidelines may vary, the mobile notary industry strongly recommends taking all of the following steps to increase your chances of getting hired by the widest range of companies.

  1. Be commissioned as a notary public in your state (required).
  2. Take a loan signing training course.
  3. Pass an exam and background screening that is SPW compliant.
  4. Buy your signing agent supplies.
  5. Purchase a minimum $25,000 E&O insurance policy.
  6. Start working as a notary signing agent.
  7. Promote your business online by joining notary signing agent directories that have a nationwide network.

NSA Training & Guidelines

The details below will help you understand the recommended guidelines for notary signing agent certification.

What does a Notary Signing Agent do?

A notary signing agent is a notary who’s specially trained to handle and notarize loan documents. For lenders, notary signing agents are the critical final link to completing the loan. Notary signing agents are hired as independent contractors to ensure that real estate loan documents are executed by the borrower, then that the notarized documents are returned for processing on time. Completing this critical part of the loan process enables the loan to be funded.

Who can become a notary signing agent?

Anyone who meets the criteria to be a notary public that states require can go on to become a signing agent. However, it’s important to note that some states have restrictions that apply to NSAs.

Is certification required?

Certification isn’t required by law to become a signing agent. However, many companies that contract signing agents for mortgage closings ask these professionals to be certified and background screened in order to meet Consumer Financial Protection Bureau compliance requirements for third-party service providers hired by financial institutions.

Several private organizations offer training, certification, and background screening for signing agents that meet the standards of lenders, title companies, and signing services. The NNA is an SPW-compliant vendor, so you may choose to get certified and background screened by the NNA.

Do I need to take a notary signing agent exam or training course?

No exam or training is required for NSAs. Although neither one is required, a training course and passing score on an exam are smart ways to prove you’ve been formally educated in the complex process of mortgage closings.

A training course covers everything you need to know to be familiar with the loan closing process and the types of documents involved. It’ll provide the knowledge you need to walk a buyer through the mortgage closing process clearly and efficiently. A signing agent training course will also prepare you to pass the SPW-compliant exam.

There are many vendors, including the National Notary Association, offering signing agent training courses and exams online.

person signing a paper

Why am I being asked to do a background check?

In order to guard borrowers’ private financial information, the mortgage industry requests all persons involved in the lending process to undergo background screenings.

Lenders in turn instruct title service companies to ensure that everyone with access to mortgage documents have been screened. This applies to everyone handling loan documents including notaries who act as signing agents.

Are there any mandates or restrictions states require?

It depends on the state. A signing agent must be a commissioned notary public. Some states limit or restrict notaries from working as signing agents or include additional licensing requirements. For more information, see our list of signing agent state restrictions.

What supplies should NSAs have?

In addition to your notary seal and journal, signing agents should have reliable transportation to get to assignments in a timely manner, a mobile phone, and email for communication with signers and companies that hire them. Also, a printer and fax machine to print loan documents and fax completed loan documents if required. Many new NSAs also find it helpful to use a few industry tools and guidebooks on the subject when starting out. This is how notaries learn.

How long does it take to become a Signing Agent?

Applicant NSAs who follow the recommended industry certification process listed above can expect one to two weeks to become a certified signing agent. A majority of this time will be spent waiting for your background screening results to return. Other factors include your availability and how long it takes you to become comfortable with all procedures and requirements for notarizing loan closings.

Woman Using Notary Stamp On Official Paper

How much does it cost to become a Signing Agent?

The cost of becoming a certified Signing Agent typically ranges from $75 to a few hundred dollars, but this can vary depending on a few different factors:

  • Whether or not you have an active notary commission in your state
  • Whether or not you already have a $25,000 errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy
  • Which training/exam vendor you choose
  • What vendor conducts your background screening
  • Where you purchase your NSA supplies
  • Licensing fees (required for certain states)

Insurance & Legal Risk

Because certified signing agents play a critical role in completing real estate loans, it’s important for all NSAs to understand their responsibilities when it comes to notarial acts and the legal risks they face if proper procedures aren’t followed.

Do I need any additional notary insurance?

Though not required by law, it’s strongly recommended to purchase a notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy to cover yourself against damages resulting from unintentional mistakes. The Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW), an industry standards organization, recommends signing agents carry a minimum notary E&O policy of $25,000 following a study that found most claims against notary signing agents average around $14,000. However, some individual companies may request signing agents they work with to carry a larger policy.

How much legal risk might I face as an NSA?

Loan document signings are important transactions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Notary signing agents must follow their state’s notary laws as well as federal mortgage regulations like protecting the privacy of a signer’s information. A notary signing agent must diligently follow proper procedure. In addition to damaging the signing agent’s chances of finding work in the future, carelessness, negligence, or improper conduct can result in severe criminal penalties or financial liability for a signing agent.

General NSA Information

Flipping through pages of a book

Need more information about working as a signing agent? Get answers to commonly-asked questions below.

What are the benefits of becoming a signing agent?

For lenders, notary signing agents are the critical final link to completing the loan. Signing agents not only earn income for notarizing signatures on loan documents but are also paid to perform courier services and ensure that completed loan packages are returned to the lender in a timely fashion. Many notaries choose to work as signing agents as a part-time or full-time source of income.

How is a notary signing agent different from a traditional notary?

Although traditional notaries and notary signing agents both perform notarizations for their clients and must have an active commission, signing agents are specially trained to handle and notarize loan documents. In most cases, they meet additional qualifications such as background checks, extra training, and/or special licensing (depending on state regulations).

How much can I charge for a loan signing?

There is no set fee for notary signing agents who perform a loan signing. Each signing agent must negotiate their own fees based on their business and office expenses, the companies they work with, travel and time required for assignments, and the demand for notary services in their area.

Be aware that the federal government strictly prohibits collaboration to set fixed fees for loan document signings, including price-fixing agreements, boycotts or attempting to persuade other signing agents to agree to charge an established minimum fee.

How often must I renew as an NSA?

The government doesn’t define a renewal time frame or expiration date for signing agents within any state or federal law. However, the industry-standard set by SPW recommends that signing agents renew their state-administered exam and background check yearly. Industry certification standards developed by SPW are designed to meet important CFPB requirements.

Where do I find loan signing work?

There are several online notary signing agent directories where you can make your contact information available to lenders, financial institutions and signing services offering assignments. Some directories offer free listings while others offer more prominent listings for a fee — you should compare directory services and see which will serve your needs.

In addition to signing up with several directories, you can also promote your services by networking within your local community. You can accomplish this by attending business and trade events, connecting with UPS and FedEx store managers, your county clerk, state’s office, and building relationships with other notaries in your area.

What is a signing service?

Signing services are private companies that act as middlemen, locating and contracting signing agents on behalf of lenders and title companies for assignments. Though assignments through signing services generally don’t pay as well as working directly for lenders or title companies, they usually have more assignments available for signing agents who are starting their new business.

Who can answer questions about loan signing assignments?

Any questions regarding loan terms or the content of loan documents during a signing should be directed to a qualified loan officer. Signing agents aren’t loan officers and should never try to explain loan documents or answer questions from a signer regarding the terms of a loan.

If you have other questions about working as a signing agent or industry issues, professional notary associations like the NNA and other private organizations that offer signing agent training and certification can often address your concerns. Most state notary-regulating agencies can’t answer questions related to signing agent assignments, because many of a signing agent’s duties aren’t addressed by state notary laws.

There are also dedicated social media groups for notary signing agents on LinkedIn, Twitter and private websites where signing agents can go to ask questions and discuss issues affecting their work.

Now, are you ready to get started?

Becoming a notary signing agent

Money

An NSA will help close the loan process for a financial company. To work as an NSA you must first be approved as a notary public. Here are some rules and regulations that may restrict NSAs depending on where you live.

Certification Process

Some additional qualifications are in place for many NSAs. Not all state laws will go over exact qualifications. Lending companies often have their own regulations, laws, and qualifications so they can conduct business.

Lenders and title companies need to make sure the NSA staff meets top standards. They need high-quality, trained people, with a long history of success. These are some basic guidelines that most people should follow when they’re looking to make their career as an NSA.

Become a commissioned notary public

Requirements for this may differ from state to state. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Take a class in loan NSA training.
  • Make sure you have the proper notary application, notary public application, acceptable form, and are able to pass a background check.
  • Purchase all of the supplies and be able to cover necessities needed to become an NSA like an application fee, surety bond, and notary bond.
  • There is an insurance policy that needs to be purchased. Its minimum is $25,000 E&O insurance.
  • Begin to work as an NSA.
  • Join NSA online references of electronic notaries and guides to attract clients.

Training and additional guidelines

There are some additional things that people need to know if they are looking to obtain their NSA certification.

What does an NSA do?

A notary signing agent is a person who has a notary license that can handle the notarization of loan documents. They’re the final part of the steps to complete a loan. They work as independent contractors to make sure real estate loan documents are notarized and given to them by the borrower. They need to make sure they’re processed on time. This is the final step before the loan can be processed and funds are distributed.

Qualifications to work as a Notary Signing Agent

You’ll need to meet your state’s requirements to work as a notary. Then you can go on to become a signing agent. Check with your state for further notice as there may be some restrictions to working as a signing agent.

Is a certification needed?

By law, an NSA doesn’t need to have any certifications. Many lending companies ask for certification and a background screening. This will help meet all compliance requirements set forth by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is the third-party service that’s used by many financial institutions.

There are private organizations that’ll train a notary public. They’ll have them take a course and have their background checks completed. This will help them meet the qualifications of lenders and title companies. The NNA is SPW compliant and they can help you get trained and meet all of the requirements of mortgage companies.

Do you need to take an exam or training course?

For an NSA, it’s not required that you complete a training course or pass an exam. While they aren’t required it’s still a good idea. The training course and exam will show that you’re educated in home closings and have all the education you need to provide exceptional notary services and in some cases mobile notary services.

The training course will cover everything in the home and loan closing process and any document that’s needed. You’ll also be able to gain information about this process and know all the necessary documents. This course will also prepare you to take an SPW-compliant exam and receive a passing score.

There are many vendors for coursework. National Notary Association has some training courses and exams that can be taken over the internet to become an NSA.

Why are background checks required?

To look at the private financial records of the borrower, the home mortgage industry requires all people involved to have background screenings. Lenders will want its title service to make sure all of their employees have all of the proper screening. This includes all notaries and NSAs.

Are there any special state requirements?

This will differ from state to state. An NSA needs to be working as a notary public. Some states will restrict notaries from working as an NSA or have additional requirements. For additional qualifications and regulations be sure to check the NSA state restrictions.

What supplies does an NSA need?

In addition to a seal and journal used by a regular notary, an NSA will need transportation so they can get to their clients. They should have mobile phones and email for communication. They may also need office items such as a fax machine and printer to obtain documents and send them to required parties. It’s not a bad idea to have a business name too. Some additional industry tools and guidelines may be needed to help out.

How long does it take to become an NSA?

NSAs need to follow the certification process. It can take one to two weeks to complete all work needed to be an NSA. Most of this time will be spent waiting on a background check to be completed. Some other factors that may affect time include becoming comfortable with the closing process.

How much money is needed to become an NSA?

The cost is between $75 and several hundred dollars. Some factors that will impact the price include:

  • If you already have an active commission as a notary
  • If you already have a $25,000 E&O policy for insurance
  • The vendor(s) you choose to work with
  • The vendor that’ll complete your background check
  • The vendor that you purchase your NSA supplies from
  • Any state licensing fees

Legal Risks and Insurance

Leap of faith

An NSA will play an important role in the end stages of the real estate loan. It’s important that they take the responsibility seriously and all legal risks if they don’t follow all of the proper procedures.

Is any additional coverage or insurance needed?

While it’s not legally required it’s recommended that an E&O insurance policy is purchased to protect the NSA against damage from mistakes.

The Professional Workgroup has recommendations for notaries. They recommend that they carry at least $25,000 in mistakes and omissions insurance. This’ll help protect most claims. The average claim for an NSA is around $14,000. Some companies may ask that the NSA have larger policies for protection.

Depending on which state you conduct service in, you may be required to pay for a notary bond and surety bond. This protects the public from any mistakes the notary makes.

Legal Risk as an NSA

Loan document notary services often involve hundreds of thousands of dollars that are going to exchange hands. The NSA must follow all state laws. They need to follow the federal lender mortgage rules and regulations. They need to protect the privacy of the person signing the form. An NSA needs to follow all procedures to a tee. If they’re careless they aren’t going to get work in this field again. If they’re negligent or don’t follow proper conduct they may face criminal charges or financial liability for their carelessness.

Benefits of working as an NSA

When working with the lender the NSA is an important part of completing the mortgage process. The NSA will make money when they finalize and notarize any signatures on the mortgage paperwork. They’re also paid for courier services. They need to make sure the signed and notarized loan documents are sent to the lender in a timely manner. Many people work as an NSA in full-time or part-time positions to earn their income.

How are NSAs different than regular agents?

While notaries and NSAs both work on notarized documents and collect a fee for their work, the NSAs are taught to work with all loan documents. They need to have additional qualifications including background checks and may need extra training. In some states, they’ll need to meet extra licensing requirements.

How much can NSAs charge?

There’s not a set fee for an NSA when they complete a loan signing. Each NSA needs to develop a schedule of fees. This will be based on their experience, the companies they work with, the distance that they’re willing to travel, the time needed for each assignment, and the demand for a singing agent in their area.

The federal government prohibits the collaboration of fixed fees on all services for document signing. This includes fixed prices on agreements, and they’re not allowed to persuade other NSAs to develop their minimum fee for their service.

How often does an NSA need to review their qualifications?

question marks

According to our government, there aren’t sent times for license renewal for NSAs. No state or federal laws have any specific timelines. Industry standards for SPW state that NSAs need to renew their exams and all background checks yearly. These standards are set to meet industry certification standards that are part of CFPB requirements.

Where to locate loan notary work as an NSA

There are NSA directories so you can put up your business information and any services that you offer. You can post your qualifications and willingness to complete NSA assignments and other notary services. Some of these online directories may offer free listings and some may charge fees. If you want to get noticed you may need to pay this fee for a better position. You should look at different directory services and select one that fits your needs and business.

In addition to adding a listing on these directories, you can promote your NSA services in your local area. Attend business meetings and trade events. You can also work with UPS and FedEx managers to help generate more business. In addition to working with these people, they can work with other notaries and offer services that an average notary isn’t able to offer their clients.

What is a signing service?

This service is a private company that works as a middleman. They locate and hire NSAs on behalf of a lender or title companies that they work with. The agents will work with them for that specific assignment as independent contractors. The NSA will work on services but going through the third party won’t pay as much as working with a lender or a title company directly. On the upside, the service does allow them to generate more business. This is good if the NSA’s just starting out and is looking to make a name for themselves and find clients.

Who will provide support for a signing agent?

Any information about any terms of the loans and anything that’s contained in these documents during the notarization should be passed on to the officer and loan agent that is working with that company. NSAs need to remember they’re not officers or involved with the terms of the loan. They’re not allowed to explain any documents and they can’t provide any information about this paperwork. They’re not allowed to review all terms of this loan. Their sole job is to notarize these documents and that’s all that they’re allowed to do.

If you have any requests for information or concerns about working as an NSA or working within this industry, you should contact professional associations. One of the best notary associations to work with is the NNA. You can also seek out other professional and private organizations that work with agents. These organizations will often offer training and certification needed to work as an NSA. They’ll listen to any concerns and provide additional information. Most state agencies aren’t able to provide information about NSA assignments. The NSA has different responsibilities and duties that aren’t found under state law.

If you go online and scroll through social media outlets, you can get many of your questions answered. Some groups on social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter will answer general questions that an NSA may have. In addition, you can look up some private websites that will also answer general questions. Some of these sites will allow the notary to post specific inquiries they may have and allow them to be answered by other professionals. Some of these sites will talk about the general areas that will affect the work of an NSA.

CALL US NOW

1-800-939-5837

We can help with any of your Notary needs right at your door. Call us now to schedule.