How To Get Started As A Notary Signing Agent

Takisha L. SmithI always get asked how I got started as a Notary Signing Agent (NSA)?

So first off, what exactly is a Notary Signing Agent? A notary signing agent is a notary public that notarizes mortgage docs for borrowers who purchase or refinance their current mortgage. Notary signing agents are impartial witnesses who identify the signer, verify that all documents are signed and dated, notarize the documents, and return the executed loan package to the lender.

In the state Virginia, you will need Errors & Omissions insurance (E&O). You can purchase a $25,000/1 year policy for about $26. Signing companies and title companies require that you have the insurance to protect against notary errors. Virginia does not require a bond like other states. So be sure to check your state’s requirements.

It also helps if you belong to a notary organization. If you do a Google search for “notary signing agents”, you will see that most people call themselves “certified notary signing agents”. All that means is that they have taken a course and test of their skills with loan documents. Many of the notary organizations offer their own version of becoming certified. It helps to become certified but it’s not a requirement. Also most companies require you to have a background check. (UPDATE: As of this current moment, November 2013, The Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) was formed to assist in the creation of professional standards for certified signing professionals. SPW created the Certified Signing Specialist (CSS) designation. The SPW also created standards to facilitate mortgage signings and to address regulatory requirements, state-law compliance, consumer satisfaction and consistency in delivery of notary services.

Here are some links below that will help you get started:

National Notary Association (NNA) – most popular notary organization to join. You can also purchase E&O insurance through their website and also become certified and background screened.

American Society of Notaries – I belong to this organization as well as the NNA. They also offer NSA training and discounted notary supplies. 

Notary Cafe – It’s a must you sign up for Notary Cafe account! A lot of signing/title companies look for notaries on this website.

123Notary – This company is very good resource also. When you start signing up with different companies, you can go to this website to check the rating of the signing/title company. They also have a certification training program.

Notary Rotary lets you create a free profile and you can also purchase a notary background check.

Notary2Pro – Other notaries rave about this training program. I haven’t personally taken it. It’s owned by a husband and wife team who have been in the business for over 30 years.

If you prefer to brush up on your notary skills or want to train in person to become a Notary Signing Agent, most states offer live training.
I have taken classes with Bryce Hall at Virginia Notary Public Classes She is a great instructor with over 20+ years of notary experience.

I also suggest looking over your own home loan documents to get acclimated with the different types of docs and what they mean. If you do choose one organization to join, I suggest the NNA. Don’t feel like you have to join all of them. They all have the same mission.

Not sure if you are on LinkedIn or not, but they also have some great notary/signing agent forums that are really helpful. This is just one of the many groups I belong to: 

Hopefully this info was helpful in getting you on your way to becoming a Notary Signing Agent. Let me know if you have any questions and I will try my best to answer.

19 thoughts on “How To Get Started As A Notary Signing Agent”

  1. Hello….
    Do I need a certification t be a mobile notary?? If not how can I be classified as one? Just add it to my traditional notary info?
    And do I have to take a training course to be a signing agent?

    1. Hi Angela, yes just add “mobile” services to your traditional notary biz. As far as taking a training course to become a signing agent, YES! Especially if you are not familiar with real estate loan docs. With the new regulations and laws coming down the pipeline, it is best to take a course to become a certified signing agent with a company who follows the SPW guidelines. Check for more info.

          1. NNA’s website has a complete list. But for the state of VA, we can not handle funds at closing unless we have a title insurance license.

  2. I am thinking of taking the courses with Bryce Hall but will that give me certification or will I need to do more after I take those courses? Should I be a notary prior to taking the courses? Thank you

    1. Yes, you will need to be a notary first. There is a self certifying class that Bryce offers as well. The industry standard calls for NNA certification or that’s what most signing companies require.

  3. You mentioned that it helps if you belong to a notary organization. I agree with that point because it would make sense that a notary organization would know the right direction to point you. Notary signing agents are definitely needed so it’s important that people get certified correctly.

  4. I am a licensed Title Underwriter and notary in the state of Virginia. Do I still need to have a signing license, as I am licensed to sign closing documents now. Also I am looking for floating assignments positions in the Hampton Roads area.

    1. There is no license for a signing agent, however, companies want you to be “certified”. You can become a certified Notary Signing Agent and background screened through NNA. Notary2Pro also offers certification. NSAs have to be certified and have a background check on an annual basis. Most signing companies and title companies will require it.

  5. Hi,
    I was reading that in Virginia you have to have an escrow license before you can be a notary signing agent. Is this true?

    1. No you don’t need an escrow license to be a NSA. You do however need a title insurance license to collect funds at the table from a borrower when facilitating a loan signing.

  6. I am a bit confused about the title insurance license. Who teaches it, and do we just do a course and get the certification? OR do we have to be in Real Estate. I keep seeing different narratives on the web.

    How likely is it that I can still work as a Signing agent in Virginia without the title insurance license? The courses I have seen (all with different names) seem very expensive for someone just starting out. I am already certified by Notary2Pro and plan to do my NNA certification asap. Will I be able to get a Loan Signing Job without the Title Insurance Licence? Thanks/

    1. You can still work as a signing agent in VA without the license, you just can’t collect any funds at the table if funds are due. The workaround is to have borrowers wire funds due or send directly to the title company in a different envelope. You as a signing agent cannot even touch a check! Go to the Virginia Land & Title website for more info on obtaining the title insurance license.

      1. Thank you so much for this reassurance! I have been a notary for almost 2 years now, and due to severe illness, have not done much getting out. However, I am happy to say that I am better now, and trying to find something that will make me a decent living from work I can do on my schedule. So my heart just dropped when I thought I would be unable to work in Virginia UNTIL I got a Title Settlement license. At least, this way, I can begin working and earn the funds to upgrade my skills.

        I appreciate your sharing of information.

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