The Role Of A Notary Signing Agent In The Closing Process
Carey Chesney4-Minute Read
April 12, 2021
When it comes to buying your new home, the loan process is one of the most critical components. After all, if you don't get the money to buy the home, the deal just isn't going to happen. As you research lenders, select one, go through the preapproval and loan approval processes, you’ll find there are a number of moving parts and important roles working together to get your loan completed so you have the funds necessary to buy your house. One of these critical roles is that of the notary signing agent. For lenders, these agents serve as the final link to complete the loan. They’re hired by the lender as an independent contractor with the task of making sure the real estate loan documents are executed by the borrower and then notarized and returned for processing on time to make sure the home sale is completed.
What Is A Notary Signing Agent?
So now you know a little bit about what a notary signing agent (NSA) is, but let's dive a little deeper into what they do. Essentially, they inspect documents to verify the identity of a signer by closely reviewing the documentation the signer presents. They also verify that signers are acting of their own free will and understand the nature of the documents they’re signing. Notary signing agents are qualified to do this from extensive education and training they complete to be certified – more on that process later. The NSA’s signature assures that no fraud or duress occurred during the course of the transaction and legal documents like those transferring title from seller to buyer won’t be accepted without a notary signing agent’s signature and stamp. In addition, all NSAs must have a notary commission, which is the certification they receive from the state they work in. This is a statewide appointment, so once an NSA receives their notary commission they may notarize anywhere within that state.
Mobile Notary Vs. Notary Signing Agent
The main difference between a mobile notary and a notary signing agent is their specific expertise and certifications related to real estate. Mobile notaries work on a variety of documents that require their attention and signatures while notary signing agents specifically handle home loan documents. Both must have a notary commission, but the notary signing agent must also be background screened and certified to meet compliance requirements for companies they perform assignments for.
The NSA Certification Process
Notary signing agents begin their careers as notaries public, and then complete additional certification requirements and submit to a background check to become a licensed notary signing agent. They also complete educational requirements that focus on the proper handling of loan documents. Exact specifications vary from state to state, but most require applicants to pass a test and have a clean criminal record.
Why Is Their Certification Important?
The NSA must be seen as impartial and above reproach in the work that they do. They are verifying that there is no fraud or duress during the transaction, so their signature carries a lot of weight. The certification justifies that weight by ensuring they have the necessary education, training and integrity required to perform their duties.
Their Role In The Closing Process
The NSA plays an important role in the closing process, especially remote closings. Often they are required to travel to the home of the seller or purchaser and must have a complete understanding of all the documents they’re reviewing with the client. When closing remotely, the NSA may be the only person home buyers come in contact with during closing, so they must be ready to answer all questions as they perform their role with the highest levels of accuracy and integrity. With many Americans spending more time at home and avoiding venturing out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote closings have become more popular than ever before.
Signing services companies work with escrow companies, mortgage companies, and real estate agents to coordinate how to fulfill the loan signing requirements. They do this by locating the closest NSA and then sending them to the client’s home or business to complete the signing.
Loan Document Notarization
Here’s how the process works. Prior to the signing, the NSA explains to the client which documents the NSA is there to verify and how the process will go. This includes explaining what a notarized loan document signifies and why they need to be notarized. Next, the NSA witnesses the borrower’s signature on the documents that require notarization such as a deed of trust, grand deed, affidavit, power of attorney and other various lender documents and makes sure they are notarized.
Who Pays For These Services?
Both the buyer and the seller pay for the NSA’s services during closing, which is included in the overall closing costs. On average, a notary can expect to receive anywhere between $125 and $200 for a single transaction.
Benefits Of Remote Online Notarization
Remote online notarization is gaining popularity in the mortgage industry, as it can make the lending process more efficient and safe. Signings can be completed at home, a great convenience for borrowers looking for schedule flexibility and eliminating the need for travel. For notaries, they are able to work more efficiently, expanding the amount of work they can do in a day without travel time. In addition, the increasing popularity of remote online notarization means more customers for them to service. And of course, the reduction of in person interaction is a good way to slow the spread of COVID-19, which benefits both borrowers and notaries alike.
The Bottom Line
The notary signing agent serves a critical role in ensuring your loan is completed to get you into your new home. Their education and certification ensure they’re working with the utmost professionalism and integrity as they offer a wide array of convenient and essential services to borrowers. More questions about the home buying process? Check out more home buying tips on the Rocket Homes® blog.
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