Notary Signing Agent

What Is A Notary Signing Agent?

Carey Chesney4-Minute Read
December 06, 2021

For lenders, notary signing agents serve as the final link to complete your home loan. They are hired by the lender as independent contractors with the task of making sure the proper execution of real estate loan documents is done by the borrower and then notarized and returned for processing on time to make sure the home sale is completed.

Loan paperwork can be confusing, so having notary signing agents as part of the process is a real benefit. They understand important concepts like your state’s notary laws, any applicable federal law that should be taken into account, and many other details regarding your mortgage documents and the loan process.

What Does A Notary Loan Signing Agent Do?

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, NSAs 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, all based on an industry standard – more on that process later. The NSA’s signature assures that no fraud or duress occurred during the course of the transaction. Legal documents like those transferring title from seller to buyer won’t be accepted without a notary signing agent’s signature and stamp.

All NSAs must have an active 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.

Notary signing agents play 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, 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.

Mobile Notary Vs. 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.

How Does A Notary Public Become A Notary Signing Agent?

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.

Notary signing agents 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 in-person signing, 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.

How Does The Loan Signing Process Work?

Escrow companies, mortgage companies and real estate agents work with a notary signing agent to complete the loan signing process. They do this by locating the closest NSA and then sending them to the client’s home or business to complete the signing.

Prior to the signing, the notary signing agent explains to the client which documents they are 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 notary signing agent 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.

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? Explore our guide to closing on a house.

Carey Chesney

Carey Chesney brings a wealth of residential and commercial real estate experience to readers as a Realtor® and as a former Marketing Executive in the fields of Health Care, Finance and Wellness. Carey is based in Ann Arbor and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in English, and Eastern Michigan University, where he recieved his Masters in Integrated Marketing & Communications.