WHAT IS A NOTARY? A SIGNING AGENT?

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

I was just as confused and didn't realize they were slightly different and required a bit more training.


What is a Notary


I have been a notary for several years but many of my friends can't wrap their heads around what exactly my job entails. If you are like my friends, then you can probably gain some perspective on what it's like to be a notary in the US. If you go by the textbook definition, a notary stands as an unbiased witness during the signing of a legal document. You will probably need a notary, like me, for the signing of documents like real estate deeds, affidavits, wills, HELOC, etc.


“While a notary public has to only verify the identity of signatories, a notary signing agent is more involved in the completion of the loan process.”


Key aspect of being a notary


If you think that a notary’s job is all about being there as a witness for document signing, then you are completely mistaken. I had this misconception before becoming one. My experience over the years has taught me how important the job of a notary is. A notary is also required to screen the signatories in order to check the identity of the persons signing the legal document(s). Impartiality is the most important aspect of being a notary. The parties have an inherent trust in the notary and any kind of personal bias is deemed unacceptable.

Is a notary public the same thing as a notary signing agent?


There is a subtle yet significant difference between a notary public and a notary signing agent. A notary signing agent is one step ahead of a notary public. They are not the same thing. You need to get the certification of signing agent on top of the certification of notary public to become a notary signing agent. If you are aspiring to become a notary public, then you can push yourself a step further to become a notary signing agent. Notary signing agents oversee the completion of loan paperwork and are often the final step in the loan process. By becoming a notary signing agent, you can successfully tap into the mortgage/real estate industry.


What it's like to be a notary signing agent


The responsibilities of a notary signing agent are more complex than a notary public. If you are not up for the additional responsibilities, then you are better off as a notary public. While a notary public has to only verify the identity of signatories, a notary signing agent is more involved in the completion of the loan process. However, a notary signing agent cannot provide any legal advice regarding the mortgage documents in case the signatories have some kind of doubt or question. In which case the notary is to reach out to title and escrow or the signers loan officer for clarification. While being a notary public is a complicated job, being a notary signing agent has its own set of intricacies and complexities.


What does it take to become a notary signing agent?


The first and the most important prerequisite to becoming a notary signing agent is to become a notary public. If you don't know the process to become a notary public, you can enroll in my course where I cover every aspect in detail. The next requirement to becoming a notary signing agent is as simple as completing the education requirements dependent on your state. If you fulfill these requirements, then you can go on to achieve additional certification as a signing agent. There are additional requirements that vary from state to state. For example, Washington state does not require any additional education or certification to become a signing agent.


I do however, advise to get your certification as a signing agent through the national notary association.



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