How Notaries Play a Crucial Role in Homeownership

May 28, 2024 / Notary Association of America
Person handing over keys to a home after signing a contract

June isn't just the start of summer break or vacation prep. It also marks the beginning of National Homeownership Month (NHM). Since its creation by Presidential Proclamation in 2002, this month-long observance demonstrates the Department of Housing and Urban Development's and the Federal Housing Administration's ongoing commitment to "creating strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality, affordable homes for all."

But NHM isn't only for homeowners and real estate professionals. Notaries — particularly signing agents — play a key role in mortgage closing. Notary signing agents help hopeful home buyers achieve what the National Association of Realtors calls "the centerpiece of the American Dream."

Want to use your commission to enter the real estate market and help people achieve the dream of homeownership? Read on to learn more about notary signing agents, what they do and how to become one.

Notary Signing Agents: Your Commission Holds the Key to Creating Homeowners

Signing agents are commissioned notaries who review and finalize mortgage loan documents. They act as the third party in the real estate closing process and are crucial in preventing real estate fraud.

In addition to typical notary responsibilities like I.D. verification and signature witnessing, signing agents must thoroughly understand every document they review with a client so they can answer any questions.

After witnessing and verifying all signatures, the signing agent signs and seals closing documents like the mortgage note, deed of trust and affidavit of owner occupancy before sending the notarized documents to the lender.

A signing agent's signature and stamp confirm there was no fraud or duress during the transaction. A lender will not accept legal paperwork transferring the title from seller to buyer without them, making signing agents an essential part of the home-buying process.

Training: Not Always Required but Always Recommended

Many signing agents work for lenders (banks, credit unions). But before you start looking at job openings, employers usually look for signing agents who have completed special training.

Since no national training or certification requirement exists, individual states or specific employers typically make that decision. Even if your state doesn't require training, a signing agent must understand complex loan documents.

Loan contracts typically consist of over one hundred pages of information that require signatures and notarization. Thinking you can overcome that learning curve without additional training will likely dash your hopes of becoming a signing agent.

That's why we created an online notary signing agent training course that reviews everything you need to get started, including:

  • Notarization and signing requirements
  • How to market your signing agent services
  • How to develop a client base
  • And more!

You can take the course at your own pace and spend as much time as you need on each section. You have up to a year to complete it, and when you're done, we'll mail you your signing agent certificate.

Becoming a Signing Agent Is Simpler Than You Think

Ready to help make someone's home-buying dreams come true? Becoming a notary signing agent is a relatively simple process — especially if you're already a commissioned notary! Here are a few simple steps you should follow:

  1. We recommend completing a training course to establish trust with your customers and potential employers.
  2. Most states and employers require signing agents to complete a yearly background check. Get yours here.
  3. Consider purchasing errors and omissions insurance to protect yourself from liability.

Those are the basics! Once you're a signing agent, you can help people in your community close and get the home they've always wanted.