Expert Tips for Becoming a Successful Notary Signing Agent

Obtaining the Necessary Notary and Document Experience

Many notaries have not had the opportunity to do a great deal of notary work before deciding to move forward into handling loan documents. The tips below were developed and designed to synthesize the same results as if you had already had the opportunity to notarize and review loan documents.

It cannot be stated enough that one of the best ways to prepare for doing loan signing work is to first be well-grounded in notary procedures, especially as it relates to loan documents. Preparation ahead of receiving loan document work will make the path much smoother. Much of the notary signing agent’s education is entrenched in hours of self-study and internet research. The tips below will help you begin your journey.

TIP: Know how to notarize any type of document in chaotic environments. This may sound like an obvious conclusion. However, before you make light of this suggestion, please realize that loan documents are not signed at a conference table in a quiet office where you can easily focus on the task at hand. The signing appointments take place in chaotic home settings. Therefore, preparation and familiarity is the key to improving your comfort level during loan signings.

TIP: Review your state’s handbook to refresh yourself on identification and notary procedures. Do this often. Even the most experienced notary can forget details of their commission rules. Knowing your notary handbook well is an excellent way to build confidence as a new notary signing agent. A notary signing agent must be comfortable with notarizing any type of document before endeavoring to gain loan signing work because loan documents are notarized in an uncontrolled setting.

The reason that this is so important is because loan document signing appointments take place most often in the home of the borrowers. Homes come with both children and pets and can produce a chaotic atmosphere. This requires the notary to focus on details while multi-tasking.

It is not unusual for the notary signing agent to interact with children or pets while presenting loan documents and completing notary certificates. It sounds impossible, but it is not—not if you are very familiar with your notary duties. Therefore, as you can see, familiarity with notary procedures and becoming extremely comfortable with the loan documents, as well as the notary block is indeed the first step to becoming a confident notary signing agent.

TIP: Know exactly what you can accept as proper identification. Make a list of what you can and cannot accept to identify signers of documents according to your state’s notary rules. At the bottom of the list reference the law or notary rule which this information comes from. Type it up neatly, print it out and store it in your notebook. You might also want to keep a copy of it with your notary journal. That way you can refer to this list confidently at any time you are provided with identification which is not sufficient.

TIP: Practice on the notary certificate and the notary journal. If you are a new notary this tip is especially useful. Create several copies of your statutory notary certificates and copy a few pages from your notary journal (if you are required to keep one). Go through several “mock” notarizations filling in a notary certificate of both the jurat and acknowledgment type. While in a distracting environment, practice taking identification and putting it in your notary journal if your state requires you to maintain a journal. (It is recommended that as a notary signing agent you make use of a journal whether your state requires one or not.)

TIP: Become efficient at placing your seal in small areas. This may sound obvious to a notary professional until they are faced with placing their seal on a lender generated form which leaves almost no room for the notary’s seal. Lenders and title companies want the notary seal to cover over as little text of the document as possible. To do this properly will leave a good impression on you as a professional. Practice with your seal several times until you know exactly where the impression will fall onto the paper. Your returned packages will shine in comparison to others who produce sloppy seals.

TIP: Consider the purchase of a smaller seal. Many seals come in self-inking dispensers which are large and hard to control because of their size. The American Association of Notaries has a seal perfectly sized and extremely helpful in a tight area. It is called, “Notary Pocket Stamp” and can be purchased from their website at https://www.usnotaries.com. The pocket stamp comes highly recommended by veteran notary signing agents because it takes up little space to store and is a boon for notary signing agents presented with tiny areas in which to place their seal.

TIP: Assure that your seal is properly inking. Even newly created stamps may have inking problems. Do not wait until you are at your first loan signing appointment to learn this. Practice on several notary certificates before going out on your first appointment. It goes without saying that you should then shred the practice pages.

TIP: Practice using the attorney-in-fact notary certificates for your state. Many loan document packages come with instructions to sign the borrower’s documents by another person due to an existing power of attorney. You should familiarize yourself with the certificate language your state allows to be used in this case. Learn how to use this type of certificate as smoothly as possible. When you encounter a document package without warning where you must have a borrower sign as the attorney-in-fact, you will no doubt celebrate that you spent time on this effort and are proficient with this type of certificate.

TIP: Practice ahead of time on common loan package documents. Practicing notarizations on typical documents which appear in a loan package can help the notary prepare. It is next to impossible for a new notary signing agent to obtain a package of documents on which to practice and spend time reviewing. Because of this problem a list of common documents which appear in a refinance loan document package is show below with a recommendation on how to collect a sample package. (Note: This is not an all inclusive list. You may not see all the documents listed in a refinance loan package. On the other hand, you may see other types of documents not mentioned.) The follow is a sample list put together by an experienced notary signing agent in order to assist readers who are seeking to do loan signing work. (Disclaimer: This list does not imply to any reader of this article that said documents are necessary to a loan package. It is presented only for the purpose of example so that a notary may familiarize themselves with such documents. Questions regarding loan documents should be directed to an attorney of your choice.)

Sample List of Common Documents in a Loan Refinance Package

Deed of Trust or Mortgage
Note
Truth in Lending Disclosure
Notice of Right of Rescission/Cancel
URLA – Form 1003
Compliance Agreement
Refinance Affidavit
Affidavit of Marital Status
Survey Affidavit
Signature Affidavit
Same Name Affidavit
Occupancy Affidavit
Limited Power of Attorney
Riders of various types
Payment Letter to Borrower
Form 4506T (One for each borrower.)
Patriot Act Identification Form
FHA/VA Loan Application
Addendum

It should be noted that not all of the above-referenced documents require notarization. Usually, however, these documents require that the borrower either initial the document or sign it. It is a suggested practice of self-study for a novice notary signing agent to familiarize themselves with the areas of each of these documents to be able to assess the important information in each and to be able to quickly point it out, as well as to note for themselves in what area of the document the signature will be placed.

Since a new notary signing agent is eager to have the experience of reviewing documents in loan packages the notary could attempt to obtain samples of these documents by using a search engine such as Google.com to search for them. One way to go about this is to do a search on the name of each document by requesting “sample loan document Name of Document” from a Google.com or other search engine. A dedicated searcher can find examples of these documents online to print out, familiarize themselves with the documents and practice their skills by doing mock notarizations. By utilizing this tip a notary can build their confidence level and find a degree of experience which they would not otherwise have when handling their first loan signing appointment. By having this experience, when the first call comes for a loan signing appointment the notary will not have to say that they have absolutely no experience and can honestly tell the caller, “I am somewhat familiar with notarizing loan documents, and I do have some experience with documents of this type. However, do not assume I know everything I should. Just please be specific about what you want accomplished and I will be able to do this job with no problem.”

Tip: Download and print the collection of sample refinance loan documents near the end of this article.

Because we appreciate our members and readers we began your loan document research for you. A sample list of common refinance loan documents is provided below with links to samples of each of the documents mentioned above. You should certainly add to this collection of links on your own in order to facilitate and augment your self-study toward becoming a notary signing agent.

It must be established and duly noted by all readers that different states use different forms of legal documentation. Different states’ documents are provided below but not all states are represented. However, there is a similarity in most documentation of loans so it will not matter if you do not see your state’s documents in this list for this purpose.

The documents in the list presented below are only a few common examples in comparisons to the thousands of variations a notary signing agent may encounter. At the time of publication all of the links provided work to download the document stated.

TIP: Viewing sample loan documents listed below and in the future:

Some of the documents are in *.html format. You can click on those links as you would any other link.

Some of the documents are in *.pdf format. In order to view these you will need to download the no-cost Adobe Reader

Other documents are in *.doc form. You can obtain a free reader version of Microsoft Word at this link

Another free alternative to using the MS Word reader is to download Open Office . Open software will emulate MS Word and other MS Office products.

Being able to open these and other types of documents during your self-study and your signing agent career is important.

Disclaimer regarding sample documents below: Before you review the list of sample document links you must read and agree with the following: Using search engine research techniques as mentioned above sample documents were located on the internet at various websites and are presented to the reader of this article to assist in cursory research for self-study and convenience. You understand and agree that the legality or purpose of any document is not implied for use, or warranted in any manner, and should only be viewed as a means to supplement one’s own research into the types of forms and documents discussed herein. Any concern or question regarding said documents MUST be directed to the attorney of your choice. Finally, you understand that the American Association of Notaries is in no way responsible for the links or the information contained therein at any time.

Deed of Trust (*.pdf)

Mortgage (*.pdf)

Note-Fixed Rate (*.pdf)

Truth In Lending Disclosure (*.pdf)

Notice of Right to Cancel (*.pdf)

URLA Form 1003 (*.pdf)

Errors and Omissions Statement/Compliance Agreement (*.pdf)

Compliance Agreement (*.pdf)

Refinance Affidavit (*.pdf)

Marital Status Affidavit (*.doc)

Survey Affidavit (*.doc)

Signature Affidavit (*.doc)

Same Name Affidavit (*.doc)

Occupancy Affidavit (*.pdf)

Limited Power of Attorney (*.pdf)

Link to Riders of Various Types (*.html)

Payment Letter to Borrower (*.html)

IRS FORM 4506T (*.pdf)

Patriot Act Identification Form (*.pdf)

FHA VA Application Addendum (*.pdf)

It is our pleasure to provide our readers with the foregoing notary signing agent tips. If you have specific questions regarding becoming a notary signing agent, please submit them to info@usnotaries.com. We greatly appreciate your feedback and questions so that we may create newsletters and emails with content which interest you.

Currently on the drawing board is a notary signing agent course, and possibly a certification from the American Association of Notaries. We are still in the planning stage. As soon as we know a target date for its completion we will notify you immediately by email. However, until our plans reach fruition we will continue to provide content in our newsletters regarding the notary signing agent business which we believe to be fresh and innovative. We appreciate each of you



The information provided herein is not intended to be an authoritative statement of law. Notary laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on your state’s statutes or situations. By providing this information, we are not acting as your attorney. We are providing this information based on long-established and recognized notarial standards and practices. If you have legal questions regarding acts or conduct as a notary public, please consult with an attorney or refer to your state’s statutes or other appropriate legal resources.

Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.