Notary Loan Signing Agent

20 Replies

After just completing my first refinancing deal (32% forced appreciation on a one-year live in flip), I have become aware of the loan signing agent profession. During my signing appointment my agent was shocked with my knowledge of all of the obscure number and terms of the mortgage documents. While I have  Bigger Pockets to thank for that, she still suggested that I go into the profession, at least part time. She mentioned that it was good money and would provide a network to further accelerate my Real Estate Investment plan. 

So basically I want to hear from people who are currently doing this. I am considering to do this part time (on top of teaching middle school) in the Ann Arbor, MI area.

Is there any required certifications beyond just being a Notary?

How can you get started?

Should I go on my own or seek employment with a Title/Mortgage Office?

Is it even worth it?

Thanks BP Fam,

Nate DeJonge

@Nathan DeJonge   Thanks for posting these questions, I also was looking for  more information in becoming a loan signing agent and had hoped that i could learn from this forum. 

I am not currently doing it.

There are many certification programs and am trying to figure out which are best.  It is my understanding that  certification is necessary including a back ground check.   You being familiar with loans might be able to skip the training. 

@Nathan DeJonge  , wish I could answer with a little more first-hand experience but I am just starting out. I just signed up and completed my certification through the NNA, National Notary Association. I want to say it was around $170 for the course and background check. The course was well put together and structured well. I don't think the Notary Signing Agent course is required to sign the closing docs but might score you a job at the beginning over someone who doesn't have it. 

The course also explains that you can go direct with Title Companies, Escrow Companies, and even RE agents to get direct business which usually pays more. Or through a loan signing company that you sign up for and they essentially contact you to take signing gigs. That option is up to you to print all the docs yourself and then mail them shortly after signing. They take a portion of the fee as well.

I just completed it all and have another month abroad before I am home and am excited about the prospect of making a little cash, learning about the business and starting a network of RE professionals.

Good luck.

@Brandon Price thanks for your response.  Did you find the course helpful?  Do you feel you have a better understanding of the job and documents being signed? 

Do you have any input on if one course or certification is better then the other?

Are you planning on working with a signing company or directly?

@Andrew Schmitt , I did find the course helpful. If you are going to purchase one course or another I would recommend NNAs. They go over a lot of different documents and breaks them into categories so it's easier for your note. They also provide some good resources ie. cheatsheets for the docs and a quick "what you should say" kind of sheet. When I get back home I will activate my signing service accounts both with NNA and, I hope to cut my teeth on a few jobs that way. Then I have some realtor friends that I will pursue and start trying to infiltrate the escrow service world and go direct.

Hope that help some!

@Brandon Price - I wanted to see how things were going with being a loan signing agent.  Have you been able to get gigs?  If so I hope they have been going well!   Any updates would be helpful as I am trying to figure out if this is something I would pursue part time.  I am still not really understanding why the title company wouldn't just have someone in house that does this for them all the time....

I got into being a Loan Signing Agent because of my refinance. There are a lot of agents in Orlando and the rest of the country because people think it is easy money. It sort of is, but a lot of work doesn't come directly from title companies. It comes from signing services which only pay between $70-$85 per signing while they get paid $125-$150 total on average and upwards of $400. A lot of title companies don't work with individual notaries because it's easier and cheaper to cattle call thousands of us, which make us compete against each other. Some people take signings for $35 thinking they are making money but don't because they don't account for vehicle expenses, paper, toner, etc. 

After expenses, your profit only comes out to like $10/hour or so on most days because packages are upwards of 250 pages and you have to print two of them. You then have to scan some or all of the package before shipping it, then go to FedEx and mail it off. It takes about 4 hours per package if they require scan-backs and even longer with people who read the whole package before signing anything. If you miss something, you either take a pay cut or have to go back and fix it or both.

I started doing it part-time while in school and couldn't make it to most appointments because they were during the day when most people are at work. There are some weekend and evening calls but they don't pay enough to deal with all of the requirements, including going to a staffed FedEx location to mail the package the following day. 

Is there any required certifications beyond just being a Notary?

- You have to have an NNA certification that costs between $65-$170 per year. You have to have errors and omissions insurance which costs between $100-$200 per year. You also need to have your notary public commission which is about $100 per four years.

How can you get started?

- You need a laser printer capable of printing legal sized documents and scanning them which can cost upwards of $500 if not more. You have to sign up with hundreds, if not thousands, of signing services just to get a few jobs. Like I said above, title companies will rarely call you directly unless you've been working for years as an LSA so you have to depend on signing services. You have to pay to sign up with different notary websites to get in their directory (there are only 3 good ones) which cost about $150-$200/year. 

Should I go on my own or seek employment with a Title/Mortgage Office?

- Most offices have their own hourly employees who perform closings as part of their regular jobs. LSAs are mainly for companies without local offices such as national companies. Those title companies with offices rarely send out mobile agents because people want to save that $125-$400 on their closing costs.

Is it even worth it?

- Not really unless there is a major uptick in mortgages and closings. If you get to a closing and the borrowers refuse to sign or the mortgage doesn't close, you don't get paid even though you have paid for the gas, time, paper, toner, and other expenses. Sometimes the companies will pay you like $20 instead of the full price which doesn't cover your expenses.

@Robert Goldman Thanks for sharing your experiences.  I worked as an agent, had a few closings like this, and I see a bunch of people on here asking about it (I knew someone had to be marketing the “certification”)  I assumed it wasn’t worthwhile for people to pursue and you’ve confirmed that for they can go do “tax overages”.

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :

@Robert Goldman Thanks for sharing your experiences.  I worked as an agent, had a few closings like this, and I see a bunch of people on here asking about it (I knew someone had to be marketing the “certification”)  I assumed it wasn’t worthwhile for people to pursue and you’ve confirmed that for they can go do “tax overages”.

There are a few training systems such as Loan Signing System, which I've been told is kind of focused on the California market, and Notary2Pro, which gets you in with national title companies. I haven't done either training; I have heard nothing but good things about Notary2Pro. I have heard mixed reviews about LSS though because of the California thing.

I’ve been doing this now for 2+ years and if anyone wants real info on how this gig works feel free to reach out. So far to date this year I’ve cleared $32,000 which puts me on pace to clear $60,000+. 

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@Dane Bourdo I ended up taking my Notary Exam on Oct 28 and received the letter that I had passed Nov 15th. I spoke with Mark Wills(Owns LSS) personally to address concerns I had and if my timing was right because you can’t start doing business until you have you Notary Commission, materials, and bond. I am expecting my commission from the State early January so I am planning on purchasing the LSS next week. I want to add by signing up with a company like LSS it sounds like they also provide you resources, scripts, guidance, and not to mention it’s a signing agency also. I will keep updating this chain as I continue through my Notary journey.

@Douglas Anderson

I took the LSS course and it was a gamechanger for me due to all the value he adds by talking about how to market to escrow offices and the ling list of signing services to get started with. You definitely need to know your state's notary laws inside out, which isn't part of the LSS course, but the LSS course is amazing at teaching you how to turn it into a business.

@Alison Wise Thank you for information, I know there’s going to be a learning curve, I pick up things pretty quick especially when it’s visual and I’m not afraid to pick up a phone and am personable. I’m really excited to get started.

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