When this job opportunity became extremely popular a couple of years back, many people wanted to become a loan signing agent.
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And why not? It’s an underrated position, but is deeply important in the real estate and home mortgage industry.
The job isn’t as popular as notary because unless you’ve obtained a loan for a house multiple times in your life, people only get to work with a loan signing agent at-most once in their lives.
But the job of a loan signing agent is actually very important. With him/her, no one would help borrowers sign contractor affidavits, reverse mortgages, refinances, purchases, equity loans or line of credits, seller packages, or quit claim deeds among other mortgage documents that regularly need to be notarized.
Notary vs. Loan Signing Agent
All agents are notaries, but not all notaries are signing agents.
Notaries and loan signing agents have similar roles:
- They are there to witness the signing of documents
- They cannot provide legal advice to people signing these documents
- They cannot explain any part of the document
- They ensure rules regarding the signing of documents are met by the people involved. (For example, some states require a borrower’s attorney present during the signing.)
Main task: Notaries witness the signing, signing agents walk the borrower throughout the loan signing process.
Length of paperwork: Notaries usually take care of only a one- or two-page document, while loan signing agents handle documents with 100 or more pages.
Fees: Notaries charge by the signature or stamp witnessed, while loan signing agents charge a flat fee (of about $50 to $300, depending on experience, demand and other factors).
How to Become a Loan Signing Agent
Mortgage companies, other lenders, as well as title and escrow companies hire loan signing agents to meet with customers and help them accurately complete paperwork with signatures, initials and notary stamps.
You don’t need a college degree to become a signing agent.
In most cases, you also don’t need experience, since once you’ve joined a network of agents, you can “win” a job based on how near you are to the loan signing.
Loan signing agent requirements:
Some states require you to undergo either an online/offline course to become a loan signing agent.
Like notaries, loan signing agents do not require special licensing, but they need an active notary commission, which is available at most states by just filling up an application form (or sometimes a quick test as well).
California, for example, has a 30-question test you’d need to answer.
Your notary commission must be active.
Some commissions are valid for only 2 years, others can go as long as 10 years.
This depends entirely on which state you’re in. In Louisiana, notary commissions are valid for a lifetime. Some states have additional requirements for those notarizing digital documents.
Once you’re commissioned notary public in your state, you’ll have to obtain another certification on top of the notary public certification, so you’d be able to legally assist in signing mortgage paperwork.
Because you’ll be handling sensitive information, most states and companies would likely obtain a background check before hiring you.
Unfortunately, you might have to shoulder the cost of background checks.
Again, this isn’t set in stone. It will depend on who is applying and where.
Printer and ink:
You’ll need a printer handy to be able to provide copies of loan agreements and other paperwork.
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You are required to have errors and omissions insurance, especially if you’re starting a business or doing these assignments on your own.
Most escrow companies ask for $100,000, which boils down to only $150/year or $12/month.
Where to Find Loan Signing Agent Jobs
You can find loan signing agent jobs two ways: either you find your own, or get listed within a database and wait for a middleman to send jobs over to you.
1. Build Your Own Business
If you go this route, you’ll be skipping the middleman and getting jobs directly from mortgage companies, real estate agents, brokers, or escrow companies.
When you land a job, you’re paid around $150 (for more or less an hour-long meeting).
The cool thing about becoming your own boss is that you can expand your business whenever you see fit. Can you accommodate jobs outside your state? Do you want to bring agents into an office (that you’ll probably lease) or have them “on-call?”
Focusing all your energy in building a loan signing business from scratch is perfect if you’re eyeing for this to be your main career and source of income.
2. Wait for Referrals
You can also get your name listed on signing service providers (these are the middlemen that I was referring to).
Then every time a job becomes available near you, you will be called and asked if you wish to take on the assignment.
The payments for these jobs are lower, around $100 per appointment, since the service provider get a cut from the work you’ve done.
This route is ideal for people who are working as a signing agent as a side hustle and already have another career.
How Much Can You Make as a Signing Agent?
Once you’ve become a loan signing agent, your next problem is bringing jobs in.
If you’re doing this as a side hustle, the amount you make depends large on where you’re getting the jobs, as I explained just before this section.
Loan signing agents are paid much higher than notaries because everything they do prevent the mortgage industry from spending a lot more money if signatories make mistakes on the documents, delay funding, and other devastating results, such as borrower losing out on a home he’s trying to buy, escrow commissions being canceled, or mortgage company getting fired from a project.
Borrowers making mistakes on loan documents can be costly to all parties involved, so loan signing agents are paid extra to ensure this doesn’t happen.
- Those starting out make $50 to $75 per document assisted
- Signing agents who have been on the business for years can earn from $150 to $250
- If you’re doing this part time and commit to only 1 job a day, you can earn an extra $250 every 5-day week and up to $1,000 a month.
- If this is going to be your full time job (or you put up a loan signing business with other agents in tow) and you commit to 5 or 10 signings daily, that’s almost $2k a week and around $7500 a month.
How crazy is that?
Now let’s look at the demand… what’s the job outlook as a loan signing agent look like?
The Future of Loan Signing Agents
The demand for loan signing agents might seem like a fad, since it peaked a couple of years ago, then went back to regular shortly after.
But as of today, these agents are just as important as brokers and mortgage agents.
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Notarization is a process used by lenders to deter fraud and prevent forged signatures on important documents and records such as home loan paperwork.
Signing agents will be an important part of the home loan process for as long as mortgages are signed traditionally.
It is safe to assume that when state laws catch up to technology advancements, online notary services will reduce the demand of loan signing agents, since the job will be done remotely (probably via webcam, electronic notary stamps, and electronic signatures).
But for now, signing agents still need to walk a homeowner through a set of loan paperwork in person, and if you’re late to the party, there is still time to earn money through this profession.