Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Alabama? We’ve got you covered.
In order to begin operating as a notary signing agent, you will need to:
- Become commissioned as a notary public
- Take a loan signing training course
- Become Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) compliant
- Purchase your notary supplies
This Notary Signing Agent Alabama article breaks down everything you need to know in easy-to-follow, succinct steps — helping you to commence your career as a loan signing agent with as little difficulty as possible.
Recommended: Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s notary signing agent packages.
What is a Notary Signing Agent
Notary signing agents (NSAs) are crucial in the real estate sector as they help to guide borrowers through loan document signings, acknowledge their signatures, and return documents to the lender.
On the surface, the role of an NSA might seem identical to that of a notary public, but the distinction lies in the level of expertise required for each task.
While a notary public primarily verifies the identities of signatories and acknowledges signatures, an NSA possesses a deeper understanding of loan documents and has been trained to provide unbiased explanations of each document’s purpose.
Although no extra legal qualifications are required to become an NSA in Alabama, undertaking specialized training is strongly recommended for a couple of reasons. Namely, because it:
- Makes you a more appealing candidate to lenders, title companies, and other industry recruiters — who typically prefer NSAs with specific training due to the complexity of loan signings
- Ensures that you’re actually capable of competently fulfilling all of the responsibilities associated with being an NSA
If a career as a notary signing agent sounds interesting to you, it’s important to first get your notary public commission.
For a more in-depth look into this process, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Alabama article.
How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Alabama
If you’re interested in the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Alabama, you can get started today by completing the following steps.
Step 1: Become a Notary Public
In order to become a notary signing agent, you will first need to be commissioned as a notary public in Alabama.
In order to do this, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Meet the basic requirements: In Alabama, notaries public are required to be at least 18 years old, be a citizen/permanent resident in the US, be a resident of an Alabama county, and meet all of this county’s legal requirements
- Contact your county probate judge: Alabama probate judges must provide you with the specific commission application requirements in your county and can be contacted using the secretary of state’s website
- Complete an application form: Your county probate judge should provide you with an application form to fill out. Make sure to pay attention to the instructions it should contain at the top
- Obtain a $25,000 surety bond: You’ll need to obtain a surety bond for the duration of your four-year notary commission. This protects the public from any potential financial harm they might suffer as a consequence of your negligence or malpractice
- Submit your completed application: After satisfying all of your county’s requirements (and those above), you’ll be ready to submit your completed application and pay the filing fee
- Notary supplies: Once you receive your commission certificate, you’ll need to buy a notary journal and stamp in order to offer your services to clients
- Purchase a course: Although not required in Alabama, notary public education courses are highly recommended for applicants and fresh notaries to ensure they are effectively prepared for their future loan signing career
Note: For your peace of mind, you may want to invest in Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance so that you’re protected from the financial consequences of any potential negligence you may commit.
Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course
Considering a specialized loan signing training course is a practical step in your journey as a notary signing agent in Alabama. Despite it not being a mandatory requirement, there are several advantages to doing so:
- Comprehensive knowledge: An in-depth course equips you with a thorough understanding of mortgage loan signings and effective ways to deal with unforeseen circumstances, enhancing your proficiency as an NSA
- Employability enhancer: Holding a certificate from a recognized course showcases your dedication and specialized skills, making you a preferred choice for hiring companies
- Confidence booster: The simulated “real-world” experiences of these courses can boost your confidence, enabling you to provide superior service and fostering positive client interactions
Did you know? A loan signing training course can also prepare you to pass the Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) exam.
We recommend the National Notary Association’s notary signing agent certification course, which includes background screening, a comprehensive guide, a priority notary signing agent listing, and a loan documents sourcebook.
Step 3: Become SPW Compliant
While you’re not required to become SPW compliant in order to work as a notary signing agent in Alabama, it’s a great investment in the future of your career.
Similar to enrolling in a loan signing course, it showcases to prospective employers that you possess a comprehensive understanding of crucial finance and real estate concepts vital for performing efficiently as an NSA.
To achieve this compliance, passing a background check, an examination, and procuring Errors and Omissions insurance with a minimum coverage of $25,000 is necessary.
Step 4: Purchase Signing Agent Supplies
Once you’ve achieved your notary public commission and successfully completed a certified loan signing course, you’ll be prepared to acquire your essential notary tools.
The main supplies you’ll need include a notary stamp or seal, used for document notarization during loan signings, and a notary record book or journal, used for maintaining a detailed record of each notarial service you execute as a notary signing agent.
Step 5: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance
As a final step, you will likely want to purchase a comprehensive E&O insurance policy.
This is a type of insurance that protects you against any liability that may arise due to negligence or misconduct on your part.
Examples of where an E&O insurance policy can be useful include:
- You’re overseeing a busy loan signing and, in a rush, you accidentally miss a signature. The loan process stalls, the borrower incurs late fees, and you’re hit with a compensation claim
- While going through a home loan document, you wrongly notarize a signature. The mortgage approval is lost and the client files a claim against you
- During a loan signing, you skip a page inadvertently. The document is void, leading to delays and extra work. In this case, the lender could choose to file a claim against you in order to be compensated for any additional expenses
Note: You’ll need to buy an E&O insurance policy in order to become SPW compliant.
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Notary Signing Agent Alabama FAQ
How do I become a notary signing agent in Alabama?
In Alabama, notary signing agents are first required to get commissioned as a notary public, before pursuing specialized training and certification as a signing agent from a recognized organization like the National Notary Association. For a more in-depth look into this process, make sure to check out our Notary Signing Agent Alabama article.
How much can a notary signing agent charge in Alabama?
Alabama law sets a maximum fee for notary signing agents performing loan signing assignments, meaning you’ll have to negotiate your own fees with the signers. Keep in mind that notary publics are entitled to up to $5 per notary act. Fees should accurately represent the complexity, size, and distance a notary signing agent needs to travel in order to notarize a document.
How much do notary signing agents make in Alabama?
An Alabama notary signing agent’s earnings can vary significantly based on factors like the number of signings completed, the fee charged per loan closing, and demand for their services. However, on average, Alabama notary signing agents can expect to earn between $30,000 and $70,000 annually. For more information on this, see our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent article.
Does Alabama allow remote online notarization?
Since July 2021, Alabama has allowed notaries to apply to be able to perform remote online notarizations (RONs) with a few caveats. As long as the notary is located in the state when they intend to perform the notarial act, they’re permitted to take acknowledgments remotely. Note that this does not extend to other acts, such as verifying a signer’s identity or handling refinance documents.
What are the benefits of being a notary signing agent?
Working as a notary signing agent involves many benefits, such as the flexibility to set your own hours, potential for a good income, and the ability to help people finalize important transactions. In addition to this, it also offers opportunities for networking and building professional relationships.
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.