Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Illinois? 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 Illinois article breaks down everything you need to know in easy-to-follow, succinct steps — helping you to commence your loan signing career 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 transactions as they act as a guide for borrowers through loan document signings, acknowledging their signatures, and returning 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 Illinois, 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
Note: For more information on this specialized training, see Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course below.
How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Illinois
If you’re interested by the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Illinois, 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 Illinois.
In order to do this, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Meet the eligibility requirements: In Illinois, every applicant must be a US citizen/permanent resident, be an Illinois resident, speak and read English fluently, not have been convicted of a felony, and not have had a previous notary commission revoked or suspended in the last 10 years.
- Take a notary training course: While not a mandatory requirement, it’s becoming increasingly popular among Illinois notaries to enroll in these courses as they can give credibility, making their graduates a more trusted choice for clients and potential employers
- Buy a $5,000 surety bond: This bond must last for the duration of your notary commission and can be bought from an insurance company or a surety bond company. If you intend to offer remote notarizations as well, you’ll need a $30,000 bond instead.
- Complete an Illinois notary application: Once you’ve executed an appropriate bond, you’ll be ready to start filling out your Notary Public Application. Applicants that don’t reside in Illinois will need to use the Non-Resident Notary Application instead.
- Take your Oath of Office: To complete your application you’ll need to take your oath of office and have a current Illinois notary sign and stamp it.
- Submit your notary application: When this has been completed, you’ll need to submit your notarized application to the Secretary of State along with a $15 filing fee. If approved, you’ll be notified of this and can collect your notary public commission certificate in-person from the county clerk’s office or by requesting to receive it by mail.
- Obtain notary supplies: At this point, you’ll now be qualified as a notary public. However, to be able to offer notarial services, you’ll need a notary seal or stamp as well as a notary journal
For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in Illinois, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Illinois overview.
Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course
Although not mandatory, taking a specialized loan signing training course is a smart move on your path to becoming a notary signing agent in Illinois. There are a number of advantages to this decision, such as:
- 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: Graduating from a specialized loan signing training course showcases your dedication and knowledge, both of which can cause hiring companies to prefer you
- Confidence booster: By continuously practising the simulated “real-world” experiences included in these courses, you’ll become comfortable and thus better able to provide superior service to clients when it comes to the real thing
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 it’s not required to get SPW compliant, it’s definitely a good idea.
Just like taking a loan signing course, it shows potential employers that you’ve got a strong handle on all the finance and real estate details you need to be a successful NSA.
To get this compliance, you’re going to need to clear a background check, ace an exam, and get Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance that covers at least $25,000.
Step 4: Purchase Signing Agent Supplies
After you become commissioned as a notary public and complete a certified loan signing course, you will be ready to purchase all of your notary supplies.
These include a notary stamp or seal, which is what you’ll use to notarize documents during loan signings, as well as a notary record book or journal (used to keep a record of each notarial service you perform as a notary signing agent).
Step 5: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance
As a final step, you will likely want to purchase a comprehensive Errors and Omissions (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: Purchasing E&O insurance is actually a requirement for becoming SPW compliant.
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How to Become a Notary Signing Agent FAQ
How do I become a signing agent in Illinois?
After qualifying as a notary public in Illinois, you’re recommended to complete a specialized training course for loan signing agents. While these courses are optional, they are a great way to kickstart your career as they significantly enhance your proficiency and credibility in the field. For more information on this process, see our Notary Signing Agent Illinois article.
Are notary signing agents in demand in Illinois?
Yes, notary signing agents (NSAs) are in high demand in Illinois. Due to their crucial role in the finalization of home sales, refinances, and other common loan transactions, the need for NSAs will always be high. Additionally, the rise of remote and electronic notarization has only further broadened opportunities for NSAs.
How much does a loan signing agent earn in Illinois?
Depending on the number of signings completed, fees charged, and whether they work full or part-time, the potential income of an Illinois loan signing agent can vary quite widely. On average, loan signing agents can earn between $75 to $200 per signing appointment — which grants full-time agents conducting multiple signings a day the chance to earn a substantial income.
How much can you charge for notary services in Illinois?
Illinois law allows notaries to charge up to $5 per signature for notarial acts. However, it’s common for NSAs to also charge additional fees on top of this figure due to the complexity and time commitment involved in these transactions.
How long is a notary term in Illinois?
In Illinois, a notary commission will last four years until it expires. After this, notaries will need to renew their commission in order to continue providing notary services. The renewal process is very similar to the initial application process, which we’ve broken down in our article on How to Become a Notary Signing Agent.
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.