Notary Signing Agent Iowa

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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Notary Signing Agent Iowa

Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Iowa? 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 Iowa 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.

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What is a Notary Signing Agent

Notary signing agents (NSAs) are crucial in the real estate sector 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 Iowa, 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 Iowa

If the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Iowa interests you, you can get started today by completing the following steps. 

Step 1: Become a Notary Public

All notary signing agents in Iowa must first become commissioned as an Iowa notary public. To do so, the following steps must be completed:

  • Meet the basic requirements: To be considered eligible to become a notary public, all applicants must be at least 18 years old, be a US citizen/permanent legal resident, live or work in Iowa, or a state that borders Iowa, be able to read and write English, and not have been convicted of a felony involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceit.
  • Complete the application for appointment form: If you meet all the basic requirements listed above, the next step is to mail a completed Application for Appointment as a Notary Public form to the Iowa Secretary of State along with a $30 filing fee. See the end of the application form for instructions on how to complete it properly.
  • Receive your notary commission: If everything is in order, the Secretary of State should quickly issue you a commission certificate. This document officially qualifies you to start performing notarizations in the state of Iowa.
  • Obtain the necessary supplies: After getting your commission approved by the Secretary of State, you’ll need to obtain some essential supplies in order to be able to begin offering notarization services. This usually includes a notarial seal or stamp, and a notary journal

For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in Iowa, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Iowa article.

Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course

Many notaries public in Iowa decide to take a specialized loan signing training course when practicing to become a notary signing agent. While not mandated by Iowa notary law, these courses are highly beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • 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.

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Step 3: Become SPW Compliant

Although SPW compliance isn’t mandatory, it’s a smart move.

This is because — just like taking a loan signing course — it demonstrates to potential employers that you’ve got a solid grasp of all of the important finance and real estate concepts that you will need to know in order to operate effectively as an NSA.

To become compliant, you’ll have to pass a background check and an exam and buy errors and omissions (E&O) insurance with at least $25,000 coverage.

Step 4: Purchase Signing Agent Supplies

To be able to offer your services as a notary signing agent, it’s essential you obtain all your notary supplies after completing a loan signing training course.

A notary stamp (or seal) will be needed to stamp and notarize loan signing documents in addition to a notary journal (or record book) to record each notarial act you perform as an NSA.

Step 5: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance

Finally, obtaining E&O insurance is highly recommended before getting started as a notary signing agent.

This will ensure that you are protected from any liability you could be exposed to for your misconduct or negligence while performing your notarial acts.

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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Notary Signing Agent Iowa FAQ

How do I become a signing agent in Iowa?

To become a signing agent in Iowa, you must first become a notary public. This involves applying through the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, passing a background check, and taking an oath of office. Once you’re a notary, you’ll need to obtain additional training and certification to become a signing agent. See our Notary Signing Agent Iowa for more information on this topic.

How much does a mobile notary make in Iowa?

The income of a mobile Iowa notary can vary widely based on the number of signings they perform, their experience, and where they’re based. On average, mobile Iowa notaries can expect to make anywhere from $25 to $50 per signing, with some earning up to $100 or more for more complex transactions.

How much does it cost to be a notary in Iowa?

In Iowa, the two primary costs associated with becoming a notary include a $30 filing fee for your application and your notary supplies (like seals and journals) — which can range from $30 to $100. Additionally, if you decide to become a notary signing agent, you will often incur additional costs on a necessary notary training course and certification.

How long does a notary commission last in Iowa?

The amount of time your Iowa notary commission lasts will vary depending on whether you reside in Iowa or a state bordering it. Typically, notary commissions for Iowa residents will last three years, while those of residents of a bordering state will last a year.

How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Iowa?

If an applicant completes the application process promptly, it’s common for it to take around a month to become a notary signing agent in Iowa. The most time-consuming part of this process is becoming a notary public — which can take a few weeks in itself.

For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.