Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Maryland? We’ve got you covered.
In order to become a notary signing agent, you will need to:
- Be commissioned as a notary public
- Take a loan signing training course
- Become SPW compliant
- Purchase your notary supplies
This Notary Signing Agent Maryland article breaks down everything you need to know in easy-to-follow, succinct steps, and should help you commence your loan signing career with as little difficulty as possible.
Recommended: Purchase E&O insurance in order to ensure that your personal assets are protected in the event of a negligence lawsuit.
What is a Notary Signing Agent
Notary signing agents (NSA) 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 Maryland, 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 Maryland
If you’re interested in the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Florida, 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 Maryland.
To become commissioned as a notary public in Maryland, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Meet the basic requirements — In Maryland, all applicants must be at least 18 years old, be of good moral character, and reside in or be employed in Maryland
- Pass your notary training course and exam — You’ll need to take a training course (with an exam included) from a Maryland-approved provider. A list of such providers can be found on the Maryland Secretary of State’s website
- Submit an online notary public application — Applications are submitted using the Maryland OneStop platform
- Finalize your notary commission — If your application is approved by your State Senator, you’ll need to appear before the Clerk of the Circuit Court of the County within 30 days to take your oath of office, pick up your commission certificate, and pay the $11 fee
For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in Maryland, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Maryland overview.
Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course
After you receive your notary commission and are ready to begin operating as a notary public, you will likely want to undertake a specialized loan signing training course.
Even though this is not a requirement in the state of Maryland, it is highly recommended as it offers the following benefits:
- In-depth understanding: A specialized course can allow you to dive deep into the complexities of mortgage loan signings, improving your overall understanding and capabilities as an NSA. It can also help you become well-versed in how to handle unexpected situations with professionalism
- Boosts employability: Your certificate signifies your commitment and specialized skill set, and can thus increase your marketability. Hiring companies also generally tend to prefer candidates with additional qualifications
- Confidence builder: A course can provide you with a certain degree of “hands-on experience,” which will inevitably make you more comfortable and confident during actual signings. This confidence can translate into improved service and positive client experiences
Did you know? A loan signing training course will 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: Obtain a Title Producer License
Before you can begin acting as a notary signing agent, Maryland law requires applicants to get licensed as a title insurance producer as an extra layer of protection against potential negligence or improper conduct.
In order to obtain a title producer license, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
- Complete pre-licensing course hours/work experience — All resident individuals must complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education. Alternatively, you can substitute relevant work experience for the coursework on which you’ll be tested
- Get a pre-licensing course certificate — Once your pre-licensing education is complete, you’ll obtain a course certificate. You’ll have six months following the date you received your certificate to pass your licensing exam
- Submit the Insurance Education Waiver — Before you can take the licensing exam, you’ll need to send a completed Insurance Education Waiver Application/Affidavit of Employer to the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) to be approved
- Pass the Maryland title exam — You can schedule your licensing exam by visiting the PROMETRIC website or by calling (800) 610-1174. This costs $60
- Pay the application fee — You will be required to pay a $54 filing fee alongside your application. This fee is payable via check, cashier’s check, or money order and must be made payable to the Maryland Insurance Administration
- Submit the NAIC Uniform Application Individual Producer Form — This document, which can be found within the Title Individual Initial Application Packet, needs to be completed and submitted along with the rest of the application
- Get a $150,000 surety bond or letter of credit — If you are applying as an independent contractor, you can submit your Title Insurance Producer Independent Contractors (TIPIC) waiver instead of this surety bond.
Online applications should be submitted through NIPR. Once completed, you should shortly receive an email to confirm that your application has been received — so keep an eye out for that!
Mail applications should be submitted to the following address:
The Maryland Insurance Administration
Attn: Producer Licensing
200 Saint Paul Place, Suite 2700
Baltimore, MD 21202
Note: If you are submitting via mail, you can find all the relevant forms on the Maryland Insurance Administration website under the “Online and Paper Application” drop-down menu.
Step 4: Become SPW Compliant
Even though this step is optional, it is generally recommended.
This is because — similar to getting a loan signing training course — it shows hiring companies that you understand fundamental aspects of the finance and real estate sector, and thus makes you more desirable as a candidate.
All in all, SPW compliance is — generally speaking — seen as a testament to your trustworthiness and competence in the mortgage industry.
Getting compliant involves undergoing a background check, passing an exam, and purchasing Errors and Omissions insurance (minimum $25,000 in coverage).
Step 4: Purchase Signing Agent Supplies
After you’ve been commissioned as a notary public and have spent some time in order to become qualified as a successful loan signing agent, you will need to purchase your notary supplies.
Notary signing agents generally need a notary seal or stamp, as well as a notary record book (or journal).
Your notary stamp will be used for notarizing documents during loan signings, whereas the notary journal will be for keeping a record of all of the notarial acts that you perform.
Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend having a look at notary.net’s affordable and state-specific notary supplies package.
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.
Notary Signing Agent Maryland FAQ
How do I become a notary signing agent in Maryland?
Applicants will first need to get commissioned as a Maryland notary public before opting to specialize as a signing agent. This typically involves completing the necessary Maryland notary education hours, submitting an insurance waiver, passing the Maryland title exam, filling out your application, and obtaining a $150,000 surety bond. For more information on this, see our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent article.
How much does a loan signing agent make in Maryland?
In Maryland, the average salary of loan signing agents can range anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000. It is important to note that the amount you could earn as a loan signing agent can vary significantly depending on various factors such as your volume of work, experience, and the specific rates charged for services.
Do I need to take a notary signing agent training course or exam?
Yes, in Maryland, each applicant must obtain a title license before they can become commissioned as a notary signing agent. This involves completing 20 hours of pre-licensing education (or relevant work experience) and passing the Maryland Title Exam. For more information on this, see our Notary Signing Agent Maryland article.
How much does it cost to become a notary signing agent?
It should typically cost around a few hundred dollars. However, the exact figure will depend on several factors, including the cost of your surety bond/insurance coverage and how much you spend becoming a notary. To gain a better idea of how much this figure could be for you, see our article on How to Become a Notary for more information.
How long does it take to become a notary signing agent?
For Maryland notaries who complete each step of the notary signing agent application process quickly, only one or two weeks will be necessary to become a notary signing agent. In fact, the majority of this time will be spent waiting for your application and other forms to be processed by the Maryland Secretary of State’s Notary Division.
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.