Notary Signing Agent Massachusetts

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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Notary Signing Agent Massachusetts

Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Massachusetts? 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 Signing Professionals Workgroup (SPW) compliant
  • Purchase your notary supplies

This Notary Signing Agent Massachusetts 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.

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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 Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts

If you’re interested in the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts.

In order to do this, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Meet the essential requirements: All notary public applicants in Massachusetts are required to be at least 18 years old and legal residents of Massachusetts (or have a regular place of work or business in the state). Additionally, you may be unable to apply if you’ve been convicted of an offense involving fraud, deceit, or a prison sentence
  • Complete the education requirements: Each applicant must read Chapter 222 of the State’s Notary Laws and agree with all of its terms. You can find the specific chapter and statute on the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website.
  • Fill out a notary application form: After satisfying these essential and educational requirements, it will be time to submit your notary application, which can only be done by mail. Once you’ve filled out this form, make sure to get it notarized by a notary public that’s already been commissioned in Massachusetts
  • Submit your notary application: With all the above steps completed, you’ll need to mail your application, along with a business card and up-to-date resume, to the Massachusetts Notary Public Office
  • Buy the necessary supplies: If successful, your notice of approval should be mailed to you within 18 days and you will be notified via email by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Once commissioned, the only tools you’ll need before you can start offering your notary services are a notary seal or stamp, and a notary journal

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

Step 2: Take a Loan Signing Training Course

Once you’ve secured your notary commission and are prepared to start working as a notary public, you might find it beneficial to undertake a specialized loan signing training course.

This step, while not mandatory in Massachusetts, is highly encouraged for several reasons:

  • Enhanced comprehension: A specialized training course empowers you to delve into the intricacies of mortgage loan signings, enriching your proficiency and versatility as an NSA. It prepares you to deal professionally with unforeseen circumstances that may arise during signings
  • Employability augmentation: Having a certification illustrates your dedication and specialization, which can boost your appeal in the job market. Companies hiring tend to lean towards candidates who have these additional credentials
  • Confidence enhancement: Participating in a training program can offer a quasi-practical experience, easing you into actual signings with more assurance. This confidence can subsequently improve your service delivery, leading to better client experiences

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

Even though this step is optional, it is generally recommended.

This is because — similar to getting a loan signing training course — it allows hiring companies to know that you understand fundamental aspects of the finance and real estate sector, which 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 (E&O) insurance (minimum $25,000 in coverage).

Step 4: Purchase Signing Agent Supplies

After you’ve been commissioned as a notary public and have spent time in order to become qualified as a loan signing agent, you will need to purchase your notary supplies.

Loan signing agents generally need a notary stamp or seal, as well as a notary record book (or journal).

Your notary stamp will be used for notarizing documents during loan signings, whereas the journal will be for keeping a record of all of the notarial acts that you perform.

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: Purchasing E&O insurance is actually a requirement for becoming SPW compliant.

Massachusetts Notary Signing Agent Restrictions

While Massachusetts presents promising opportunities for notary signing agents, it’s essential to understand the state’s specific restrictions, particularly pertaining to real estate closing — which notaries in Massachusetts cannot perform.

According to Massachusetts G.L. 222(e), only attorneys can conduct a real estate closing due to the complexity of the technical legal concepts and rights involved.

However, NSAs may still notarize documents in conjunction with the closing of their employer’s real estate loans.

These specific requirements highlight the importance of your role as a notary signing agent in facilitating loan signings while strictly adhering to the state’s legal guidelines.

Notary Signing Agent Massachusetts FAQ

Can you be a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

Yes, you can become a notary signing agent (NSA) in Massachusetts. To do this, you first need to be commissioned as a notary public by the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Afterward, you will need to acquire additional training specific to real estate transactions, along with a background check, to become an NSA. To find out more, check out our Notary Signing Agent Massachusetts article.

How much does a loan signing agent make in Massachusetts?

The income of a loan signing agent in Massachusetts varies based on factors such as their experience, number of loan closings performed, and the type of signing service they offer (e.g., if they’re an electronic notary). On average, loan signing agents can expect to make between $75 and $200 per signing appointment, with some experienced full-time agents able to earn upwards of $50,000 annually.

How do I become a closing notary in Massachusetts?

After first becoming commissioned as a notary public by the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, you can choose to specialize as a closing notary by undergoing specific signing agent training related to real estate transactions and closing procedures. In some cases, you may also be required to pass an examination and obtain a surety bond. To find out more, see our article on How to Become a Notary Signing Agent.

What’s the difference between a notary and a notary signing agent?

A notary public’s primary role is to witness the signing of documents and verify the identities of signers to deter fraud. By contrast, NSAs are a specialized type of notary trained to handle and notarize real estate documents, specifically for mortgage loan closings.

How long does a notary commission last in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the term of a notary commission is seven years. After this period, each notary must renew their commission by going through the application process again to continue working as a notary. This typically involves a review of your performance as a notary public, a background check, and the payment of an application fee.

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