Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Ohio? 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 Ohio 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 (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 Ohio, 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 Ohio
If you’re interested in the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Ohio, 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 Ohio.
In order to do this, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Meet the basic eligibility criteria: All notary publics in Ohio must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the state (or a non-resident attorney who practices law in Ohio), and not have any “disqualifying offenses” on their record
- Get a background check: After confirming this, go to an approved Webcheck® provider to get a criminal record check from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). It can take up to 40 days for you to receive the BCI report; when you do, you will need to upload it to the Ohio Secretary of State’s online filing system
- Complete a notary education course: Next, you’ll need to take a three-hour notary training or education class from a state-approved education and testing provider. The fee for a traditional notary commission is $130 and $250 for a remote online notary (you’ll also only need to complete a two-hour course instead)
- Pass the notary exam: After completing the notary course, you must take and pass the exam via your chosen state-approved testing provider. If you don’t pass on your first try, you’ll have to wait 30 days to retake it. If you fail a second time, you’ll have to start the entire application process from the beginning
- Complete and file an application form: You can start your New Notary Commission Application online through the Secretary of State’s website. All attachments must be uploaded in PDF form. You’ll need to pay a $15 filing fee to submit your application
- Procure notary supplies: Tools of the trade, such as a notary seal and record book, are essential for maintaining professionalism and fulfilling your responsibilities. These will need to be specific to the state of Ohio
For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in Ohio, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Ohio 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 Ohio, 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 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
Even though this step is optional, it is generally recommended.
This is because becoming SPW compliant demonstrates that you understand and follow industry standards, which makes you far more appealing to potential recruiters.
On top of this, SPW compliance indicates professionalism, builds trust with clients, and contributes to smoother and more efficient closing processes.
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 time in order to become qualified as a loan signing agent, you will need to purchase your notary supplies.
Loan signing agents need official tools, like a notary stamp or embossing seal, to authenticate documents they have notarized.
You will also need a notary journal or record book to note down the details of your notarized transactions, including a signer’s identity, document types, and dates.
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
In Ohio, getting E&O insurance is optional but highly recommended.
However, most notaries purchase this type of insurance policy because it covers legal expenses, damages, and settlements against financial losses and potential reputational damage.
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 Ohio FAQ
How do I become a notary signing agent in Ohio?
To become a notary signing agent in Ohio, you must first be an active notary public. After this, the next step is to acquire knowledge of loan documents and real estate transactions by signing up for an Ohio signing agent training course. For a more in-depth look at becoming an NSA, see our Notary Signing Agent Ohio article.
How much does a notary signing agent charge in Ohio?
An Ohio notary public can charge up to $5 per notarial act. However, the fees charged by notary signing agents in Ohio depend on the complexity of the transaction, location, and volume of signings completed. Notaries public may also charge travel or mileage fees (for mobile notaries) or technology fees (for remote online notaries).
Does Ohio use notary signing agents?
Yes. Notary signing agents play a vital role in handling loan signings and real estate transactions in Ohio. They ensure that loan documents are properly executed, notarized, and returned to the appropriate parties, contributing to the smooth and efficient closing of real estate deals.
How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Ohio?
The timeframe may differ depending on the vendors you choose and the amount of time you take to submit your application. It is essential to complete all the necessary steps within six months after obtaining your criminal records check; otherwise, you will be required to start the process anew. For more information on this topic, check out our guide on How to Become a Notary Signing Agent.
Can I be an online notary in Ohio?
Yes. You must first hold an existing commission as a notary public to qualify. As soon as you’re commissioned, you can apply to perform remote online notarization (RON). RON allows the notarization of documents electronically through audio-visual technology without the need for in-person meetings. Ohio notaries are also allowed to charge up to $25 per RON.
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.