Notary Signing Agent South Carolina

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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Notary Signing Agent South Carolina

Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in South Carolina? 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 South Carolina 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: Interested in becoming a notary signing agent? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which come with everything you need to get started including your background screening, certification training, and exam.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($99)

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 witness and notarize signatures on such documents.

Although no extra legal qualifications are required to become an NSA in South Carolina, 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 South Carolina

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

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

  • Meet the basic eligibility criteria: You must be at least 18 years of age, a resident or registered voter in the state, a US citizen, have never been imprisoned after being convicted of a crime, felony, or offense, and not have been declared mentally incompetent by court order
  • Complete and file an application form: Complete the paper notary public application and mail both pages (plus a $25 fee made payable to the South Carolina Secretary of State) to your county delegation office. You can find the required address at the end of the application
  • Buy your notary seal: South Carolina notaries public need a seal of office to stamp, which must contain your name, and the terms “notary public” and “State of South Carolina” in order to be valid. Including the expiration date is optional
  • Purchase your notary supplies: You should have already acquired your notary stamp or seal by this point, though it is also strongly recommended to get a South Carolina notary journal or record book on top of this
  • Take a notary training class: While this step is optional, taking a notary signing agent training course ensures that you understand your legal responsibilities, duties, and proper notarial procedures

For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in South Carolina, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in South Carolina 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 South Carolina, 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 commitment and a specialized skill set, both of which greatly increase your marketability. Candidates with additional qualifications are also very attractive to hiring companies
  • 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.

Recommended Course

Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which come with everything you need to get started including your background screening, certification training, and exam.

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Step 3: Become SPW Compliant

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

Being SPW compliant promotes a smoother and more secure signing process, especially when dealing with real estate and financial transactions.

Ultimately, SPW compliance enhances credibility, fosters trust with clients, reduces notarial errors, and protects against fraud.

Getting compliant involves undergoing a background check, passing an exam, and purchasing errors and omissions (E&O) insurance (with a minimum of $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.

Your notary stamp or seal is a unique marking you make to validate a document’s authenticity. It typically includes your name (as notary), commission number, and expiration date.

Your notary journal or record book is used to record details of your notarized transactions, such as a signer’s identity, date, and type of document, providing an additional layer of documentation and accountability.

Step 5: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance

In South Carolina, obtaining E&O insurance is entirely optional but highly recommended to protect yourself against potential lawsuits or claims arising from errors or negligence in your notarial duties.

This type of insurance provides financial protection in case you make mistakes or omissions during loan signings.

Examples in which an E&O insurance policy would 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.

South Carolina Notary Signing Agent Restrictions

While South Carolina presents promising opportunities for notary signing agents, it’s essential to understand its specific restrictions, particularly since it’s an “attorney closing state.”

In South Carolina, notary signing agents cannot handle a real estate or mortgage loan closing without a lawyer being present. The South Carolina Supreme Court has made it clear that only attorneys can conduct all real estate and mortgage transactions, including mortgage refinancing.

In South Carolina, notary signing agents cannot explain the meaning of a document or provide legal advice. Their role is primarily to verify the identities of the involved parties, oversee the signing of documents, and notarize these signatures.

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

Notary Signing Agent South Carolina FAQ

Does South Carolina use notary signing agents?

Yes. Notary signing agents are authorized to handle loan signings and real estate closings in the state, but they must do so under the supervision of an attorney, as South Carolina law requires an attorney to be present during these transactions. If you’re interested in this career, make sure to check out our article on How to Become a Notary Signing Agent.

How much does a notary make in South Carolina?

A notary in South Carolina can charge up to $5 per notarial act and $10 per electronic notarization. Additional fees can also be charged for travel (especially if you’re a mobile notary) and technology fees. If you charge fees for your notary services, make sure to display an English-language fee schedule in your place of business or present it to signers.

How do I become a notary signing agent in South Carolina?

To become a notary signing agent in South Carolina, you must first become a notary public. Then, you can take additional loan signing training, certifications, and compliance requirements to become one.  For a more detailed look into this process, be sure to check out our Notary Signing Agent South Carolina article.

Does South Carolina allow remote online notarization?

No. To date, South Carolina doesn’t allow notaries to conduct remote online notarizations (RONs), where the signer and notary meet virtually via audio-video communication technology. However, you can perform electronic notarizations. Unlike RONs, electronic notarizations are performed in person and the signer and notary meet in a physical location.

How long does it take to become a notary in South Carolina?

According to the South Carolina Secretary of State’s office, it takes approximately 2 to 12 weeks to process a notary commission application, depending on your county of residence. It also depends on the time you spent completing your requirements, such as submitting an application, purchasing supplies, and possibly attending notary training or orientation sessions.

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