Notary Signing Agent Virginia

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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Notary Signing Agent Virginia

Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Virginia? 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 Virginia 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 oversee the signing of documents.

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

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

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

  • Meet the basic eligibility criteria: Virginia law requires all aspiring notaries to be at least 18 years old and legal residents of the Commonwealth. On top of this, they’ll also need to satisfy Virginia’s background check requirements
  • Complete and file an application form: The next step includes completing your Virginia notary application using the one-stop Notary Application Wizard. The application fee is $45. Virginia also recommends using this notary management account in case you need to edit your information
  • Obtain your notary supplies: Tools of the trade, such as a state-required notary seal and record book, are essential for maintaining professionalism and fulfilling your responsibilities
  • Take an oath of office: If you’re approved, you and your chosen circuit court clerk will be notified within two to three weeks and will receive your notary commission certificate. Be sure to contact the circuit court within 60 days to take your oath of office and pay the $10 fee
  • Enroll in a notary training course: This step is not a legal requirement, but it’s common for Virginia notary applicants to invest in a specialized notary course to boost their professional skills and kickstart their notary public career

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

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: Register as a Title Settlement Agent

Before you can begin acting as a notary signing agent, Virginia law requires applicants to be registered as a title settlement agent as an extra layer of protection against potential negligence or improper conduct.

In order to register as a, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Apply for a Virginia title insurance license: You will need to complete 16 hours of pre-license education, pass the Virginia title exam via Prometric, get a fingerprint-based background check via Fieldprint, apply via Sircon, and pay all the necessary fees. 
  • Obtain an appointment with an insurer: Once you have been issued your title insurance agent license, you must contact an insurer directly to request an appointment. Provide necessary information and credentials as required
  • Secure insurance coverages: On your RESA application you must attest that you have and will keep a $250,000 Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance policy or malpractice policy and a $100,000 Blanket Fidelity Bond or Employee Dishonesty insurance policy
  • Purchase a $200,000 surety bond: Make sure to include a $200,000 surety bond as part of your RESA application. Your chosen surety company must use the official Surety Bond Form
  • Register as a RESA: Apply for your RESA registration via Sircon. On Sircon, the application is referred to as a “Title Settlement Agency/Agent” application. The application for an agent is $15
  • Mail the original surety bond: You must send the $200,000 surety bond to the Bureau of Insurance

Note: To keep your RESA registration active, make sure to renew BOTH your title settlement agent registration and title insurance license. The renewal fee is $10 for both licenses.

Step 4: Become SPW Compliant

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

Being SPW compliant means that you follow industry best practices and standards, particularly in financial and real estate signings.

All in all, SPW compliance provides credibility, enhances professionalism, and ensures the protection of clients’ interests, promoting trust and confidence in your signing process.

Getting compliant involves undergoing a background check, passing an exam, and purchasing errors and omissions (E&O) insurance (minimum $25,000 in coverage).

Step 5: 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 will need a notary stamp or seal to indicate an official mark or impression on a document to demonstrate its authenticity.

Your notary journal or record book is a log where you can record details of each notarization, serving as a record and evidence of a signer’s identity and actions of all parties involved.

Step 6: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance

Virginia doesn’t require a surety bond and insurance is optional for notary signing agents. However, you will likely want to purchase a comprehensive E&O insurance policy.

This is a type of insurance that provides financial protection in case of errors, omissions, or negligence during the notarization process, safeguarding you from potential liability and legal expenses.

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.

Virginia Notary Signing Agent Restrictions

While Virginia presents promising opportunities for NSAs, it’s essential to understand the Commonwealth’s specific restrictions, particularly when it comes to handling funds in connection with a loan signing assignment or real estate closing.

In Virginia, NSAs offer notarial services without a title insurance license as long as they don’t handle any money and work on behalf of a registered settlement agent that is properly licensed.

Put simply, this essentially means that you can operate without a settlement agent license as long as you don’t handle money for closing costs. Your role is primarily to verify the identities of the involved parties, oversee the signing of documents, and notarize these signatures.

Notary Signing Agent Virginia FAQ

Can I be a notary signing agent in Virginia?

Yes. To qualify, you must first become a commissioned notary public in Virginia. You may also need to complete additional training and certification specific to notary signing agents, depending on the requirements set by the state. For more information, head on over to our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent state-specific guides.

How much can a notary signing agent charge in Virginia?

In Virginia, the fee for notarial acts is set at $5 per act. You are also allowed to charge fees as part of your notary services, such as travel fees (especially if you’re a mobile notary) and technology fees (if you perform electronic and remote online notarization).

How much does a loan signing agent make in Virginia?

Loan signing agents typically make between $39,900 and $50,700 per year, often charging for each signing they perform. If you are interested in kickstarting your career as loan signing agent in Virginia, make sure to check out our Notary Signing Agent Virginia article.

How do you become a notary in Virginia? 

To become a notary in Virginia, you must meet the following requirements: be at least 18 years old, be a legal resident of the Commonwealth, complete an application, take a training course, pass an exam, obtain notary supplies, and submit the required documents to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. We explore these requirements in more depth in our article on How to Become a Notary.

How do I become an electronic notary in Virginia?

To become an electronic Notary (eNotary), you must first become a notary public and get an electronic notary seal for your electronic notary signature before applying. You must complete the eNotary Application and pay the $45 fee online. You’ll receive an email confirmation if your electronic notary commission is approved.

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