Notary Signing Agent Washington D.C.

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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Notary Signing Agent Washington D.C.

Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Washington D.C.? 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 Washington D.C. 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 getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s state-approved packages, which come with E&O insurance, notary supplies, and a surety bond.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($79+)

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 Washington D.C., 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 Washington D.C.

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

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 old, a US citizen and resident of the District, meet requirements under section 23 of Chapter 12A of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, and satisfy any other rules issued by the Mayor
  • Select the type of notary commission: Washington D.C. offers seven distinct types of notary commissions for you to choose from, including Residential, Business, D.C. Government, Federal Government, Dual — Business, Dual — Gov/D.C., and Dual — Gov/Federal. More information about these different types of commissions can be found in the Notary Public Handbook
  • Complete and file an application form: You must file an application on the Office of the Notary Commission and Authentication (ONCA) portal. Washington D.C.’s Office of the Secretary no longer accepts the PDF version of the application. The application fee is $75
  • Upload a letter of request: This is a formal letter from you or your employer, depending on the type of commission you’re applying for, that should describe the need for your commission. The letter must be uploaded and included as an attachment with your application
  • Complete an orientation session: ONCA will notify you via email or phone to schedule your orientation within three weeks of your application submission. Once you complete the orientation, you’ll also get an appointment notice with your commission date and bond form within two weeks
  • Submit a $2,000 surety bond: This bond protects the public from liability arising from potential mistakes on your part when performing notarial services. Surety bonds can be purchased through the National Notary Association or through a general insurance company
  • Procure notary supplies: Tools of the trade, such as notary seals and record books, are essential for maintaining professionalism and fulfilling your responsibilities

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

We recommend the National Notary Association’s state-approved packages, which come with E&O insurance, a surety bond, and the required notary tools.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($79+)

Step 3: Become SPW Compliant

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

SPW compliance is especially relevant in the finance and real estate industry as it ensures that notary signing agents are knowledgeable, reliable, and capable of performing their notary jobs well.

On top of this, it also promotes trust and professionalism in the transaction 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 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 embossing seal, as well as a notary journal or record book.

You will use a notary seal or stamp to validate notarized documents while your notary journal is used to record details of notarization transactions, serving as evidence of your notarial acts for legal and accountability purposes.

Step 5: Obtain Errors and Omissions Insurance

In Washington D.C., securing an E&O insurance is not a requirement.

However, it is crucial for notary signing agents to obtain this type of insurance as it provides liability coverage in the event of errors, omissions, or negligence during the notarization process.

It helps protect you from potential financial losses, legal claims, and damages.

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 Washington D.C. FAQ

How do I become a notary signing agent in D.C.?

To become a notary signing agent in Washington, D.C., you must meet the basic requirements of being a commissioned notary public before completing additional training specific to loan document signings. For an overview of the notary signing agent requirements, visit our guide on How to Become a Notary Signing Agent.

How much can you charge as a notary in D.C.?

As a notary in Washington, D.C., you can charge a fee of up to $5 for each notarial act. Notaries are also able to charge additional fees, such as travel or mileage fees (if you provide a certified mobile notary service, for example).

How long does it take to become a notary in D.C.?

The process to become a notary in Washington, D.C. involves completing an application, obtaining a bond, receiving approval from the ONCA, and taking the oath of office. According to ONCA, the processing time takes about 45 to 60 days once the application is approved. Check out our Notary Signing Agent Washington D.C. article to find out more about this.

Does D.C. allow remote online notaries?

According to ONCA, remote online notarization is still not allowed in the District of Columbia (they are currently working to implement the remote notary process). However, ONCA is now accepting applications for an in-person electronic notary (IPEN). The individual seeking notarization must still physically appear before the notary, but the actual notarization will be conducted electronically.

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