Interested in finding out how to become a notary signing agent in Washington state? 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 State 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 notary signing agent packages.
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 Washington state, 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 State
If you’re interested in the idea of becoming a notary signing agent in Washington state, 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 state.
In order to do this, you will need to complete the following steps:
- Meet the basic eligibility criteria: Washington law requires all aspiring notaries to be at least 18 years old and be a permanent legal resident of the state
- Purchase a $10,000 surety bond: This bond protects the public from any liability that arises as a result of mistakes on your part when performing notarial services. Surety bonds can be purchased through the National Notary Association or through a general insurance company
- Complete and file an application form: Once you’ve filled out your notary application form, you can submit it to the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) online alongside a $40 application fee
- Obtain your notary supplies: Tools of the trade, such as a notary seal and journal, are essential to be able to effectively perform your duties, but will have to be specific to Washington State
- Take a notary training course: While not a legal requirement, many notary applicants choose to invest in a specialist course to enhance their skills, and stay updated with any current changes in notary regulations and practices in the state
For a more in-depth overview of the process of getting commissioned as a notary public in Washington state, we recommend having a look at our How to Become a Notary in Washington State 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 Washington, 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.
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.
SPW compliance in Washington ensures that signing professionals meet industry standards and adhere to legal requirements.
This fosters trust, accuracy, and professionalism particularly in financial and real estate transactions, enhancing efficiency, reducing errors, and safeguarding the interests of all parties involved.
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 Washington 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 to authenticate and certify documents.
The notary journal or record book is used to record details of your notarized transactions, providing a legal and transparent record of the notarial acts that you perform.
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 Washington, purchasing a comprehensive E&O insurance is entirely optional but highly beneficial in your line of work.
E&O insurance provides liability coverage for errors, mistakes, or negligence in your notarial duties, protecting you from potential financial losses and legal claims.
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.
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Notary Signing Agent Washington State FAQ
How do I become a notary signing agent in Washington state?
To become a notary signing agent in Washington State, you must first become a notary public. Complete the application process with the Department of Licensing, including background checks and training. Once commissioned, you can gain experience and knowledge in loan document signings. Know more about the process on our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.
How much does a loan signing agent make in Washington state?
On average, loan signing agents in Washington state can earn as much as $25 per hour on a loan signing assignment. According to salary.com, the current average annual salary of notary signing agents in Washington is $43,071 but the range falls between $42,077 and $54,786 per year.
How much can you make as a notary in Washington state?
Notaries in Washington typically charge $10 per notarial act, but the total annual income may vary greatly. You can also charge travel fees (particularly if you’re a mobile notary) or technology fees (if you’re performing remote online notarization).
Is there a demand for notaries in Washington state?
Yes. There is a demand for notaries in Washington state. Notaries are needed for various legal and financial transactions, including real estate closings, loan signings, and legal document notarizations. The growing population and business activities in the state contribute to the ongoing need for notarial services. Learn How to Become a Notary to get started.
How long does it take to get a notary license in Washington state?
Notaries don’t get a “license,” but they receive a notary public commission certificate. According to the DOL, the processing time can take around four weeks to review and approve the application, conduct background checks, and issue the notary commission. If you send your application online, you should receive your commission sooner.
How can I get an electronic records notary public endorsement in Washington?
You can apply for an electronic notary endorsement during your commission as a Washington notary for $15. You can also apply for the endorsement simultaneously with your regular application process, which costs $40. Within 30 days of receiving your endorsement, you must notify the DOL of the name of the electronic notary software that you will use.
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary Signing Agent page.