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Hello my friends, I had another great question come through from a close friend of mine recently. She had seen one of my YouTube videos and she had seen what I have been working on to build a great home based business, and she came to me and said, "I know you've mentioned becoming a Notary Signing Agent, but what is a CERTIFIED Notary Signing Agent?"
I thought that was a great question, and with just a bit of research and information I was able to come up with an easy explanation that I'll share with you today.
What is a Notary Signing Agent?
If you've been following my YouTube Channel or exploring my web page, I hope that you already have a firm understanding of what a Notary Signing Agent is, but just in case you have missed that explanation, here's a short and sweet summary.
A notary signing agent is a notary public who has been commissioned by the state they live or work in, that has taken additional steps to become educated in helping clients walk through the 5 main real estate transactions, and completes the multiple required notarizations that are typically included in one of those assignments.
They usually get specialized training through a course like the Loan Signing System, which is how I began my home business and now make over $100 per signing!
You can Click here to learn more about the Loan Signing System.
Okay, but what is a CERTIFIED Notary Signing Agent?
Typically, when someone adds the work certified to their title, they have completed another specialized education or examination course hosted by a nationally recognized body that sets standards for education. This allows people across the whole country to know that someone who is a certified notary signing agent meets certain standards, no matter what state they live in.
It's usually not a training that's put on by your state, but in my experience it's typically a certification that you receive by taking specific coursework through the National Notary Association.
When my husband and I began our loan signing journey, I enrolled in the NNA's Complete Notary Signing Agent package. This package includes TONS of useful information for a hopeful signing agent to be able to get a good education and get the certification like an online training course, notary essentials training, and includes the background screening and notary signing agent exam.
The NNA doesn't require you to complete an educational piece in order to get the certification though. My husband decided to buy the lowest cost package because he thought that he had learned enough from the Loan Signing System to be able to confidently walk through loan documents with accuracy and expertise.
How Much does Certification Cost?
The NNA has three tiers of certification for a notary signing agent. The package I purchased cost $259 and included the items I mentioned as well as some supplies, like a log book and signing sheets.
Click here to go to the NNA's website and check the packages yourself.
There is a mid-tier package that costs $189 and it includes all the things that the Complete package has, except for the supplies. This is a great option if you plan on buying your supplies somewhere else, like Amazon. Also, both the highest tier and the mid-tier include a 1-year Top Tier listing with SigningAgent.com which is the NNA's loan signing service. By buying these packages you may get first placement in getting assignments, which may mean more money in your pocket compared to someone who buys the basic package.
Speaking of the basic package, my husband went with that one. It only has the background screening, the exam and a lower level, Priority listing with signing agent.com
Here's a screenshot from the NNA's webpage that give a good breakdown of the differences in the packages. You can click above or on the image below to go to the NNA's website to explore what they say about becoming a Certified Notary Signing Agent.
Do I NEED to be a Certified Notary Signing Agent?
I would say that you don't NEED to be certified by the NNA, BUT my short experience has shown me that without the BACKGROUND SCREENING, your opportunities for signings are going to be very limited! Every single signing agency that I've registered with so far has wanted a copy of my background screening, in fact, it's holding me up from taking assignments right now!
I completed my background screening and exam about 1 month ago, but due to COVID, the screenings might take much longer than typical. When I finished putting my information into the screening form, I got an automated replay that said my screening should take about 7-10 days. Within the next day or two I got a message that it may take up to 30 days due to COVID.
I've called the NNA a few times to check on the status, and I found out that your background screening time depends very heavily on where you have lived, and how many addresses the report needs to check. My aunt has lived in the same house for about 20 years, and her results came back very quickly.
My husband was active duty in the U.S. Air Force, and as a result we moved around quite a bit. When I called, I found that one of the counties that we lived in, Solano County in Northern California, is in the midst of a huge COVID outbreak, and all the employees at the records' verification unit are out sick!
I keep calling, and calling, but I keep getting the same answer; nothing I can do but wait.
In the meantime, I keep clicking yes to signing offers, but I also keep getting a pop back response that my background screening is marked INCOMPLETE.
Now you know the difference between what a notary signing agent and a CERTIFIED notary signing agent are. I hope the advice that I outlined in this article helps you make a decision about whether you think you should become certified or not.
I also hope that the description I gave in the different packages helps you make a decision that's the best financial decision for your new business.
Regardless of what package you pick, if you're going to get certified I recommend starting it right now! You never know how long it'll take.
Please let me know in the comments below if you have had any problems with the background screening as a new, about-to-be certified notary signing agent.