How to Become a Loan Signing Agent in Massachusetts? (Step-by-Step Guide)


(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

To become a notary loan signing agent in Massachusetts, you must submit an online application to the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth, read Chapter 222 of the General Laws, pay the $60 filing fee, purchase the notary seal and journal.

Although you could work on different types of documents, the loan signing business in the real estate market seems to be a lucrative niche.

So what does a loan signing agent do? When people are getting a mortgage to purchase a house, or they need to refinance their property, there will be loan documents involved. Your role as a notary loan signing agent is to walk through the set of loan documents with the borrower and witness them in signing the paperwork. 

You would also need to verify the identity of the signers, place the notary stamp on the signed documents, then send them back to the signing services company or closing attorney. 

But keep in mind that you should NOT be providing legal advice, and you cannot explain the terms of the loan documents to the borrower.  

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to become a notary signing agent in Massachusetts, income updates, and FAQ about this profession. 

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal notary public training. It is for general information only. Please check with your state to be sure that loan signing agents are utilized in the closing process. Always follow your state’s notary laws and best practices.

Would you like to learn how to make $75 to $200 per signing appointment? Check out this loan signing training program from Mark Wills. (**) He is one of the highest producing notary loan signing agents in the country.

6 Steps to Become a Notary Loan Signing Agent in Massachusetts

How to Become a Loan Signing Agent in Massachusetts?

Step 1: Meet the basic requirement

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Live or work in the Commonwealth

Step 2: Familiarize with the notary laws

Although there is no requirement to complete a course or pass an exam, you must read through Chapter 222, “Justices of the Peace, Notaries Public and Commissioners” of the General Laws.

On the notary application, it also requires you to acknowledge that you have fully read Chapter 222 of the General Laws and that you will comply with all the terms.

It basically covers most of the topics that you need to know about being a notary in Massachusetts. For example, how to get an appointment as a commissioner? What are your duties and responsibilities? How to perform proper notarial acts?

Here are the topics you will find in Chapter 222.

Chapter 222Topics
Section 1Definitions
Section 1AAppointment and jurisdiction of justices of the peace and notaries public
Section 2Repealed, 1923, 164, Sec. 7
Section 3Appointment of commissioners to administer oaths of office; returns; fees
Section 4Appointment of commissioners; term
Section 5Oath; seal
Section 6Powers and duties
Section 7Instructions to commissioner
Section 8Acknowledgment of instrument; printed or typed name; expiration date; official notarial seal or stamp
Section 8ARepealed, 2016, 289 Sec.4
Section 9Acting as justice or notary after expiration of commission; penalty
Section 10Destruction of notary’s records; penalty
Section 11Acknowledgments by persons in armed forces or their dependents
Section 12Exemptions from maintaining journal of notary transactions
Section 13Qualifications; grounds for denial of application for appointment
Section 14Term of commission
Section 15Notarial acts; forms of acknowledgment or certification; when alternate forms may be used
Section 16Notarial acts that should not be performed; prohibited actions by notary public
Section 17Notaries public not licensed to practice law; prohibition from offering legal advice or advertisement as legal specialist; immigration matters; real estate closings
Section 18Violations of chapter; penalties; civil cause of action and remedies; unfair or deceptive act or practice
Section 19Duty to perform notarial act upon payment of fee; exceptions
Section 20Lawfulness, accuracy or truthfulness of document or transition involving notarial act; effect of documents not containing acknowledgment or certification; rules of land court relating to filing of documents
Section 21Advertisements for notarial services in language other than English
Section 22Chronological official journal of notarial acts; contents; exceptions from duty to maintain; examination; safeguarding
Section 23Fees not to be charged for certain notarial acts
Section 24Destruction of notary seals and stamps upon expiration, resignation or revocation of commission; retention of journal and records
Section 25Change of name or address; notice of state secretary
Section 26Revocation of commission

Step 3: Submit the notary commission application to the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth

Submit the notary commission application to the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth

The Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth is the office that grants the notary commission to applicants and maintains records of all notaries public in Massachusetts.

You need to submit a notary public application to the Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth.

This application requires quite a lot of details—besides the general info (i.e., your name, business address, background info), it also asks you to provide: 

  • Names and locations of school or universities that you have attended since age 18
  • The reasons you are seeking for a notary commission
  • Name of current occupation and employer
  • Resume

The MA Secretary of Commonwealth needs to ensure you are a trustworthy person

As part of the application process, you must provide four references who could attest to your character. They must be Massachusetts residents, and one of them needs to be a member of the bar in good standing. Their signatures are needed on the reference form. 

Although it did not mention the application, I don’t think to get family members as references is a good idea. On the form, they need to disclose their relationship is to you. In most other states, the references must be 18 years. 

Before you send out the document,

  • Make sure the name on the application will be the same as when you are notarizing documents.
  • You need to sign the application and swear an oath in front of another notary public
  • There is a $60, but do not send the payment with the application.

Once all the required documents are ready, you may mail it to: Notary Public Office,Room 184, State House, Boston, MA 02133.

Step 4: Get a notary seal

Massachusetts notary seal

Massachusetts notary law requires all notaries to use an official stamp or steal to authenticate all notarial acts. This helps you to include specific info in every document so you won’t leave out any required details.

You may purchase the notary seal from office supplies store. Also, its design must comply with the regulatory rules.

The notarial seal or stamp shall include:

(i) the notary public’s name exactly as indicated on the commission;

(ii) the words ”notary public” and ”Commonwealth of Massachusetts” or ”Massachusetts”;

(iii) the expiration date of the commission in the following words: ”My commission expires _”; and

(iv) a facsimile of the seal of the commonwealth. If a notarial seal that requires ink is employed, black ink shall be used.

Quote from Commonwealth of Massachusetts – General Laws Section 8

You must keep the notary seal in a locked and secured area, where only you have direct and exclusive control of it. (e.g. a locked drawer or cabinet.)

Step 5: Take an oath of office

Massachusetts notary oath of office

As mentioned before, there is a $60 fee, payable to the Secretary of Commonwealth. You will make the payment after Governor and the Governor’s Council approve your application.

Once you receive the Notary Commission Certificate, you should review and make sure all the details are correct. (e.g., your name, county of residence, commission dates).

Within three months of your appointment, you must take an oath at the clerk of court office in the county you reside in. To my understanding, you should also bring along the notary seal as they need to get its impression.

Step 6: Maintain a good record of business practice with a notary journal

Massachusetts notary journal

As a notary loan signing agent in Massachusetts, the State laws require you to keep a business journal.

Maintaining a good record of your notary acts is an essential part of good business practice. It could serve as proof that you have taken reasonable steps to identify the signer of a document.

The journal must be a permanently bounded book with numbered pages. You may find it at stationery, office supply stores, or on the MA Secretary of Commonwealth website. Furthermore, you cannot keep more than one active journal at any given time.

Below are the items you should record in the notary journal.

(c) For every notarial act, except for the issuance of a summons or subpoena or the administration of an oral oath, the notary public shall record in the journal at the time of the notarization:

(i) the date and time of the notarial act, proceeding or transaction;

(ii) the type of notarial act;

(iii) the type, title or a description of the document, transaction or proceeding; provided, however, that if multiple documents are signed by the same principal in the course of a transaction or during a single date, a single journal entry shall be sufficient;

(iv) the signature and printed name and address of each principal and witness, except that if a principal or witness informs the notary public that the principal or witness is a battered person, the notary public shall make a note in the journal that the person’s address shall not be subject to public inspection; and

(v) a description of the satisfactory evidence of identity of each person, including:

(1) a notation of the type of identification document, the issuing agency, its serial or identification number and its date of issuance or expiration; provided, however, that if the identification number on the document is the person’s social security number then, instead of including the number, the notary public shall write in the words ”Social Security number” or the acronym ”SSN”;

(2) a notation if the notary public identified the individual on the oath or affirmation of a credible witness or based on the notary public’s personal knowledge of the individual;

(3) the fee, if any, charged for the notarial act; and

(4) the address where the notarization was performed.

(d) A notary public shall not record a social security or credit card number in the journal.

(e) A notary public shall record in the journal the reason for not completing a notarial act requested by a principal.

Quote from Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Chapter 22, Section 22

Here’s a Snippet of What Stephanie Espinal Think about Being a Notary Signing Agent!

Stephanie Espinal Notary Signing Agent

“My advice is that don’t be afraid to start the loan signing career on a part-time basis”– Stephanie Espinal, Notary Loan Signing Agent

Here is an exclusive interview with Stephanie. She will share with you what it takes to be a notary signing agent as a side gig, her valuable journey, and secret sauce to success.

Does Massachusetts allow electronic notary?

e-Notarization is where you notarize an electronic document using an electronic signature and electronic seal. However, you still need to meet the signer face-to-face.

Frankly, I prefer states that have the option for notaries to work digitally. This can bring you tremendous convenience to streamline your notary practice.

Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not allow electronic notarization. “Wet ink” signatures are still required on paper documents.

But things could change, so you may want to check out the Secretary of Commonwealth website and see if there’s any update.

Can I perform remote online notarization in Massachusetts?

Can I perform remote online notarization in Massachusetts?

Remote online notarization allows you not to be physically present with the signer. Instead, you would verify their the signer’s identity through video and audio conference.

At the time I’m writing the post, there are emergency rules imposed in many states, which allows remote notarization. The good news is Massachusetts is one of them.

However, this could be a temporary measure due to the emergency. But whether they would revert to in-person notarization afterward is unknown yet. Therefore, you should check with the Secretary of Commonwealth.

If you want to know how can you work from home as a notary? The tools that you’ll need in your home office. Here’s the post for you.

How much can you make as a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

How much can you make as a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

The average Notary Signing Agent salary in Massachusetts is $40,896. It typically falls between the range $39,951 and $52,019. (+)

As mentioned earlier, you could work on different documents, but the loan signing in the real estate market could be a lucrative niche.

Can you make over $10,000/month as a notary loan signing agent? Be sure to check out our notary earning guide. You’ll find a case study where a loan signing agent has built her business to such a successful figure.

(+) Source: Salary.com – June 28, 2020

Is there demand for notary loan signing agent in Massachusetts?

As long as people are obtaining mortgages or refinancing their homes, there would be a demand for loan signing agents.

All originated mortgages in Massachusetts

YEARAll originated mortgages
2017162,474
2016201,756
2015173,355
2014137,873
2013224,809
2012288,584
2011205,164
2010239,023
2009255,679
2008159,312
2007214,170

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (July 22, 2020)

Some states are “Attorney States,” which means only attorneys can coordinate the closing paperwork. Whereas, others are “Escrow States” where escrow companies would handle the mortgage closing.

According to the First American Title, Massachusetts is a an “Attorney State.” Here is a post that talks more about the differences escrow states and attorney states. And how would it impact your loan signing business?

If you want to succeed in the loan signing industry, you must check out this loan system training program. If you review the testimonials of his students, you’ll be amazed at how the notary career changes their life after they learned from Mark Wills. (**)

How much does it cost to become a notary in Massachusetts?

How much does it cost to become a notary in Massachusetts?

It would cost approximately $92 to become a notary in Massachusetts.

Here’s a breakdown of the costs to start a notary signing business

Notary Application$60
Notary Stamp$17
Journal$15

There could be other expenses involved, E&O insurance, travel expenses, car maintenance, auto insurance, remote notary technology, laptop and other business supplies.

Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

Having a conviction for a felony may impact the application to become a notary signing agent in Massachusetts. The Secretary of Commonwealth needs to make sure that you are a person with credibility, truthfulness, and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.

But having a felony does not necessarily mean your application will automatically be declined. It depends on the severity and nature of the conviction. The Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth would review it on a case-by-case basis. 

In the application, there are the following questions. 

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? 

Have you ever had a professional license suspended or revoked?

 Have you ever been dismissed from a position due to actual or alleged misconduct or resigned from a position in order to avoid dismissal?

Are there any other issues that, in the interest of full disclosure, should be considered in connection with your application, qualifications, or suitability for appointment as a notary public? 

Quote from Massachusetts Notary Public Application

How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Massachusetts?

As stated on the Notary Public Application, it would take approximately 18 days to get approval from the MA Secretary of Commonwealth.

So give or take, you can become a notary signing agent in Massachusetts within one month.

How to renew notary commission in Massachusetts?

The notary commission term will last for seven years. This is the longest one I have seen so far, besides Louisiana, where it is for a lifetime.

The Secretary of Commonwealth will mail you the renewal application five weeks before your current commission expires. To avoid an interrupted business period, begin the renewal process in advance. Don’t wait till your current notary commission is expired.

Furthermore, you would need to get a notary seal with a new expiry date.

Can I notarize for a family member in Massachusetts?

Can I notarize for a family member in Massachusetts?

You must not notarize any documents where you have any financial or beneficial interest in the transaction. Therefore, notarizing a document for any family member could call into question, and such practice should be avoided.

I have more questions about being a notary signing agent in Massachusetts, where could I obtain more details?

You may contact the Massachusetts Governor’s Council at (617) 725-4016.

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in the notary signing profession. But why reinvent the wheel when there is a proven system that works? Many students had great success following the Loan Signing System (LSS) from Mark Wills. You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free.

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Reference:

  • First American Title- Your Guide to Real Estate Customs by State (source
  • Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth – Notary Public Information (source)
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    • Chapter 222 Justices of the peace, Notaries Public and Commissioners (source)
    • Bill S.2645 (source)
  • Salary.com – Notary Signing Agent Salary in Massachusetts (source)
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (source)
  • The National Law Review: Massachusetts Allows Remote Notarization (source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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