(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing 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 Iowa, an applicant must
- Meet the state-eligibility requirement;
- Complete a notary training course;
- Submit the Notary Public Application to the Iowa Secretary of State;
- Pay the $30 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 find out the steps to become a notary in Iowa, 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? You must check out the Loan Signing System from Mark Wills. (**) This is one of the best training programs for loan signing agents. Many students have achieved remarkable business success after taking this program.
7 Steps to Become a Notary in Iowa
Step 1: Meet the state-eligibility requirement
- At least age 18 of age
- Citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S
- Resident or have a place of employment/practice in Iowa
- Able to read and write English
- Not be disqualified under section 9B.23
Step 2: Complete the Iowa Notary Training Course
As required by the Iowa Administrative Code, you must complete a 3-hours notary training course. The purpose is to equip you with the necessary knowledge in Iowa’s Notary laws and practices.
The course needs to be approved by the Secretary of State. As I’m reading the Secretary of State website, they have a link to the online notary course provided by the National Notary Association (NNA). Their syllabus consists of five lessons.
– Detailed instructions on the process to become a Notary in Iowa in Lesson 1.
– In Lesson 2, we’ll provide you with an overview of the five-step notarization process.
– Once you learn the notarial process, we will move to Lesson 3, where you will learn specifics of the different kinds of notarial acts you will be commissioned to perform.
– In Lesson 4, we will cover what responsibilities you have as a Notary and what to do when you encounter unique circumstances.
– And our last lesson is Lesson 5, which covers examples of Notary misconduct, what penalties a Notary may face if charged with misconduct, and the protections that a Notary has against liability and misconduct.Quote from National Notary Association – Iowa State-Required Notary Education
The course fee is $30.
After you complete the course, you can download the proof of completion. This will be needed when you are submitting the notary application in the later step.
Keep in mind that you must apply for the commission within six months of course completion.
Step 3: Familiarize with the Iowa notary acts
The notary training course is an interactive way to learn about being a notary. However, if you want to go over the contents more in-depth, you should read over the Iowa Code Chapter 9B.
This is a 11 pages PDF file that covers most of the topics that you need to know.
Another helpful resource is to read through the administrative rules in 721 chapter 43. It is a six pages chapter which covers the following:
- Certificate of notarial acts;
- Short form certificates;
- Conflict of interest;
- Commission as notary public;
- Performance of notarial act on electronic record
- Protection of recording and personally identifiable information
- Notary public sanctions
- Standards for communication technology and identity proofing for notarial acts performed for remotely located individuals
- Providers of communication technology
- Registration of provider of communication technology and approval of communication technology
Not only that, the above are useful resources, but in the notary application, you also need to affirm that you read and understand the requirements of Iowa Code chapter 9B and administrative rules in 721 chapter 43.
Step 4: Submit the application to the Secretary of State
The Iowa Secretary of State is responsible for appointing and commissioning notaries. You need to fill out the “Application for Appointment as Notary Public.”
Most of the questions on the application are pretty strict forward—for example, your name, business address, background info. It’s better to check that the name on the application will be the same as when you are notarizing documents.
There is a $30 filing fee. (Make check payable to Secretary of State)
To my understanding, by submitting the form, it also serves as making an oath of office. The oath is an affirmation that all answers in the application are true and that you agree to assume the duties of a notary public and will comply with the rules and laws.
Then you may send all the required document, and the $30 filing fee to the Iowa Secretary of State. Their mailing address is SECRETARY OF STATE
Notary Division, Lucas Building, 1st Floor, Des Moines, IA 50319
Step 5: Review the notary commission certificate
After the Iowa Secretary of State approves your application, they will send you the Notary Certificate of Commission.
It is a good idea to review and make sure all the details on the commission are correct. (e.g., your name, city of residence, tern of commission).
Step 6: Get a notary seal
To start a notary signing business in Iowa, you must have a notary seal. It is a helpful business tool that ensures you won’t leave out any required details. It also helps prevent fraudulent acts and make the signing agent an impartial witness.
You may purchase the notary seal from office supplies store. Also, its design must comply with the regulatory rules. For example, it stamp must include
- Your name as appears on the commission certificate,
- The words “Notarial Seal”, “Iowa”
- The words “Commission Number” followed by your commission number
- The words “My Commission Expires” followed by the expiry date
You may find a list of notary stamp vendors on the Iowa Secretary of State website.
Step 7: Maintain a good record of business practice with a notary journal
As a notary signing agent in Iowa, it is good to maintain a journal of all the notarial acts. Keeping 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.
If your journal is maintained in a physical format, you should have one bounded with pre-printed pages. You may find it at stationery, office supply stores, or through notary associations.
Whereas for a journal in an electronic format, it needs to be a permanent, tamper-evident. Make sure that it is complying with the rules of the Secretary of State.
For each entry of the notarial act, consider recording the following information such as:
- The date and time of the notarization;
- The type of notarial act;
- Name and address of the signer;
- A description of the document;
- The type of identification used;
- Amount of fees collected
Here’s a Snippet of What Stephanie Espinal Think about Being a Notary Signing Agent!
“My advice is that don’t be afraid to start the loan signing career on a part-time basis. I would also tell them that they need to be passionate about the profession and not just because of the money. They must dedicate their time to learning the business and notarial laws from your state.
You will be working with people’s financial lives and any mistake you make with cause them a lot of money.”
– Stephanie Espinal, Notary Loan Signing Agent
Here’s an exclusive interview with Stephanie. In there, she shared what it takes to be a notary signing agent as a side gig, her valuable journey, and secret sauce to success.
Does Iowa allow remote online notarization (RON)?
Let me briefly explain the difference between “Remote Online Notarization” and “Electronic Notarization.”
Remote online notarization does not require you to be physically present with the signer. Instead, you would verify their the signer’s identity through video and audio conference.
On the other hand, electronic notarization, also known as “e-notary” is where the signings and document transmission can be done electronically. But this does not specify whether you need to be physically at the same location as the signer.
In Iowa, both Remote Online Notarization and Electronic Notarization are allowed. These options to work digitally could bring you great convenience to streamline your notary practice.
How do I become a remote online notary in Iowa?
To become a remote online notary in Iowa, you must:
- Fill out an online form that states your intention to perform remote notarization. The good news is there is no additional cost to register as a Remote Online Notary.
- Complete a remote notarization training course that is approved by the Secretary of State. I checked with the National Notary Association. Their course is 90 minutes and the fee is $30.
- Select an authorized RON technology provider such as DocVerify, LenderClose, Notarize, Pavaso, SIGNiX. Skype, Zoom, and Facebook do not meet these requirements as the software needs to have identify-proofing technology, e-signing feature, and storage of notarial act recordings.
If you want to know how can you work from home as a notary? And the tools that you’ll need in your home office. Here’s the post for you.
How to become a mobile notary in Iowa?
Some signers cannot travel to your office in signing the documents, and they do not have the technology to perform the remote notarization. In such a situation, there would be a demand for a mobile notary. In short, a mobile notary is merely a notary that travels around in meeting signers.
To become a mobile notary in Iowa, you must:
- Register with the Secretary of State as a notary. This is basically the same notary commission certificate, as discussed earlier. You don’t need to get a new one.
- Have ease of transportation. It is better to have your own car so that you could conveniently drive between appointments.
- Setup essential equipment: A mobile printer and an approved electronic notarization platform allow you to work on the documents whenever and wherever. You may check out our resource page for amazingly helpful tools that could streamline your business.
How much can you make as a notary signing agent in Iowa?
The average annual income of Loan Signing Agent in Iowa is $45,650. The income typically ranges between $27,158 to $55,221. Top earning loan signing agents in Iowa are making over $82,379.
Although as a notary, you could work on different documents, the loan signing in the real estate market could be a lucrative niche.
Can you make over $10,000/month as a 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: ZipRecruiter – May 11, 2022
Is there demand for notary loan signing agent in Iowa?
As long as people are obtaining mortgages or refinancing their homes, there would be a demand for notary loan signing agents.
All originated mortgages in Iowa
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (Aug 30, 2020)
According to the Iowa Notary Search database, out of all the active notaries, 250 of them cannot perform electronic and remote online notarization. In contrast, only 45 licensed notaries can perform both.
If you want to maintain a competitive edge, you definitely should consider incorporating e-notary and RON in your practice.
Furthermore, some states are “Attorney States,” which means only attorneys can coordinate the closing paperwork of a real estate. Whereas, others are “Escrow States” where escrow companies would handle the mortgage closing.
According to the First American Title, Iowa is an “Attorney State.”
Here is a post covering the differences between escrow states and attorney states and its impact on the loan signing business. You will also find a case study where a signing agent went from barely making end needs to earning over $10,000/month even in an attorney state.
Jacob: “Here’s a review of the Loan Signing System training. In there, you will find out the course curriculum, costs, and student ratings from different sources. I have talked to several notary signing agents who took the course. They will share with you their first-hand thoughts about the LSS.“
How much does it cost to become a notary in Iowa?
It costs approximately $92 to become a notary in Iowa.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs to start a notary signing business
|Notary Application Fee||$30|
|Notary Training Course||$30|
There could be other expenses involved, travel expenses, car maintenance, auto insurance, remote notary technology, laptop and other business supplies.
Can a felon be a notary in Iowa?
Having a conviction for a felony may impact the application to become a notary in Iowa. The Secretary of State needs to make sure that you are a person with credibility, truthfulness, and integrity to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
As I’m reading the Iowa Code 9B.23, it seems that they pay a close attention to felony or a crime involving dishonesty or deceit.
9B.23 Grounds to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition commission of notary public
1 c. A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime involving fraud, dishonesty, or deceitQuote from NOTARIAL ACTS, §9B.23
However, having a felony does not necessarily mean your application will automatically be declined. It depends on the severity and nature of the conviction. I believe that the Iowa Secretary of State would review it on a case-by-case basis.
How long does it take to become a notary in Iowa?
It should take only a few weeks to become a notary in Iowa. After you complete the notary training course, submit the application and all the required documents, the Office will send you the notary certificate. Then you could purchase the notary seal and journal.
How to renew notary commission in Iowa?
If you are a resident of Iowa, you will renew the notary commission every three years. But if you are a resident of bordering states, you need to renew every one year.
The renewal can be done through their online system. There is a renewal fee of $30, which can be paid by a credit card. (i.e, VISA, Mastercard, Discover)
To avoid an interrupted business period, begin the renewal process in advance. Don’t wait till your current notary commission is expired.
Can I notarize for a family member in Iowa?
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.
A notarial officer shall not perform a notarial act with respect to a record to which the notarial officer or the notarial officer’s spouse is a party, or in which either of them has a direct beneficial interest. A notarial act performed in violation of this subsection is voidableQuote from NOTARIAL ACTS, §9B.4
I have more questions about being a notary public in Iowa, where could I obtain more details?
You may contact the Iowa Secretary of State:
- Phone: (515)281-5204
- Fax: (515) 242-5953
- Website: sos.iowa.gov
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. Some of the posts on this site may contain views and opinions from individual not related to JCHQ Publishing. They do not necessarily reflect our view or position.
(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing 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.
- First American Title- Your Guide to Real Estate Customs by State (source)
- Iowa Secretary of State – Notaries (source)
- National Notary Association
- Salary.com – Notary Signing Agent Salary in Iowa (source)
- ZipRecruiter – Loan Signing Agent Salary in Iowa (source)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (source)