How to Become a Notary in West Virginia? (handbook| income)


How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in West Virginia

(**) 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 in West Virginia, you must:

  1. Meet the eligibility requirement;
  2. Submit an online Notary Public Application and $52 fee to the West Virginia Secretary of State;
  3. Review the notary commission letter;
  4. Purchase a notary seal;
  5. Maintain a business journal;
  6. Familiarize with the West Virginia Notarial Acts;
  7. Keep up with notarial best practice

Although you could work on different types of documents (i.e. marriage certificate, POA, living wills), 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 West Virginia, 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.

A Table Summary to Become a Notary in West Virginia

AgeNotary CourseExamSurety BondTerm of OfficeApplication Fee
At least 18NoNoNo4 years$52

7 Steps to Become a Notary in West Virginia

7 Steps to Become a Notary in West Virginia

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • At least 18 years old;
  • Citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;
  • A resident of West Virginia, or a resident of another state who has an office and works within West Virginia;
  • Able to read and write English;
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent;
  • Not be disqualified under the West Virginia Code §39-4-21

Step 2: Submit the notary application to the West Virginia Secretary of State

Applicant filling out West Virginia notary public application

The West Virginia Secretary of State is responsible for appointing and commissioning notaries. You need to fill out the Notary Public Online Application.

Most of the questions in 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 $52 filing fee.

Step 3: Review the notary commission letter

After the Secretary of State’s office receives your application, it typically would take them 2 to 3 weeks of processing time.

Upon approval, they will send you a a Notary Public Commission letter. It contains important details such as your name, commission expiry date, and the format of the notary seal, (which I will go over in the next step.)

It is a good idea to review and make sure all the details on the commission are correct. If there is any inaccurate info, you should notify the Secretary of State asap.

Here’s a sample of the Notary Public Commission Letter.

Step 4: Get a notary seal

West Virginia notary seal

To start a notary signing business in West Virginia, you must have your own official seal. It is a helpful business tool that ensures you won’t leave out any required details. It indicates the signing agent as an impartial witness and helps to prevent fraudulent acts.

You may purchase the notary seal from office supplies store. Its design must comply with the regulatory rules. For example, it must be a rubber stamp and the border cannot be more than 1 X 2.5 inches in size. You can find the seal requirement on the Notary Public Commission letter.

Here’s a sample of the notary seal

West Virginia Notary Public Seal Sample

Since the notary seal contains the commission expiry date, you need to get a new one for each term of office.

Step 5: Familiarize with the West Virginia Notary Public Law

As a notary signing agent, it is important to understand the West Virginia notary laws and regulations. After all, you must know what you can do and cannot do.

A great way in getting to know the notary laws is by reading is the “West Virginia Notary Public Handbook.”

West Virginia Notary Public Handbook

Source: This is a screenshot of the West Virginia Notary Public Guide

This is a 14-pages comprehensive guide which covers topics such as:

  • Powers of a Notary
  • Your Commission
  • Your Official Signature
  • Your Notary Stamp
  • Qualifications of a Notary

Another excellent resource is the West Virginia Code Chapter 39, Article 4

The Article 4 is Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. It consists of 36 sections, which lists out every detail about being a notary.

Its wording is more technical and formal than the ones in the handbook. But it indeed is a good reference if you want to know more in-depth about a specific topic.

Here are the topics you can find in it:

  • §39-4-1. Short title.
  • §39-4-2. Definitions.
  • §39-4-3. Applicability; operative date of enactment; effect on existing law.
  • §39-4-4. Authority to perform notarial act.
  • §39-4-5. Requirements for certain notarial acts.
  • §39-4-6. Personal appearance required.
  • §39-4-7. Identification of individual.
  • §39-4-8. Authority to refuse to perform notarial act.
  • §39-4-9. Signature if individual is unable to sign.
  • §39-4-10. Notarial act in this state.
  • §39-4-11. Notarial act in another state.
  • §39-4-12. Notarial act under authority of federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • §39-4-13. Notarial act under federal authority.
  • §39-4-14. Foreign notarial act.
  • §39-4-15. Certificate of notarial act.
  • §39-4-16. Short form certificates.
  • §39-4-17. Official stamp.
  • §39-4-18. Stamping device.
  • §39-4-19. Notification regarding performance of notarial act on electronic record, selection of technology.
  • §39-4-20. Commission as notary public; qualifications; no immunity or benefit; disposition of fees.
  • §39-4-21. Grounds to deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend, or condition commission of notary public.
  • §39-4-22. Database of notaries public.
  • §39-4-23. Prohibited acts.
  • §39-4-24. Validity of notarial acts.
  • §39-4-25. Rules.
  • §39-4-26. Notary public commission and commissioner appointment in effect.
  • §39-4-27. Savings clause.
  • §39-4-28. Uniformity of application and construction.
  • §39-4-29. Relation to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act.
  • §39-4-30. Maximum fees.
  • §39-4-31. Government notaries public.
  • §39-4-32. Liability of notary and of an employer of notary.
  • §39-4-33. Criminal penalties.
  • §39-4-34. Action for injunction; unauthorized practice of law.
  • §39-4-35. Administrative complaints and investigations.
  • §39-4-36. Secretary of State record retention.

I’ll leave the links of the Notary Public Manual and the West Virginia Statutes Chapter 455 in the reference section.

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

West Virginia notary journal

Although notaries are not required to keep a 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.

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. Also, you cannot have more than one active journal at any even time.

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.

In the notary journal, you should record the following items in each entry:

  • What is the the date of the notarial act performed?
  • What is the notarial act?
  • The identifying information of the signer
  • Other details which you believe would be useful when referring to this notarization

Step 7: Keep up with notarial best practice

Continuing education is critical to being a notary signing agent. Rules and regulations would change over time. Also, there will be new technology to advance your business practice. A good way is to take high-quality courses from a trusted provider.

Learn to earn as a Loan Signing Agent

Without sufficient income, you are just doing it as a hobby and not a real business. The first step you should take is to learn how to build a “PROFITABLE” notarial practice.

But this could take years of trial and error in coming up with a feasible strategy. Rather than reinventing the wheel, a MUCH better way is to learn from someone who has done it before successfully.

Mark Wills is a top-notch coach for notary signing agents. He developed the Loan Signing System (LSS) training program, where many of his students have achieved massive success. Some can earn great money as a side-gig, where some are earning over six-figures every year.

You may click here to check out his training program. (**)

Advance your credential by becoming an NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent

The National Notary Association (NNA) is one of the largest associations and most recognizable for notaries. They provide regular updates, training and networking events to the members.

Getting the NNA Certified status can show to title and escrow companies that you are maintaining a high standard as a signing agent. Thus, strengthen their trust and confidence in your signing services.

What is a Certified Notary Signing Agent?- An Exclusive Interview with Melina Fuenmayor

Here is a review I wrote about the NNA Certified Notary Signing Agent Program.

In there, you can find an exclusive interview I had with Melina Fuenmayor. She will share with you her thoughts in obtaining the certified credential. 

Does West Virginia allow electronic notarization?

Does West Virginia allow electronic notarization?

I like states that have the option for notaries to work digitally. Doing so could bring you great convenience to streamline your notary practice.

Electronic Notarization, also known as “e-notarization” is where the signings and document transmission can be done electronically. But you’ll still need to meet the signer in-person to verify their identity.

You can perform “electronic notarization” in West Virginia. But the meeting must be conducted within the state of West Virginia.

An electronic notarization would involve:

  • Electronic document
  • Digital notary seal
  • Digital signatures of the notary and signer

To become an e-notary in West Virginia, you must fill out the “West Virginia E-Notarization Application Form N-2.” In the form, you need to specify a technology vendor. DocuSign, DocVerify, and World Wide Notary are all approved vendors. 

Once you complete the application, you may email it to [email protected]

There isn’t any filing fee. Well, unless you are in a hurry, then you could pay extra for their expedited service. The charges are as follow:

  • 24 hours ($25)
  • 2 hours ($250)
  • 1 hour ($500)

The standard processing turnaround is 5-10 business days. 

Does West Virginia allow remote online notarization (RON)?

Does West Virginia allow remote online notarization (RON)?

Remote online notarization (RON) 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 which allows remote notarization in West Virginia.

However, this could be a temporary measure. Whether they would revert to in-person notarization afterward is unknown yet. Therefore, you should check with the Office of the Secretary of State.

How to become a mobile notary in West Virginia?

How to become a mobile notary in West Virginia?

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 West Virginia, 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 West Virginia?

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

The average Notary Signing Agent salary in West Virginia is $33,403. It typically falls between the range $32,632 and $42,488. (+)

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 – Aug 27, 2020

Is there demand for notary loan signing agent in West Virginia?

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 West Virginia

[table “WV-mortgage” not found /]

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (Sept 23, 2020)

Since not all active notaries can perform electronic notarization, you definitely should consider incorporating it in your practice to maintain a competitive edge.

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, West Virginia 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.

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 West Virginia?

How much does it cost to become a notary in West Virginia?

It would cost approximately $87 to become a notary in West Virginia.

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

Notary application fee$52
Notary seal$20
Journal $15

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

Can a felon be a notary in West Virginia?

Can a felon be a notary in West Virginia?

Having a conviction for a felony may impact the application to become a notary in West Virginia. 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.

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

The Secretary of State may deny, refuse to renew, revoke, suspend or impose a condition on a commission as a notary public for any act or omission that demonstrates the individual lacks the honesty, integrity, competence or reliability to act as a notary public, including but not limited to:

• A dishonest misstatement or omission in the application for a
commission as a notary public submitted to the Secretary of State;

• A conviction of the applicant or notary public of any felony or a crime
involving fraud, dishonesty or deceit; or

• Denial, refusal to renew, revocation, suspension or conditioning of a
notary public commission in another state.

Quote from West Virginia Notary Public Handbook

How long does it take to become a notary in West Virginia?

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to become a notary in West Virginia. Upon approval, you will receive a commission letter from the Secretary of State.

Then you can use purchase a notary seal according to the details on the letter.

How to renew notary license in West Virginia?

How to renew notary license in West Virginia?

You must renew the notary commission every four year. The renewal steps are similar as you were applying for the initial application. 

  • Submit an online application to the Secretary of State
  • Pay the $52 fee.
  • Get a notary seal with a new commission expiry date

To avoid having an interruption to your business, start the renewal process ahead of time and don’t wait till your current commission is expired.

Can a notary refuse to notarize a document in West Virginia?

Yes, according to §39-4-8, a notary may refuse to notarize a document in West Virginia if:

  • The signer is not competent or does not have the capacity to sign the record
  • The signature is not knowingly and voluntarily made

Can I notarize for a family member in West Virginia?

Can I notarize for a family member in West Virginia?

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 public in West Virginia, where could I obtain more details?

You may contact the Office of the Secretary of State at:

  • Building 1, Suite 157-K, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Charleston, WV 25305
  • Phone: 1-304-558-8000
  • Toll free: 1-866-767-8683
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: www.wvsos.gov

A real life story of a successful notary public and loan signing agent

Luisa Cook Notary Public and Loan Signing Agent

What’s a better way to learn about the business than learning from someone actually working in it! Here is an exclusive interview I conducted with Luisa Cook. She is a successful Certified Notary Public and Loan Signing Agent.

In there, she shared her journey and business strategy in running a notary and signing business. I’m sure this could help you to understand more about the notary career.

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
  • West Virginia Secretary of State (source)
    • West Virginia Notary Handbook (source)
    • West Virginia Code §39-4 – Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts. (source)
  • Executive Order Temporarily Suspending Statutory Requirement of Physical Appearance (source)
  • Notice of an Emergency Amendment to an Emergency Rule (source)
  • Salary.com – Notary Signing Agent Salary in West Virginia (source)
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (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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