How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Alabama? (Complete Step-by-Step Guide)


Notary signing agent Alabama

(**) 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 signing agent in Alabama, you must submit an application to the probate judge in your county, pay the registration fee, purchase the notary seal and other business supplies.

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 Alabama, 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.

7 Steps to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Alabama

How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Alabama?

Step 1: Meet the basic requirement

  • Possess all legal requirements to be an officer in the state
  • At least age 18
  • A resident of Alabama and the county of application
  • A person who has not convicted of a felony unless there is a pardon restores the applicant’s civil and political rights

Step 2: Complete the Alabama notary training and exam

I read through the Alabama Secretary of State website and their handbook. So far, I haven’t found any course or test requirement. 

However, as I am reading the National Notary Association website, they mention that some counties may require them. It is really at the discretion of the appointing county probate judge. You may find out the probate judge at your county here

Step 3: Purchase a surety bond

Alabama $25,000 notary surety bond

The Alabama Secretary of State requires you to purchase a $25,000 surety bond with a 4 years term. You may get it from a licensed surety such as a notary bonding company, an insurance company, or a notary organization. You could search for them online.

Note that the surety bond is to protect those for whom the notary public performs a notarization, but not you as a notary public. If you need coverage for your professional services, you should consider getting an Error & Omission insurance (E&O).

I just checked with a surety bond issuer. Below is their premium structure.

CoveragePremium
$25,000 without E&O coverage$50
$25,000 bond with $10,000 E&O coverage$90
$25,000 bond with $15,000 E&O coverage$100
$25,000 bond with $25,000 E&O coverage$120

Step 4: Submit the notary commission application to the probate judge

Submit the notary commission application to the Alabama probate judge

The probate judges are responsible for appointing and commissioning notaries. You may find the application on the county websites.

Once you complete the application, you may bring it to the probate judge in your county. But remember to bring along the surety bond. There is an application fee, which varies from county to county.

Then the county will forward your commission info to the Alabama Secretary of State. This is the office that maintains records of all notaries public in Alabama.

Step 5: Review the notary commission certificate

Review the Alabama notary commission certificate

Once your application is approved, you will be provided with a notary commission. There will be a $10 fee.

You should review and make sure all the details on the commission are correct. (e.g., your name, county of residence, commission dates).

Step 6: Get a notary seal

Alabama notary seal

To start the notary signing business in Alabama, you must have a notary seal. This helps you to include specific info in every document so 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.

It can either be an ink stamp or metal embosser. But it is not necessary to be an embosser.

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 7: Maintain a good record of business practice with a notary journal

Alabama notary journal

As a notary signing agent in Alabama, the State law no longer requires you to keep a journal of all the notarial acts. This waiver has been effective since 2011.

However, 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. That is why many notaries would keep a business journal.

It is better to have one bounded with pre-printed pages. You may find it at stationery, office supply stores, or through notary associations.

For the states that require notary signing agent to maintain a journal, they typically would recommend taking notes of the following:

  • Name and address of the signer;
  • Date of the notarization;
  • Method by which each person was identified to the notary;
  • Type of official act (oath or affirmation, acknowledgment, protest, notary as an official witness);
  • Type of document involved (deed, mortgage, lease, motor vehicle form, deposition, etc.);
  • The fee charged; and
  • Signature(s) of person(s) signing document.

Furthermore, it is better to retain the journal for a reasonable period. Some states would require a notary signing agent to keep them for at least ten years.

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 Alabama allow remote online notarization?

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

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.

The Alabama Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public specifies that a wet signature is required. However, the edition that I’m reading is 2019.

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

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 Alabama?

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

The average Notary Signing Agent salary in Alabama is $35,220. It typically falls between the range $34,406 and $44,799. (+)

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 Alabama?

As I’m browsing on the AL Notary Public Records, there are 1,000 active notaries. As long as people are obtaining mortgages or refinancing their homes, there would be a demand for loan signing agents.

All originated mortgages in Alabama

YEARAll originated mortgages
2017103,096
2016109,870
201598,097
201485,899
2013118,638
2012123,170
201197,761
2010106,706
2009126,063
2008119,306
2007153,334

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (July 15, 2020)

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, Alabama is a 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 in Alabama went from barely making end needs to earning over $10,000/month.

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. (**)

What education do you need to become a Alabama notary signing agent?

What education do you need to become a Alabama notary signing agent?

As mentioned earlier, education and exam requirements vary across different counties in Alabama. Therefore, whether you need to take a course or pass a test is at the discretion of the appointing county probate judge in your county.

However, it is always a good idea to equip yourself with updated notary knowledge. A good resource to learn about this notary signing profession is the “The Alabama Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public.”

The Alabama Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public

It is a 12 pages guide which covers the following topics:

  • Introduction
  • What is a Notaries Public? 
  • A Notary’s Duty 
  • Notary Public 
    • Appointment and Commissioning
    • Bond
    • Notarial Seal
    • Powers and Authority of Notaries Public
    • Fees
    • Violations
  • Forms of Acknowledgments and Notarial Acts
    • Acknowledgments
    • Jurats
    • Certified Copies
  • Questions and Answers
  • Conclusion
  • Contact

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

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

It would cost approximately $162 to become a notary in Alabama.

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

Notary Commission Fee$10
Surety Bond Premium with E&O$120
Notary Stamp$17
Journal$15

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 signing agent in Alabama?

Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Alabama?

Having a conviction for a felony may impact the application to become a notary signing agent in Alabama. The AL Secretary of State 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 Alabama Secretary of State would review it on a case-by-case basis. 

A person who has been convicted of a felony cannot serve as a notary public, unless such conviction was prior to holding office and he or she has received a pardon specifically restoring his or her civil and political rights.

Quote from The Alabama Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public

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

It should take a 4 to 6 weeks to become a notary signing agent in Alabama.

How to renew notary commission in Alabama?

To renew the notary commission in Alabama, you need to reapply every 4 years. By then, you would need to get a notary seal with a new expiry date.

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 Alabama?

Can I notarize for a family member in Alabama?

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 loan signing agent in Alabama, where could I obtain more details?

You may contact the Janice McDonald

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
  • Alabama Secretary of State
  • The Alabama Secretary of State’s Handbook for Notaries Public (source)
  • SuretyBonds.com – Alabama Notary Bond (source)
  • Salary.com – Notary Signing Agent Salary in Alabama (source)
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (source)
  • NNA – Answers To Urgent Questions Notaries Are Asking About Remote Online Notarization (Source)
  • The Alabama Legistlature – Chapter 20 (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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