How to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Maryland?(+Case Study of Success)


notary signing document

(**) 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 Maryland, you must submit an application to the Maryland Notary Division, complete the Notary Public Course of Study and Examination, pay the $11 filing 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 Maryland, income updates, and FAQ about this profession. We will also go over a case study where “a signing agent went from carrying years of credit card debts to earning 5-figures every month.

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 Signing Agent in Maryland

6 Steps to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Maryland

Step 1: Meet the basic requirement

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Living or working in Maryland
  • Good character with integrity and abilities

Step 2: Complete the Maryland Notary Public Course of Study and Examination

At the time I’m writing this post, this is optional. However, by October 1, 2021, all new notary commission applicants would need to complete a notary course. 

This online course is administered by the Maryland Notary Division through their OneStop portal.  

The course consists of six sections covering the laws, regulations, procedures, and ethics relevant to notarial acts. By the end of each, there will be True/False questions. You must answer all questions correctly to complete the training. 

But to my understanding, even if there were wrong answers, you still can re-answer them before completing the training. 

The entire process should take 60 to 90 minutes.

Step 3: Submit the notary commission application to the Maryland Notary Public Division

Submit the notary commission application to the Maryland Notary Public Division

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

You need to fill out an notary commission application on the Maryland Secretary of State website. Most of the questions on the application are pretty strict forward—for example, your name, business address, background info. 

In one of the questions, it will ask you to select the Legislative District. This is where the notary commission will be sent to, and it is determined by your home or work address. If you are unsure, you could find out at mdelect.net.

Also, you need to upload a copy of your driver’s license or a valid government issued ID.

There is a $9 application fee and a $2 convenience fee. They can be paid by a credit card. Make sure the name on the application will be the same as when you are notarizing documents.

The MD Secretary of State needs to ensure you are a trustworthy person

As part of the application process, you must provide three references who could attest to your character. You need to include their name, gender, address, phone, and email. But keep in mind that they cannot be a family member or your employer. Residents of Maryland are preferable.

Whenever I put down someone as a reference, I would make sure they are okay with it and expect to be contacted.

Maryland notary commission application

If you are unsure how to complete the online form, they have a demo which provides you step-by-step instruction.

By the way, the online application is time-sensitive. It will log you out if after 30 minutes of activity, and the info you entered will be lost.

Step 4: Appear at the Clerk of the Circuit Court

Appear at the Maryland Clerk of the Circuit Court

Then the Notary Division will forward your application to be reviewed by the State Senator. Since they may contact your references, so make sure the info you put in is correct.

If your application is approved, the MD Office of the Secretary of State will issue the notary commission. They will forward it to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county in which you reside.

The Notary Division will notify you through email. The State Senator may also mail you a postcard regarding it. You will need to visit the Clerk’s Office to take the oath of office within 30 days.

There will be a fee of $11 to the Clerk. Some office may only accept cash, so make sure to bring the exact change.

After 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).

Step 5: Get a notary seal

Maryland notary seal

To start the notary signing business in Maryland, 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.

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

The seal must be either an embosser which makes a raised impression in the paper or a rubber stamp which makes an ink impression upon the paper. Both are in general use throughout the State. Either type must contain the following:


a. The name of the notary public as it appears on the notary’s commission;
b. The words Notary Public; and
c. The County (or City of Baltimore) for which the notary was appointed.

The seal may also contain a symbol or device chosen by the notary public, but a symbol or device is not required and is not normally used.

Quote from HANDBOOK FOR MARYLAND NOTARIES PUBLIC

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

Maryland notary journal

As a notary signing agent in Maryland, the State law requires you to keep a fair register of all official acts.

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.

Each notary public is required by law to keep a fair register of all official acts performed. A fair register would include at least:

a. A record of the name and address of each person coming before the notary;
b. The date when they appeared;
c. The method by which each person was identified to the notary;
d. The type of official act (oath or affirmation, acknowledgment, protest, notary as an official witness);
e. The type of document involved (deed, mortgage, lease, motor vehicle form, deposition, etc.);
f. The fee charged; and
g. Signature(s) of person(s) signing document.

Quote from HANDBOOK FOR MARYLAND NOTARIES PUBLIC

So far, I could not find anywhere as to how long you must keep the records, but 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.

Remote notarization in Maryland

Remote notarization in Maryland

One thing I really like about this industry in Maryland is the option for notary to work digitally. Doing so could bring you great convenience to streamline your notary practice.

But let me first explain the difference between “Electronic notarization” and “Remote notarization.”

“Electronic notarization,” sometimes known as “e-notary,” is where you meet the signer in person, but the documents are signed and notarized digitally.

On the other hand, “Remote notarization” is also being done digitally. But you are not physically present with the signer. Instead, you would verify their the signer’s identity through video and audio conference.

As I’m writing this post, remote notarization is allowed. However, this could be a temporary measure due to the emergency and could be subjected to change anytime. You should confirm with the Maryland Secretary of State before proceeding any remote notarial acts.

As for now, if you are performing a remote notary act, you must retain an audio-visual recording of it.

How to become a remote notary in Maryland?

How to become a remote online and electronic notary in Maryland?

To become a remote notary in Maryland, you must first be registered as a notary public in the state. Then you need to complete the Remote Notary Notification Form. There is no fee to apply.

Furthermore, you would need an electronic platform to conduct the e-notarization. This may include fingerprinting, digital signing pads, cloud-based and encryption processes.

Make sure to choose an authorized vendor that complies with the regulatory rules. It must offer a high level of reliability and security to a notarized document.

When you are filling out the remote notary notification form, you also need to provide the technology vendor’s name.

Here is a list of technology companies I found on the Maryland Secretary of States website:

You may also consider other platforms that are not specifically designed for remote notarization – for example, Go To Meeting, Microsoft Team, Google Meet, Skype, Cisco Webex. But due to security concerns, they do not allow Zoom to be used at the moment.

You may also contact local associations for more info about technology vendors. Here are a few for your reference. 

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

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

The average Notary Signing Agent salary in Maryland is $38,755. It typically falls between the range $37,860 and $49,296. (+)

As mentioned earlier, you could work on different documents, but the loan signing in the real estate market could be a lucrative niche. Later on in the post, you will learn the journey where “a lady went from carrying years of credit card debts to earning 5-figures every month.”

However, to become a loan signing agent in Maryland, you will need more than just the notary commission. You also need the Title Insurance Producer Independent Contractors (TIPIC) license.

This is because the state wants another layer of protection for consumers against the improper conduct and negligence of title insurance producers.

To obtain such a license, you must complete the required pre-licensing education, pass an exam, submit the application, and pay the registration fee.

You may check with the Maryland Insurance Administration for more details. I will also leave their link in the reference section at the end of the post.

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 Maryland?

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

All originated mortgages in Maryland

YEAROriginated Mortgages in Maryland
2017144,610
2016171,556
2015152,541
2014118,429
2013187,825
2012219,387
2011159,707
2010182,102
2009210,794
2008162,234
2007261,984

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (July 14, 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, Maryland 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 the loan signing business?

Furthermore, as I’m browsing on the MD Notary Database, there are 65,796 active notaries. But I also see that there are only 1,472 registered as a remote online notary. To gain a competitive edge in your notary business, becoming a RON is certainly worth considering.

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 Maryland notary signing agent?

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

As I’m writing this guide, there is no education requirement to become a notary signing agent in Maryland.

But by October 1, 2021, all new notary commission applicants would need to complete the Notary Public Course of Study and Examination. It is an online course administered by the Maryland Notary Division.

In addition, another good resource to learn about this profession is the “Handbook for Maryland Notaries Public.” It is a 29 pages guide which covers the following topics:

  • Appointment of Notaries Public, 
  • General Powers and Duties, 
  • How to Act as a Notary Public, 
  • Notary as Offical Witness, 
  • Oath and Affirmations, 
  • Acknowledgments, 
  • Certified Copies
  • Mortgages and Deeds of Trust, 
  • Protest, 
  • Notarial Definitions, 
  • Charges and Fees, 
  • Penalties Imposed on Notaries Public, 
  • Clerks of the Circuit Court in Maryland, 
  • Local Election Boards

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

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

It would cost approximately $54 to become a notary in Maryland.

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

Notary Application$11
Clerk Registration Fee$11
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.

If you want to become a loan signing agent in Maryland, you need to account for the pre-licensing course, exam, and license fees.

Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Maryland?

Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Maryland?

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

As I’m reading the Notary Public Application, it has the following questions:

Have you ever had a Notary Public Commission revoked in any state?

Have you ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation?
Have you ever had any civil judgments in the last 7 years, satisfied or not?

A thorough background check is conducted. If yes to any or all questions, please explain the nature of crime and/or civil
judgment and the date of occurrence, on a separate sheet of paper, and attach to this application.

Quote from Maryland Notary Public Application

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you will need to explain the nature of crime and/or civil judgment and the date of occurrence about the offense. Also, the Maryland Secretary of State would conduct a thorough background check on you.

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

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

That would depend on whether the MD Secretary of State needs to perform a criminal background check and how quickly you register the notary commission at the Clerk office.

So my guess is it should only take a few weeks to become a notary signing agent in Maryland.

How to renew notary commission in Maryland?

To renew the notary commission in Maryland, you need to reapply every 5 years. You can do so within 60 days of the expiration date of your current commission. It can be done on the Maryland Secretary of State website.

Once they approve your renewal application, they will notify you. Then you need to appear in the Clerk of the Court within 30 days to pay for the $9 renewal fee.

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 Maryland?

Can I notarize for a family member in Maryland?

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 Maryland, where could I obtain more details?

You may contact the Maryland Notary Division:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Tel: (410) 974-5520 / Fax: (410) 974-5527
  • Work hours: 8:00am-4:00pm
  • Address: 16 Francis Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

Case Study of a Successful Loan Signing Agent – From Years of Credit Card Debts to Making Over 5-Figures Every Month

To help you better understand the loan signing business’s potential in Maryland, I just watched an inspiring 40 minutes interview from Mark Wills, a top-notch notary coach, to one of his students, Donyale Mills.

But before we start, I want to remind you that 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.

This is why Donyale started in the loan signing business

Donyale used to have another full-time job. Like many people, she was living paycheque to paycheque and had a considerable amount of credit card debts. She was frustrated about this financial situation for years. Not able to pay off the debts really gave her a sense of failure. 

Rather than being pessimistic and whined about it, Donyale had the desire to improve her financial well-being. She came across Mark Will’s Loan Signing System and decided to give it a try. 

Slow and steady win the race

Maryland loan signing agent journey

Unlike many other get-rich-quick schemes, her journey is a lot more real and believable. Her success did not come overnight. It took her two years of hard work to reach over the $10,000/month milestone.  

In the first six months of being a loan signing agent, she made less than $2,000 per month, which was an okay amount, given that this was only a side hustle for her. 

Sometimes, success requires full commitment 

After six months, Donyale decided to quit her job and went full-time in the loan signing business. I was quite surprised when I heard that part in their interview.  

Although Donyale did make some income as a signing agent in the first few months, frankly, this was not an extraordinary result. Besides, her previous job should be paying more than her loan signing business. 

However, Donyale explained that she did not like the idea of having a plan B. She rather burns all the bridges, then commits fully in making the notary signing business work.  

I am a conservative person, so I cannot foresee myself taking such a chance if I were her. But I truly admire her determination, faith, and courage. 

Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

Maryland loan signing agent mindset

In the next six months, Donyale’s monthly earning increased to $2,500 to $3,500. Although some readers might think this wasn’t a satisfying result after a year of hard work, Donyale was happy to see her income was increasing. 

Even when she saw other peers making a lot more than her, she wasn’t jealous of their result, and she did not get discouraged. Instead, she found it as a reassurance that one day she could achieve the same result. 

Once again, I truly kudos to her in being a real fighter. 

Change in tactic, change in result. 

Maryland loan signing agent prospecting

This is just a stock photo and not a photo of Donyale

Like the old saying, you can’t expect a different result by doing the same thing. In the first year, the majority of Donyale’s business was from signing services companies. She confirmed that 75% of her loan signing works were from them. 

After a year of loan signing on the road, she felt sufficient experience, knowledge, and confidence. Therefore, she decided to get business directly from attorneys and title offices. Going direct allows you to eliminate the middlemen, thus, earn a bigger chunk of the signing fee per assignment. 

Despite her not having any prior sales experience, she held up the courage to start approaching more title offices. In the video, she also confirmed that no sales experience is necessary. After all, she does provide a valuable service to the title companies, so there is no need to be a pushy salesperson. 

While many people might fear they would face a lot of harsh rejection, Donyale shared that she did not receive a straight “no” from any companies. All of them were acting professionally and nicely. Donyale would leave them her contact information so that they would contact her when there is a need for signing services. 

Due to her persistence and dedication in building a relationship, her hard work is eventually rewarded. Her income has been increasing rapidly. 

Case study- Maryland loan signing agent income

In the last six months, which was one and a half years into the business, she already made close to $50,000. This six-months of earning was already more than her full-year of previous employment’s income. 

As she was doing the interview, she was at the two-year mark in the loan signing business. That month alone, she had made an incredible of $11,100! And the month wasn’t even over yet!

Every journey is different. But perseverance, effort, and consistency can win the race. I hope this helps you to understand the potential in this business. 

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
  • Maryland Secretary of State – Notary Division (source)
    • FAQ (source)
    • Authorizing Remote Notarization (source)
    • In-Person Notarization Requirement Waiver Guidance updated June 3, 2020 (source)
  • Maryland Notary Public Application (source)
  • Handbook for Maryland Notaries Public (source)
  • Maryland Title Insurance Producer (source)
  • National Notary Association – MD House Bill 1470 (source)
  • Salary.com – Notary Signing Agent Salary in Maryland (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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