(**) 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 signing agent in Virginia, you must submit the notary application to a Virginia Secretary of Commonwealth, pay the filing fee, take an oath of office and 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 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.
- 5 Steps to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Virginia
- How to become an electronic notary in Virginia?
- How much can you make as a notary signing agent in Virginia?
- Is there demand for notary loan signing agent in Virginia?
- How much does it cost to become a notary in Virginia?
- What education do you need to become a notary signing agent in Virginia?
- Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Virginia?
- How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Virginia?
- How to renew notary commission in Virginia?
- Can I notarize for a family member in Virginia?
- I have more questions about being a notary signing agent in Virginia, where could I obtain more details?
5 Steps to Become a Notary Signing Agent in Virginia
Step 1: Meet the basic requirement
- At least 18 years of age
- U.S legal resident
- For non-residents of Virginia, you need to be regularly employed in VA
- Able to read and write English
- Have not convicted or felony under the laws of U.S/ this Commonwealth/ any other state (unless the applicant has been pardoned for such felony or the right is restored)
Step 2: Submit a notary application to the VA Secretary of the Commonwealth
The Secretary of the Commonwealth is the office that appoints the notary commission to applicants and maintains records of all notaries public in Virginia.
You need to fill out all the interview questions in the Notary Application Wizard. To do so, you must create an account on the VA Secretary of Commonwealth website.
Most of the questions on the application are pretty strict forward—for example, your name, business address, background info. Make sure the name on the application will be the same as when you are notarizing documents.
After you fill out all the answers, you would print out a PDF version of the application. There is a $45 application fee. You have the option to pay online with a credit card or send them a check or money order, payable to “Treasurer of Virginia.”
Keep in mind that on Part 3 of the application, you must have your signature notarized by a Virginia Notary.
Once all required documents are ready, you may mail it to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Step 3: Take an oath of office
After the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth approves your application, they will send you a notification letter. The turnaround time is about 2 to 3 weeks.
Then you must visit the Circuit Court’s office within 60 days. In there, you will take an oath of office and pay the $10 filing fee. An oath of office is an affirmation that you agree to assume the duties of a notary public and that you will comply with the rules and laws.
Once you receive the Notary Commission Certificate, it is better to review and make sure all the details are correct. (e.g., your name, county of residence, commission dates).
Step 4: Get a notary seal
The Virginia notary law requires to use an official stamp or steal to authenticate all notarial acts, having one helps you to include specific info in every document. This way, you won’t leave out any required details.
However, make sure its design comply with the regulatory rules. For example, the stamp needs to be sharp, legible, permanent and photographically reproducible. It must also contain your name exactly as it is shown on the commission, the words “Notary Public” and “Commonwealth of Virginia.
You may purchase the notary seal from office supplies store or at the county clerk’s office. Also, 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: Maintain a good record of business practice with a notary journal
As a notary signing agent in Virginia, 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.
It is better to have a permanently bounded journal with numbered pages. You may find it at stationery, office supply stores.
In many other states, their offices would recommend to record the following the items in the journal.
- Date and time of notary act,
- Type of act (i.e., acknowledgment),
- Title of document,
- Printed name and address of each signer
- Form of ID
- 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”– 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.
How to become an electronic notary in Virginia?
One thing I really like about this industry in Virginia is the option for notary to work digitally. This reduces the volume of unnecessary paper consumption and good for the environment.
Electronic notarization (or e-notary) allows you to notarize an electronic document using an electronic signature and electronic seal.
Here are the steps to become an eNotary in Virginia:
Step 1: Be a notary in VA
You need to be an active notary of Virginia to apply for eNotary. You may check your commission status on the SOS notary database.
Step 2: Get an electronic notary signature and seal
In traditional paper notarization, you would sign the notarial certificate with a pen and stamp it. It is a way to prove that you have notarized the document.
An eNotary’s signature and seal serve the same purpose. They could bring you great convenience to streamline your notary practice. However, you must ensure that they are complying with the regulatory requirement.
“The notary’s electronic seal is simply text that appears on an electronic document and that must include, at minimum, the notary’s name as it appears on his commission, the notary’s jurisdiction (i.e., the Commonwealth of Virginia), the notary’s registration number, and the notary’s commission expiration date.
In addition, and just as with paper notarizations, every electronic document bearing an electronic notary’s signature and seal must state the date the notarial act was performed, the county or city and state in which it was performed, and text that states the date of the expiration of his commission in substantially the following form: “My commission expires the _ day of ______, _“.”Quote from Secretary of Commonwealth website – eNotary FAQ
Furthermore, since there could be confidential details involved, it is important to choose a platform that has a high level of security. It is better to protect using at least one authentication factor such as a password, 25 token, biometric, or other formats of authentication.
Step 3: Complete the eNotary Application
You must submit an online registration form along with a $45 fee. In the application, you need to specify the technology that you will be using for your eNotary acts. Make sure you provide a valid email address.
Step 4: Maintain an electronic notarization journal
Unlike for traditional paper notarization, where having a journal is optional, it is mandatory to do so for your electronic acts. You must include at least the following details for each notarial act.
i. the date and time of day of the notarial act;
ii. the type of notarial act;
iii. the type, title, or a description of the document or proceeding;
iv. the printed name and address of each principal or signer;
v. the evidence of identity of each principal in the form of either a statement that the person is personally known to the notary, a notation of the type of identification document presented by the principal/signer, which may be a copy of the driver’s license or other photographic image of the individual’s face, or the printed name and address of each credible witness swearing or affirming to the person’s identity, and, for credible witnesses who are not personally known to the notary or electronic notary, a description of the type of identification documents relied on by the notary; and
vi. the fee, if any, charged for the notarial act.
vii. if the notary uses video and audio conference technology authorized under VOC § 47.1-2 and the principal’s identity has been ascertained upon presentation of satisfactory evidence of identity pursuant to VOC § 47.1-2, the electronic notary shall keep a copy of the recording of the video and audio conference and a notation of the type of any other identification used.Quote from Secretary of Commonwealth website – eNotary
Also, you must maintain electronic records for at least five years. That is from the date the eNotarial act was performed.
Step 5: Setup for remote online notarization
eNotarization is different from Remote Online Notarization (RON). eNotarization is where you notarize a document digitally, but you are still required to meet the signer physically. On the other hand, RON allows you to verify a signer’s identity through an audio and video platform.
Not all states allow the practice of RON, but in Virginia, once you become an eNotary, you are granted permission to perform remote notarization.
Once again, you will need a technology platform where you can perform RON in a secure manner. According to the Secretary of Commonwealth, services such as Skype or Facetime do not meet the requirements.
As I am reading the Secretary Office website, they provide a list of technology vendors.
However, the office specifies that this is not their endorsement. They are merely providing it as a reference. You still need to ensure whether these technology platforms are meeting the RON regulatory requirement.
Familiarize yourself with the rules and best practices
If you want to learn more about eNotary in Virginia, a useful resource is the eNotary FAQ page on the Secretary of Commonwealth website. It pretty much covers most of the topics that you need to know.
As for the Remote Online Notarization, you can read over The Virginia Electronic Notarization Assurance Standard. It is a ten-page guide covering the topics, such as Electronic Notarization Generally, Official Electronic Signature and Seal Requirements, Online Notarization, Notarized Electronic Document Requirements.
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 Virginia?
The average Notary Signing Agent salary in Virginia is $37,362. It typically falls between the range $36,500 and $47,524. (+)
As mentioned earlier, you could work on different documents, but the loan signing in the real estate market could be a lucrative niche.
However, to become a loan signing agent in Virginia, you will need more than just the notary commission. You also need the Title Insurance license.
The purpose is to add 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 the title exam;
- Obtain an E&O insurance policy of a minimum $250,000 per claim or occurrence;
- A fidelity bond of a minimum of $100,000 per claim or occurrence;
- A surety bond of a minimum of $200,000.
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 Virginia?
As long as people are obtaining mortgages or refinancing their homes, there would be a demand for loan signing agents.
All originated mortgages in Virginia
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (July 27, 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, Virginia is 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 Virginia?
It would cost approximately $132 to become a notary in Virginia.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs to start a notary signing business
|Oath of Office Filing fee||$10|
There could be other expenses involved such as E&O, bonds, travel expenses, car maintenance, auto insurance, remote notary technology, laptop and other business supplies.
What education do you need to become a notary signing agent in Virginia?
There is no education requirement to become a notary signing agent in Virginia. But to achieve the best business practice in this profession, it is always good to equip yourself with notarial knowledge.
An excellent resource would be the Virginia Notary Public Handbook. It is a 32 pages guide that topics such as
- Notary’s function
- Types of notaries
- Traditional notary
- Electronic notary public
- Powers, limitations, and responsibilities
- Code of Virginia
Unlike a lawbook with lots of technical jargon, the content is presented in an easy-to-understand format. You can find its link in the reference section of the post.
Can a felon be a notary signing agent in Virginia?
Having a conviction for a felony may impact the application to become a notary signing agent in Virginia. The Secretary of the 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 Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth would review it on a case-by-case basis.
(iv) shall never have been convicted of a felony under the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth, or any other state, unless such person has been pardoned for such felony, has had his conviction vacated by the granting of a writ of actual innocence, or has had his rights restoredQuote from Code of Virginia – § 47.1-4. Qualification for appointment
How long does it take to become a notary signing agent in Virginia?
After the VA Secretary of Commonwealth receives your application, their turnaround time is about 2 to 3 weeks. Then it would depend on how long you are going to take an oath of office. But you must do so within the next 60 days.
Assuming the entire process goes smoothly, it would take approximately four weeks to become a notary signing agent in Virginia.
How to renew notary commission in Virginia?
The notary commission term will last for four years. The renewal process is similar to the initial application.
You would log in to the Notary Management account on the VA Secretary of Commonwealth website and complete the online application. In there, you will pay the renewal fee with a credit card.
In 5-7 business days, the Office will notify the approval of your commission renewal. Then within 60 days, you must visit the Circuit Court to retake an oath. There will be a filing fee of $10.
The electronic notary commission will expire on the same date, so you will need to renew it at the same time.
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 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 signing agent in Virginia, where could I obtain more details?
You may contact the Virginia Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth:
P.O. Box 1795
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1795
(804) 371-0017 (fax)
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 RealEstateCareerHQ.com may contain views and opinions from the interviewees. They do not 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)
- Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth – Notary Commissions (source)
- The Virginia Electronic Notarization Assurance Standard (source)
- Code of Virginia – § 47.1-4. Qualification for appointment. (source)
- National Notary Association- Proposed Virginia Regulation Would Require Notary Signing Agents To Be Licensed (source)
- Salary.com – Notary Signing Agent Salary in Virginia (source)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) (source)
- Virginia Notary Public Handbook (source)