A notary signing agent (NSA) is a mobile notary with special education and training to handle real estate document assignments. It’s important that a notary who is thinking about becoming an NSA has a well-developed plan to get the education they need to succeed.
Here is my suggested plan for
Education for Notary Signing Agents
First, start with my Education for Notaries page here, because you need to be a well-educated notary public before you become a notary signing agent.
Second, you need one or more good books or ebooks about getting started as an NSA (such as mine seen on the Books page) or being in business as an NSA (look for them on Amazon and other online sources, as well as from the NNA).
Reading these books should help you filter out the noise and junk in order to keep the useful, good information as you read the websites mentioned on my Education for Notaries page.
Third, you need formal NSA training, such as that covered in the ongoing series of articles about training that you will find here on this site. You must have formal training and certification from the organizations that your potential NSA clients require, as your marketing to those possible hiring firms will not succeed without it.
Even if you somehow find clients who don’t require formal training and certification, how are you going to know what you’re doing without it? Unless you bring a relevant background in mortgage lending, title or escrow company work, real estate, and/or law, you will be lost trying to conduct an NSA assignment — especially at the professional level that hiring firms expect.
Fourth, then and only then, after you’ve educated yourself and after you’ve been formally trained as detailed above, you may want to get a mentor.
A mentor is NOT going to train you or give you the keys to the kingdom so that you can bypass the need for self-education and formal training. That is not what a mentor does.
You need to understand the limited role of a mentor before you ask someone to be one for you — and you need to know how to screen people so that whoever is mentoring you has enough experience and training to actually know what they are talking about.
If you have some limited areas where you need some questions answered, a mentor can help. That is what a good mentor does.
Check with the trainers where you receive your formal NSA training to see if they include mentoring or offer it for an extra fee.
(If I remember correctly, the NNA has some sort of mentoring program. Those who are getting formal training from N2P can pay a bit more and receive mentoring from them. )
You can get answers on business basics such as market research, bookkeeping, taxes, and marketing from the Small Business Administration (sba.gov), from the nearest Small Business Development Center (find the one closest to you at sba.gov), from SCORE (score.org), or from many public libraries. SCORE in particular is big on mentoring, and that’s not all they offer.
Fifth, do NOT ask to ride along with a local NSA, as this may violate the privacy laws concerning non-public personal information (NPPI). Ride alongs may also be against the terms of the contracts between and among the NSA, the firm that hired them, title or escrow companies, and lenders.
There’s also reports (from Carol Ray of Notary2Pro and others) that Notary Signing Agents who do allow others to ride along with them are frequently teaching bad habits (such as not administering an oath or affirmation when the document or the notarial certificate requires it, which can get you in trouble with the law).
For these and other reasons, doing a ride along is a Very Bad Idea and should NOT be part of your education plan.
So, there you have it — an education and training plan for Notary Signing Agents. As you can see, this will require that you invest time and money if you want to succeed as an NSA. That’s true with every business — if you don’t have any skin in the game, you’re not going to reach your goals. It’s your business. Do what you can to make it prosper.
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