How To Become a Loan Signing Agent in California

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 27, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Real Estate
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When you want to become a loan signing agent in California, you need to know the steps. Of course, it’s also important to know what you will be doing as a loan signing agent.

A loan signing agent is also known as a notary signing agent or notary loan signing agent. There is a process you must go through to earn this title. Let’s look at the job duties, how to become a loan signing agent in California, and a few other things having to do with this career.

Job Duties of a Loan Signing Agent in California

as a loan signing agent in California, you will help people when they get a mortgage. You will have a strong understanding of loan documents and what they mean. The job duties will include:

As a loan signing agent in California, you will likely spend most of your time handling loan closings. However, you may work in other industries, too. Some loan signing agents may work for hospitals, schools, or government agencies in need of documents to be notarized.

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How To Become a Loan Signing Agent in California in 9 Steps

Step #1 – Make Sure You Qualify

Before you go through all the steps to become a loan signing agent in California, make sure you qualify. Loan signing agents in California have to meet some basic requirements. You will need to be at least 18 years of age, a legal resident of California, and able to read and write English.

No other requirements are necessary for you to qualify in California.

Step #2 – Get the Right Education

You will have to take a six-hour notary course approved by the California Secretary of State. Listed education providers with this approval can be found here.

This educational training will teach you everything you need to understand about being a loan signing agent. You will learn about the duties, responsibilities, and professional standards expected of you.

After completing this training course, you will be given a Proof of Completion certification. You will need this certification to take the exam. It will be good for two years from the issue date.

Step #3 – Complete Your Notary Public Application

It’s necessary to fill out the notary public application. You will need to answer the questions on this application and sign it. Then, just pay the $20 application fee when you file it.

Step #4 – Take and Pass the California Notary Exam

You will need to go online and register to take the California notary exam. Make sure to register about 15 days before you want to take the exam. You can also register by phone if you prefer.

The fee to take the exam is $20. You will pay it by check or money order when you take the exam. On the day you take the exam, you will need to show a completed notary public application, proof of course completion certification, and you will need a color passport photo.

Step #5 – Pass a Background Check

You will also need to pass a background check and submit your fingerprints through Live Scan. This must be done within one year of passing the exam. The processing fee for this step is $50. It will take about four weeks for the background check to be processed.

Step #6 – Get Your Notary Public Commission Packet

The next step is to wait until you receive your notary public commission packet. This packet will include the following:

It will take about three or four weeks for you to receive this package. Once you have received it, you want to review everything and make sure your information is correct.

Step #7 – Purchase Your Surety Bond

You will be required to purchase a $15,000 surety bond to become a loan signing agent in California. This surety bond has to come from a licensed surety. Usually, you can get it from an insurance company, notary bonding company, or a notary organization. It can likely be purchased online.

This surety bond helps to protect those you perform services for, not you. Getting coverage for you is called Errors & Omissions Insurance.

Step #8 – File Your Notary Public Oath and Bond

Once you have your surety bond, you will need to file your notary public oath and both with the county clerk’s office. This needs to be done within 30 days from the time the commission term is prescribed. You will also need to make sure this is filed in your county.

While you can mail the documents, it’s better to deliver them in person.

Step #9 – Get Your Notary Supplies

You will need to get your seal and other supplies if you want to work as a loan signing agent in California. Any supplies you need can be found at office supply stores or online through the right notary supply websites.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming Loan Signing Agent in California

How much can I make as a loan signing agent in California?

As a loan signing agent in California, you can expect to earn a median salary of $43,185, according to Salary.com. They put the range of pay at about $41,279 to $65,624.

ZipRecruiter.com has the average salary for a loan signing agent in California a bit higher at $47,170. They put the range at about $19,662 to $95,360. However, they do have an average salary of about $5,000 less than the national average.

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Where can I work as a loan signing agent in California?

Most loan signing agents will work for lenders, real estate companies, and law officers. However, you may also work for schools, government agencies, or hospitals. You can work for anybody that needs to have documents notarized.

It’s also common for loan signing agents in California to work for themselves. You can take on business from lenders and other clients to make a nice income.

What is the format of the notary exam in California?

The notary public exam in California is a closed-book exam with multiple-choice questions. You will have one hour to complete it and there are 45 total questions. A passing score is 70. If you fail the exam, you can retake it, but you cannot take it twice in the same calendar month.

When will I get results from taking the exam?

Exam results will take about 15 days to get. You can provide an email address and get results through email. It’s also possible to log in to the CPS website to view your results. The exam results will be good for one year.

What is the full cost to become a loan signing agent in California?

You will spend around $265 to become a notary in California. This doesn’t include any money you might need to spend to market your services as a loan signing agent. The fees you will need to pay include:

You may also need to account for expenses, such as travel expenses, business supplies, and E&O insurance.

How long will it take me to become a loan signing agent in California?

You will need to complete the six-hour notary course and register for the exam at least 15 days in advance. It will take another 15 days to get your exam results, and you still have to wait four weeks for your background check. Often, it takes around two months to become a loan signing agent in California.

When will I need to renew my notary in California?

Your notary will be good for four years in California. After four years, you will have to pass the exam and submit a new application to renew your notary. It’s best to do this at least six months in advance to ensure your notary commission doesn’t expire.

Along with the renewal, you will also need to complete a three-hour refresher course every two years.

Can I notarize something for a family member in California?

It’s not wise to notarize things for family members. As a loan signing agent, you cannot notarize any documents where you have a beneficial or financial interest in the transaction. This may not include documents for a family member, but this could cause an issue. It’s best to avoid this practice.

If you want to become a loan signing agent in California, use the steps above. It can be a very rewarding career. If you want to enhance your career or work for yourself, becoming a loan signing agent might be a great option.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.