How To Become a Loan Signing Agent in Illinois

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: April 26, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Real Estate
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When you decide to become a loan signing agent in Illinois, you will need the right training. It takes more than just becoming a Notary Public to work as a loan signing agent.

This type of career can pay very well, with the right training. However, if you just go through the necessary steps to become a Notary Public, you might not make a very good income.

Before you decide to become a loan signing agent in Illinois, you should know what this career includes. Let’s look at the job duties and the steps involved.

Job Duties of a Loan Signing Agent in Illinois

Typically, a loan signing agent in Illinois will work with borrowers when signing mortgage loan documents. They will provide the notarization, along with walking the borrower through the loan documents. Loan signing agents also verify the identity of the signer when they provide a signature on the documents.

A loan signing agent does not provide any legal advice and does not explain the loan documents to the borrower. Instead, they will guide the borrower through the signing process making sure they initial and sign, where necessary. Only general information can be provided by the loan signing agent.

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How To Become a Loan Signing Agent in Illinois in 6 Steps

Step #1 – Meet all the Basic Requirements

Before you can become a loan signing agent in Illinois, you will need to meet all the basic requirements. You must be at least 18 years of age and a United States Citizen or have the ability to work in the U.S.

It’s also necessary to live in the State of Illinois for at least 30 days before you apply. If you haven’t lived in Illinois for 30 days, you must be a resident of a state bordering Illinois and work for a business that has been in Illinois for at least 30 days.

Along with these requirements, you will need to read and write English.

Step #2 – Get Your Surety Bond

You will need to purchase a four-year surety bond worth $5,000 in Illinois. This is a requirement of the Secretary of State when you decide to become a loan signing agent. A surety bond can be purchased through an insurance company or a licensed bonding company.

A surety bond helps to protect those you do work for, not you. If you want coverage to protect yourself, it’s called Error & Omission insurance or E&O insurance. This type of insurance will protect you from unintentional errors you might make.

Your surety bond may cost around $30 for a $5,000 bond. You can get $25,000 worth of E&O insurance coverage for around $70.

Step #3 – Apply to Become a Notary Public

The next step is to fill out your Notary Public Application. It’s a pretty straightforward application and you will need to provide some personal information.

Along with the application, you will need to provide a copy of your driver’s license or state ID and proof of your surety bond. The form actually requires the corporate seal from the surety bond company, too.

A Notary Public will need to sign and stamp your application, as well. A filing fee of $10 is necessary, which can be paid with a credit card. You can also pay by check or money order.

Step #4 – Get Your Notary Public Commission Certificate

After your application is approved by the Illinois Secretary of State, you will receive a certificate. This will actually come from the country clerk where you reside. The commission certificate can be mailed to you for a $10 fee or you can pick it up in person for $5. Either way, you’ll need to provide a signature recording.

You have up to 30 days to respond when the county clerk notifies you. If you don’t respond, you will be given another reminder. If another 30 days go by, your notary public commission will be canceled.

Once you have your commission certificate, you want to make sure all the details are correct.

Step #5 – Complete Loan Signing Agent Training

While becoming a Notary Public is necessary to be a loan signing agent, there is additional training you might want. It’s not required, but if you want to grow your business and make a nice income, you will want the right training.

Most loan signing agent training can be completed online. With the right training, you can learn how to find clients, how to make more money, and how to run your loan signing business. This type of training can be very powerful and can help you work as a full-time loan signing agent.

Step #6 – Get Your Business Supplies

You will need specific notary supplies to work at a loan signing agent, as well. A notary seal is required and you can get one from an office supply store. The stamp must include the following, within the border:

It also needs to be a black ink seal and needs to be less than one inch by 2.5 inches in size.

Frequently Asked Questions About Loan Signing Agents in Illinois

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

According to Salary.com, if you work as a notary signing agent, you can make a median salary of nearly $40K per year. The range goes from about $38K to $60K.

However, with the right training course, you can make quite a bit more than the average salary. Some loan signing agents make more than $10K per month. They charge as much as $200 per appointment. Good training will allow you to learn how to earn more appointments, charge more at each appointment, and complete appointments faster.

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What is the demand like for loan signing agents in Illinois?

As long as mortgages are a part of buying a home and refinancing a home, there will be a need for loan signing agents. Typically, more than 250,000 mortgages are signed every year. Some years, this number is over 400,000. Each of these mortgages needs a loan signing agent.

Will I be able to notarize an electronic signature in Illinois?

A newer signing trend is to handle documents with an e-signature or electronic signature. Check with the Secretary of State before you offer any type of e-notarization. It may have changed as Illinois did allow remote notarization temporarily during COVID-19.

Do I need to pass an exam to become a loan signing agent in Illinois?

No, there will be no exam required to become a notary public or a loan signing agent in Illinois.

What is the cost to become a loan signing agent?

If you want to become a loan signing agent in Illinois, you will spend about $145 on supplies. This includes a $10 application fee, $100 for your surety bond and E&O insurance, $20 for a notary seal, and $15 for a business journal. It might be a bit cheaper if you don’t get E&O insurance or if you get a cheaper policy.

Along with these expenses, you will likely need loan signing agent training. This can run from $200 to $500, depending on the provider and the course you choose.

Most loan signing agents will also need to pay for some travel expenses, get some business supplies, and buy a printer if you don’t have one already.

How long will it take me to complete training and become an Illinois loan signing agent?

The process is pretty quick. You will need to wait for the Secretary of State in Illinois to approve your application. Often, you can become a loan signing agent within three to four weeks.

Can I provide loan signing agent services for a family member?

No, you cannot notarize documents for a family member. As a Notary Public, you cannot notarize any documents where you have a beneficial interest or financial interest in the transaction. While this doesn’t say you cannot notarize documents for family members, it’s a practice you should certainly avoid.

Will I need to renew my Notary Public in Illinois?

Yes, you will need to renew your notary commission every four years. This requires filling out the application again and submitting it with your surety bond and filing fee. You will also need to destroy your old seal and buy a new one when you renew.

You will be notified by the Illinois Secretary of State 60 days in advance of your expiration date. Make sure you start the renewal process as soon as possible to avoid interruption to your business.

When you decide you want to become a loan signing agent in Illinois, you can follow these steps. It can become a full-time career or a part-time way of making extra cash. With the right training, you can enjoy a very nice income as a loan signing agent.

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. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!