Loan Signing Agents vs. Notary Publics

Loan Signing Agents vs. Notary Publics

Have you ever tried to have a document notarized and ended up being disappointed to hear the notary cannot notarize your document? This is because not all notaries are the same.

The main difference between a signing agent and a notary is their legal ability to which documents they are authorized to notarize. A signing agent has more authority than a notary public due to the fact signing agents have undergone more training and meet higher certification requirements.

Difference between signing agents and notary publics

The biggest difference is a signing agent can notarize loan documents such as mortgage loans and refinancing loans, whereas a notary public cannot. Loan documents are far more detailed and involve more complicated and sensitive handling, therefore, title companies, realtors and other real estate professionals prefer to use a signing agent when dealing with the sale of property.

However, signing agents are not limited to just real estate. They are essentially a Notary Public just higher in ranking you could say, and usually more experienced.

Let’s break it down

What is a notary public?

Let’s quickly define what a notary public is: A notary public is a public officer constituted by law who is certified to witness and confirm the signing of legal documents. The role of a notary public is to verify the identity of a person signing a document that’s required by law when applicable.

Notary publics are not responsible for reviewing the content of the paperwork or determining its legality; the act of applying a notary seal is simply for verification purposes and cannot offer legal advice.

A notary public is capable of notarizing common documents such as:

  • i9 Forms
  • Power of Attorney
  • Affidavits
  • Contracts
  • Child Adoptions
  • Birth Certificates
  • Deeds

What is a loan signing agent?

According to the NNA, A loan signing agent (LSA) is a notary public with a higher level of certification that allows them to guide the borrower through the loan process. All LSAs must become familiar with how the loan process works so that they’re able to accurately assist the lenders in explaining the contract to the customer.

Signing agent is responsible for printing loan documents, meeting the signer and notarizing their signature, and quickly returning the documents for processing.

They typically only handle real estate transactions and are often times referred to as real estate notary or loan signing agents.

Since Signing Agents have access to private financial information about borrowers and sometimes are sent into their client’s home, the mortgage finance industry requires all Signing Agents complete a strict background screening every year in order to keep working as a LSA.

The biggest difference between a notary public and a signing agent is that a signing agent has the credentials and education to notarize mortgages and refinances. The signing agent still holds all the capabilities of a notary public signing abilities.

When to use a notary or signing agent

A certified notary will be able to notarize the most common, simple documents people and businesses will need when a notary signature is needed. However, when purchasing a home or refinancing your mortgage, it is best to use a signing agent as they tend to have the most experience with regards to real estate transactions.

Title companies, escrow officers, and even realtors tend to only work with signing agents because signing agents have the authorization seal for such transactions – plus the added benefits of a general notary public when needed.

In short, for more simple documents such as contracts, power of attorney and even estate planning documents, you will be ok using a notary public.

For real estate-related documents such as mortgages, refinances and commercial property purchases, you must use a signing agent.

Keep in mind the laws and requirments can change, so always ask the notary service if they can notarize your document. There are many notary services that offer “general notarizations” and are not legally able to notarize anything beyond an affidavit or simple contracts.

If you are needing a notary to stamp an i-9 form or Will for example, many cannot do them as they require a different notary license.

Use a notary service that can handle just about everything in Illinois! Check out this aricle on why use a mobile notary instead of brick and mortar notaries such as UPS and Staples.

If you’re unsure or have questions on how to get your document(s) notarized in Chicago and suburbs, contact us below.

Illinois Notary Pros

We are a certified, insured, experienced and reliable mobile notary service based in Crystal Lake, IL serving the greater Chicago area. Helping the public with convenient general notary services at their destination.

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