Notary Public Vs Notary Signing Agent

Notary Public Services

For people who haven’t really delved into what it means to be a notary public or a signing agent, there can be some confusion. This confusion arises from the fact that most people use the terms “notary public” and “signing agent” interchangeably. Or they fail to clear up the distinction. That can create a certain confusion in people.

But the fact is that these two terms can’t be used interchangeably as there is quite a distinct difference between the two legal roles. Though most notary signing companies offer to provide you with both services, notary publics have a more general role while signing agents target a much more specific audience. So, if you are going to make a choice, here’s how you can make the right one.

what’s a signing agent:

A signing agent, also known as a loan signing agent, is a notary public who specializes in handling mortgage loan closings and real estate transactions. When a person purchases a new home or refinanced their mortgage, there is a stack of legal documents that must be signed to finalize the loan and transfer property rights. That’s where notary public signing agents come in, they act as an impartial third party to handle the paperwork and oversee signatures at real estate closings.

  • Signing agents serve a few key functions in the home buying/refinancing process. First, they review all the closing documents with the buyers and sellers to ensure everyone understands what they are signing. This includes explaining complex legal terminology in easy to understand language.
  • Second, signing agents witness the signatures and notarize the closing documents to validate their authenticity. This helps prevent mortgage fraud or errors in the paperwork.
  • Third, signing agents maintain custody and control over the documents between the signing appointment and delivering them to the lender. This ensures no pages get misplaced or altered before funding. Finally, signing agents provide an organized, efficient closing by having all necessary forms prepared ahead of time for a smooth signing meeting.

3 Big Differences Between Notary public Vs Notary Signing Agent

1. Requirements

First, we’ll take a look at what is required to become a notary public or a signing agent. As both are different roles, there are different requirements for them too.

Notary Public

Since the notary public is a more general role, the requirements aren’t too specific or demanding. In fact, all you need to do is get a notary commission. In some states, you can get that after giving a small exam, while in other states, all you need to do is apply for it the commission, and you will get it.

Signing Agent

Since the signing agent role is more specific, there are specific requirements that every signing agent should have. They should have a notary commission, but in their case, the exam is compulsory. And there is a background check that is also done on the applicant. And their certification has to be renewed every year for them to stay in the role.

2. Role & Duties

Notary Public

The role of a notary public is limited to performing notarizations and being a witness to all kinds of notarizations. And, since the notary public role is more general in nature, it means that notary publics encounter all kinds of documents and are able to authorize them.

Signing Agent

On the other hand, the title of the job of a signing agent indicates a more specific role. And signing agents are only allowed to authorize only certain kinds of documents. In this case, those documents are property-related documents, such as home loan documents and the like.

3. Area Of Operation

Notary Public

The exact authorization of the area of operation of a notary public depends upon the state in which they hold their notary commission. But usually, notary publics are allowed to authorize and notarize documents in the state in which they got their notary commission. And since notarization laws depend upon the state, they can’t operate outside of the said state.

Signing Agent

Signing agents are very similar in that regard too. Signing agents are allowed to authorize property-related documents in their respective states. But due to state-specific laws, there are some states that do not allow signing agents.

What is the difference between a notary public and a registered agent?

notary publicregistered agent
A notary public is an individual commissioned by the state to serve as an impartial witness and officially certify documents. Their main role is to prevent fraud by validating signatures and oaths. Notaries do not draft legal documents or offer legal advice.
A registered agent is a person or company designated to receive important legal documents on behalf of a business. Registered agents address service of process and ensure timely receipt of documents like lawsuits, subpoenas, tax documents, etc.
Notaries are appointed by each state, Notaries serve individual clients.
 While registered agents are hired by companies directly.  Registered agents serve companies.

To Wrap Up

The need for notarization can arise anytime. Whenever you need a notary, you can rely on Pac Signing Notary for that. Whether you’re looking for a notary in Portland, Oregon, or in the wider Oregon area, we have got you covered. And we offer mobile notary services, so you don’t have to inconvenience yourself. Just contact us, and we will send out a notary public agent to your destination.