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Notary Center

  • Q: What is a notary?

    A: A notary, or notary public, is a person authorized by a state or local government to witness the signing of important documents.

  • Q: What is a mobile notary?

    A: A mobile notary is a certified notary public who travels to your location to witness the signing of important documents. There is an additional charge to have the notary come to you.

  • Q: What does a notary do?

    A: When the document has been signed, the notary embosses it with a special seal, which indicates that the notary has confirmed the identity of the person signing and that the document has been signed in the presence of the notary.

    If a notary suspects identity fraud or that a document is not being signed willingly, they will refuse to notarize the document. They will also refuse to notarize a document if the person signing the document cannot provide proper identification.

  • Q: How do I choose a notary?

    A: The notary you choose should be certified and experienced. Each state has its own certification process. Some states, like California, require notaries to pass an exam. Others only require local references.

    You can learn about the certification requirements for each state on the National Notary Association website.

    Notaries work with all kinds of documents, so it's important to ask whether a notary has experience with escrow and mortgage loan documents. In fact, you may want to consider hiring a notary-signing agent. These notaries are specially trained in signing and notarizing mortgage loan documents.

  • Q: When do I need a notary?

    A: Notarized documents are required to complete the closing process. Most sets of loan documents have two or three forms that must be notarized.

    The notary will also have to verify the authenticity of the signatures on the deed in order for the transaction to close. Any document that needs to be recorded must be notarized. Usually, the notary will take an imprint of your thumb in addition to asking for your signature.

  • Q: How much are notary fees?

    A: Notary fees vary by state. In California, you can expect to pay at least $10 per signature and sometimes as much as $25. The fees in other states are often less.

    Signing at the title or escrow/settlement office is usually the least expensive option, since these businesses often have their own notaries onsite.

    For convenience, mobile notaries can meet you at your home or office, but the fees are significantly higher. The average fee for mobile notary services is $125.00.

  • Q: Who pays the notary fees?

    A: The party whose signature is being witnessed usually pays his or her notary fees.

  • Q: Can my title agent notarize the documents?

    A: Any licensed notary in your title agent’s office can notarize your closing documents. Escrow and settlement offices and closing attorneys frequently include this service.