What is a Minnesota Closing Agent?
Minnesota is one of the states that requires closers and signing agents to be licensed.
Why? Because closers have access to private information given by consumers to lenders to obtain a mortgage (addresses, Dates of Birth, SSNs, etc.) and in some cases, closers deposit checks from others into an account they control and write out checks to others, in which case they have access to large amounts of money. The state is doing due diligence to assure the public is protected by licensing closers and signing agents.
IMPORTANT TIP: Many organizations offer training programs that do NOT meet the requirements of the state for Pre-license Education. So check that before you spend your money!
What is a Signing Agent?
“Signing agent” is a common national term for people trained to notarize mortgage loan documents. For lenders, closers are the important final link to completing the loan transaction. The signing agent, is hired as an independent contractor to ensure that real estate loan documents are properly signed by the borrower, notarized, and returned to the lender on time. I like to say, “Print, Sign, Return to Lender.” As independent contractors, they work for many different parties.
What is the Difference between a Closer and a Signing Agent?
A closer is more knowledgeable and shoulders more responsibility than a typical signing agent who briefly explains documents as they are signed and notarized. That does not mean either gives legal advice, but it does mean they can and are expected to answer basic questions, such as defining terms. For example, if a person asks if the mortgage they are signing can be assumed by another person, the closer could point out the “acceleration clause,” which states the loan could be called immediately due and payable if the borrower transfers the property to another party, without the lender’s written consent. So, no advice, just definitions. If they need further advice, have them talk with the lender.
Why Become a Closer/Signing Agent?
1. There’s a Big Need for Closers – Now!
Companies are looking for closers, right now, to help notarize loan documents. With lowest mortgage rates ever, the world is either refinancing for lower payments, or borrowing to buy their dream home. With low rates, they can afford more. And online lenders have become commonplace. Quicken Loans, Lending Tree, Rocket Mortgage and others don’t have closers on staff, they hire independent contractors to do the closer’s job. On top of that, Covid-19 has closed many offices, so the work is being contracted out to Independent Closers, who go to people’s houses to notarize the documents. Law firms, Title Companies and Lenders also hire Closers on a contract basis to help, as needed.
2. You are Helping People!
Closers generally have a happy job. The people we deal with have made big decisions in their lives. They are either purchasing a new home – perhaps going to a bigger home to meet the needs of a growing family, or downsizing to something more manageable for retirement. All good decisions for them. Or, if they are refinancing, they’re getting a lower rate (and we all like lower payments.) Or perhaps they’re taking cash out for a dream – finally remodeling that kitchen, or sending a child off to school. So signing those lender documents is accomplishing a good thing in their lives.
3. You can be your own Boss and Set your Own Hours
You can work from home and be your own boss, not tied to a chair from 8-5. Set your own hours, so if you have children, you can work around their schedules and make that dance recital or hockey game, make family events.
4. You can Earn Good Money, Full-time or Part-time
You can earn great money. As a licensed closer, you can make $75 or more at a single loan closing and can work as much or little as you please. You can make that money almost immediately upon starting the job. And you can try it out as a part-time job to see if it works for you.
5. You Don’t Need Prior Experience
You don’t need prior experience, or a college degree. You do need to be 18 years old, commissioned by the Secretary of State as a Notary Public, and licensed by the state as a Closing Agent.
6. Startup Costs are Negligible
Most of the start-up fees are one-time charges. The Notary Commission, the Closer License Application, and the Pre-license Education requirements are one-time costs. Other than that, basic office equipment – phone, computer, printer, paper, etc.
7. So How Would I get started?
Check our FAQ for Closing Agents to guide you through the steps.