I’m Buying or Selling Property–Do I Need to Hire a Notary?

Buying or selling a property can be overwhelming and time consuming and the last thing you want to worry about is how to take care of your closing paperwork. More than likely you have been asked to provide dozens of documents (this will vary depending on whether you are buying or selling).

Assuming there is a title or escrow company involved in your closing, they (or your notary/signing agent) will be the ones giving you the final documents when they are ready to be signed. Typically the title or escrow company will set up a mobile notary/signing agent for you, especially if you are purchasing a home and there is a lender involved, but sometimes they expect the sellers/buyers to find their own notary.

Let’s assume you are looking for someone to notarize your documents for the home you are selling. In this case, using a mobile notary has many benefits. For example, most notaries who specialize in seller documents will print the documents for you if necessary, give you a general explanation of what you are signing, ensure you have signed them all in the right place, notarize your documents, and drop them off at an overnight shipping office (such as FedEx or UPS). With the notary taking on most of the tasks, the process becomes fairly easy for the seller. The process usually takes around 45 minutes at a location of your choice. 

Alternatively, you do have the option of finding an onsite notary at a mailbox store, AAA or possibly your bank. It’s recommended to call ahead and ask if they provide the service you are looking for, as well as what their hours are (in some cases you may need an appointment). The onsite notary is typically not trained in seller documents and will only be able to notarize documents such as deeds or others in the package with notarial wording. Often the package of documents will come with instructions at the top stating which documents need to be notarized.  

Every state has different laws regarding how much a notary can charge when a customer travels to the notary. In the state of California, it is $15 per signature. When using a mobile notary (a notary who travels to the signer), the fee is left up to the notary. Ordinarily notaries will charge a flat fee for a seller package or will have a minimum fee.

If you are purchasing a property and need to find your own mobile notary/signing agent, the process will be similar to that of a seller’s. One main difference is the amount of documents involved. A seller package is around 30-45 pages, while a loan package (used when purchasing a home) is closer to 150 pages and takes around an hour or longer to sign and notarize. Just as with a seller package, with a loan package the notary/signing agent will print the documents, walk you through them, notarize them and drop them at an overnight shipping office.

The purchasing process is similar to the selling process, only a little longer as there are more documents to be notarized. Bringing those documents to a local onsite notary is not recommended, and most lenders and title companies will require you have a signing agent handle the process for you. This ensures that every detail is noticed and that the process goes smoothly.

Most notaries/signing agents book appointments a day or two in advance, and some can even be called the day of the signing! Mobile notaries are used to last minute signings, so finding one at the last minute should not be too difficult–just make sure they are familiar with seller and buyer documents!

Kelly Moore is a mobile notary and certified signing agent who provides an excellent experience for her signers. She does her job thoroughly and takes the time to connect with every client—even the furry ones. Kelly services most areas within Los Angeles County, as well as parts of San Bernardino County and Orange County. For more information, contact Kelly at (626) 610-6252 or kelly@kmobilenotary.com.

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