By Joan Bergstrom—I have been a Notary/Loan Signer in California for 5 years and this is my perspective:

2002 – When I started in all the loan documents arrived at my doorstep via FedEx or UPS and the documents were all printed out for me with a return envelope included with the pertinent information filled out. Boy, Those Were the Days!!

I was in this industry about 4 months when a company asked me if I could print electronic documents? I said sure and then hustled to find out how to print these documents. I made mistakes; bought the wrong laser printer because it was cheaper and I couldn’t download some loan packages sent by email. I fixed that problem by going to Costco and buying an HP 1200 on a Friday night, and giving the other printer away. By 2005, 98% of my business was in Edocs and that figure remains the same today.

2004 – There was a demand that loan signers have Dual Tray Laser Printers or they wouldn’t be hired. Well, that fell by the wayside when most loan signers didn’t have this feature. It’s a good idea to have a 2 tray printer (letter and legal) because it will save you money because letter-size paper is less expensive, but it certainly is not a requirement to be hired. Go buy a $20 paper cutter if a company wants the California Deed of Trust on letter-size paper. I bought mine 4 years ago.

2005 – I heard on the Chat lines that you needed to have $100,000 E & O Insurance to be hired by certain companies. I have had a $100,000 insurance policy for almost 4 years and I have yet to be hired by one company because I had this amount. I think it’s a good idea to have this amount but it won’t get you hired. I like to purchase this policy.

In the book I co-authored, “How To Become A Wildly Successful Loan Signing Agent” (Bergstrom, Elliott, and Jones), we suggested a loan signer carry a digital camera to increase business because they could take a picture of borrower’s driver’s license and social security card if the borrower didn’t provide a copy to be sent back with the loan documents. Those days are definitely over and no one needs to buy a camera for notary work.

2006 – Another change is I no longer need an Efax number because all the companies send all documents to my email address as an attachment. Last month I got at total of 2 faxes and I do approximately 60 signings a month.

2007 – Background check for loan signers. I will be very surprised if any company asks us for a background check! For Calif loan signers go to and download a free background form for you to print out. California Notaries have had an extensive background check when we passed the California State Notary Exam.