Becoming A Licensed Closing Agent
The solution for NSAs is to apply for a closing agent license in Minnesota.
To qualify, an applicant must take an eight-hour pre-licensing closing agent course approved by the Department and pay a $115 application fee and an additional processing fee charged by the online licensing system vendor, for a license expiring on June 30 every two years. You can visit their website for more information about closing agent licensing requirements.
Closing Agent Defined
Minnesota law defines a closing agent or real estate closing agent as follows: “Any person whether or not acting as an agent for a title insurance agent, a licensed attorney, real estate broker, or real estate salesperson, who for another and with or without a commission, fee, or other valuable consideration or with or without the intention or expectation of receiving a commission, fee, or other valuable consideration, directly or indirectly provides closing services incident to the sale, trade, lease, or loan of residential real estate, including drawing or assisting in drawing papers incident to the sale, trade, lease, or loan, or advertises or claims to be engaged in these activities.”
Just what constitutes “closing services” is not expressly explained in statute. However, in the view of the Department of Commerce, NSAs in the state need to be licensed because they often:
Charge or receive fees in excess of the per-notarization fee set forth in statute;
Explain documents to borrowers;
Receive trust funds (e.g., a check for closing costs); and
Advertise that they offer loan signing services.
State law lists the persons who are exempted from licensing, but the exemptions will not apply to most independent contractor NSAs.