Can A Felon Become A Real Estate Agent?

By Bob Gorman posted 12-03-2019 13:40


Working as a real estate agent is a great career path for people who have a passion and the drive to work in this field. Individuals who are good at this job build their careers and make huge sums of money often. This is why many people try to become real estate agents.

Some of the people who wish to delve into this career have felony convictions or a criminal history already. Hence, these potential real estate agents may wonder, ‘can a felon become a real estate agent?’ The answer is yes. 

In this article, We will explain how a felon can become a real estate agent. We will also list the things that can make it harder for a felon to become a real estate agent.

Requirements to become a real estate agent

To be granted a real estate license, you must meet the following requirements.

1. You must be at least 18 years old.

2. You should have at least a General Education Diploma (GED).

3. A potential real estate agent must be a citizen of the United States. If you are not a citizen, you must be a legal resident in the country.

4. Individuals who want to become a real estate agent must enroll in a real estate course. You must attend the classes, and your total class hours should correlate with the requirements in your state.

5. You must be a resident of the state where you are applying for a real estate license.

6. After attending real estate classes, you must pass the real estate licensing exam. Afterward, you will need to work for a real estate broker for two years.

These requirements for becoming a real estate agent vary according to the state in which you reside.

Steps that a felon must take to become a real estate agent

To become a real estate agent in any state, you need to get a real estate license. Before you can get your license, you need to take the following steps.

1. Disclose your criminal history

A trait that real estate agents need to possess is integrity and honesty. Before you get your license, you will be asked about your criminal history. The information you supply on your criminal history does not automatically mean that you will be refused a license. You should disclose your full criminal history, not just your felony conviction. If the police arrested you or you were charged with a misdemeanor, you need to provide this information as well.

When you provide the information on your criminal history, also explain the conditions surrounding your crime or felony conviction. You should state the penalties of the sentence and how long ago the situation took place. The severity of the felony and the aftermath of the conviction should be reported. Explain how you have changed, and list the steps you have taken to change. Lastly, state why you want to become a real estate agent.

Disclosing your criminal history does not guarantee that you will be given a real estate license. However, if you lie about your criminal history, a background check will reveal your deception, and you will be denied a license.

Being honest about your criminal history shows your character and also indicates that you will be honest with your clients. If you try to acquire a license with false information, you may be denied a permit permanently all over the country.

2. Determination of your character

Before you can become a real estate agent, you will need to take a real estate exam. This exam is mandatory all over the USA. When you take the exam, you will need to provide your finger Prints, and you will be subjected to a background check. The information on the background check will be compared to the information you provided on your application.

Furthermore, any records of a felony, misdemeanor, or arrest will be checked against the information you supplied on your criminal history.

In some states, having a criminal record counts as evidence that you have a character flaw. Some offenses can count as huge character flaws. These offenses include drug-related crimes, sex-related-crimes, and violent crimes.

When you pass the real estate exam, the commission will check if you have met all the requirements. If you meet all the requirements, your application for a real estate agent's license will be considered. It can take up to 45 days before you receive the verdict of your application.

If the commission discovers that you have a pending criminal case or you are in the middle of a court hearing, the commission will delay evaluating your application. When the verdict of the criminal case is reached, the commission will assess your application based on the outcome of the hearing.

Importantly, apart from checking for your criminal record, the commission may also check your credit report. The commission can use your credit report to determine if you are financially responsible.

If you disclose your criminal history, pass the real estate exam, and meet the requirements, you will be given a license. However, if the commission denies you a license, you can appeal the decision.

Factors that will affect if you are given a real estate license

1. The details of your criminal convictions

Being convicted of a felony can count as a character flaw and cause your application for a license to be denied. However, despite having a criminal record, you might still be granted a real estate license. Individuals who were convicted of violent crimes or sex-related crimes could be ineligible to become real estate agents. This is because real estate agents have access to the address and personal information of their clients. Hence to ensure the safety of the clients, only individuals who would not endanger the safety of clients are granted a real estate license.

If the crime you committed is related to your job as a real estate officer, in some states, your application will be denied.

In conclusion, a felon can work as a real estate agent. If you have the right documents, are of good character, and pass the licensing exam, you will be given a license. Felons who want a real estate license can improve their chances of being granted a license by applying for an expungement or sealing of their criminal records.
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