Becoming a real estate agent is a challenging and rewarding endeavor for many different people. However, for those who may have made mistakes in the past, your options may be limited. If you have wondered if you can become a real estate agent with a felony, we have put together this guide.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent With a Felony
While the process for becoming a real estate agent differs from state to state, there are some common steps. Someone living in, say, California, will face a different process than someone in New York. However, for the most part, the steps are going to be fairly similar and will follow a common pattern.
In order to become a real estate agent, you will have to complete some education hours. These can be done at an in-person or online school, depending on what your schedule is like. However, it is very important that you go to a reputable institution that is accredited with all governing bodies.
After completing your real estate education, you must then pass the state and national real estate exam. This is the part of the process that many people are the most nervous about and focused on. Many real estate schools offer exam prep courses, which can be very useful to nervous test-takers.
After completing the exam, you must then apply for your real estate license. In order to do this, you will have to submit to fingerprinting and a background check. If you have a felony conviction, this step might give you pause.
What is included in a real estate agent background check?
Your real estate background check will consist of many different checks and steps. You will have to provide fingerprints from a licensed fingerprinting company and submit your SSN. It is important to give correct information, even if you are trying to become a real estate agent with a felony.
The background check will check for things like your education history and will include your real estate education. It will also include any indiscretions you may have in your past such as a felony conviction. This information will be specific to the state that you are applying for your license in.
The background check will not only include whether or not you have a felony conviction. It will include what the felony conviction was for and what type of offense it was. Because of this, your conviction may or may not be a deciding factor.
What is most important when trying to become a real estate agent with a felony is honesty. If you try to falsify information, this will only make matters worse. Background checks are extremely thorough and conducted by important governing bodies. They will find out if you have provided any false documents or information.
Can you be denied a real estate license?
Depending on your history, you can be denied a real estate license. When applying to become a real estate agent with a felony, it is important that you understand what your conviction was. This will help you better understand what your chances are for passing the background check.
There are a number of reasons that you can be denied a real estate license. Some of them might have nothing to do with your felony conviction at all. In some states, just having poor credit will be enough to deny your real estate license application.
Knowing that it is a possibility to have your application denied is all the more reason to know your own status. For this reason, it is a good idea to run a background check on yourself before applying. Then, you can know what will come up on the state real estate commission’s check.
There are many different background check services that you can use to run your own check. Choosing one that is comprehensive and thorough is very important. Knowing your status can give you some peace of mind while trying to become a real estate agent with a felony.
What disqualifies you from being a real estate agent?
The things that may disqualify you from being a real estate agent may change from state to state. However, there are a few things that will be disqualifiers no matter where you are. Knowing them can help you in the process and prevent you from spending unnecessary time and money.
Generally, a violent felony conviction within the last five years will disqualify you. These tend to be fairly serious crimes and will show up on any background check. Since you are usually fingerprinted in these cases, your fingerprint check will find these offenses.
Any kind of financial or real estate fraud will also disqualify you from becoming a real estate agent. State real estate commissions want to make sure that they are licensing honest, good-faith agents. If you have a felony conviction in this area, you might not be qualified for a license.
If you have a felony conviction in another area, though, you may still be granted a license. As mentioned above, there are different criteria for granting licenses in each state. Even with a felony conviction, there is a chance that you could still qualify.
Can you be a felon and a real estate agent?
In most cases, becoming a real estate agent with a felony is entirely possible. The real question is what your felony conviction was for and what the severity was. Knowing exactly what is on your record can help you answer these questions more honestly and thoroughly.
If you have a felony drug conviction, but have completed all the steps required by the court, you could still qualify. What most state real estate commissions want to see is that you are honest and trustworthy. Some states will be more lenient than others, but honesty and follow-through are the most important qualities no matter what.
If you are up-front about your felony conviction, this can also go a long way with the real estate commission. Failure to disclose your convictions is one of the things that will almost always disqualify you. Check with your real estate school to ensure that you are disclosing everything and doing your due diligence.
Another factor that comes into play will be how long ago your felony conviction was. If you are trying to become a real estate agent with a felony from one year ago, this may be difficult. However, if your conviction was thirty years ago, it may be less of an issue, depending on the crime.
How far back does a real estate background check go?
The amount of time that a background check covers will usually vary between states. However, a good rule of thumb is seven years. Knowing the status of your criminal background in that time period will be essential. It can give you a good idea of what the background check will discover.
The amount of time a real estate background check goes will also depend on the crime. Some felonies will be reported indefinitely. These tend to be violent crimes and crimes that are considered especially serious and incriminating. Others may only be reported for up to five years.
Things like credit data may be restricted as far as how far back they can be reported. If you had poor credit many years ago, but have since repaired it, this likely won’t come up. However, it depends on the state and is up to the state real estate commission.
If you run an independent background check on yourself, you can be certain what will be covered. As stated above, most minor felonies and misdemeanors from twenty or thirty years ago will not be reported. Knowing your criminal background status will help you disclose everything and avoid any surprises when the check comes back.
Although it can be difficult to become a real estate agent with a felony, it is entirely possible. The main thing to focus on is being honest and disclosing all of your history up front. The real estate industry values honesty and this could go a long way in determining your eligibility for a license.