One of the most common questions we receive from visitors is in regards to whether or not it is possible to get a real estate license with a criminal background.
This is a difficult question to answer in many cases for a number of reasons. We all make mistakes in our lives, some are worse than others and in some cases those mistakes may result in being scarred with a criminal background. Depending on the nature of the crimes committed and your other criminal history these can cause problems with your career, regardless of what your chosen career path is. There is no difference in a real estate career.
Most states have regulations in place that prohibit people with certain criminal histories from getting their license. However, its important to note that these are often on a state by state and cases by case basis. Which means, depending on the nature of the crime committed and the length of time since the crime occurred you may not be able to obtain your real estate license. While the licensing agencies do their best to provide everyone with an equal opportunity they simply can’t bend the rules for one person. So what types of things may cause problems with your licensing:
Was the crime committed in the last ten years? Some states will overlook a criminal history as long as your background is clean for the last ten or more years. The Department of Licensing understands that people make mistakes and people change, so this is sort of a “grace period” for good behavior.
Do you have felony convictions? In most states, felony convictions are taken much more seriously than misdemeanors as they often involve more serious crimes. In some cases they will overlook these felonies if they were committed more than ten years ago as mentioned above.
The nature of the criminal charges. When considering the nature of this business, the states often take crimes such as fraud, theft and assault very seriously. These types of crimes can prevent you from receiving your license.
What you can do to determine if you are eligible for a real estate license:
If you have any concern that you may not be eligible for a real estate license based on your criminal background we encourage you to contact the state licensing agency and provide them with as many details as possible on the conviction, type of conviction, actions taken by the court system and length of time since the conviction occurred. They should be able to give you a much better idea on their policies and whether or not you will be considered as an eligible applicant for state licensing.
Please also note that should you choose to go through with the licensing process you will most likely be required to provide finger prints and a complete record of your criminal background. When filling out these forms you need to be as truthful as detailed as possible as they may judge your character based on the information provided.