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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent? The Truth Revealed!

CEO Khai Intela
Image Source: saigonintela.vn To become a real estate agent, you need to go through a series of steps, including completing pre-licensing education and passing an exam. However, for individuals with a felony record, the process...

Can a felon become a real estate agent Image Source: saigonintela.vn

To become a real estate agent, you need to go through a series of steps, including completing pre-licensing education and passing an exam. However, for individuals with a felony record, the process may seem daunting. But here's the good news - it is indeed possible for a felon to become a real estate agent. The decision ultimately lies with the State Commission, who will review the license application on a case-by-case basis.

Which States Allow Felons to Have a Real Estate License?

Different states have varying rules when it comes to reviewing applications with a felony record. Some states are more lenient and may consider an application after a certain number of years since the completion of the sentence, while others have stricter regulations.

For example, the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau specifies that an applicant with a felony conviction must wait for five years following completion of any applicable period of incarceration or payment of a fine. However, Georgia is known to have a high rejection rate for felony applicants, although this figure is yet to be officially confirmed.

Felony questions on a real estate license application Image Source: saigonintela.vn

It is important to note that each state determines the severity of a conviction differently. Therefore, it can be challenging to make direct comparisons between states in terms of application difficulty. The common goal among all Regulatory Boards is to ensure that individuals seeking licensure have learned from their mistakes and can exhibit professionalism as real estate salespeople.

Answering Conviction Questions on the Licensing Application

When applying for a real estate license, you will typically encounter questions related to your conviction. These questions may include:

  • Description and nature of the felony
  • Time of the incident
  • Whether it was a one-time incident or recurring offenses
  • Any relationship to a real estate practice
  • Penalty or sentence involved
  • Activities since the completion of the sentence
  • Any pending charges

It is crucial to answer these questions honestly and provide the information as requested. Dishonesty may lead to rejection, as discrepancies can be found through background checks.

Documentation Requirements

If you answer "yes" to any felony questions, the Licensing Board will likely require additional documentation regarding the conviction. This may include a written statement explaining the circumstances of each incident, a copy of the charging document, and a copy of the Sentencing Order.

Background Checks for Real Estate Agents

Many Real Estate Boards conduct background checks on applicants. The process often involves electronic fingerprinting through an approved vendor. Each state has its own approved vendors, such as Live Scan in California and IdentoGO in Colorado. The cost for fingerprinting is typically around $50, and a valid government-issued photo ID is required.

Impact on E&O Insurance

E&O (Errors & Omissions) insurance is vital for real estate professionals. While most insurance applications do not directly ask about a criminal record, they may inquire about previous license suspensions, fines, or disciplinary actions. As long as your felony record is unrelated to real estate practice, it should not significantly impact your ability to obtain E&O insurance. However, specific underwriting requirements may vary, so consult with your insurance agent for further clarification.

5 Tips to Navigate the Real Estate License Application Process with a Felony Record

  1. Honesty is Key: Be completely transparent throughout the application process. The Licensing Board will conduct background checks, so any discrepancies will likely result in rejection.
  2. Obtain Reference Letters: Request reference letters from current or previous employers to highlight your work ethic and contribution. Consider including reference letters from coordinators of volunteer work if applicable.
  3. Explore Expungement or Sealing: Expungement or sealing may help clear your felony record. Consult with a licensed attorney and the Regulatory Board in your state to understand the procedures and potential impact on the real estate license application.
  4. Seek Guidance from the Licensing Board: Before investing time and resources into obtaining a real estate license, consult the Licensing Board in your state for guidance. Submit a preliminary advisory opinion if available to obtain a written response.
  5. Craft a Compelling Resume and Cover Letter: If required by the Regulatory Board, prepare a well-written resume and cover letter that emphasizes your commitment to honesty and compliance with regulations. Address any concerns about your past and assure the Licensing Board of your personal growth and professionalism.

Remember, everyone has a past, and what matters most is your ability to demonstrate trustworthiness, integrity, and professionalism as a real estate agent. Be truthful throughout the process and be prepared to address any concerns from clients or brokers. By building your career on a solid foundation, you can overcome the challenges of a felony record and succeed in the real estate industry.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through these links, our company, JCHQ Publishing, will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. We include these links based on our experience and research, recommending them for their helpfulness and usefulness. Please only purchase these products if you believe they will benefit you in achieving your goals.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Regulations and requirements are subject to change without notice. For accurate and up-to-date information, contact your real estate broker, the regulatory commission in your state, or associated companies and organizations.


  • Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau
  • Georgia Real Estate Commission Licensing Law
  • State of California Department of Real Estate Salesperson Exam/License Application
  • JobsForFelonsHub.com - ReEntry Programs
  • FindLaw - Expungement Basics
  • Victor Real Estate Professionals Errors and Omissions Liability Application