The US government is very strict about dealing with felons. It’s a known fact that once you commit a crime, your life takes a different turn. If you are an ex-convict, you know how bad of an experience it is. Even after serving your jail term, you are bound to lose some of your civil rights.
Everyone, including the commoners, will see you from a twisted point of view. Your life would inevitably be difficult, especially while searching for an occupation. As you may already know, the real estate business is one of the most popular and profitable businesses in the US. Now, suppose you want to become a real estate agent, but you have a felony record in your name.
What would happen?
Would one of your past mistakes prevent you from pursuing your dream?
Or, can you get a real estate license even with a felony? Let’s take a look.
Can You Set Your Foot In The Real Estate Business With A Felony?
Everybody knows that real estate is one of the most significant aspects of our lives. A real estate agent is bound to have access to some client-sensitive information. Also, many times the agents have to work alone with clients. Thus, the Regulatory Commission has to be extremely careful about guarding public interest.
Only then can they issue a real estate license to someone. So, the question is, can you get a real estate license as an ex-felon. The short answer is yes. The long answer is that the Regulatory Commission will analyze each application thoroughly.
And then make the final call. The Commission will decide whether you can get a license or not. If you fulfill certain criteria, you might get a license from them. If not, they might reject your application.
Can You Get A Real Estate License In Your State?
Whether you can get a real estate license with a felony varies from state to state. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Getting a real estate license with a felony in Alabama is pretty difficult. But it’s not impossible. The Alabama Real Estate Commission says you can’t get a license if you have done something immoral. Since morality is a relative issue, it is bound to vary. You can always apply for a license with a felony. But, it is up to the Commission to decide whether you’re eligible for getting a license or not.
The license application here gives you a compulsory box to tick if you’ve ever been convicted or not. However, they also allow you to explain yourself. The Florida Real Estate Commission usually arranges a hearing with you if you’re applying as a felon. This is where you can explain to them why you can act as a reliable agent. The FREC is known for approving most of the applicants in these hearings.
The Oregon Real Estate Agency website clarifies whether they give licenses to felons. They mention it clearly on their site. The law doesn’t explicitly state which crimes would prevent someone from licensing. However, if a person fails to disclose his felony to the authority, they might face rejection. That means your felony doesn’t necessarily indicate that you won’t get a license. Your failure to reveal your felony does.
You, as a felon, can apply for a real estate license in Michigan. However, your application will go to the LARA for review. If they feel that you are eligible for getting a license, they will give you one. But remember, if your felony relates to your work as a real estate agent, they will disqualify you. For example, a felony for fraud could make you face rejection from the LARA.
The real estate license rule in Texas is a mix of Oregon and Michigan. Just like Oregon, a felony will not immediately disqualify you from getting a license. And, for that, you got to be honest with the Texas Real Estate Commission about your felony. Similarly, like Michigan, the TREC will analyze your felony. And determine if it’s related to your real estate work. If it does, your application could be rejected.
Types Of Questions The Commission Asks About A Conviction In The Licensing Application
The questions you will be asked in the licensing application vary from state to state. But there are some common questions that you will face in almost all states.
Here are some of those question types:
- A thorough explanation of your felony and its nature.
- The time when you committed the crime.
- Whether your crime was a one-time affair, or you committed that multiple times.
- Whether the offense you committed is related to your real estate work or not.
- Description of the penalty you received and your sentencing.
- Types of activities you have taken part in since coming out of prison. Those include your rehabilitation, education, and employment history, among others.
- The current status of pending charges, if you have any.
Make sure you are completely honest with the Licensing board about your felony. Answer all the questions truthfully and reveal what the Board wants you to reveal. We can understand that you might be a little anxious about your getting rejected.
But remember that even if you don’t disclose every detail now, it will eventually come out later. And, believe us that it is going to be ugly. So, you must be truthful to the Board and show them that you can be a trustworthy real estate agent.
Also, the Licensing Board would want to know more about your offense. So, don’t forget to submit the necessary documents to the Board in support of your answers.
Typically, you need to provide them with the following:
- A written statement describing the conditions under which each crime was committed.
- A photocopy of your charging document.
- A photocopy of your Sentencing Order.
Tips For Applying For A Real Estate License With A Felony Record
1 Honesty Is The Key
Most Regulatory Boards conduct a thorough background check of each applicant. So, the best practice while applying for a license is, to be honest. If you lie initially, and they find out some misconduct later, you know what will happen. So, please be honest.
2 Present Reference Letters
Another thing you can do is getting a reference letter. Everybody can say good stuff about themselves. But when it comes from a third person, the reliability increases manifold. So contact someone you know would help, and ask them for a reference letter.
3 Get Your Felony Expunged
Expunging your felony means legally getting rid of the consequences of a crime. Contact your lawyer and ask if you can get your felony expunged. It would help you a lot.
4 Take The Opinion Of The Board
Try to consult your state’s licensing Board before applying for a license. Getting some advice from the Board itself will help you get a good idea of what you’re jumping into.
5 Make Your Resume And Cover Letter Attractive
They say that the first impression is the last. If you have a well-written resume and cover letter, it will have a good impression on the authority. Also, it will convince them that you’re willing to follow their standards.
To conclude, you can get a real estate license with a felony if your state allows it. Just be honest with the Real Estate Commission, and you’re good to go. All the best!