Can I Get a Real Estate License with a Criminal Record?

Selling real estate is a popular choice of career for many people who have a knack for sales, can engage in skillful negotiation, and who love interacting with people. For anyone who has bought or sold real property, however, it becomes clear that buying and selling real estate is a complex process subject to many rules and regulations, the rise and fall of markets, and is a highly competitive field requiring marketing expertise. Part of becoming a successful agent starts with qualifying for, obtaining, and holding a real estate license from the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). This is the state agency responsible for educating, licensing, and disciplining agents, enforcing real estate laws, and providing services for consumers in the state. TREC is responsible for the honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity of all of its agents and, in order to qualify for a license under TREC, you must prove to the agency that you meet its standards.

Under it guidelines for potential licensing, TREC advises anyone to request what is called a “Fitness Determination” (FD) if they have the following:

  • Criminal offenses
  • Unpaid judgments
  • Disciplinary actions taken against a professional license
  • Unlicensed real estate activity

The types of criminal offenses that could disqualify someone from obtaining or retaining their real estate license would be those that would put in doubt one’s ability to uphold a fiduciary duty, honestly represent the best interests of one’s client, use prudence and caution to avoid misrepresentation, and to be knowledgeable and competent at one’s job.

Crimes that could make you ineligible for a license could include those involving fraud, forgery, bribery, DWI, sex crimes, and other serious offenses. Basically, any crime that could directly affect your ability to do your job could end up being a barrier to getting or keeping your license. However, just because you have a criminal record from the past or was just convicted of an offense does not necessarily mean you will lose a license.

Where criminal records are concerned, each licensing case is determined on an individual basis. TREC will consider the following factors to decide your licensing outcome:

  • What type of crime was committed and its level of seriousness
  • How old you were when you committed the crime and how much time has passed since
  • How the crime could affect your performance as an agent
  • How you conducted yourself and the type and quality of the work you did both prior to and after the crime was committed
  • How well you complied with all conditions ordered by the court
  • Evidence that demonstrates your level of rehabilitation
  • Evidence of how fit you are to be an agent as recommended by others

By undergoing a Fitness Determination and providing evidence to TREC of your ability to perform with honesty and integrity, you may be able to continue in your chosen career. TREC will take up to 30 days to review all the paperwork and evidence you provide it in its FD forms. It is important to be honest with them in the process. If you are denied your license based on the FD, it still is not over. You can resubmit with additional documentation, letters of recommendation, or other written references. However, there is no guarantee that an approval will follow.

Turn to Shane Phelps, P.C. When Facing Criminal Accusations

Obtaining or maintaining your real estate license is vital especially in view of how it relates to your livelihood. Of course, the best way to avoid licensing problems is to refrain from any kind of criminal actions to begin with. But if you have been accused of a crime, the most positive step you can take is to bring in an experienced defender. Many criminal charges are highly defensible. At Shane Phelps, P.C., you can turn to a law firm led by a criminal defense specialist who has completed the highest standards of training and experience in the state which is Board Certification. Our firm has a wealth of knowledge and abundant legal skills to help you reach the best possible outcome in any criminal matter.

Ready to discuss your case? Call us at (979) 773-7028 to arrange for a free case consultation today.