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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in Florida?

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Becoming a real estate agent can be a lucrative and stable career, but the first step to such a successful career is obtaining a real estate license in your desired location. Having a felony record can serve as a roadblock on this journey, but may not be a complete bar to the profession in certain jurisdictions. 

This blog is not legal advice, but instead outlines general state requirements for people with felonies to better understand how to receive a real estate broker license. The question this blog aims to answer is whether persons with felonies can obtain a real estate license in Florida. 

  • Role of real estate agent 
  • Average salary 
  • General requirements to be a real estate agent in America 
  • State specific requirements  
  • Recommended action 

Role of a estate agent: 

Real estate agents facilitate the buying and selling of commercial and personal properties. When working with a seller, a real estate agent may be referred to a listing agent. As a listing agent, the typical duties can include: 

  • Conducting market research to determine an ideal asking price;
  • Identifying assets that are the property’s attractive magnets and pinpointing improvement locations;
  • Staging the property;
  • Photographing the property;
  • Listing the property on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS);
  • Advertising real estate properties to prospective buyers;
  • Hosting property showings and open house events;
  • Drafting and preparing documents, such as offers, contracts and closing statements;
  • Communicating with appraisers, escrow companies, lenders and home inspectors.

A real estate agent may also represent buyers. When representing buyers, real estate agents may be responsible for the following: 

  • Coordinating open houses;
  • Arranging meetings with prospective buyers;
  • Interviewing buyers to understand their needs and wants;
  • Scheduling property showings;
  • Coordinating appraisals and inspections;
  • Negotiating property repair requests and offers;
  • Drafting and reviewing documents and contracts;
  • Guiding buyers through the closing process.

Average salary: 

The average base salary of a real estate agent in the United States is estimated to be $105,100. In Florida, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $102,803. 

General Requirements: 

The requirements to obtain a real estate license varies state by state, however, the general requirements are the person be of good moral character, have some specified level of experience and specified education in real estate. The applicant must submit personal and professional information in their application, pass the state real estate license exam, undergo a background check, and pay a fee. The real estate license must be renewed pursuant to the state’s criteria.  

Florida’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

In Florida, the state requires the following for a person to be eligible to obtain a real estate broker license: 

  1. “An applicant for licensure who is a natural person must be at least 18 years of age; 
  2. [H]old a high school diploma or its equivalent; 
  3. [B]e honest, truthful, trustworthy, and of good character; 
  4. [A]nd have a good reputation for fair dealing.
  5. An applicant for an active broker’s license or a sales associate’s license must be competent and qualified to make real estate transactions and conduct negotiations therefor with safety to investors and to those with whom the applicant may undertake a relationship of trust and confidence.
  6. If the applicant has been denied registration or a license or has been disbarred, or the applicant’s registration or license to practice or conduct any regulated profession, business, or vocation has been revoked or suspended, by this or any other state, any nation, or any possession or district of the United States, or any court or lawful agency thereof, because of any conduct or practices which would have warranted a like result under this chapter, or if the applicant has been guilty of conduct or practices in this state or elsewhere which would have been grounds for revoking or suspending her or his license under this chapter had the applicant then been registered, the applicant shall be deemed not to be qualified unless, because of lapse of time and subsequent good conduct and reputation, or other reason deemed sufficient, it appears to the commission that the interest of the public and investors will not likely be endangered by the granting of registration . . . 
  7. In addition to other requirements under this part, the commission may require the satisfactory completion of one or more of the educational courses or equivalent courses conducted, offered, sponsored, prescribed, or approved pursuant to s. 475.04, taken at an accredited college, university, or community college, at a career center, or at a registered real estate school, as a condition precedent for any person to become licensed or to renew her or his license as a broker, broker associate, or sales associate . . . The satisfactory completion of an examination administered by the accredited college, university, or community college, by a career center, or by the registered real estate school shall be the basis for determining satisfactory completion of the course . . .
  8. A person may not be licensed as a real estate broker unless, in addition to the other requirements of law, the person has held:
    1. An active real estate sales associate’s license for at least 24 months during the preceding 5 years in the office of one or more real estate brokers licensed in this state or any other state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States or in any foreign national jurisdiction;
    2. A current and valid real estate sales associate’s license for at least 24 months during the preceding 5 years in the employ of a governmental agency for a salary and performing the duties authorized in this part for real estate licensees; or
    3. A current and valid real estate broker’s license for at least 24 months during the preceding 5 years in any other state, territory, or jurisdiction of the United States or in any foreign national jurisdiction.” – Fla. Stat. Ann. § 475.17 (West)

Recommended Action:

If you are interested in obtaining a real estate broker license, it is best to consult with the state’s guidelines. If you do have a felony conviction, always remember to be open and transparent on the application, as lying can reduce your chances of obtaining the license. 

So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felon can become a real estate agent in Florida and the requirements for the license? Have you or someone you know been in that situation? What was that experience like and how did they deal with it? Please tell us in the comments below.

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