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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in Idaho?

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Becoming a real estate agent can be a lucrative and stable career in Idaho, 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 Idaho. 

  • 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 Idaho, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $99,578. 

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.  

Idaho’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

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

  1. “Be an individual;
  2. Be eighteen (18) years of age or older;
  3. Furnish satisfactory proof that the applicant graduated from an accredited high school or its equivalent or holds a certificate of general education;
  4. Not have had a real estate or other professional or occupational license suspended or surrendered, or the renewal refused, for a disciplinary violation involving fraud, misrepresentation or dishonest or dishonorable dealing, in Idaho or any other jurisdiction, within five (5) years immediately prior to the date the application for license is submitted to the commission;
  5. Not have had a real estate or other professional or occupational license revoked for a disciplinary violation involving fraud, misrepresentation or dishonest or dishonorable dealing, in Idaho or any other jurisdiction; provided that, after a period of five (5) years from the date the license was revoked, the applicant may make a written request to the commission for an exemption review to determine the applicant’s suitability for licensure, which the commission shall determine in accordance with the following:
    1. The exemption review shall consist of a review of any documents relating to the disciplinary action that resulted in the license revocation and any supplemental information provided by the applicant bearing upon his suitability for licensure. The commission may, at its discretion, grant an interview of the applicant.
    2. During the review, the commission shall consider the following factors and evidence:
      1. The severity or nature of the disciplinary violation for which the applicant’s license was revoked;
      2. The period of time that has passed since the disciplinary violation occurred;
      3. The existence, number and pattern of any other misconduct for which the applicant has been disciplined;
      4. The circumstances surrounding the disciplinary violation that would help the commission determine the risk of repetition;
      5. The relationship of the disciplinary violation to the licensed practice of real estate; and
      6. The applicant’s activities since the disciplinary violation under review, such as employment, education, participation in treatment, payment of restitution or any other factors that may be evidence of current rehabilitation.
    3. The applicant shall bear the burden of establishing his current suitability for licensure.
  6. Not have been convicted or completed any sentence of confinement for or on account of any misdemeanor involving fraud, misrepresentation or dishonest or dishonorable dealing, in a state or federal court, within five (5) years immediately prior to the date the application for license is submitted to the commission.
  7. Not have been convicted of any felony in a state or federal court or convicted by military general court-martial; provided that, after a period of five (5) years from the date the person was convicted or completed any term of probation, sentence or confinement or period of parole, whichever is later, the applicant may make written request to the commission for an exemption review to determine the applicant’s suitability for licensure, which the commission shall determine in accordance with the following:
    1. The exemption review shall consist of a review of any documents relating to the felony and any supplemental information provided by the applicant bearing upon his suitability for licensure. The commission may, at its discretion, grant an interview of the applicant.
    2. During the review, the commission shall consider the following factors or evidence:
      1. The severity or nature of the felony;
      2. The period of time that has passed since the felony under review;
      3. The number or pattern of felonies or other similar incidents;
      4. The circumstances surrounding the crime that would help determine the risk of repetition;
      5. The relationship of the crime to the licensed practice of real estate; and
      6. The applicant’s activities since the crime under review, such as employment, education, participation in treatment, payment of restitution or any other factors that may be evidence of current rehabilitation.
    3. The applicant shall bear the burden of establishing his current suitability for licensure.
  8. Complete all pre-license education requirements as provided for in section 54-2022, Idaho Code, for a salesperson’s or broker’s license;
  9. Pass the commission-approved real estate licensing exam for a sales or broker license in the time and manner stated in section 54-2014, Idaho Code, and pay the required exam fees;
  10. Be fingerprinted for the purpose of a national criminal history check to determine whether the applicant is qualified for licensure and pay all fees associated with the fingerprinting and background check services. If the fingerprints are returned to the commission as illegible the applicant shall, upon request from the commission, be fingerprinted again and file the new fingerprints with the commission;
  11. Sign and file with the commission an irrevocable consent to service, appointing the commission’s executive director to act as the licensee’s agent upon whom all judicial and other process or legal notices directed to such licensee may be served, and consenting that any lawful process against the licensee that is served upon the executive director shall be of the same legal force and validity as if served upon the licensee and that the authority shall continue in force so long as any liability remains outstanding in this state. Upon receipt of any such process or notice, the executive director shall immediately mail a copy of the same by certified mail to the last known address of the licensee. All licensees shall provide the commission a full and current mailing address and shall notify the commission in writing of any change in mailing address within ten (10) business days of the change;
  12. If licensing as an active salesperson or associate broker, provide the name and physical address of the main business location of the designated broker with whom the applicant will be licensed, and the signature of that broker; or, if licensing as a designated broker, provide the name and physical address of the main business location. No Idaho sales associate may be licensed under or associated with more than one (1) Idaho broker at a time;
  13. Submit a properly completed application and all license, application and other fees listed in section 54-2020, Idaho Code, or as otherwise required by statute or rule; and
  14. Provide satisfactory proof of meeting the mandatory errors and omissions insurance requirement for real estate licensees as stated in section 54-2013, Idaho Code . . .
  15. Provide satisfactory evidence of having been actively engaged, on a full-time basis, for two (2) years as a licensed real estate salesperson within five (5) years immediately prior to the date upon which the individual makes application. Such evidence shall demonstrate the productiveness of the licensed activity to have been generally commensurate with that of other licensees practicing in a similar capacity. Listings, sales, options or other licensed activities may be considered by the commission in determining whether the applicant meets this qualification.
    1. A broker or associate broker applicant may be required to furnish a report of listings and sales accomplished by the applicant during two (2) or more years within the last five (5) years of licensure immediately prior to the application date;
    2. This report shall be certified as correct by the broker or brokers with whom the applicant has been associated, provided however, that upon pre-approval by the commission, the applicant may verify that the report is correct in an alternative manner;
    3. The broker experience requirement may be modified or reduced, in whole or in part, at the discretion of the commission, based upon the applicant’s educational background, or experience in related or affiliated business activities;
    4. The commission in its discretion may make such additional investigation and inquiry relative to the applicant as it shall deem advisable;
  16. Designate a physical office location and a business name.” – Idaho Code Ann. § 54-2012 (West)

Recommended Action:

If you are interested in obtaining a real estate 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 Idaho 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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