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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in Kentucky?

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

  • 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 Kentucky, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $100,141. 

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.  

Kentucky’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

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

  1. “Licenses shall be granted only to persons who are trustworthy and competent to transact the business of a broker or sales associate in a manner to safeguard the interest of the public, and only after satisfactory proof of qualifications has been presented to the commission.
  2. In addition to proof of honesty, truthfulness, and good reputation of any applicant for a license, each applicant shall pass a written examination conducted by the commission, or its authorized representative . . . 
  3. The commission shall hold examinations at the times and places it determines, and an examination fee shall be collected from each applicant to defray the expenses of holding the examinations.
  4. The commission may, by the promulgation of administrative regulations, require all licensure applicants to submit to a criminal record check for which the applicant shall be responsible for the payment of any fees incurred.
  5. Applicants shall be subject to a national criminal history check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The applicant shall request the criminal history check and shall provide the applicant’s fingerprints to either the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Kentucky State Police for submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to search for information regarding the applicant in the National Crime Information Center or its successor entity. The results of the criminal history check shall be sent to the commission, and shall be sent to the applicant at the applicant’s request. The applicant shall:
    1. Authorize release of the results of the criminal history check to the commission;
    2. Pay the actual cost of the fingerprinting and criminal history check, if any;
    3. Complete the criminal history check within the ninety (90) calendar days prior to the date the license application is received by the commission; and
    4. Complete and return to the commission within one hundred twenty (120) days a signed affidavit verifying that there is nothing on record to prohibit the applicant from licensure.” –  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 324.045 (West)
  1. “Every applicant for initial licensure as a broker shall have:
    1. Successfully completed not less than twenty-one (21) academic credit hours or the equivalent from an accredited institution or approved real estate school. Twelve (12) hours shall be in real estate courses, three (3) hours of which shall be a course in broker management skills. The commission shall, by promulgation of administrative regulations, determine the required course content of broker management skills courses; and
    2. Been engaged in the real estate business as a sales associate averaging at least twenty (20) hours per week for a period of twenty-four (24) months prior to application.
  2. Every applicant for initial licensure as a sales associate shall have successfully completed six (6) academic credit hours or their equivalent in real estate courses from an accredited institution or approved real estate school.
  3. Proof of the academic credit hours shall be an official transcript from the attended university or other documentation satisfactory to the commission. Proof of the requisite experience as a sales associate shall be either a sworn notarized statement signed by the principal broker or principal brokers or other documentation satisfactory to the commission. The applicant may file a complaint with the commission if the principal broker unjustly refuses to sign the statement.
  4. The commission may reduce the two (2) year experience requirement for applicants for a broker’s license to one (1) year, if the applicant has an associate degree in real estate or a baccalaureate degree with a major or minor in real estate.” –  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 324.046 (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 Kentucky 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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