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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in Nebraska?

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

  • 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 Nebraska, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $102,673. 

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.  

Nebraska’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

In Nebraska, 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 bear a good reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and competence to transact the business of broker or salesperson in such manner as to safeguard the interest of the public and only after satisfactory proof of such qualifications has been presented to the commission . . .
  2. When an applicant has been convicted of forgery, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, larceny, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, or any other similar offense or offenses or has been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude in any court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other state, district, or territory of the United States or of a foreign country, such untrustworthiness of the applicant and the conviction may in itself be sufficient ground for refusal of a license.
  3. The commission may in its discretion deny a license to any person who has engaged in the real estate business without a license.
  4. When an applicant has made a false statement of material fact on an application, such false statement may in itself be sufficient ground for refusal of a license.
  5. Grounds for suspension or revocation of a license, as provided for by the Nebraska Real Estate License Act, or the previous revocation of a real estate license shall also be grounds for refusal to grant a license.” – Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 81-885.12 (West)
  6. “No broker’s or salesperson’s license shall be issued to any person who has not attained the age of nineteen years.
  7. No broker’s or salesperson’s license shall be issued to any person who is not a graduate of a public or private high school or the holder of a certificate of high school equivalency . . .
  8. Have first served actively for two years as a licensed salesperson or broker and shall furnish evidence of completion of sixty class hours in addition to the hours required by subsection (2) of this section in a course of study approved by the commission or, in lieu thereof, courses delivered in a distance education format approved by the commission; or
  9. Upon special application and hearing before the commission, provide satisfactory evidence of hardship due to an existing brokerage being unable to retain the services of a licensee to act as its designated broker who has the two years’ experience required in this subsection. Any applicant so approved must furnish a certificate that he or she has passed a course of at least eighteen credit hours in subjects related to real estate at an accredited university or college, or completed six courses in real estate subjects composed of not less than one hundred eighty class hours in a course of study approved by the commission or, in lieu thereof, courses delivered in a distance education format approved by the commission.
  10. Each applicant for a broker’s or salesperson’s license shall furnish evidence of completion of six class hours of study in a course approved by the commission related to professional practice and standards.
  11. Each applicant for a broker’s license must pass a written examination covering generally the matters confronting real estate brokers, and each applicant for a salesperson’s license must pass a written examination covering generally the matters confronting real estate salespersons . . .
  12. An applicant for an original broker’s or salesperson’s license shall be subject to fingerprinting and a check of his or her criminal history record information maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation through the Nebraska State Patrol . . .” –  Neb. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 81-885.13 (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 Nebraska 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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