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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in New Mexico?

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

  • 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 New Mexico, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $103,367. 

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.  

New Mexico’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

In New Mexico, 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 meet the requirements for licensure prescribed by law and are deemed by the commission to be of good repute and competent to transact the business of a qualifying broker or an associate broker in a manner that safeguards the interests of the public.
  2. An applicant for a qualifying broker’s license or an associate broker’s license shall have reached the age of majority. Each applicant for a qualifying broker’s license or an associate broker’s license shall have passed the real estate broker’s examination approved by the commission and shall:
    1. furnish the commission with certificates of completion of ninety hours of classroom instruction consisting of commission-approved thirty-hour courses in real estate principles and practice, real estate law and broker basics; or
    2. in the case of an out-of-state applicant, furnish the commission with a certified license history from the real estate licensing jurisdiction in the state or states in which the applicant is currently or has been previously licensed as a real estate broker, or certificates of completion of those courses issued by the course sponsor or provider, certifying that the applicant has or had a license in that state and has completed the equivalent of sixty classroom hours of prelicensing education approved by that licensing jurisdiction in real estate principles and practice and real estate law. Upon receipt of such documentation, the commission may waive sixty hours of the ninety hours of prelicensing education required to take the New Mexico real estate broker’s examination and may waive the national portion of the examination. The applicant shall complete the commission-approved thirty-hour broker basics class to be eligible to take the state portion of the New Mexico real estate broker’s examination.
  3. An applicant for a qualifying broker’s license shall have passed the New Mexico real estate broker’s examination and had an active associate broker’s license or equivalent real estate license for at least two of the last five years immediately preceding application for a qualifying broker’s license and shall furnish the commission with a certificate of completion of the commission-approved thirty-hour brokerage office administration course and any additional educational courses required by the commission by rule . . .
  4. [A] qualifying broker shall not supervise associate brokers until the qualifying broker has had an active associate broker’s or qualifying broker’s license or equivalent real estate license for at least four years. Licensees who hold an active or inactive qualifying broker’s license on January 1, 2018 are exempt from this subsection.
  5. The commission shall require the information it deems necessary from every applicant to determine that applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness and competency.” – N.M. Stat. Ann. § 61-29-9 (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 New Mexico 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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