Becoming a real estate agent can be a lucrative and stable career in Washington, 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 Washington.
- 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.
The average base salary of a real estate agent in the United States is estimated to be $105,100. In Washington, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $114,174.
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.
Washington’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:
In Washington, the state requires the following for a person to be eligible to obtain a real estate broker license:
- “Is 18 years of age or older;
- Has a high school diploma or its equivalent;
- Except as provided in RCW 18.85.141, has furnished proof, as the director may require, that the applicant has successfully completed 90 hours of instruction in real estate. Instruction must include courses as prescribed by the director including fundamentals, which shall include three hours of instruction on fair housing and consumer protection issues, and practices. Each course must be completed within two years before applying for the broker’s license examination and be approved by the director. The applicant must pass a course examination, approved by the director for each course used to satisfy the broker’s license requirement; and
- Has passed the broker’s license examination.
- The broker’s license may be renewed upon completion of continuing education courses and payment of the renewal fee as prescribed by the director. The education requirements for the first renewal of the broker’s license must include 90 hours of courses as prescribed by the director, including real estate law, which shall include three hours of instruction on fair housing and consumer protection issues, advance practices, and continuing education.
- The broker is licensed to one firm at a time and is supervised by a designated or managing broker.” – Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 18.85.101 (West)
- “A person desiring a license as a real estate broker or managing broker must pay an examination fee and pass an examination . . .
- Furnish other proof as the director may require concerning the honesty, truthfulness, and good reputation, as well as the identity, which may include fingerprints and criminal background checks, of any applicants for a license . . .”- Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 18.85.171 (West)
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 Washington 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.