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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in West Virginia?

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

  • 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 West Virginia, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $100,013. 

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.  

West Virginia’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

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

  1. “Have served an apprenticeship as a licensed salesperson for two years or shall produce evidence satisfactory to the commission, in its sole discretion, of real estate experience equivalent to two years full-time experience as a licensed salesperson;
  2. Submit satisfactory evidence of having completed the required education course as provided for in section fourteen of this article;
  3. Successfully pass the examination or examinations provided by the commission.
  4. No broker’s license shall be issued in the name of a corporation, association or partnership except through one of its members or officers.
  5. No broker’s license shall be issued in the name of a corporation, association or partnership unless each member or officer, who will engage in the real estate business, obtains a license as a real estate salesperson or associate broker.”( W. Va. Code Ann. § 30-40-12 (West)
  6. “The recommendation of at least two persons who:
    1. Are property owners at the time of signing the application;
    2. Have been property owners for at least twelve months preceding the signing of the application;
    3. Have known the applicant for at least two years;
    4. Are not related to the applicant;
    5. Are not affiliated with the applicant as an employer, partner or associate or with the broker that will employ the applicant;
    6. Believe the applicant bears a good reputation for honesty, trustworthiness and fair dealing; and
    7. Believe the applicant is competent to transact the business of a real estate broker, associate broker or salesperson, as the case may be, in a manner that would protect the interest of the public.
  7. A clear record indicating all jurisdictions where the applicant holds or has held any professional license.
  8.  A clear record indicating if the applicant has been convicted of any criminal offense or if there is any criminal charge pending against the applicant, or a member or officer of the brokerage business, at the time of application.
  9.  Is at least eighteen years of age.
  10. Is a high school graduate or the holder of an equivalency diploma.
  11. Is trustworthy, of good moral character and competent to transact the business of a broker, associate broker or salesperson.
  12. Has paid the appropriate fee, if any, which must accompany all applications for original license or renewal.
  13. Has submitted to a state and national criminal history record check, as set forth in this subsection . . .” – W. Va. Code Ann. § 30-40-11 (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 West Virginia 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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