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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in Texas?

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Texas’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

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

  • 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 Texas, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $106,923. 

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.  

State Specific Requirements: 

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

  1. “[B]e at least 18 years of age; and
  2. be a citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien;
  3. satisfy the commission as to the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity;
  4. demonstrate competence based on an examination under Subchapter I; and
  5. complete the required courses of study, including any required qualifying real estate courses prescribed under this chapter.”
  6. “An applicant for a broker license must provide to the commission satisfactory evidence that the applicant:
    1. has had at least four years of active experience in this state as a license holder during the 60 months preceding the date the application is filed; and
    2. has successfully completed at least 60 semester hours, or equivalent classroom hours, of postsecondary education, including:
      1. at least 18 semester hours or equivalent classroom hours of qualifying real estate courses, two semester hours of which must consist of a real estate brokerage course completed not more than two years before the application date; and
      2. at least 42 semester hours of qualifying real estate courses or related courses accepted by the commission.”
  7. “The commission shall conduct a criminal history check of each applicant for a license or renewal of a license using information:
    1. provided by the individual under this section; and
    2. made available to the commission by the Department of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and any other criminal justice agency under Chapter 411, Government Code.”
  8. “Each applicant for a broker or sales agent license must disclose in the license application whether the applicant has:
    1. entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony; or
    2. been convicted of a felony and the time for appeal has elapsed or the judgment or conviction has been affirmed on appeal.”

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. 

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