So you want to be a real estate agent, but you’re worried that your less-than-perfect background might disqualify you. It’s still possible to get a real estate license in Texas with a felony on your record, but it can be tricky. Here’s what you need to know.
How Does TREC Judge Your Background?
The Texas Real Estate Commission, or TREC, decides who does – or doesn’t – get a real estate license. While they don’t have a list of crimes that will automatically disqualify you from getting a license, they do require that every applicant demonstrate honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity. TREC reviews every applicant on an individual basis to decide if they meet these criteria.
Which Crimes Are Most Likely to Disqualify You?
The crimes that matter most to TREC are those that directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of a license holder, and those that show that the person is probably not able to represent the interest of someone else with the required honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.
These offenses involve:
felonies involving driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI)
felonies involving the manufacture, delivery, or intent to deliver controlled substances
fraud or misrepresentation
forgery, falsification of records, or perjury
offering, paying, or taking bribes, kickbacks, or other illegal compensation
offenses against real or personal property belonging to another, against a person, or against public administration
the sale or other disposition of real or personal property belonging to another without authorization of law
attempting or conspiring to commit any of the foregoing offenses, or aiding and abetting them
repeated violations of one criminal statute or multiple violations of different criminal statutes
What Factors Does TREC Take Into Account?
When examining a person’s criminal background to determine fitness for a real estate license, TREC will consider:
The extent and nature of the person’s past criminal activity
How old they were when they committed the offense
How long it has been since the person last committed a crime
The conduct and job history of the person before and after the offense
The person’s compliance with parole, probation, supervised release, or community supervision, as well as their time remaining (if any)
Evidence of the person’s rehabilitative efforts
Any letters of recommendation from prosecution, law enforcement, correctional officers, etc., who speak on the person’s behalf
In other words, TREC will look for evidence that those offenses are in your past – and that you are ready, able, and willing to be a trustworthy, reliable real estate agent.
What Forms Should You Submit About Your Background?
If you’re worried that your criminal background might disqualify you, it’s smart to submit the Fitness Determination form before you apply for your license. This application (which, at $50, is significantly cheaper than the license application, education towards the license, and license exam) allows you to get a ruling on your fitness before you spend all that money and time.
You’ll basically need to fully disclose your criminal background on the form, and then await TREC’s response. They will make a fitness determination within 30 days.
Want to Know More?
You may have other questions, such as the level of education you need to have in order to become a real estate agent in Texas. Aceable is here to answer your questions, and to help you become an agent!