Can I Get a Michigan Real Estate License with a Criminal Record?

If your record has a prior conviction, it is still possible to get a Michigan real estate license. You just need to show proof of your good moral character.
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Thinking about becoming a real estate agent in Michigan? Even if you have a prior conviction, it's still possible to earn a real estate license. When you take the real estate salesperson exam in Michigan, there is a good moral character provision. This provision takes the place of the standard “felony check the box” questions. If you have a previous criminal offense, this means it may not prevent you from obtaining your real estate license.

Earning your real estate license takes several steps. If you do have any prior convictions, you may need to take extra steps to “prove you’re of good moral character.”

Is It Possible to Get a Michigan Real Estate License with a Criminal Record?

Starting fresh as a real estate salesperson in Michigan is possible, even with a prior conviction.

When you submit your Michigan real estate license application, you must disclose convictions and supporting information. To apply, you must be at least 18 years of age, be of good moral character, and pay the $88 application fee. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will review your case after you submit your real estate license application.

You can request a preliminary LARA determination to find out if your situation would prevent you from getting a real estate salesperson license. This would tell you if your conviction will be denied for not meeting good moral character standards.

LARA considers each candidate on a case-by-case basis, assessing factors such as:

  • Whether the offense relates to the license sought
  • The amount of time that has passed since the conviction
  • If there is evidence of rehabilitation
  • Other specific circumstances relating to your individual situation

It is up to LARA to review your individual situation. LARA will determine if you can move forward as a licensed Michigan salesperson.

What Is Good Moral Character?

Passing the moral character specifications is paramount if you're looking to apply for a Michigan real estate license. In late 2020, the Michigan legislature passed a bill that redefines past good moral character laws. The new bill says only severe crimes can prevent job-seekers from applying for a professional license, such as a real estate license. If you’ve been convicted of a felony within the last 10 years or certain misdemeanors in the last five years, you may not be eligible for a real estate license. Being honest on your application is the most important part because LARA will conduct a background check.

What’s Next if I Have Good Moral Character?

If LARA finds you to be of good moral character, you may proceed with the Michigan real estate salesperson licensing exam. This exam proves that you understand the basics of becoming a Michigan real estate salesperson. You can register to take the real estate exam through an online test administrator. The exam includes both Michigan-specific as well as national real estate questions. You will receive your license at your sponsoring broker’s office. If you don’t have a sponsoring broker, your score will be saved until you have a sponsoring broker. Your license will be sent to their office.

Are you ready to start your new chapter as a Michigan real estate salesperson? Begin your journey by studying for the exam with an online real estate course.