Can I get A North Carolina Real Estate License With A Criminal Record?

If you are wanting to become a North Carolina real estate broker but happen to have a criminal record, not all hope is lost. Here is everything you need to know about getting a North Carolina real estate license with a criminal record.
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On the North Carolina real estate license application, you will be asked three questions about any prior criminal offenses, professional license disciplinary actions, and liens or unpaid judgments. So what happens if you have one or more of these?

Not all hope is lost if you have a criminal record. You might be wondering what disqualifies you from being a real estate agent in North Carolina. All applicants are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and offenses don’t automatically disqualify you. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) considers factors such as:

  • The level and seriousness of the crime
  • The date of the crime
  • The age of the person at the time of the crime.
  • The circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, if known
  • Any overlap between the criminal conduct and the prospective duties of the applicant as a licensee
  • The prison, jail, probation, parole, rehabilitation, and employment records of the applicant since the date the crime was committed
  • The completion of, or active participation in, any rehabilitative drug or alcohol treatment
  • A Certificate of Relief granted pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 15A-173.2 (Basically, when an individual obtains a certificate of relief, which is a court order, many consequences related to criminal convictions will be eliminated, such as some limitations on licensing.)
  • Any subsequent crimes committed by the applicant
  • Any affidavits or other written documents, including character references

So yes, you might be able to get a real estate license even if you have a criminal record. If you present enough evidence that proves your honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity, you can convince NCREC that you would be a respectable agent.

How do I apply for a North Carolina real estate license with a criminal record?

If you have something on your record that could affect your eligibility, you will be asked to provide more information on your license application. You can also submit any supporting documents related to the offense(s) at this time to help the Commission reach a decision. The Commission typically reviews this as one of the final steps in the licensing process, so you also need to have completed the remaining steps to apply for a license, including completing a Commission-approved 75-hour North Carolina Broker Pre-licensing Course, requesting a background check, paying the $100 application fee, and passing the licensing exam.

Once you submit your application, you should give the Commission 45 days to evaluate their application before inquiring about its status. Make sure you are absolutely honest about your history and include all required documentation to expedite the process.

What if I fail the character determination?

If the Commission decides that you do not satisfy the character requirement, they will defer the application and advise you of your right to request a formal hearing in front of the Commission. You must request a hearing within 60 days of deferral, otherwise the application will be denied.

At the hearing, NCREC will decide whether or not to deny your license. If your license is denied again at this time, unfortunately this is a final decision.

What if I pass the character determination?

If, after review, the Commission determines that you are of good character, then congratulations! This was the final step, and your real estate license will be issued to you at this time.

Can I get a pre-determination before I complete the licensing process?

If you are concerned that your history will disqualify you, you may also petition the Commission for a predetermination of whether it will likely disqualify you from obtaining a real estate license. You can make this petition at any time by filling out a form on the NCREC website, including before taking the 75-hour North Carolina Broker Pre-licensing Course.