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Can You Get a Real Estate License With a DUI

Once upon a time, humans made mistakes. And this framework still hasn’t changed. Now and then, we have a lapse in judgment.

Should that disqualify you from a second chance? Can you get a real estate license with a DUI? The answer is yes. Most states offer aspiring agents convicted of driving under the influence a chance to rewrite their stories and build a career in real estate.

Below, we’ll delve into state laws and procedures to discover how you can pursue real estate despite past mistakes. You’ll gain valuable insights and tips that could potentially open doors for you. So buckle up as we navigate through this topic.

DUI and State-Specific Requirements

A DUI conviction can complicate getting a real estate license. But it doesn’t automatically disqualify you. When applying for a license, most states assess an applicant’s entire criminal history. These offenses, DUIs included, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

For Regulators, answering the question: “Can you get a real estate license with a DUI or any conviction?” is a debate of integrity. Most licensing agencies evaluate cases on a relevancy scale.

For example, California doesn’t disqualify applicants solely based on a prior DUI. Instead, its Department of Real Estate examines individual circumstances while weighing the case’s relevance to real estate.

Criteria of Substantial Relationship is used to determine eligibility. Licensees with convictions for financial crimes like fraud are likelier to have their licenses denied.

However, laws vary across different states, so it’s crucial that you research your state’s regulations before proceeding further.

How to Apply for a Real Estate License with a DUI

What it takes to get a real estate license remains the same for applicants with a criminal record as for unconvicted candidates. All candidates must complete the required pre-licensing education, pass their state exam, and submit license applications with fees.

However, the place of concern for formerly convicted persons is the background check. Through background checks, applicants are subjected to additional scrutiny. Every past felony or misdemeanor will be uncovered.

My opinion? Be honest right from the start. If you are on parole or probation, let the commission know. If you are a resident of Tennessee, this may automatically disqualify you from licensing, but only for two years.

It is always better to start things on the right foot rather than hope to fix things down the pipe.

Choosing to disclose convictions upfront builds trust and aligns with ethical real estate tenets. Attempts at hiding past arrests risk application denial and further disciplinary action.

If you are unsure of the impact your conviction may have on license eligibility, apply for pre-determination. States like North Carolina and Tennessee have a “pre-determination” application where prospective licensees can submit records and have eligibility pre-assessed before embarking on the licensing journey. This will help you save time and money on pursuits if barred from practice.  

Give Rehabilitation a Chance

If treatment programs were imposed during your case, ensure full completion with certifiable documentation.  You may even go ahead and share this certificate with brokers when you are applying for a job.

Here are several strategies you can adopt if instructed to complete a program:

  • Treat the requirement with urgency: Prioritize it and dedicate adequate time for completion.
  • Engage fully during each session: Active participation often leads to better understanding and quicker progress.
  • Seek support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed, whether from peers or professionals within the program or outside partners like brokers or counselors.

A DUI Is not the End of Your Real Estate Goals

Regardless of the DUI or the reason that led you there, honest and early disclosure while displaying personal growth can overcome lingering concerns about your competency as an agent. States are not focused on perfection, no one is. They only ask you to protect consumer interests.

Next Steps:
If you consider pursuing real estate as a career despite having a DUI conviction, here are some actionable steps to follow:
1. Research: Understand your state’s regulations regarding obtaining licenses with previous convictions.
2. Be Honest: Disclose all relevant information during application processes.
3. Complete Required Courses: Finish pre-license education and pass the state exam regardless of your background.
4. Apply for Pre-determination (if available): This step helps understand whether you’d be eligible for licensure before investing time and money in required courses.

5. Prepare for the Exam: Use our practice tests to heighten your odds of success on your exam.

We hope this article has been helpful! If you have more questions or thoughts about this topic, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “Can You Get a Real Estate License With a DUI”

    • Hey Sandra,
      Yes, North Carolina has a pre-determination process. You will need to visit the North Carolina Real Estate Commission website to get the full details on how to complete the application. But the general procedure requires that you provide the criminal history record report that is not older than 60 days, a copy of the court judgement, and a letter from you explaining the incident. You will also need to pay a $45 processing fee.

      You can complete the application online on the NCREC website. You can also use the website to check if you need to apply for pre-determination in the first place.


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