Can You Get a North Carolina Real Estate License with Violations such as Felony, DUI or Misdemeanor?

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In this article, we break down everything you need to know when acquiring a real estate license in the state of North Carolina should you have a past conviction on your record.

We will discuss the background check process in the state, as well as provide tips on how you can get a “yes” on your license application if you have a criminal record.

Keep reading to get a full picture of how your past criminal history may impact your eligibility of getting a North Carolina real estate license.


Should I Pass a Background Check for a North Carolina Real Estate License?

You must complete a background check for an NC real estate license, and you must go through the North Carolina Real Estate Commission’s approved provider.

To get your criminal record report, contact Criminal Record Check. There is a flat fee of $15 to get your North Carolina state records.

If you’ve lived anywhere other than North Carolina within the seven years leading up to your application for a real estate license, you’ll also need reports from those locations.

The best time to undergo a background check is right before you submit your license application since the report is only good for six months. If you do it too early, you’ll have to resubmit.


Can You Get a Real Estate License with a Felony in North Carolina?

To get a real estate license in North Carolina, North Carolina real estate license law requires applicants to demonstrate the right character traits applicable for licensure.

Every application submitted to the Commission undergoes a character review based on what was disclosed on the application or background report.

The application is first reviewed by an analyst and executive director before going to the Commission, if necessary.

If the Commission isn’t able to make a determination on the application themselves, the applicant is called in for a character conference to discuss.

You’ll be notified of this character conference in writing.

Depending on the severity of your felony charge, and a set list of factors regarding the particulars of the crime, your application may make it to this final stage.

Since each application is reviewed individually, though, there’s no absolute guarantee your application will be approved, nor is there any certainty it will be denied.

Reasons for denial usually extend to issues directly related to your prospective real estate duties, as well as crimes that are violent or sexual in nature.


Can You Get a Real Estate License with a Misdemeanor in North Carolina?

Any convictions on your criminal record are considered a character issue within the license application review process.

For this reason, your application will go through at least the first stage of the character review process, possibly moving on for a Commission review.

Each application is evaluated individually, which means the circumstances surrounding your particular offense will be carefully looked at when determining eligibility for a license.

Primary reasons for denial may include situations where the crime relates to your prospective duties/responsibilities as a real estate professional or are violent or sexual in nature.


Can You Get a Real Estate License with a DUI in North Carolina?

You can get a real estate license if you have a DUI in North Carolina. However, the determining factors will be the particulars of your specific situation rather than the conviction itself.

Anyone with a DUI in their criminal history will undergo a character review. You may also get called in for a character conference to discuss your case.

Your risk of a DUI preventing you from getting a real estate license relates to the severity of the situation, as well as nine other determining factors.

It may increase, though, if the DUI conviction was violent in nature.


Tips for Applying for a North Carolina Real Estate License with Criminal Record or Misdemeanor

If you’re concerned about your criminal history impairing your ability to get your real estate license in North Carolina, you can take a proactive step before starting the licensing process.

Here are some tips:

  • You’re able to submit a petition for a pre-determination directly to the Commission. There’s a $45 fee, and you must petition the Commission before taking the pre-licensing course. Required documentation for this petition includes your criminal history record from the Commission’s pre-approved vendor, as well as the court judgment for each charge.
  • You’ll also need to send in a detailed, written explanation of the circumstances around the offense. This should be written in your own words.
  • If you have past convictions but opt to not submit this petition, your application and background check will undergo the standard review process. Checking early on, though, can save you the cost of the pre-licensing education and the real estate exam, if it’s determined you won’t qualify for a license.
  • It’s best to be forthcoming with the details of your criminal history, and respond promptly to any requests made by the Commission before or during the character review.
  • You may also provide character letters for the Commission to review and consider, as long as they’re submitted with the license application.

Can I Appeal the Commission’s Negative Decision?

Should the Commission determine your application does not meet the requisite character requirement for license, you’ll receive a denial of your application.

You can request a hearing before the Commission, where additional evidence may be presented for review, along with your own testimony.

It’s important that what you share addresses the character issue in question as determined in the NC real estate license law and Commission rules, and that you come prepared to defend yourself against a cross examination.

From here, the Commission will make a final ruling on your eligibility to obtain a real estate license.


Can a Real Estate License Be Suspended or Revoked Because of a Violation Committed After Receiving It?

The Commission has the ability to institute a license disqualification, or take any other disciplinary action upon both its own initiative and a formal complaint.

If evidence of a violation is found, the Commission may hold a hearing, although they can suspend or revoke a license, or reprimand or censure a licensed North Carolina real estate agent at any time.


Where to Study for a Real Estate License Exam?

For those who submit a petition for pre-determination and receive a positive response from the Commission, you can confidently begin the licensing process.

This includes completing the pre-licensing education requirement. All license applicants are required to take 75 hours of North Carolina real estate classes.

Know that you have the option to take your pre-licensing courses in person or via remote learning. Choose what fits your learning style best by reading our A-to-Z guide on real estate classes online vs. classroom courses.

Once you complete your pre-licensing education, you can be eligible to take the licensing exam. These tips for studying for the real estate exam can help you ace the test on your first try.

The more you’re able to study, the higher the chances you’ll pass your North Carolina real estate exam the first time you attempt it, saving you both time and money overall.

To make sure your study time is as effective and efficient as possible, start by taking thorough notes during your pre-licensing class sessions.

Then, convert those notes to flashcards and topic outlines to streamline studying. Make sure you’re covering all essential topics by reviewing the exam outline in the PSI Bulletin as well.

Next, find a dependable place to study, and schedule a little time reviewing each and every day. You want a space that’s quiet, where interruptions are at a minimum.

This could end up being a space in your home, or somewhere else that provides optimal conditions.

You may also want to consider joining a study group if it’s difficult to focus on your own.

When you feel prepared to schedule your exam, don’t forget to give yourself a little extra study time in the days leading up to the test. The goal is to get to test day feeling ready to go.


Additional Information

Make sure you read this guide before you begin the process of acquiring your real estate license in North Carolina. This will save you time and effort should your past conviction deemed you ineligible to get licensed.

Should you pass this step, you can then start the licensing process hassle-free and prepare for other requirements, such as your budget for license expenses.

Read our article on the cost of a real estate license in NC to know how much you should shell out to obtain your license in the state.

For the estimated timeline in completing the licensing process, refer to our guide on how long it takes to get your real estate license in NC.

You should also look for a licensed broker to sponsor you. This is required to activate your license before you can engage in real estate-related transactions.

Know what to look for in a real estate company by reviewing our article on choosing the right broker to work for as a new agent. You can then pick from our vetted list of North Carolina real estate brokerages.

Make sure to also equip yourself with essential knowledge of the real estate industry. The following resources can give you an edge when aiming for a successful real estate career in the state:

To help you build and grow your real estate career quickly, we at Real Estate Bees created a directory for real estate professionals.

It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


About the Author

Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.

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