Real Estate LawyerOne real estate agent turned out to be a Russian spy. At the time, Tracey Lee Ann Foley was working for Redfin Real Estate. This company was one of few at the time that actually required a background check to work there, and only four states required a criminal background check to get a real estate license. Laws in 2015 now require real estate professionals to pass a background check to become licensed, but even that may not be as effective as it seems.

You Can Have Past Criminal History and Become Licensed

When considering an applicant for a license, the Division does conduct a background check as well as a questionnaire. However, a past conviction doesn’t automatically result in the denial of a license. Those who were considered con men, committed any financial crimes like embezzlement, and those who have committed violent crimes are more likely to be prohibited from obtaining a license than other types of offenders. If anything is found during the background check, the application is sent to an attorney for them to review. If they decide to deny the license, they must send a denial letter stating the reason and copies of the past convictions. The time since the conviction is another major consideration. Applicants have a much better chance for approval if it has been ten years or more since their conviction.

However, background checks aren’t foolproof. In the case of Mrs. Foley, that wasn’t her real name. Her real name was Elena Vaviola. This is just one way criminals can get past a background check. Many people who commit crimes aren’t ever caught, and many of the ones who are charged aren’t convicted.

Real estate agents have access to people’s homes, assets, and personal and financial information. They also spend time alone with their clients. While certain arrests or convictions won’t necessarily keep a realtor from obtaining a license to buy or sell real estate, it may give potential clients pause. Arrests or suspicion of a crime can’t legally be used to deny someone a license, but a client may want to choose a different realtor.

A Real Estate Lawyer Can Help

It is a good idea for anyone buying or selling real estate to hire an attorney. A real estate lawyer can help make sure their client’s best interests are represented.