What Disqualifies You From Being a Real Estate Agent?

Real Estate License Disqualifications

The allure of the real estate industry is evident: flexible hours, the potential for significant earnings, and the thrill of helping people find their dream homes.

However, obtaining a license to practice as a real estate agent is not as simple as merely passing an exam.

States and countries have set certain standards to ensure that those who enter the industry maintain the highest ethical and professional conduct.

If you’re considering this career, it’s essential to be aware of potential disqualifications that could prevent you from obtaining your license.

Criminal Convictions

One of the most significant factors that can disqualify potential real estate agents is a criminal background.

Felony Convictions

Most states in the U.S., for instance, will thoroughly scrutinize applicants with felony convictions. The nature and recency of the crime will play a part in the decision-making process.

Convictions related to financial fraud, theft, or violent crimes are particularly concerning and could result in denial.


Not all misdemeanors will disqualify you, but those related to honesty, trustworthiness, or moral character may be considered red flags. Examples include petty theft or minor fraud cases.

Expunged Records

Some states might consider expunged or sealed records, especially if they relate to the qualifications or duties of a real estate professional.

Financial Irresponsibility

The real estate industry revolves around huge financial transactions. As such, your financial history might be taken into account during the licensing process.


While a bankruptcy in itself might not disqualify you, it could raise eyebrows. Some states may require you to provide additional information, especially if the bankruptcy involved allegations of fraud or mismanagement.

Unpaid Judgments

If you have any unpaid judgments, especially those related to financial matters or real estate transactions, it might be a cause for concern.

Tax Liens

Owing money to the government, particularly for unpaid taxes, can disqualify you in some states or at least warrant further investigation.

Previous License Revocations or Sanctions

If you’ve previously held a license in a professional field and faced disciplinary action, it might impact your application for a real estate license.

License Revocation

If a professional license (whether in real estate or another field) was revoked for misconduct, it would be a severe detriment to your application.

Sanctions or Fines

Repeated or severe sanctions could show a pattern of misconduct or negligence, leading licensing boards to deny your application.

Misrepresentation on the Application

Honesty is paramount when applying for a real estate license. Any attempt to hide or misrepresent information can lead to disqualification.

False Information

If you provide incorrect details, whether about your education, background, or experience, it can result in an automatic denial.

Omission of Relevant Details

Deliberately leaving out information, especially about past convictions or professional misconduct, is viewed negatively.

Lack of Educational or Examination Requirements

Each state has its educational requirements and examinations to qualify for a real estate license.

Insufficient Education

Failing to meet the mandatory pre-license educational hours or not completing them from an accredited institution can disqualify you.

Failing the Licensing Exam

While you can often retake the exam, repeatedly failing could delay or prevent you from obtaining your license.


Entering the real estate profession requires more than just a passion for the industry. It requires a track record that demonstrates trustworthiness, honesty, and professionalism.

While the disqualifications mentioned above can be concerning, they are not always insurmountable.

It’s essential to be transparent, address past mistakes, and seek legal or professional advice when in doubt.

Doing so will not only help you navigate the licensing process but also set you up for success in your real estate career.