Can I Get a Real Estate License if I Have Filed for Bankruptcy?

A career in real estate can provide you with the opportunity to determine your own income through your efforts and negotiation skills, permit flexible scheduling and give you the satisfaction of helping people become homeowners. Before you start a career in real estate, you will need to obtain a real estate license. If you have a bankruptcy on your record or are considering filing bankruptcy, you may wonder if this will affect your ability to obtain a real estate license.

Statutory Prohibition

A bankruptcy filing will not prevent you from obtaining a real estate license in the United States. Section 525a of the United States Bankruptcy Code prohibits any governmental unit from denying a license to any person solely because of a bankruptcy filing. Because real estate licenses are issued by state licensing divisions, this section of the Bankruptcy Code applies to real estate licensure.

Renewal

If you already have a real estate license, bankruptcy will also not affect your ability to renew your license upon expiration. Section 525a of the United States Bankruptcy Code prevents governmental units from renewing professional licenses based on bankruptcy.

Obtaining a Job

The Bankruptcy Code prohibits a private employer from using a bankruptcy filing as the sole basis for denying employment. Under Section 525a, a real estate agency, brokerage or company cannot refuse to hire you as a real estate agent because you have a bankruptcy filing on your record. However, the brokerage, agency or company may choose another reason for denying employment, such as lack of experience, unstable work history or poor communication skills to avoid violating the Bankruptcy Code.

Considerations

Although some real estate companies, brokerages and agencies may see bankruptcy as negative, a bankruptcy filing may offer advantages to help you in your career. Without the stress of creditor calls, letters and lawsuit threats, you can focus more clearly on your work, and on providing clients with the services they need to successfully negotiate a home purchase or sale. Elimination of financial stress through bankruptcy may also improve sleep and help you focus on overall health, giving you the energy to make a positive impression on clients.

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