For many agents, real estate is their second, third, or even fourth career. Agents come from all walks of life and hold skills across the spectrum.

One appeal of a real estate career is that success depends not on your background or employment history but on your current drive and willingness to grow. As an agent, your reputation is built on the houses you sell and the relationships you build, not past mistakes and failures.

A second chance

No matter who you are — a former teacher, tired of the low pay and lack of resources; a dissatisfied salesman, realizing tech products do not bring fulfillment; or someone facing unemployment, hoping to regain financial stability for their family — you have a shot in real estate.

But prospective agents still must meet and adhere to high character standards. The aim is to ensure that all real estate services are carried out ethically and with diligence — you must be able to trust the professional that is handling the most consequential purchase of your life.

Can I get a real estate license with a felony in Texas?

Having a criminal history does not automatically disqualify you from getting a real estate license. But according to the Texas Real Estate Commission, “Prospective license holders must meet TREC’s qualifications for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.”

To find out if you’re eligible for a real estate license, you may fill out a Fitness Determination (FD) form. This way, you won’t have to wait until the end of the licensing process to find out if you’re eligible. Filling out this form will potentially save you lots of time and money.

What is a fitness determination (FD) form?

An FD form allows you to find out if you’re eligible for a real estate license before going through the whole pre-licensing process. It is an optional step for people with a criminal record.

When you request an FD from TREC, you will provide court documents and disclose all information about your criminal history. Based on the information you provide, TREC will inform you of whether or not you are eligible for a license.

Make sure that when you submit your form, you:

  • Submit all court documents
  • Disclose all relevant information; do not hide anything, even charges for which you received parole, probation, or deferred adjudication
  • Communicate all misdemeanors and felonies, no matter how long ago they occurred
  • Only fill out an FD form if you have a criminal record; do not submit one if you do not have a past that might prohibit you from getting a license

How much does an FD form cost?

You must submit a $52 nonrefundable fee when you request an FD form on TREC’s Online Services platform.

How do I know if I should fill out an FD form?

If you have a felony or serious misdemeanor, you should fill out and submit an FD form. This way, you won’t have to wait until the end of the process to find out if you qualify for a license.

How to request an FD form

To request an FD form, visit the Online Services platform on the TREC website. If you do not already have an account, you must create a username and password.

Once you are in your account and have paid the $52 fee, TREC will email you the form. Be sure to register with an email address that you can access, as email is the only means by which you can receive and submit this form.

Is an FD form the same as a background check?

No. Unlike a background check, with an FD, you are responsible for providing all information related to your legal past.

An FD form does not replace a background check, either. All agents must submit to a background check during the licensing process.

Which criminal offenses might disqualify me?

You can find a list of offenses that gives TREC permission to refuse you a license in Chapter 53 of the Texas Occupations Code.

The main rationale is this: if a criminal offense is either directly related to or may prohibit you from carrying out the duties of your license, you may be denied a license.

Some notable offenses are:

  • Fraud-related convictions
  • Crimes involving bribery or illegal compensation
  • DWIs
  • Sexual offenses
  • Falsification of records or perjury

In addition to the above offenses, TREC also considers the following:

  • The age at which you committed the offense
  • How long it has been since you committed the offense
  • Whether you have demonstrated ethical conduct since the offense
  • Whether you complied with conditions of parole or probation
  • Letters of recommendation

An important note: just because you are denied a license now does not mean permanent denial. The system is set up so that even if a conviction prevents you from attaining a license now, you may attain one in the future.

Want to get started?

For more information on how to fill out a Fitness Determination form, check out TREC’s guidelines. They provide all the information you need to apply for a license if you’re worried about your criminal record.

Once you decide to move forward, enroll with Champions School of Real Estate. We offer all required qualifying and continuing education for real estate licensure and provide courses in various formats to best suit your learning needs. We hope to see you in class soon!

Other Related Articles
Can You Get a Real Estate License Online?

The short answer is yes, and in this article, we'll delve into the possibilities and the steps you need to take to make it happen.

How Much Does a Texas Real Estate License Cost?

The steps are simple enough, but the cost varies depending on the program you choose.

How Much Money Do Real Estate
Agents Make?

With hard work, dedication, and education, the sky's the limit for earning potential.