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If A Person Files Bankruptcy, Can They Get A Real Estate License?

A career in real estate can provide you with an opportunity to give you the satisfaction of helping others become homeowners, permit flexible scheduling and determine your own income through your negotiation skills and efforts. However, before you start a career in real estate, you will first need to obtain a real estate license. Whether you are considering filing bankruptcy or you currently have a bankruptcy on your record, you may wonder how this will affect your ability to become a licensed realtor.

In short, filing for bankruptcy will not prevent you from obtaining your real estate license. Under Section 525a of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, a government unit is unable to deny a license to anyone based solely on a bankruptcy filing. Since real estate licenses are issued by each state’s respective licensing division, this section of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code directly applies to the real estate industry. Additionally, if you currently have a real estate license, filing for bankruptcy will not affect your ability to renew your license at the time of renewal as government units are not legally allowed to base their renewal decisions based solely on bankruptcy status.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code also prohibits any employer from using bankruptcy to deny employment. While an employer may take it into consideration or choose another reason to deny employment such as poor communication skills, unstable work history or lack of experience and use one or more of these reasons to avoid violating the Bankruptcy Code, any company, brokerage or real estate agency cannot refuse to hire you as a real estate agent because you have filed for bankruptcy. If you find that your bankruptcy was the sole basis for the company’s decision, you should do your best to obtain their remarks in writing and seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney.

While some agencies, brokerages and real estate companies may view bankruptcy as a negative mark on your “record,” a bankruptcy filing actually offers several advantages that can help you in your career. Without the stress of lawsuit threats, letters and creditor calls, you have the time and energy to focus more clearly on your work, and you can provide your clients with the services they need to successfully negotiate a home sale or purchase. The elimination of financial stress via bankruptcy may also help you focus on your overall health by improving your sleep, and you may find yourself with more energy to make a positive and lasting impression on your clients.

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