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Can You Be a Real Estate Agent After Filing for Bankruptcy?

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Whether a person can become a real estate agent after filing a bankruptcy will depend on the licensing board requirements of the state where the agent plans to practice. Although filing a bankruptcy case should not prevent an agent from attaining a real estate license, some states may look at his credit history during a background check.


Bankruptcy is a method of discharging or reorganizing debt. There is specific filing requirements that either allow all debts to be forgiven or the consolidation of all debts with the implementation of a payment plan. The goal of filing a bankruptcy case is to provide a fresh financial start as it eliminates the debt from credit cards, medical bills, loans, and other bills. A bankruptcy case can stay on a credit record for 10 years if it is a Chapter 7, while a Chapter 13 remains for seven years.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent handles real property transactions. The agent may be a buyers agent, which means she only works with buyers and shows them property; or a sellers agent, which means she only works with sellers, or both. Becoming a real estate agent requires meeting the states qualifications. These qualifications normally include an application; attendance at a specific set of classes designated by the state to demonstrate competency in the field; an examination upon completion of the courses; fingerprints and a background check.

Denial of License

The fingerprint scan provides the state agency with a complete copy of your criminal history, if any. This includes all crimes, such as driving under the influence, misdemeanors or felonies. The agency will review the charges, time the charges were committed and resolution of the charge. Disciplinary action against a different license may also be grounds for denial of a current real estate license. Most states provide a process to question the applicant about these issues before the denial of the license.


Bankruptcy court will not prevent an application to become a real estate agent. If there was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed, once the debt is discharged the file closes. When there is a closed case, there is no need to update the bankruptcy court on employment. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is no reason for the court to interfere as the profession provides an income. The income is necessary to make the bankruptcy payments. Although the state licensing board may look into your credit history as part of the total background check, it should not be a reason to deny your application. However, contact a local attorney or your state licensing board for more information regarding your specific situation.


Angelique de la Morreaux began writing articles for various websites in 2010. Her focus is in the legal, small business, beauty, holiday, culture, food, drinks and automotive categories. Morreaux holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from San Diego State University.

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