Is Your Virginia Real Estate Agent a Felon? or Who IS in YOUR House?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with EXiT Metro Realty


As the Principal Broker/Owner of two real estate offices, it pretty hard to surprise me anymore. However, what transpired recently is enough to make my blood run cold. The State of Virginia allows CONVICTED FELONS who have served jail time to get REAL ESTATE LICENSES!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Did you KNOW that? I didn't.

In fact,I had always believed as have many of my other colleagues,that criminal background checks were done on new licensees by the Department of Regulation in the State of Virginia. This is not true.

DPOR merely "asks" potential licensees this question when they apply for their real estate license. If they don't answer this question, no checks are ever done. If the question is answered positively, the potential licensee must go before the board for a hearing. I have sat in on one of those hearings and they are rather short and sweet. Even then, NO background checks are done.

I was told by one investigator " there are 300,000 agents and DPOR doesn't have the time to do criminal background checks". Really? Hmmm. First of all I don't think there are 300,000 licensed real estate agents in the State of Virginia. And secondly, why can't Virginia do background checks?

The State of Kentucky requires potential licensees to submit to a criminal background check BEFORE they even take the licensing exam. Kentucky will not allow ANYONE to become a real estate agent if they have ANY felony conviction at any time (EVER!). You can't even become a real estate agent in Kentucky within five years of a misdemeanor conviction or with evidence of dishonesty, untruthfulness, or bad reputation. The FBI cost for this investigation is just $18 paid for by the potential licensees and it takes 10-12 weeks. In other words, Virginia wouldn't even have to DO the background check, they can hire the FBI to do the background check and make it a requirement that the potential licensees pay for it!!!!

I bring all of this up in the first place because I found out I had an agent in my office who had a felony conviction with jail time served for credit card fraud as well as a misdemeanor conviction for fraud. He had also lost his license to sell cars in Virginia for fraudulent behavior. But hey...let's just look the other way and give him a REAL ESTATE license and access to all the HOUSES on the market in the State of VIRGINIA!!! This agent continued to create all kinds of fraud for buyers and sellers in MY office!

People worry all the time about whether or not their house is safe while it is on the market. I reassure them over and over that I have a secure lockbox that can only be opened by real estate agents. I never ever knew that some of those real estate agents are the very ones my sellers should be afraid of letting into their house! Would you knowingly let a convicted felon stranger into your house? I don't think so. So why on earth would the State of Virginia think it is perfectly fine to allow convicted felons who have served jail time to have unlimited access to all the homes on the market in Virginia WITHOUT the knowledge of the sellers or buyers???

What is even more frightening, is after I dismissed this agent from my office and filed some very serious complaints (I also found out he was being investigated by DPOR for other complaints BEFORE he came to my office), this agent has just joined ANOTHER office in Northern Virginia and is being ALLOWED to practice real estate while he is being investigated. There is absolutely NO provision in the code or law that allows DPOR to suspend an agent's license while an investigation is going matter how serious the charges are. Makes you feel even safer doesn't it???

So...coming to a home near you...maybe even yours... is a convicted felon licensed real estate agent who has served jail time for fraud or drug use or...and DPOR won't do a thing about it.


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Do you consier ALL FELONS unworthy of becoming licensed agents, or just those with specific drug or theft related crimes? I am a convicted felon, but for destruction of property. I broke a window and because it's valued at over $1500 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, tha's a felony. I served 26 days in jail, paid restitution, court costs and fines, completed two years of probation along with substance abuse and anger management counseling. Am I not worthy of seeking a professional career because I am a felon? Does my earned college degree mean nothing now because I broke the law years ago? 


I can understand keeping people who steal from working in a bank. I can understand keeping people who have done harm to children from working in schools. But should everyone who has ever made a mistake be kept from earning themselves a comfortable living because of it?

Aug 30, 2012 12:26 AM #1
John Madison

I am a Behavior Analyst and I am a convicted felon.


I have assisted 100's of individuals in obtaining balanced mental health. Twenty four years ago we grew marijuana in our basement to sell it to our fellow college students. We were caught and charged and now I'm a felon. Ironically I'm in Washington where they just legalized recreational marijunana.


I was a senior at the time and went on to receive my PhD in psychology. Should I be barred from counseling people?


They should think up a new name for people like previous posters and myself insofar as categorizing. After five years persons that did a crime that did not involve violence or manufactured drugs, drugs, guns or the obvious robbery of some sort...murder, of course, etc. should be called "mistakers." 

That way we're not ostracized forever.


Oh no, someone showing houses commited a crime and is attempting to get their life back on track. That's horrible!


Jan 02, 2013 12:44 AM #3
Shawn Harris you are a total dick. If I wasnt a better person now AND an armed forces vet. So slapping you on your mouth is beneath me in theory. csn have the same thing happen to you and if it ever does you are gonna find something out punk. You are a piece of discriminating trash that contributes to making people with messed up lives worse. You are a senseless oaf. You too can get crossed up into the "law enforcement industry" and wind up a booty snack for Bubba in prison. I will do my best to bad mouth you and exit metro. I will portray you honestly as the insecure piece of work you have become in your life. Ill be sure to inform veterans and other buisness prospects that mention you that you are so good and faultless that you wouldnt give a break to someone trying to turn their life around. You are truly afraid, hateful, niave and pitiful ... wow. People who are career criminals font try to sell homes you idiot. Are you afraid they could steal a house or butt rape you or something???
May 25, 2014 03:10 PM #4

What can a man do to better himself after a mistake; other than better him self. Please examine what your saying. It is very hard for a convicted felon to hold any license in the state of Virginia. So fairly if he has meet the requirements to obtain the necessary licenset hat convicted felon should be able to sell real estate ? Surely a person bound by ethical conduct like equal housing and fair lending as yourself have to have and understand on rehabilitation. To state that you have sat in on such hearings that determine if a person should receive real state license but yet express in an article your prejudice is very concerning. How are your ethics.

Mar 04, 2015 03:05 PM #5

Ok so this is what I am talking about!!! They classify us a being these horrible monsters bc of a felony charge. They almost look at us like we have a 3rd eyeball. So sad. Not all felons are bad! I am a widow trying to make a good life for my kids and myself and it is nearly impossible with a felony. Please get to know someone before you judge us "horrible convicted felons". There are people who have done horrible things but just haven't gotten caught. But they don't have a felony. I am a good woman who had just turned 18 when I went with a girl who had shoplifted. I was guilty by association. Am I horrible? No! I am so honest and trustworthy! Damn you judgemental people. Make me sick.

May 05, 2015 10:45 PM #6

Actually kentucky does allow you to become a real estate agent if your a felon, saids under there Web page

Sep 27, 2015 02:45 PM #7

What an ignorant broker generalizing people. I bet he broke some RE laws but always looking into other people to appear better. You did not hear about second chance act law, if not read it and stop your ignorance...

Sep 21, 2018 05:03 AM #8
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