People considering a career in real estate in Australia are often surprised to hear they will have to undergo a criminal history check and wonder why. In this article, we’ll explain the reasoning behind this rule, the type of offences that can hold you back from becoming a real estate agent and what you can do about it.
The importance of a clean criminal record
Real estate agents earn well in Australia and pretty much everywhere else in the world, which makes this profession so attractive. Why is it that people with a criminal record are not allowed in this profession? That’s very easy, it’s about money and trust. Buying or selling a property involves significant financial transactions so not allowing people with a checkered past to handle them is the sensible thing to do. That is why in most cases, real estate agents in Australia are required to present a criminal history check for real estate work prior to obtaining registration as a real estate agent.
At the same time, as part of their job, real estate agents have access to sensitive documents concerning their clients and their financial situation. Placing such documents in the hands of an individual with several fraud convictions on their record is practically an invitation for them to steal their client’s money.
Also, when someone hires a real estate agent, they need to be sure that person is trustworthy and will hold their best interests at heart. When you’re in the middle of finding a new house the last thing you need to worry about is your agent trying to scam you in some way.
What sort of offences make you unsuitable for a career in real estate
Each Australian state and territory has its own regulations concerning the real estate business, but the principle is the same. If you were convicted of serious offences in the past few years, you cannot get a real estate agent licence. In some parts of the country, the period is defined as five years, while in others, like Victoria, you cannot apply for a licence if you committed a serious offence in the past 10 years.
According to the law, a serious offence is an offence punishable by 3 years or more of imprisonment. It doesn’t matter what was your actual sentence or how much time you served in prison, if the punishment stipulated by the criminal code is 3 years or more, you are ineligible to become a real estate agent.
The law refers specifically to offences such as theft, fraud, extortion, drug trafficking, violence or threats to commit violence, or sexual harassment.
How to do a background check on yourself
If enough time has passed, you might be allowed to apply for a real estate agent licence. However, you need to make sure what your criminal record looks like.
You can do that easily by ordering a background check on yourself using an online agency that provides those kinds of checks online. Such agencies are fully accredited and do a quick and thorough job. In no more than 2 days or so, you can get your police check and see what your criminal history looks like. Know that once you apply for a licence, you will be asked to submit a background check and also pay for it, so you might as well do it before applying. There’s no point in going through all the trouble of putting your other papers in order if your record is going to hold you back.
On the other hand, if the dates on your criminal history check show that your offences were 5 or 10 years ago, you can go ahead and get your licence, and embark on a new career path.
Why People Decide to Become a Real Estate Agent
It is a common question that some people ponder about – why become a real estate agent and what are the perks of the job?
Working as a real estate agent in countries like Australia actually offers a great deal of variety and decent compensation for the job if you are good at it. Visiting and also working with various clients and different venues, you will not expect to be carrying out the same type of activity each and every day.
Real estate agents meet with a variety of people each day, utilise their sales and marketing skills and also negotiate important contracts that deal with where people will live or work for a large part of their lives. It is a big responsibility!
So if you are interested in becoming a real estate agent, go ahead and give it a try. Just make sure that you maintain a suitable character so you don’t fall behind on background checks needed to obtain your license.