Use: 20OFFSPRING  Save up 20% on all Corofy Real Estate courses. Ends May 31, 2024.

Complete Guide To Real Estate Background Checks In New York

a magnifying glass hovering over a stylized map of New York, with iconic buildings and a checkmark symbol, symbolizing the thorough background checks in real estate, hand-drawn abstract illustration for a company blog, white background, professional, minimalist, clean lines, faded colors
In this article

If you’re considering a career in real estate in New York, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the background check process. New York has specific laws and requirements that dictate the background check procedures for individuals pursuing a career in this industry. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the ins and outs of real estate background checks in New York, ensuring you have all the information you need to navigate this crucial step. In addition to the aforementioned components, a real estate background check may also include a credit history review. This aspect is significant as it provides insight into an individual’s financial responsibility and management skills. For real estate agents, who often handle large sums of money during property transactions, a good credit score can be indicative of their ability to handle financial matters diligently and ethically. Furthermore, some real estate agencies may go a step further and conduct reference checks as part of the background screening process. By contacting previous employers or colleagues, these agencies aim to gain a better understanding of the candidate’s work ethic, professionalism, and interpersonal skills. This thorough evaluation helps ensure that the agents represent the agency’s values and uphold the standards of the real estate industry.

New York Real Estate Licensing

Before we delve into the specifics of background checks, let’s briefly touch upon the licensing process for real estate agents in New York. In this state, the New York State Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services oversees the licensing and regulation of real estate professionals.

To become a licensed real estate agent in New York, you must meet several requirements, including completing a 77-hour pre-licensing course, passing a licensing examination, and submitting an application to the Division of Licensing Services. Background checks are a mandatory part of this application process.

It’s important to note that the New York real estate market is known for its competitiveness and fast-paced nature. With iconic neighborhoods like Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Brooklyn’s trendy Williamsburg, and Queens’ diverse Flushing, real estate agents in New York have a wide array of properties to work with. From luxury penthouses overlooking Central Park to cozy brownstones in historic neighborhoods, the diversity of properties in New York offers both challenges and opportunities for real estate professionals.

Furthermore, being a real estate agent in New York requires not only knowledge of the local market trends but also excellent communication and negotiation skills. Dealing with a diverse clientele, including seasoned investors, first-time homebuyers, and international clients, demands adaptability and a deep understanding of the unique needs of each group. Navigating the complex regulations and paperwork involved in real estate transactions in New York also adds another layer of complexity to the job.

If a student is curious about reciprocity for realtors in New York, they would find that New York has reciprocity agreements with several states, allowing licensed real estate salespersons and brokers from those states to practice in New York, provided they meet certain criteria and follow the state’s regulations. It’s a way to expand their practice across state lines without having to take the full licensing exam in New York.

How Far Back Does a Real Estate Background Check Go?

One common question among aspiring real estate agents is how far back a background check goes. In New York, the background check typically covers the past seven years. However, the exact timeframe may vary depending on the type of check conducted and the specific requirements set by the licensing authorities.

It’s important to note that while the standard timeframe for a real estate background check may be seven years in New York, certain factors could extend this period. For instance, if an applicant has lived in multiple states or countries, the background check might need to encompass a longer time span to ensure a comprehensive review of their history. Additionally, certain criminal offenses may have a longer reporting period or may be considered more heavily in the real estate licensing process, leading to a deeper investigation into past activities.

Moreover, the depth of a real estate background check can also vary based on the brokerage or agency conducting the screening. Some companies may opt for more extensive checks that delve further into an individual’s financial history, credit score, or civil records to assess their overall trustworthiness and suitability for the real estate profession. Understanding the nuances of background checks in the real estate industry is crucial for aspiring agents to navigate the licensing process successfully and ensure compliance with regulatory standards.

New York Real Estate Background Check Laws To Know

It’s essential to be aware of the background check laws in New York to ensure compliance and a smooth licensing process. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs background checks at the federal level, ensuring that individuals are protected from unfair practices. Additionally, New York has its own laws regarding background checks, including the New York State Human Rights Law, which places restrictions on how employers (including real estate agencies) may use an individual’s criminal history when making employment decisions.

When conducting background checks for real estate professionals in New York, it’s crucial to follow the guidelines set forth by these laws to avoid potential legal issues. The FCRA requires that individuals provide written consent before a background check can be conducted, and they must be informed if the information in the report is used against them. In New York, employers must also adhere to the Ban the Box law, which prohibits them from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

Furthermore, New York City has additional regulations that real estate agencies operating within the city must comply with. For example, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employers from using an applicant’s credit history in making employment decisions. Understanding and abiding by these laws is essential for real estate agencies in New York to maintain a fair and lawful hiring process.

Background Check for Real Estate License: 8 Requirements

Now, let’s explore the specific requirements that make up a real estate background check for license applicants in New York. The background check process consists of several key components that evaluators carefully review to determine an individual’s suitability for a career in real estate.

Fingerprint Clearance

One of the primary steps in the background check process involves obtaining fingerprint clearance. This is done through the Division of Licensing Services, which collects fingerprints and forwards them to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for analysis. The purpose of fingerprint clearance is to identify any criminal history or records that could disqualify an individual from obtaining a real estate license.

Criminal Background Check

As part of the background check, a thorough criminal background check is conducted. This involves examining an applicant’s criminal records at the local, state, and federal levels. Any past convictions, pending charges, or other criminal activities may impact an individual’s eligibility for a real estate license.

Real Estate License Test

In addition to the background check, aspiring agents in New York must pass a licensing examination. This test evaluates the applicant’s knowledge of real estate laws, principles, and practices. It is crucial to study and prepare thoroughly for this examination to maximize your chances of success.

Sex Offender Registry Check

Another crucial component of the background check is a check against the sex offender registry. This verifies if an applicant is listed as a registered sex offender, which can have a significant impact on their eligibility to work in the real estate industry.

Identity, Work Eligibility, and Address History Check

The background check also includes verifying an applicant’s identity, work eligibility, and address history. This ensures that an individual is who they claim to be and has the legal right to work in the United States. Address history checks help establish an individual’s stability and provide additional information for evaluators to consider.

Disciplinary Action Disclosure Forms

Applicants must disclose any previous disciplinary actions taken against them, such as license revocations, suspensions, or other professional sanctions. Providing accurate and honest information on these forms is crucial, as failing to do so may result in disqualification.

Field Experience Documentation

In some cases, applicants may need to provide documentation of their field experience in the real estate industry, such as proof of prior employment or completed transactions. This helps establish an individual’s competence and experience in the field.

Driving History Checks

For individuals who will be involved in property tours or transportation-related aspects of the job, driving history checks are conducted. These checks assess an individual’s driving records to ensure they have a valid driver’s license, a safe driving history, and are fit to operate a vehicle as part of their real estate duties.

Aside from the requirements mentioned above, there are a few additional factors that may be considered during the real estate background check process. These factors can provide evaluators with a more comprehensive understanding of an applicant’s suitability for a career in real estate.

Firstly, financial history may be taken into account. Evaluators may review an applicant’s credit history, including any outstanding debts or bankruptcies. While a poor credit history does not automatically disqualify an individual, it can be a factor that is considered in the overall assessment of an applicant’s financial responsibility.

Secondly, character references may be requested. These references can provide insight into an applicant’s personal and professional reputation. Evaluators may reach out to individuals who have worked closely with the applicant in the past, such as previous employers or colleagues, to gather information about their work ethic, integrity, and interpersonal skills.

By considering these additional factors, the real estate background check aims to ensure that individuals entering the industry are not only qualified in terms of their knowledge and experience but also possess the necessary financial responsibility and character traits to succeed in this demanding profession.

In addition to the criminal background check, applicants for a real estate license in New York are also required to disclose any previous professional licenses they may have held in other states. This information is crucial for the licensing board to assess an individual’s overall fitness to practice real estate in the state. The board may consider factors such as the nature of the previous license, any disciplinary actions taken against the individual, and the overall compliance with regulations in other jurisdictions. Furthermore, individuals applying for a real estate license in New York must provide detailed information about their employment history, educational background, and any relevant experience in the real estate industry. This comprehensive application process helps the licensing board ensure that only qualified and trustworthy individuals are granted a license to practice real estate in the state. Applicants should be prepared to provide documentation to support their claims, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and proof of continuing education in the field.

What disqualifies you from being a real estate agent in New York?

Several factors can disqualify an individual from becoming a real estate agent in New York. These include:

  • Having a criminal record involving certain felonies or misdemeanors.
  • Being listed as a registered sex offender.
  • Providing false or misleading information on the application.
  • Prior disciplinary actions related to real estate licensing or professional misconduct.
  • Violating New York State Human Rights Law in relation to employment decisions based on criminal history.

It’s crucial to review the specific disqualifying factors outlined by the New York State Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services to determine your eligibility.

Additionally, individuals who have been declared mentally incompetent by a court of law may also be disqualified from obtaining a real estate license in New York. This is to ensure that agents are capable of making sound decisions and representing their clients effectively in real estate transactions.

Moreover, individuals who have had their professional licenses revoked or suspended in other states may face disqualification from becoming a real estate agent in New York. This is part of the state’s efforts to maintain the integrity and professionalism of the real estate industry by upholding high standards of conduct and ethics among licensed agents.

How Long Does A Real Estate Background Check Take?

The duration of a real estate background check in New York can vary depending on several factors, including the volume of applications being processed, the completeness of the applicant’s documentation, and any potential complications that may arise during the review process. Typically, the background check process takes several weeks to complete. It’s essential to submit all required materials promptly and accurately to expedite the process.

By understanding the intricacies of real estate background checks in New York, you can navigate the licensing process with confidence. Remember to thoroughly prepare for the background check, gather all required documentation, and ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the New York State Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services. With a clean background and a solid foundation of knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in the New York real estate industry.

It’s important to note that the background check process may involve various components, such as criminal history checks, credit checks, and verification of employment and education history. Each of these components plays a crucial role in determining an applicant’s suitability for a real estate license. The thoroughness of these checks is designed to protect consumers and uphold the integrity of the real estate profession in New York.

Furthermore, applicants should be prepared to provide explanations or additional documentation for any discrepancies or red flags that may arise during the background check. Transparency and honesty throughout this process can demonstrate integrity and a commitment to ethical conduct, which are highly valued traits in the real estate industry. By cooperating fully with the background check requirements and maintaining open communication with the licensing authorities, applicants can help ensure a smoother and more efficient review process.

Who is Corofy?

Before being a school, Corofy is a community. Our founder, Eddy Boccara, started his real estate career as a real estate salesperson looking for a side hustle.

Since then, he’s had a passion for New York real estate and specifically the talented individuals that take the leap to get their real estate license and help this industry progress.

Eddy created Corofy with one goal in mind: to provide people with quality real estate education that actually helps them build a career they can be proud of.

New York Real Estate License offer

Beginner Level

5.0 (500+)

Get Your New York
Real Estate License:

Certificate of Completion

Free Final Exam

24/7 Customer Support

Lifetime Job Placement

New York Online 77-hour Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course

Engaging Online Real Estate Course Content

Our New York online real estate course is designed to help you stay engaged and pass the New York real estate exam. With this in mind, our pre-licensing course includes:

Fun activities & quizzes

Chapter review summaries

Careers tips and advice

Memory cues to help you learn