IDFPR Introduces Online Licensing for Real Estate

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Streamlining New License Application Processing

Over the past two years, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has moved to implement more efficient processes that streamline the ways we interact with government.

This month, the Real Estate Division took a big step forward with the introduction of an online licensing process for new license applicants. Initially, this feature is being offered to Brokers and other individuals who have recently passed a state licensing examination.

What License Applicants Should Know

Up until now, individuals who passed the state license examination (currently administered by PSI/AMP) were required to complete and submit paperwork that is provided to them immediately after their examination. Because Illinois Real Estate Brokers are required to be sponsored by a Managing Broker, they must identify which person or company will sponsor their license. A license cannot be issued without a sponsoring broker.

While the paper-based process is still available (for now), information about successful exam completions is now being transmitted from PSI/AMP to the IDFPR. Upon receipt and processing, the IDFPR will send the individual an e-mail that invites them to apply online for their new license. The online application process eliminates the need to submit paperwork and payments by mail.

Applicants who take advantage of the new online portal will enter all required information electronically, including attachment of required documents and payment – by credit card or electronic check. Importantly, the applicant will be required to identify the sponsoring/managing broker with whom they seek to affiliate. Once submitted, the applicant will be able to monitor the status of their application. Upon approval by the IDFPR and sponsoring broker, the applicant will receive an e-mail notification that their new license has been issued.

What Sponsoring and Managing Brokers Need to Know (and Do)

This new process impacts two major areas for sponsoring brokers:

  1. 45-day permit sponsor cards
    With the traditional paper application process, there was a long delay that resulted from mailing, check processing, and application review. The 45-day permit helped to eliminate bottlenecks and enabled new licensees to get to work quickly. With the introduction of online licensing, most of these bottlenecks have been eliminated, which means that new license applications can be approved in just a few days. As such, there is no longer a need for sponsors to issue a 45-day permit.

  2. Online approval (or rejection) of sponsorship requests from licensees
    As new license applicants submit their online application, they will be required to choose their sponsoring/managing broker. (The IDFPR website will provide a list they may search/choose from.) As part of the application approval process, an e-mail will be sent to the sponsoring/managing broker with a notification that directs them to log in and approve or reject the applicant’s request. Therefore, it’s critical that sponsoring licensees have a valid e-mail address on-file with the IDFPR and monitor their inbox for these important messages. (Messages will be sent by FPR.Notice@Illinois.gov)

What’s Next?

Development of the online licensing portal is ongoing and soon, an online application process will be available to real estate business license applicants (Corporations, Partnerships, and LLCs). Sometime later, sponsoring and sponsored licensees will be able to request and approve sponsorship changes through an online process.


Real Estate Institute has been a top real estate education provider in Illinois for 25 years. Our students have consistently outperformed other state exam candidates. A reputation for highly-rated instructors and superior customer service explains why we have over 150,000 alumni nationwide.

New Brokers’ Quick Guide to the First Real Estate License Renewal

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We always advise Broker Pre-License students about their Post-License Education and Continuing Education (CE) requirements, once they successfully pass our school final exam and the state licensing exam. But during all the terminology, laws and rules that they are studying and learning, the nuances of required education and license renewal can be easily forgotten. Here is a quick guide to help new Brokers navigate and understand what is required.

Education Overview

All Real Estate Brokers licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are required to complete education during each two-year license renewal period (by April 30 in even numbered years). As a follow up to their pre-license education, newly licensed Brokers are required to take a 30-hour Post-License Education program during their first renewal. All subsequent renewals require a 12- hour Continuing Education program. In a previous blog, we discussed changes to the license law and how it will impact Brokers.

What does the law say about Brokers and their first license renewal period?

Brokers are required to complete 30 hours of post-license education, including a school-administered examination for the course, prior to their first renewal of that license. This course must address the practical application of pre-license topics to the practice of real estate as set forth in law. Furthermore, Brokers completing the 30-hour Post-License program during their first renewal period shall not be required to complete any continuing education during that renewal period. The 30-hour Post-License requirement must be completed within the two years immediately prior to the Broker’s first renewal.

How does this affect you?

  • If you received your first Broker’s license between February 1, 2016 and January 31, 2018, you will need to complete a 30-hour Post-License program by the April 30, 2018 renewal deadline.
  • If you will be issued your first license after February 1, 2018, you do not need to take the 30-hour Post-License program this renewal period. You will need post-license education by April 30, 2020.

What should you do?

First, determine when your license was issued by the IDFPR. You can call us – we are happy to provide you with this information. Or you can find your license issue date on the IDFPR website. If you are uncertain about education requirements and how they pertain to you, call an IDFPR-approved pre-license and continuing education provider for more information.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years. Our team of experts is standing by to answer your questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

The One Resource Your Real Estate Brokerage Might Be Missing

Hands_Holding_String_of_LightsBookkeeping, recruiting, marketing, budgeting … the list of demands on a managing broker or office manager is long and varied.  From budgeting software to interior design, real estate brokerages rely on tools, resources, and consultants to get the job done efficiently and effectively.  While it may or may not be immediately apparent, a relationship with an IDFPR-approved real estate school can go a long way to help with compliance and recruiting.  When selecting a school to support your office success, make sure it has the following resources.

  • Customer Service Team – You need a school with a team of individuals dedicated to helping your agents.  A good customer service team is not only knowledgeable about the school’s courses, but can answer questions about initial licensing and the licensing renewal processes.   
  • Designated Contact – Sometimes, managing brokers and managers have questions or concerns with company compliance.  Organizing continuing education for the office or questions about the licensing process during an acquisition, for example, are very common issues that a school can assist with.  Having a designated contact who can help you address these issues can be an invaluable resource during stressful times.
  • Helpful Resources – Understanding the needs of a real estate business should be important to the school.  Tools to help you recruit new agents and maintain the ones you have should be available from the school you choose.

If you have any questions about how Real Estate Institute can help, visit our Contact Us page or call Tanya Rinsky, Director of Strategic Client Relationships, at (847) 423-5006.

Will License Law Changes Impact Illinois Real Estate Brokers?

springfield-1648402_1920There are major changes on the horizon that will impact Illinois real estate licensees and education required for license renewals.

License Law Amendment

On Friday, August 18, 2017, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB3528 into law. This updates the Real Estate License Act with changes intended to streamline and modernize various aspects of the law. Some highlighted changes include a restructuring of the Education Advisory Council (EAC), new requirements for school and instructor licensing and requirements for education program content and methods of delivery.

Upcoming Broker License Renewal

With a Real Estate Broker license renewal quickly approaching, we should first take a closer look at how the license law amendments impact (or may not impact) this large group of licensees.

In summary, continuing education requirements will be updated as follows:

  1. The mandatory 3-hour “Core A” curriculum will be replaced by a 4-hour “Core” course. Brokers and Managing Brokers will be required to attend this course via classroom, live webinar or online distance education (a new option for which details are not yet available). The good news – a final exam will not be required!
  2. The remaining 8 hours will continue to be elective credits. A variety of delivery options will be available. Delivery methods with mandatory final exams will require a passing score of 75%. (Currently, a passing score of only 70% is required.)

How Soon?

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) still has many details to sort out before any changes to license law can be implemented. For example, the new “Core” curriculum needs to be clearly outlined before schools can create, seek approval and offer the new course. It will take the Real Estate Division many months to complete the rulemaking process, which won’t officially begin until January 1, 2018.

This means that most likely the full impact of these changes will not impact Brokers during their current renewal period.

What Should You Do?

We strongly recommend that Brokers stay on track and complete currently approved programs in a timely manner.

Real Estate Institute will continue to provide updates as the IDFPR develops implementation plans for the changes. Be sure to JOIN OUR MAILING LIST if you have not done so already.


2017 Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal in Two Simple Steps

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The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is now accepting Managing Broker license renewal applications. Follow these instructions for a timely renewal:

Step 1 – Complete 24 Credit Hours of Continuing Education

Illinois real estate Managing Brokers need a total of 24 hours of continuing education (CE) which includes:
12 hours of core and elective CE 
(via self-study, online or classes) plus 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE (via classes or live webinars).

The current Managing Broker renewal period began May 1, 2015, and ends April 30, 2017. If you complete continuing education courses with Real Estate Institute, our school reports your course completions to the IDFPR.

Exceptions

  • New Licensees: Managing Brokers who are in their first renewal period might not need 24 hours of CE in 2017. Licensees who completed the Managing Broker pre-license courses during the renewal period are exempt from the Broker Management CE requirement. These licensees are required to complete only 12 hours of core and elective continuing education.
  • Attorneys: Currently licensed Illinois attorneys are exempt from the education requirements! Don’t forget to submit your license renewal application. See below.


Step 2 – Submit Your New License Application

After you have completed your CE requirement, you must renew your license with the IDFPR. There are two ways to renew your license:

  1. Apply Online – The IDFPR permits online license renewal applications to be submitted up to 90 days before the license expires. This option allows you to complete the entire renewal application and pay online.  Click here to apply online.

  2. Mail Your Application – The IDFPR no longer mails licensees a pre-printed renewal application. However, you can print the form online. Select Print Renewal and enter the requested information. This application can be completed and returned with payment. If you use the paper application, we strongly recommend that you send it to the IDFPR via USPS Certified Mail so that you receive confirmation of delivery to the IDFPR. Delivery confirmation will be critical in the event of a delay in license renewal. It will take the IDFPR several weeks to process your application.

If you have questions about your education requirements for renewal, please call 800-995-1700 to speak to one of Real Estate Institute’s compliance experts. More information can also be found at InstituteOnline.com/Renew.

Illinois Doubles “Credit Reporting Fee” for Insurance CE Hours

Up-Arrow-BlueEffective March 2, the state-mandated fee for reporting Illinois insurance continuing education credit hours to the appropriate licensing authorities has increased from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour. The fee is intended, in part, to fund online licensing services available through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ “State Based Systems” website, www.statebasedsystems.com. Producers can use the site to review their licensing information, monitor their remaining CE requirements, find approved education providers and more.

Real Estate institute offers insurance education approved by the Illinois Department of Insurance. Thousands of Illinois insurance producers complete our classroom and self-study continuing education courses each year. All state-mandated fees are required upon enrollment. State fees are subject to change without notice. We encourage students to complete courses promptly to avoid further fee increases.

NMLS Reminders for a Successful CE Season

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According to the NMLS, the number-one question they receive from Mortgage Loan Originators is, “Do I need to do CE?” If you’re not sure, you should log into NMLS to review your education requirements. Your Course Completion Record will indicate whether you still need to earn Continuing Education this year. The NMLS has prepared a quick guide to help you navigate your record.

The NMLS also reminds MLOs that:

  • You may not complete the same CE course as last year.
  • Pre-license education courses do not count toward CE. However, MLOs do not need to take continuing education in the same calendar year in which they took an NMLS-approved 20-hour pre-license course.
  • Nearly half of all state agencies have a state-specific CE requirement. See the
    NMLS 2016 State-Specific Education Requirements Chart for the number of hours and other requirements.

  • Several state agencies have early CE or renewal deadlines. Check the state-specific education requirements chart for details.

Real Estate Institute offers top-rated 2016 CE courses in all three formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online, Self-Study. Try our courses and find out what it’s like to take CE that’s relevant and interesting.


5 Reasons to Become a Real Estate Agent


A career in real estate can be rewarding. Agents have varied backgrounds ranging from corporate America to teaching. If you’re thinking about trying something different, you’ve chosen a great time to do it. Tuition is low, and the real estate market is growing. If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are 5 reasons you should get a real estate license – NOW.

#1 Work As Much or As Little As You Want

Selling real estate doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You can work full time and enjoy unlimited earning potential, or you can work part time and earn enough to make it worthwhile. You won’t be chained to a desk all day, every day. Many residential agents choose to work from home so they can spend more time with their families. The choice is yours.

#2 Earning Potential Is Up to You

This directly relates to the first item on our list. Successful real estate agents work hard. Top producers are tenacious, assertive and available. They understand the value of networking and use it to build their business and income.

#3 Love What You Do

Imagine waking up every day and looking forward to going to work. Ask agents why they do what they do, and they will tell you that it’s because they love working in real estate and making a difference in people’s lives. You can make a difference, too. Not only will you be helping others, but you will wake up every morning loving what you do!

#4 No Two Days Are the Same

As an agent, you’ll wear a lot of hats. You’ll act as an educator, financial adviser, counselor, life coach and concierge. A flexible personality is key to juggling the varied demands of the job.

#5 Train in a Short Period of Time

Instead of spending years in school and the tuition associated with it, you can invest a matter of weeks (or a few months depending on your availability) and about $1,000 to get the required education, exams and obtain an Illinois real estate license. If you do need financial assistance, some schools offer easy financing.

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Real Estate Institute has been a top real estate education provider in Illinois for over 20 years. Our students have consistently outperformed other state exam candidates. A reputation for highly rated instructors and superior customer service explains why we have over 150,000 alumni nationwide.

LOAN ORIGINATORS: IDFPR RESCINDS PROPOSED EDUCATION RULE, ADOPTS UST

Breaking_NewsIn a surprise move, the IDFPR Division of Banking has rescinded the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) education rule it proposed in late April, which called for an additional three hours of Illinois-specific pre- license education and an additional three hours of Illinois-specific continuing education annually. The Division of Banking also confirmed plans to move ahead with adopting the Uniform State Test (UST) for loan originator license applicants in Illinois, effective June 1, 2016. For those unfamiliar, the UST covers general state-level regulatory information applicable in most states and is included as a part of the National Component of the SAFE exam that all potential licensees must pass.

Illinois State Test Component Removed Effective 6/1/2016

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

  • If you are currently licensed as a mortgage loan originator in Illinois, this has no impact on you. You may continue to originate as you have been doing.
  • If you are not yet licensed in Illinois but have already passed BOTH the National Component AND the Illinois State components of the SAFE exam, your Illinois license application will not be affected by this change. Whether or not you have actually filed the application, you do not have any additional requirements and may apply for licensure at any time if you have not already done so.
  • If you are not yet licensed in Illinois AND you have passed the National exam with UST (meaning you enrolled for and passed the National SAFE exam AFTER April 1, 2013), you will be able to apply for an Illinois MLO license on or after 6/1/2016 (do not apply before this date). This situation also applies to anyone who enrolled in and passed the STAND-ALONE UST, which was available in 2013 and early 2014.
  • If you are not yet licensed in Illinois AND you have not passed the Illinois exam AND you enrolled for and passed the National SAFE exam WITHOUT UST (you enrolled for the National exam BEFORE April 1, 2013), you have two options:

    Option 1: Enroll in the Illinois State Component exam BEFORE June 1st, 2016 and pass that exam on your first take OR;

    Option 2: Enroll for and pass the current version of the National exam with UST. Yes, this will require you to re-take the full national component, as there is no longer a stand-alone UST option.

If you have any questions about which exam(s) you have taken and passed, you can find that information by logging into the NMLS (on the State side), clicking the “COMPOSITE VIEW” tab at the top right, then clicking “View Individual” at the top center and finally clicking “Testing Information” on the left navigation bar. You can also contact the NMLS Call Center at 855-665-7123 with questions about your status.

Refer to the IDFPR press release announcing this change.


Real Estate Institute has helped thousands of LOs pass the SAFE exams with Prep-to-Pass. Our recently updated test prep program includes the most recent NMLS content outline revisions. Try sample practice tests for free at our website.

Broker Late Renewals: Your Questions Answered

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The deadline for Illinois Real Estate Brokers to renew their licenses on time is only days away, on April 30. Although the vast majority of licensees will renew on-time, many will not. So what happens if you miss the deadline?

There are a few things to think about, including license renewal fees, required education and other compliance considerations.

State License Renewal Fees:

Licensees who miss the renewal deadline will have to pay a $50 late-renewal fee to IDFPR (in addition to the standard $150 renewal fee). Although you might expect the late fee to escalate over time, it does not. The same fee will be due as long as you complete the renewal anytime during the next license renewal period.  However, you only have 30 days to renew online with a credit card payment.  After that, you will be required to print and mail the renewal form with a check or money order.

If you remain in a non-renewed status beyond a full renewal period, you will be responsible for paying any additional missed renewal fees if/when you eventually renew your license. In other words, the IDFPR will require you to “catch up” on all missed fees from the period of time when your license was in a non-renewed status.

This graphic illustrates how the fees escalate over time:

Broker Late Renewal Fee Chart v2

Continuing Education or Post-License Education:

Brokers who renew on time must complete either 12 credit hours of CE or 30 hours of post-license education before renewing their license. (If you’re not sure which one you need, read our prior article.)  The education requirements remain the same for those who complete a late renewal. So, if you miss the renewal and plan to renew sometime in May, be sure to complete your education requirement before applying for your new license. Failure to do so will result in additional fines/penalties.  

Assuming that you complete your education requirement in May 2016 and then apply for your (late) license renewal, take note that the education you completed is retroactively applied to the prior renewal period and may not also be applied to your next license renewal (due by April 30, 2018.)

Individuals who wait more than two years to renew will fall into the “reinstatement” category. At that point, you may be subject to different and/or additional education requirements, as mandated by the IDFPR.

Compliance Considerations:

Late license renewal is no big deal if you are not currently engaged in business that requires you to hold a real estate license. If you just cringed, here’s what you should know:

  • If your license expires and you have active transactions, you may not continue to participate in those transactions. Acting without a license can result in a fine of up to $25,000!  You should immediately notify your sponsoring broker that your license has expired, so that they may take appropriate steps to address the situation.
  • If you are also a REALTOR®, the change in your license status(es) will likely impact your membership(s), including access to the MLS. Contact your local REALTOR® association for more details.

After the April 30 deadline, finding the right education program can be tricky. Real Estate Institute will continue offering our popular 12-hour core/elective CE program and the 30-hour Broker post-license education program that’s required for new licensees.

Call 800-995-1700 if you have any questions about the education required for late renewal.