Online Real Estate Licensing and Company Renewals

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By now, you probably received this notice from the IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate (DRE), which advises all real estate licensees that beginning October 1, paper applications for new licenses and renewals (for most license types) will no longer by accepted.  Instead, applicants must use the Online Services Portal.

The move to online licensing significantly speeds up the licensing process by automating tasks that formerly required more than one person or department to intervene.

When to Use Online Licensing Services

Beginning in October, the Online Services Portal should be used to:

  • Apply for a new license
  • Renew an existing license
  • Request a change of sponsorship
  • Terminate sponsorship
  • Update or make changes to licensee information

What About the 45-Day Sponsor Permit Card?

The new online workflow eliminates the need for a temporary sponsor permit card. As a result, this document will no longer be accepted by the DRE. Instead, Leasing Agents, Brokers, and Managing Brokers must use the Online Services Portal to request that their license be sponsored by a Managing Broker or licensed organization. Using this new system, a change of sponsorship can be completed within days.

Special Notice Regarding Branch Renewals

Last month, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB5210 into law, which eliminated the requirement for licensed real estate businesses to obtain an additional license for each of their branch office locations. This change will reduce costs and administration for real estate brokerages.

However, it will take some time for the DRE to fully implement this change and put in place an alternate process to ensure the DRE remains aware of locations where a brokerage conducts business with consumers. In the interim, these licensees must renew their branch license, but the DRE will waive the fee typically required for renewal. Branch license renewals are due by October 31, 2018 and may be renewed online here.

In Closing

Most licensees are having a positive experience with the new systems and online features, but as with any new process, there will be some quirks and problems to overcome. For example, we’ve already seen that the Online Services Portal lacks key features required by larger organizations, such as the ability to delegate access to non-licensed users who are responsible for license administration within the organization. Thankfully, the DRE has been very responsive to feedback and ideas. They are acting fast to fix bugs and make long-term improvements through ongoing investment in the technology.

If you have ideas for updates or new features for the Online Services Portal, let us know. We frequently participate in IDFPR meetings, sharing feedback we’ve received. You can comment on this blog post or send us feedback through the Contact Us form on our website.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

Insurance Ethics Webinars Now Approved and Available

business hand typing on a laptop keyboard with Webinar homepage on the computer screen learning internet website web page concept.After nearly a decade of asking, Illinois insurance producers can finally complete their 3-hour ethics continuing education requirement via webinar. The bill allowing for ethics webinars was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner on August 14, 2018, and the Department of Insurance began approving webinars from course providers (including Real Estate Institute) a few weeks ago.

Although the new law provides a new method of ethics course delivery for insurance producers, the change is not applicable to public adjusters. According to the DOI, licensed Illinois public adjusters must still earn 3 hours of ethics credit by attending a live, in-person class.

The law also creates an education advisory council that will be charged with making recommendations to the state about insurance courses, curriculum and instructor qualifications.

To view Real Estate Institute’s extensive schedule of ethics webinars and in-person classes, click here.

Three Things That Every Illinois Real Estate Broker Should Remember About Disclosing Their Status as a Licensee

Real estate brokers help to create successful transactions for their clients, but they often participate in their own transactions, too. This may include buying or leasing a primary residence, the purchase or sale of investment property, etc.

When an Illinois licensed real estate broker engages in a transaction, there are special disclosure requirements that can be easily overlooked. In general, these requirements are in place to ensure that the other party in a transaction is aware of the licensee’s status – because the licensee is perceived to have more knowledge and therefore may be able to take advantage of the other party.

Failure to disclose that you are a licensee is a violation of license law that may expose you to penalties up to and including revocation of your license.

Key Requirements

  • Disclosure must be made to all parties when a licensee is selling, leasing or purchasing any interest in real property.
  • Disclosure must be made in writing.
    • You may do so when you first meet or interact with the other party or include the disclosure as part of your written offer.
    • If you include the disclosure on a contract that you submit, avoid adding a small note next to your signature (on the last page). In the past, the IDFPR has suggested that licensees add the required text in large/clear print at the top of the contract to ensure that the receiving party sees it before they review and sign the contract.
  • Disclosure requirements apply to the following parties:
    • Sole owners.
    • Joint tenants and tenants by the entirety.
    • Land trusts.
    • General partners in a partnership.
    • Officers, directors, majority shareholders and controlling shareholders of a corporation.
    • Managers or majority or controlling members of a limited liability company.
    • Anyone else with a direct or indirect interest in the subject property.

Business Entities

It’s noteworthy that licensees often get into trouble when a business entity is involved in the transaction. It’s critical to remember that brokers must disclose their status even when they are not personally a party to the contract. For example, Happy Investments LLC may be the buyer, but if Lucy Licensee is a manager of that LLC, she must still make the required disclosure.

Final Advice

Lastly, although it’s not required by law, it never hurts to also communicate orally to help ensure the other party has received your notice. You may even consider asking for a written acknowledgement of the disclosure.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

Four IDFPR Website Features Every Sponsoring Broker Should Use

Computer_Phone_Notebook_IDFPROver the past few years, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has taken big steps to offer more information and services at its website. The resulting features offer some efficiencies that most real estate sponsoring brokers haven’t yet discovered. Here are four features you should use:

  1. This easy-to-use lookup tool enables consumers, licensees, and others to check the status of a professional license. For sponsoring brokers, it offers these important features:

    • Check to see whether your personal or business license is in good standing. (Look for an “ACTIVE” status.)
    • View a list of all licensees (e.g., Managing Brokers, Brokers, Leasing Agents) who the sponsoring broker currently sponsors. (See the list of “subordinate” licensees.)
    • Using the above list, you can confirm that the sponsored licensees have an “ACTIVE” status. TIP: It’s especially important to do so at the start of a renewal period. It’s not uncommon for licensees to overlook the renewal … and you need to be sure that they are currently licensed to practice.

       

  2. Use this feature to print an official copy of your license(s). This is especially important for sponsoring brokers, who are still required to display a copy of the license for each sponsored licensee.

  3. Using the Online Services Portal, individuals and businesses can apply for a new license. This currently includes:

    • Leasing Agent, Broker, and Managing Broker license candidates who recently passed the state exam
    • Pre-License and Continuing Education Instructor candidates
    • Real Estate Businesses, including Corporations and LLCs
    • Real Estate Branch Offices

    New licensee candidates should be encouraged to use this system, which offers faster processing and online payment of the license fee(s).

  4. This is a big one. Now, sponsoring and sponsored licensees can request a change of sponsor without relying on paper forms. This means that it’s no longer necessary to use the 45-day sponsor card and mail in the corresponding form and fees to the state.

    To use this feature, you must create an account and login to the Online Services Portal . Once logged in, click the Online Services menu, then Licensure Options.
    Online Services Menu

    Using this feature to initiate a change of sponsor request will trigger an automated, online process. The terminating sponsoring broker, new sponsoring broker and licensees will all be notified of the request by e-mail. Below is an example of the message a sponsoring broker might receive.

    Four IDFPR Website Features Every Sponsoring Broker Should Use - E-Mail

    The affected licensees will have three days to respond affirmatively. If the required approvals are not provided, the request will be cancelled.

    TIP: Be sure to have your e-mail address on file with the IDFPR. You can provide or update that here.

Follow Real Estate Institute’s blog to be notified when we post more tips and other important information about the regulation of Illinois real estate licensees.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in Illinois real estate education 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.


Last-Minute Tips for Brokers to Beat the April 30 Deadline

Motion blur shot of a cheerful business woman crossing the finish line (shutterstock_122081617)The license renewal deadline for Illinois real estate Brokers is only weeks away. For those who have yet to renew their licenses, this can cause panic. But it doesn’t have to.

Follow the steps below to maintain your license. Each step offers tips on the fastest way to stay compliant (so you can keep working).

Complete Your Education

Brokers in Illinois are required to complete education before renewing their license. The type of education depends on what date your license was issued. Find out the original issue date of your license by checking the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) license lookup page at their website.

  • Brokers whose licenses were issued before 2/1/2016 require 12 hours of core and elective continuing education. While live classes are permitted, self-study or online distance education (new for 2018), are the fastest and most flexible options. Self-study courses can be completed anywhere, anytime and require a proctored exam. Online distance education and classes don’t require a final exam, based on recent real estate license law amendments. Finding live classes in your area at this late date may be a challenge. We recommend trying out online distance education. Real Estate Institute offers convenient continuing education options here.
  • Brokers whose licenses were issued from 2/1/2016 – 1/31/2018 require post-license education. Half of this 30-credit-hour requirement must be delivered via interactive instruction, such as a live class or webinar. With limited time remaining, webinars are recommended because they offer very flexible attendance options – review your post-license education options.
  • Brokers whose licenses were issued after 1/31/2018 won’t have to renew until 2020, so no education is required at this time. Even so, these Brokers should complete their post-license education well before their deadline to get it out of the way so they don’t have to worry about it later. (Tip: You can get started as soon as 5/1/2018.)

Renew Your License

Most Brokers know that they must pay the renewal fee to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) but are unsure of the exact process. Read the following for specific details about the renewal process:

  • After completing your required education, you may renew the license. The IDFPR license renewal fee is $150 for the two-year period. (Tip: This close to the deadline, it’s important to find an education provider that will quickly issue your certificate of completion.)
  • The IDFPR strongly encourages Brokers to renew online. You may have received a PIN via e-mail from the IDFPR. (Tip: It’s not needed to renew.) The license number, plus one of the following is needed to renew: Social Security number, date of birth or the IDFPR-issued PIN. A paper-based renewal form is also available with this information.
  • You can begin the renewal process by visiting the IDFPR website and selecting the renewal method offered for your profession.

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.

What You Need to Know About Illinois Broker License Renewal in 2018

Alarm Clock_Apr 30_1 Text Line_No BkgThe Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) recently e-mailed Brokers, announcing that they are officially “In Renewal.” The department is now accepting online license renewal applications.

If you didn’t receive this announcement, you may need to update your contact information with the state to receive future notices. To easily update or add your e-mail address, click here.

Remember, you cannot renew your real estate license until your required education is complete. It’s important that you follow these instructions for a timely renewal.

Step 1 – Complete Continuing Education or Post-License

Illinois real estate Brokers need 12 hours of core/elective continuing education (CE) every renewal period, EXCEPT Brokers who are in their first renewal period. Brokers in their first renewal period are required to complete a 30-hour Broker Post-License program. (If you were licensed on or after February 1, 2016, you must complete Post-License.)

The current Broker renewal period began May 1, 2016, and ends April 30, 2018. If you complete CE or Post-License education with Real Estate Institute, our school reports your course completion directly to the IDFPR.

Step 2 – Submit Your New License Application

After you have completed your CE or Post-License 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 application can be completed online, printed and mailed 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. Delivery confirmation will be critical in the event of a delay in license renewal. It will likely take the IDFPR several weeks to process your application.

If you have questions about your education requirements for renewal, online resources are available: Continuing Education FAQs and Post-License FAQs. More information can also be found at InstituteOnline.com/NextSteps.


Real Estate Institute has been the local leader in Illinois real estate education for over 25 years. More Brokers choose Real Estate Institute than any other provider for their required license renewal education every season. 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.

Are Final Exams Required for Real Estate License Renewal?

Empty_chairsOn January 1, 2018, amendments to the Illinois Real Estate License Act took effect. While most of the changes are subtle, there is already an impact for Illinois Real Estate Brokers. Over the past few weeks, our customer service team has been getting lots of questions about the changes. Here is the key question and answer…

Do the license law changes impact your 2018 Broker license renewal?

Yes, but not in a significant way.

Although the amended license law makes some changes to curriculum and the way courses can be offered, most of the impact of those changes won’t be felt until the next license renewal period. That’s because there’s another step in the process. The state must first establish administrative rules that implement many of the changes.

Even so, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Education (IDFPR) recently indicated that some aspects of the amended license law are very clear and may be implemented in advance of the rulemaking process. This has led to some confusion among licensees.

Impact on Broker Continuing Education

As a reminder, most Illinois Brokers must complete 12 hours of continuing education before renewing their licenses. The IDFPR understands that with the Brokers’ two-year license renewal period nearly complete, it would be unfair to make changes that significantly change the CE requirements before the April 30, 2018, deadline.

That means you can stick with the tried-and-true way you’ve completed CE for previous renewal seasons. No need to change it up unless you really want to. For most licensees, that takes the form of a simple self-study program.

In addition to self-study programs, licensees sometimes attend classes or webinars to earn CE credit. You may be pleased to learn that if you attend a live, interactive CE course via classroom or webinar, you are no longer required to complete a final exam for that course. Keep in mind that you must attend the entire course. (Attending review classes for self-study CE courses is not permitted.)

Attending 12 hours (at least two days) of live training is not for everyone, and you may be looking for another way to avoid a self-study course with a final exam. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and willing to try something new, Online Distance Education may interest you. This new interactive course delivery method just became available under the amended license law. Online Distance Education is a modern approach to self-study that has some pros and cons, depending on your perspective:


No one relishes the idea of taking a test. It’s important to know that although a final exam is not required with Online Distance Education courses, there must be interactivity, which includes quizzes/knowledge checks along the way to make sure you’ve gone through the entire course.

Impact on Broker Post-License Education

Brokers whose licenses were issued after February 1, 2016, will be renewing their licenses for the very first time. This group of licensees is required to complete a 30-hour Post-License Education program in lieu of continuing education for their first renewal. This program consists of two courses:

  • 15-Hour Broker Post-License Topics
  • 15-Hour Broker Post-License Applied Real Estate Practices (Interactive)

If you’re among those who need to complete post-license education by April 30, you’ll be happy to know that the “Applied” course, which requires interactive delivery, no longer requires a final exam! This means that a final exam will only be required for the “Topics” course and only when completed in a self-study format.

While it may be possible to attend the “Topics” course in a class or webinar format, our student feedback indicates that independent study is strongly preferred. Attending an extra two days of classes/webinars is challenging for anyone, especially new brokers trying to build their businesses. Until now, that left only a self-study course option, which includes a final exam. (Although nobody looks forward to a final exam, the 25-question exam is based on the school’s course and is really no big deal… and there is no state license exam to follow.)

As mentioned above, the new course delivery method, Online Distance Education, lets Brokers avoid a course final exam without any extra class or webinar attendance. This format is a great fit for students who are open to online courses.

For most students, completing the “Topics” course via Online Distance Education and the “Applied” course via webinar will be the winning combination. “Applied” webinars reinforce the concepts learned in the “Topics” course by providing live interaction and feedback from expert educators. This makes it possible for post-license students to complete all their coursework online, choosing their own schedule, without any final exams!

In summary, the course format you choose will determine whether a final exam is required.


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.


Should a Career in Real Estate Be Your New Year’s Resolution?

key-2323278_1920No time like the present!

New year, new you!

2018 will be the year I…

When the calendar turns the page from one year to the next, it’s human nature to sit back and contemplate what the previous year’s experiences taught us. Self-reflections may include questions like:

Did I do what I set out to do last year?
Am I happy with the choices I made?

Sometimes we know we are just where we’re supposed to be. Other times, we know we’re on the right path but not quite there yet. A new year offers us not only the opportunity to assess the previous year but also the chance to look ahead toward great possibilities. For many of us, it means a clean slate. We leave behind the things that aren’t bringing out our best, and we grow excited as we seek other avenues where we can develop our talents.

Here at Real Estate Institute, we’re fortunate to experience the excitement and eagerness of these seekers every single day. Something finally clicks in their minds and, before you know it, we have a new classroom filled with real estate pre-license students, eager to learn and excited to begin the process of exploring a new career path. They’re taking a first step that can lead to…

happiness, self-direction, the possibility of unlimited income,
helping others fulfill their dreams, loving what they do, freedom…

Happiness means something different for everyone. Only you can determine what it means for you. What we know for sure is that the opportunities you will find at the end of your broker pre-license course are endless and only limited by your own imagination. How much can you imagine?

Why not learn about what a career in real estate can offer you? Just think, if you start your broker pre-license education now, you can get licensed and start working for a real estate company just in time for the upcoming spring market.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss how you can begin to make your dreams a reality. You can learn more about Illinois real estate pre-license programs by attending one of our upcoming free real estate information sessions or by visiting us at InstituteOnline.com.


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 state licensing process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

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.