NAR Announces Changes to Code of Ethics Training

Code of Ethics

On November 11, the National Association of REALTORS® announced changes to their Code of Ethics training requirement. These changes were recently approved by the presidential advisory group (PAG) and the NAR Leadership Team.

This news has created a flurry of social media comments and questions from REALTORS® trying to understand the changes.

Here are key changes that were announced:

  • Code of Ethics training required for REALTORS® will be required every THREE years rather than every two years. The deadline for the current enforcement period has been extended to December 31, 2021 (was December 31, 2020).
  • After December 31, 2021, only courses and equivalencies provided by local, state or national REALTOR® associations can satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement.
  • There will be changes to the learning objectives.

What does this mean for Illinois real estate brokers?

This will not impact the upcoming April 30, 2020 broker license renewal (and April 30, 2021 managing broker license renewal). Historically, nearly all local REALTOR® associations have allowed their members to satisfy this training requirement by completing Code of Ethics training with state-licensed education providers. The National Association of REALTORS® has indicated that this practice may continue through December 31, 2021.This seems reasonable, given the large number of brokers (throughout the country) who have already completed Code of Ethics training from state-licensed education providers and intended to satisfy the requirement for the current enforcement period.

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

Illinois Managing Broker Late Renewals – Your Questions Answered

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The deadline for Illinois Real Estate Managing 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, continuing 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 $200 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.

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:
Managing Broker Late Renewal Timeline

Continuing Education:

Managing Brokers who renew on time must complete 24 credit hours of CE before renewing their license. The same is true for those who complete a late renewal. So, if you miss the renewal and plan to renew sometime in May, be sure to complete CE before applying for your new license. Failure to do so will result in additional fines/penalties.

Assuming that you complete your CE in May 2015 and then apply for your (late) license renewal, take note that the CE 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, 2017.)

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 don’t sponsor any other licensees and you don’t have any active business that requires you to hold a real estate license. If you just cringed, here’s what you should know:

  • If you sponsor other licensees, these individuals will no longer have a sponsoring Managing Broker because of your failure to renew. This means that their licenses will soon be updated by the IDFPR to show their “inoperative” status. An individual with an inoperative license may not conduct real estate transactions. They will have to find a new sponsor and submit a change of sponsor request to the IDFPR (along with the required $25 fee) before continuing to do business.
  • 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!
  • If you or your sponsored licensees are also REALTORS®, 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 continuing education can be tricky. Real Estate Institute will continue offering the interactive 12-hour Broker Management CE class and webinar. Call 800-995-1700 if you have any questions about the education required for late renewal.

Top 5 Tips NMLS Wants Loan Originators to Know About CE Season

Today, NMLS sent approved course providers these tips for you to get through the season successfully:

  1. Review Your Course Completion Record.  The redesigned course completion record provides a complete history of every course completed by an MLO since 2009.  The record also tracks federal and state PE/CE compliance for every license that an MLO is approved for: a green checkmark next to a license type means the MLO is PE/CE compliant; a yellow caution symbol means education is required.   If an MLO does not have a requirement for CE in a given year, the record will say “No Federal CE Requirements” or “No State CE Requirements.”  (And if there is no requirement, the MLO does not need to take a course for that year for that license).   Directions for how to view the record are available at the NMLS Resource Center.
  2. Remember the Successive Year Rule: MLOs are prohibited by the SAFE Act from taking the same CE course in successive years (two years in a row).  If the same course is taken two years in a row, the course may appear on the course completion record with zero credit hours applied, and the MLO will have to complete another CE course.
  3. PE Does Not Count as CE: If an MLO has a CE requirement but completes a PE course instead, NMLS will not count the course as meeting the annual CE requirement and the MLO will be prevented from filing for renewal.
  4. Make Use of the State-Specific PE/CE Education Charts: The most current State Specific PE/CE Education Charts are dated October 1, 2013.  Each state agency has a chart which includes information on PE and CE requirements, any specific or unique information about the agency, and each agency’s annual CE deadline. This year’s documents also include information on the Uniform CE Policy and Q&A’s about the new course completion record.
  5. Credit Bank on Time: One of most frequently call/e-mail topics of the renewal period is from MLOs inquiring about missing course credit. Courses appear on the MLO’s record immediately following the successful completion of the credit-banking process (there is no delay).  Here are the main reasons why a course will not appear on the record:
  •  The provider is banking a large number of MLOs and an individual was missed.
  • The credit-banking process was initiated but not finished (usually because the fees were not paid and the roster expired).
  • The MLO did not have or did not provide a correct NMLS ID number.
  • The course provider did not report within seven calendar days of the course end date.

NMLS-approved CE is offered by Real Estate Institute. The successive year rule is not a concern. All of our courses are new for the 2013 CE season. Fast credit banking is a top priority. Our students are reported within seven days of their course completion (usually the next business day). Click here for information about CE courses.

As a reminder, NMLS initiated SMART deadlines. The CE deadlines for 2013 are as follow:

SMART Deadline: Friday, December 20
At-Risk-to-Miss Renewal Deadline: Friday, December 27
Guaranteed to Miss Renewal Deadline: Tuesday, December 31
*Note: Some agencies may have an earlier deadline.

Obama Administration Announces Delay in Key Health Care Requirement

Under pressure from business groups, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is postponing the implementation of a major piece of its signature health care law. A requirement that would have required large and medium-sized businesses to offer health insurance to employees next year or pay a fine will be delayed until 2015.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, most businesses with at least 50 full-time employees will need to have a health plan. The number of full-time employees at a business will be based on the number of people working 30 hours per week.

Businesses that are required to offer insurance and don’t do it will face an annual fine of $2,000 per employee but will be allowed an exemption for their first 30 workers. For example, an employer with exactly 50 full-time employees will be fined $40,000.

The employer mandate to have a health plan won’t apply to businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees. Businesses are also allowed to ignore it if none of their employees purchases their own insurance and qualifies for a government subsidy. In effect, this generally means that if a business with at least 50 employees wants to avoid having a health plan, it must pay all its employees enough so that their household income is above 400 percent of the poverty line.

Despite this postponement for businesses, the requirement for most individuals to have health insurance in 2014 remains intact.  Government subsidies for citizens and legal residents with household incomes below 400 percent of the poverty line will be available at that time.

More details about the requirement to cover employees are expected to be announced in the next few months. A comprehensive review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be part of Real Estate Institute’s insurance continuing education self-study package for 2014.

Washington Takes Notice of Integrated Disclosure Issue

Yesterday, Frank Garay and Brian Stevens over at the National Real Estate Post focused their show on the CFPB’s proposed Closing Disclosure; specifically the upcoming requirement to disclose it three business days before closing – and then RE-disclose and wait another three business days if there are changes exceeding $100.  As we discussed in the CE classes at Real Estate Institute last year, there are A LOT of unintended consequences with this part of the proposed rule that would have a negative effect on consumers.  It seems that a movement to change the requirement may be gaining some momentum in Washington.  Just thought you might want to know – I’ll keep you posted with any updates as they happen.  In the meantime…

Happy Originating!


P.S. For those of you who may not know what we’re talking about, I wrote an overview blog post on the proposed rule last year.  You can find that blog by clicking here.

To view Frank and Brian’s show “Reps Call out CFPB,” click here.

The New Normal – "Online Law Practice"?

The Internet is changing the way legal professionals need to research and run their practice to competently represent their clients.  With the advent of cloud computing and e-discovery, the legal landscape has drastically changed.

In fact, the ABA amended their Model Rules of Professional Conduct to include the responsibility to keep up with technology relevant to the client and the representation and to protect electronically stored confidential client information.  A recent article commented that the “new ABA rules require you to get with the tech program-like it or not.”  Further, the article stated that “boning up on the latest technology . . .[is] the only way to fulfill the requirements of six resolutions.”

The recent ABA tech show in Chicago highlighted a dizzying amount of new technologies for law practice.  Navigating these many options could be overwhelming.  Internet for Lawyers, speakers featured at the ABA Tech Show, helped navigate the best new online strategies for effective law practice.  They identified secure cloud-computing solutions and effective methods for online due diligence processes that will keep your practice current.

Internet for Lawyers will be back in Chicago for an all-day event on May 20, 2013, when they will present their new seminar, Online Investigative Strategies – The New Due Diligence.  Their presentation will include:

  • Super search engine strategies.
  • Methods to power your office using FREE and low-cost research and cloud computing.
  • Online methods for successful trial preparation, transaction completion and locating missing parties.
  • How to avoid ethical traps of social networking.

Attendees will receive a 500-page book, “The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet” – a $64.95 value.

Don’t be left out of the “new normal.”  Learn more at

View the entire ABA article here.

Learn Highly Sought-After Skills to Build Your Legal Practice

According to data cited in the ABA Journal, barely half of all 2012 law school graduates had full-time, long-term legal jobs.  Considering that the class entering law school in 2010 was the largest on record, this represents a huge number.  In fact, the number of 2012 graduates not employed full time in legal positions is over 20,000.  Imagine the crowd at a sold out Black Hawks game at the United Center, and you have a good picture of what this number looks like.

What if there was a way for this group and any attorney wanting to build their practice to effectively obtain and retain new clients?   Many attorneys across the country have turned to lawyer coach Roy Ginsburg for expert support in the area of business development.  Mr. Ginsburg is a skilled nationally accredited CLE speaker who teaches invaluable skills to market and build a legal practice that you never learned in law school.  In today’s highly competitive legal economy, this is a must if you want to succeed.

This year, Roy Ginsburg is speaking in Illinois exclusively for the Real Estate Institute.  On May 10, 2013, Mr. Ginsburg will present his live continuing legal education seminar, Build Your Practice – Effective, Ethical Business Development and Client Retention.  By attending this engaging, multi-media seminar, you will learn proven methods to build your practice and fulfill your entire Ethics CLE requirement.  The following skills will be covered in this live presentation:

  • Creating high visibility for your practice
  • Identifying the best methods to grow your client base
  • Generating successful marketing strategies

Don’t leave the success of your practice to chance!  Enroll today to take advantage of April’s early bird special pricing here.
View the entire ABA Journal article here.

Last Chance for Illinois Attorneys to Report MCLE Credits

Illinois attorneys with last names beginning with A through M are running out of time to report their continuing legal education compliance.  According to the MCLE Board, attorneys who did not complete the required credits by June 30, 2012 are automatically given a “grace period” until September 30, 2012.  If this applies to you, one of two late fees applies:

  1. $100 if the attorney reported non-compliance by July 31, 2012; or
  2. $150 if the attorney failed to report compliance, non-compliance or a valid exemption by July 31, 2012.

Attorneys using the September 30, 2012, grace period can report and pay the appropriate late fee online. To access the MCLE Board online reporting system, click here and complete the steps by September 30, 2012.

Real Estate Institute is approved by the Illinois MCLE Board as an Accredited CLE Provider. If you need last-minute CLE, click here to view a list of online/on-demand presentations. Discount packages are also available for the new 6-hour Ethics requirement and the entire 30-credit-hour requirement (including Ethics).  For a free presentation preview, please click here.

Avoid Costly Fees – MCLE Reporting Deadline Is Approaching

Illinois attorneys must report CLE compliance, non-compliance or exemptions at the end of their two-year reporting period.  Attorneys with last names that begin with “A” through “M” must report by mail or online by the June 30, 2012, deadline.  This year, Illinois attorneys are required to complete 30 hours of CLE for this reporting period.

 The fees for reporting compliance are as follows:

  •  There is no fee for timely reporting of compliance.
  • If attorneys report non-compliance before the deadline, there is a fee of $100. They then have until September 30,2012, to complete the required CLE and report to the MCLE Board.
  • If attorneys fail to report on time, there is a fee of $150. They then have until September 30 to complete the required CLE and report to the MCLE Board.
  • If attorneys report inaccurate certification and are audited by the MCLE Board, they are subject to a fee of $250.
  • If attorneys do not complete their required CLE during the allotted grace period (by September 30) and are removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys, they are subject to a reinstatement fee of $250.

 As a reminder, attorneys are not required to send their certificates of completion or other proof of CLE activities to the MCLE Board unless they have been notified that they are being audited.  Attorneys must keep these documents for three years from the end of their reporting period.  Real Estate Institute also keeps these documents on file for our students. 

For more information about the MCLE Board Fee Schedule, click here.
For information about CLE courses, click here.

2011 Real Estate Educator of the Year Named

On Friday, May 20, the Association of Illinois Real Estate Educators (AIREE) presented its highest honor – the 2011 Real Estate Educator of the Year award – to Scott B. Toban. The association recognizes Scott’s numerous achievements and contributions to the real estate community in Illinois.

Educator of the Year - Scott Toban

Since focusing his career on education in 2004 as a Principal at the Real Estate Institute, Scott has established himself as a leading Illinois real estate educator.  Scott’s 16 years as a practicing lawyer and his unique experiences in a variety of professional settings have strengthened his abilities as a dynamic speaker and teacher of various education topics, including real estate law, brokerage practice, ethics and professional responsibility.

Immediately prior to joining the Real Estate Institute, Scott was a partner of the international law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (now, Mayer Brown LLP).  Scott’s legal practice has concentrated on real estate, finance and professional regulation.  Scott earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School in 1995, and he graduated with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelors of Science in Accountancy in 1992.  He is a Registered Certified Public Accountant in Illinois. 

Recognizing Scott’s knowledge and passion for the real estate industry from multiple perspectives (as a lawyer, real estate broker and educator), Governor Quinn appointed Scott as a member of the Illinois Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board and the Illinois Real Estate Education Advisory Council in 2010.  Scott has already made a key impact on Illinois real estate brokerage by contributing revisions to the recently adopted Administrative Rules implementing the Real Estate License Act of 2000.

This is not the Real Estate Institute’s first Educator of the Year. Real Estate Institute is the only professional education provider in Illinois to have two generations of award recipients. In 2002, Alan Toban, Scott’s father, was recognized for his achievements as an accomplished author of numerous real estate, mortgage and finance books, as well as his 30 years of experience in real estate and finance.