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.


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

Hands_holding_green_apple
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.


Real Estate’s Leadership Crisis

question-mark-2492009_640

With over 94% of real estate brokerages running in the red, one of the biggest challenges we see in the industry is a crisis of finding and developing tomorrow’s company leaders.

The problem stems from the fact that most real estate brokerage managers/owners, despite being good salespeople who have risen to a certain level of success in their own real estate production, aren’t necessarily good business owners. Typically, these producers get fed up with current company leadership and start believing they can do it better. They then launch out on their own with their new company, only to fail more than 75% of the time.

So how do we help prevent this craziness? The answer is simple: Training.

Companies need to develop and/or outsource leadership development programs that can help train their own agents to be leaders. Unfortunately, most companies refuse to do this, out of fear that they’re simply training a future competitor. As a result, the task falls on trade organizations and real estate schools. The National Association of Realtors®, through its various member-only subsidiaries, used to have one of the best programs available to learn how to start, grow and maintain a successful brokerage. Unfortunately, over time this program became watered-down and has virtually disappeared.

So, the gap in professional education falls to the real estate schools or seminar trainers/consultants. One such school in Illinois, Real Estate Institute, has launched a two-day program called “Building & Growing Your Real Estate Brokerage” in conjunction with my seminar company and based upon my book, “The Real Estate Entrepreneur.” This intensive crash course covers the essential information that future brokerage leaders should have before launching into company ownership, or at the very least, within the first two years of ownership.

The program covers such essential topics as:

  • The Importance of Your Company Vision
  • Your Niche
  • To Franchise or Not to Franchise
  • Policies and Procedures Issues
  • Commission Structures From the Inside Out
  • Targeting and Recruiting Agents
  • And More! 

This course will save a future broker-owner THOUSANDS of dollars in wasted time and energy. Kudos to the Real Estate Institute for stepping up and filling the leadership educational gap in our industry.



Cliff Perotti is a 32-year veteran in the real estate business and has consulted with some of the largest brokerages in the world.  He holds 11 national designations and is the author of “The Real Estate Entrepreneur… A guide to Launching & Growing a Real Estate Brokerage” (McGraw-Hill).


2017 Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal in Two Simple Steps

Keep_it_Simple-Cropped
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.

Should You Become A Home Inspector? Read This First

magnifying-glass-red-houseAfter 25 years of “crawl spacing” (a friendly term that my friends and I call what we do), I sometimes ask myself why I love the home inspection profession so much.  If you think about the yucky stuff, like crawling around in hot attics and various spider-filled tight squeezes, you might wonder what’s wrong with me.

I asked my friend and colleague Corey why he thought we did it.  He said it’s because we have “FSO disease.”  We love to Figure Stuff Out, including why “stuff” doesn’t work. I can’t tell you how many times I walk by something and it just doesn’t seem right.  I will stare, test, prod and poke it until I figure out what’s wrong with the component I’m looking at.

Another reason I enjoy my work is that we get to use cool tools.  I purchased a thermal imager to help with my inspection business.  Today, I was shooting the ceilings of a condo and found a blue spot on the ceiling in a bedroom.  It didn’t even dawn on me that a register was missing in the room.  It turns out that the ductwork was placed to the point of discharge, but the register was never installed. Someone lived there for four years without heat or AC in the room.

But the biggest and most important reason I do this work is the feeling I get when I’m doing my closing interview with my clients and showing them all the issues that are present in the home they’re about to purchase.  When I finish, they look me in the eye, shake my hand and say “thank you” with the most sincerity. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy that feeling.  I help families with the largest purchase in their lives, and that’s pretty cool.

If you, or someone you know, would like to become an official member of the “FSO” community, please attend our upcoming Home Inspector Informational Seminar.  This no-cost seminar will cover the requirements for obtaining a home inspector license, what it’s like to enter this rewarding career field, and the tools that are used in this exciting profession.

My name is Charles Bellefontaine, and I love crawl spacing!

__________________________________________________________________________________

Charles Bellefontaine is a veteran home inspector and licensed Illinois home inspector instructor. You can find out more about him at www.thehomeinspectors.com.

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.