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.

Real Estate’s Leadership Crisis

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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).


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!

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

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.

How to Start a Real Estate Career in the New Year

real-estate-agent-SOLD_signHave you been thinking about making changes to your life in 2016? Considering a new career?

You’ve surely seen the headlines about the real estate market gaining momentum. Now is the perfect time to start a career in real estate. The Illinois education requirement to become licensed as a broker includes successfully completing 90 credit hours of real estate pre-license education. This may seem like a lot, but there are ways to get it done quickly and be fully prepared to pass the state licensing exam.

Here are two recommended course options that will satisfy the Illinois broker pre-license education requirement. You need to decide which one works best for your schedule and learning style.

Flex Path

You can learn on a flexible schedule, with support tailored to your individual needs. This convenient program combines self-study with instructor assistance plus interactive classes or live-broadcast webinars. It is ideal for individuals who prefer to work at their own pace and choose their own schedule and learning environment. You can start immediately with this popular program. You’ll work through a series of lesson assignments, call for help as needed and take advantage of additional perks, including over 650 practice questions. Most candidates (who are busy with work or family responsibilities) complete Flex Path in about six weeks.

Fast-Track Classes

You will complete the entire course in under three weeks with this accelerated program. Classes are offered in Chicago’s Northwest and South suburbs. You will attend all-day classes in a highly motivating and engaging environment. Classes are led by experienced, professional instructors. Fast-Track is ideal for individuals who learn best in an interactive, structured classroom environment and can dedicate their full schedule to this program. You will learn the ins-and-outs of the real estate broker profession, with a focus on what you need to know to pass the Illinois state exam.

Invest in Your Future

By starting your broker pre-license education now, you can get licensed and start working for a real estate company just in time for the busy buying and selling season.


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.

Should Real Estate Agents Be Worried About Processing Delays at the IDFPR?

Changing Sponsoring Brokers – A Quick Summary
Illinois real estate licensees typically only submit forms to the IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate only once every two years, when it’s time to renew their licenses.  (For Brokers, that time is approaching once again.)  However, you also rely on the IDFPR to process an application if you become sponsored by a new Managing Broker sometime during your license renewal period.

The process to change sponsors is pretty straightforward, as summarized here:

  1. Notify your current sponsor that you no longer wish to be sponsored.  The current sponsor will terminate your license by signing the back of it before returning it to you. (Your license should have been on display at your office location. Your pocket card is not your license.)
  2. Complete the IDFPR’s 45-Day Permit Sponsor Card form.  Provide the form to your new sponsoring broker, so that he or she may complete the bottom section of the form.
  3. Make two copies – one for you and one for your new sponsoring broker.
  4. Within 24 hours, mail the original form, your old (terminated) license and the required $25 processing fee to the IDFPR.

Your copy of the form will serve as a 45-day permit while you’re waiting for the IDFPR to process the form and mail your new license.

Does it Really Take Less Than 45 Days?
Until recently, the Division of Real Estate had been processing license applications and other forms rather promptly.  This was no small feat, since just a few employees at the division process more than 15,000 termination and sponsor change requests every year!

Unfortunately, reductions in staff have led to delays in processing documents like these.  In fact, some applications are taking more than 45 days to process.  

So, What Happens When Your Permit Expires?
Most notably, you would not be able to provide a copy of your license to customers or your sponsoring broker.  Of course, this is just a temporary problem and no fault of your own.

Recently, the division advised that it is doing its best to manage the situation and understands that such a delay would impact licensees.  To mitigate the issue, the division indicated that it will allow these licensees to complete and submit a duplicate 45-Day Permit Sponsor Card – without the $25 payment.  You may reference a copy of this document as needed.  Meanwhile, the division will be working to clear out the backlog and issue your new license as quickly as practicable.

A Word To the Wise…
As you might imagine, the Division’s staff will be under much more pressure we proceed into the upcoming Broker’s license renewal season.  Brokers should look to complete their continuing education requirement early and apply for their new license as soon as permitted (early next year.)  That way, you’ll be out in front of the line!

Identifying Value in a Negotiation

Good NegotiatiorAll negotiations involve multiple “value” elements. The key to success is to first identify the value elements on each side and then “trade” value elements to reach agreement.

Easier said than done! Why? Because most negotiators don’t spend enough time identifying and truly understanding the value elements. The trading part is easy!

A home buyer and seller were negotiating and after lowering the price somewhat, the seller finally said, “I won’t go any lower.” The buyer asked his agent to find out why the seller wouldn’t go any lower. After several conversations with the listing agent, the reason was uncovered. The seller wouldn’t go any lower because he wanted “bragging rights” for his neighborhood – meaning he wanted to be able to say he had sold at the highest price to date in his neighborhood!

This “value” element was very important to the seller. In a negotiation, you can trade or exchange items of equal value. Understanding how valuable something is becomes a key objective of the skilled negotiator so that equal value can be obtained in the exchange. If the seller truly values his bragging rights (while still being realistic about the true value of the property), then the buyer should ask for something of “equal” value from the seller. For example “My buyer will pay your seller’s price if your seller agrees to a 15-day close.”

You have probably heard that the best time to buy a car is at the end of the month. This is usually because the car salesperson and/or dealer is trying to reach a goal or quota that carries some type of bonus from the manufacturer. Car dealers may even “lose” money on an individual sale because the bonus will more than cover the loss. So if your purchase happens to be key to achieving the bonus, you can negotiate really good terms for yourself!

So how can you identify the other side’s value elements in a negotiation? Try these 3 approaches:

  1. Ask! But first, tell them in general what is important to your side.
    Role modeling the behavior you want from the other side increases the odds that you will get the same behavior in return. As a buyer’s agent you might say to the listing agent, “From my buyer’s perspective, price, closing costs support, and personal property (refrigerator, washer, and dryer) are very important in this deal. What is most important to your seller?” If the listing agent shares something like, “Well, for my seller, price, closing date, and your buyer’s qualifications are key”, then you have a dialogue started where you can continue to exchange information and ask questions to determine the key elements of value.
  2. What if the other side won’t give you any information?
    Suppose the listing agent simply says, “Just submit your offer and we’ll respond based on that.” Then you might try the “self-interest” approach. The buyer’s agent could say something like, “My buyer would like to submit the very best offer to your seller. The more specific you can be about what is really important to your seller, the better the chances of my buyer meeting your seller’s needs.” In essence, you are trying to educate the other side about why it is in their self-interest to share important information – it increases the odds of getting what you want.
  3. “Either/Or” Approach.
    If the other side still won’t open up, try asking simple “either/or” questions to get an indication of what is important. “Would your seller prefer a quicker or longer closing date?” “Would your seller prefer a clean offer or would they entertain an offer with closing cost support for the buyer?” “Would your seller prefer to pay the buyer to do any necessary repairs or does your seller want to handle the repairs on their own?” By narrowing the choices you give the other side, you can focus in on the true value elements.

Sharing your value elements and understanding the other side’s value elements helps establish the basis for a win-win outcome.

Learn more about negotiation skills at Real Estate Institute.


This article was  originally published in an August, 15, 2014 blog post by Real Estate Negotiation Institute.

Real Estate Agents Need to Know … To Tell or Not to Tell?

Real Estate Agents Have a Duty to Disclose

Illinois real estate agents and Realtors® live in an age of disclosure. They are governed by laws that require them to disclose, disclose, disclose.
That seems easy enough, right?

Well, not always…

For example, did Bob the Broker do the right thing in the following scenario?

  • Bob the Broker had a vacancy in an apartment building that he owns with his sister. Bob’s sister is not licensed. Bob and his sister signed a one-year lease with a tenant. Bob did not disclose his status as a real estate licensee to the tenant.

Many real estate agents would do the same as Bob the Broker – not feel the need to disclose their status as a real estate licensee in a personal transaction involving a rental property. There seems to be a lot of confusion on when to disclose your status as a licensee.

What does Illinois law say about disclosure of real estate license status?

  • The Real Estate License Act states, “Each licensee shall disclose, in writing, his or her status as a licensee to all parties in a transaction when the licensee is selling, leasing, or purchasing any interest, direct or indirect, in the real estate that is the subject of the transaction.”

How does Illinois law apply to our hypothetical scenario?

  • Even though his sister is not licensed, Bob the Broker is in violation of the law for failing to disclose his status as a licensee.

What, if anything, could have been done to prevent the problem?

  • Bob the Broker could have disclosed his status as a licensee in writing to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many licensees learn the law the hard way by getting reprimanded by state regulators.

Real estate agents and Realtors® are faced with dilemmas on a daily basis. It’s critical that they understand the possible pitfalls. The state-required real estate post-licensing course is one way for new broker licensees to review real-world scenarios.

Learn more about post-license education at Real Estate Institute, where the goals are to help you become better prepared to handle these challenges, avoid disciplinary actions taken against you, and succeed in your real estate career.