Quickest Route for Brokers to Beat the April 30th Deadline


Quickest_Route-road-with-motion-cloudsIt’s the second half of April. For Real Estate Brokers in the state of Illinois who have yet to renew their licenses, it can cause panic. But, it doesn’t have to. Follow the two-step process below for a quick and easy way to maintain your license.

Step 1 – Complete Your Education.
Brokers in Illinois are required to completed education before renewing their license. The type of education is dependent upon what date your license was issued. Find out the original issue date of your license by clicking here.

  • Brokers whose licenses were issued before 2/1/14 require 12 hours of core and elective continuing education. While classes are permitted, self-study, is the fastest option. Both class and self-study options require a proctored exam. Real Estate Institute offers convenient continuing education options.
  • Brokers whose licenses were issued between 2/1/14 – 1/31/16 require post-license education. Half of this 30 credit-hour requirement must include live instruction, such as a class or webinar. With limited time remaining, many Brokers choose webinars, which offer more flexible attendance options – review your post-license education options.
  • Brokers whose licenses were issued after 1/31/16 won’t have to renew until 2018, so no education is required at this time. These Brokers should complete their post-license education requirement by 4/30/18.

Step 2 – Renew Your License.
Most Brokers know that they must pay the renewal fee to the 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. A sponsor and a fee of $150 are also required to renew.
  • The IDFPR strongly encourages Brokers to renew online. You may have received a P.I.N. via e-mail from the IDFPR. However, it’s not needed to renew. The license number, plus one of the following is needed to renew: the social security number, date of birth or P.I.N. A paper-based renewal form is also available with this information.
  • Begin the renewal process by clicking here.

Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for over 20 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.

Here Come the Changes! Fannie Mae Sets Release Weekend for Desktop Underwriter™ 10.0

Here Come the Changes! Fannie to release DU 10.0

Well, we finally know a *LITTLE* more about Fannie’s plan to release the brand-spanking-new version of Desktop Underwriter™ (DU™).

If you took Real Estate Institute’s live Mortgage continuing education class last year, you heard me talk about Fannie’s plans to revamp and update their underwriting engine to take into account “new and improved” (*your mileage may vary) credit report data that the mortgage industry has not previously utilized. The data to which I’m referring is called trended credit data, and it incorporates much more information about consumers than most of you have ever seen before.

Right now, our mortgage credit reports are basically “snapshot” reports – that is, they show the consumer’s payment history, current balance, credit limit, dates opened, etc. That data is updated typically once per month from each reporting account, and what we know about our customer is what is reported on that day from that creditor. Thus, if Joey Bagadonutz is someone who pays off his credit cards in full each month, but his outstanding balance on the day the account reports to the bureaus is $3,500, we see that balance as $3,500 with no indicator of how long it has been that high. Now, imagine that the limit on Joey’s account is $4,000. Our current underwriting algorithms see him as a SIGNIFICANT CREDIT RISK because of his credit utilization. Not good for Joey.

With trended data, not only will we be able to view the outstanding balance and limit, we’ll be able to see how much Joey has paid on his accounts each month for the past two years! For a guy like Joey who pays his account in full, this is fantastic; we’ll be able to really dig into his excellent credit history beyond today’s “well, he’s never been late.” Thus, Joey gets a better risk evaluation, which leads to a better rate, which leads to happy Joey, pink unicorns, rainbows and Santa Claus! Can’t get any better than this, right?

Well, if you’re Joey, yes.

However, if you’re someone who carries a balance each month, not so much. Let’s say you’re working with Bubba Buysalot on a purchase of a new home. Bubba is a guy who has 6 open credit cards, is under 50% utilization on all of them, and has never missed a payment. In today’s credit world, our algorithms see him as a TOP-TIER RISK LEVEL because of his utilization and payment history. Good for Bubba. Now, with the new trended data, we dig deeper and see that Bubba has made just the minimum payment on all six accounts and his balance over time has been increasing. Now, Bubba is no longer a top-tier borrower. He gets a worse risk evaluation (due to the fact that those who make minimum payments default on debt at a rate 3 to 5 times higher), which leads to a higher rate or a declined loan, which leads to sad Bubba, rain clouds, bee stings and Lucy pulling away the football when he tries to kick it.

You can see both sides of this coin, right? Deeper information and improved risk assessment is good for creditors, Fannie Mae and MBS investors, but it’s not good for every applicant.

OK. So WHEN is this new version of DU coming out? Good question. According to Fannie’s preview document released at the end of January, we can expect the rollout to occur on the weekend of June 25, 2016. We also can expect a series of training webinars and informational communications in the months leading up to the roll-out date. As of right now, all we really know is that this new release will evaluate trended credit data, as well as simplify the process for applicants with multiple financed properties. We’ll learn a lot more when Fannie issues the release notes sometime later this month. It will be interesting to see if they also incorporate some of the other changes they’ve been working on, such as creating a way for DU to evaluate borrowers with non-traditional credit histories, or if those will be relegated to a future release.

Now that you have this knowledge, it’s time to get out there and start educating your prospective borrowers about it, especially those who are sitting on the fence about purchasing a home. While you’re at it, start informing your referral sources, too! I’m sure there are gaggles of real estate agents and financial planners out there who’d like to know about these changes well in advance.

More to come when the Release Notes are, well, released. Until then…

Happy Originating!

Peter



Real Estate Institute is an NMLS-Approved Course Provider, #1400102. Each year, thousands across the country choose Real Estate Institute for its mortgage pre-license, SAFE test prep and continuing education programs. If you have questions about your education requirements, our compliance experts are available at 800-995-1700 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Central Time), Monday through Friday.

Top 6 Things Real Estate Brokers Get Wrong About License Renewal

There’s no doubt that it’s tough to keep up with all of the ins and outs of renewing an Illinois Broker license. But the renewal deadline is approaching, so it’s time to get your facts straight.

Here’s a short list of common myths about license renewal.

Myth #1: Broker post-license education is a type of continuing education.

It’s no wonder Brokers are confused. Many education providers incorrectly refer to post-license education as a continuing education program. Post-license education is actually a follow-up to your pre-license training, and it takes the place of continuing education for newly licensed Brokers. You must complete this one-time requirement by April 30, 2016 if you became licensed between February 1, 2014 and January 31, 2016.

In case you are thinking about waiting until the last minute to complete your post-license education, think again. Post-license is a two-part program that includes some interactive sessions, so it is strongly recommended that you start your required education NOW.

Post-license education must be provided by a pre-license school that is approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Schools that have only been approved as continuing education providers cannot offer this course. Importantly, post-license credit will not be accepted by the IDFPR as continuing education credit and vice versa.

Myth #2: You must complete an ethics course in order to renew your license.

The National Association of REALTORS® requires its members to complete ethics training every four years. REALTORS® must complete this requirement by 2016. However, you do not need to complete an ethics course in order to renew your Illinois Broker license. Illinois requires brokers to complete 12 credit hours of core and elective continuing education. Required topics for core courses can be found here. (For your convenience, Real Estate Institute includes a 3-credit-hour ethics course in our popular 12-credit-hour CE package.)

Myth #3: Out-of-state licensees have different license renewal requirements.

If you live out of state and want to renew your Illinois Broker license, you must complete the same requirements as a Broker who lives and works in Illinois. Brokers licensed prior to February 1, 2014 must complete the 12-credit-hour continuing education requirement. Brokers licensed on or after February 1, 2014 must complete a 30-credit-hour post-license education program. Brokers must also submit the renewal application and fee to the IDFPR by April 30, 2016.

Myth #4: Attorneys are exempt from all Broker renewal requirements.

Active Illinois attorneys are exempt from the continuing education requirements, but they must submit the renewal application and fee to the IDFPR by April 30, 2016.

Myth #5: Getting an Illinois Broker license through reciprocity provides an education exemption during the first license renewal.

Brokers who acquired their Illinois Broker licenses through a reciprocal state agreement (and did not complete Illinois real estate pre-license education) aren’t off the hook. These licensees in their first renewal have the same requirement as Brokers who completed their pre-license education in Illinois. They must complete 30-credit-hours of post-license education before the April 30, 2016 renewal deadline.

Myth #6: Brokers don’t need to worry about renewing their license until they receive a postcard from the IDFPR.

In previous renewal years, the alarm bell sounded when you received the IDFPR’s renewal reminder postcard with your PIN number. You knew it was time to complete the education requirements (if you hadn’t already) and submit the renewal application and payment. With the IDFPR’s recent decision to only send email renewal notifications and discontinue mailing license renewal notifications, there’s a good chance that there will be a late rush of required education completions and renewal applications being submitted to the state. To avoid late fees, don’t let this happen to you. If you aren’t sure whether you have a current email address on file with the state, you can easily update/add it here.


Real Estate Institute is approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Pre-License Provider #510.000158 and Continuing Education Provider #562.000161. Each year, thousands of licensees choose Real Estate Institute for its flexible continuing education and post-licensing education programs. If you have questions about your education requirements, our compliance experts are available at 800-995-1700 from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

What You Need to Know About Illinois Broker License Renewal In 2016

Alarm Clock_Apr 30_1 Text Line_No Bkg
The state’s budget woes will soon be felt by Illinois real estate licensees. Last week, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) advised that it will not mail license renewal notifications. This means that there will be no reminder postcard sent in early February before brokers’ deadline. Many brokers don’t give much thought to the license renewal or the education that must be completed until they receive this reminder. This could cause a late rush of continuing education completions and renewal applications being submitted to the state.

The good news is that the IDFPR will begin sending renewal reminders via e-mail. The bad news is that the IDFPR has never required real estate licensees to provide their e-mail addresses, so the department’s database is incomplete. This is a perfect time for you to update your contact information with the state. To easily update or add your e-mail address, click here.

The IDFPR will start accepting Broker license renewal applications in just a few weeks. 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 course. The current Broker renewal period began May 1, 2014 and ends April 30, 2016. 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:

  • 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.
  • Mail Your Application – The IDFPR typically mails licensees a copy of the renewal application 60 days before the license expires. However, with the budget cuts, it’s likely that this mailing will be discontinued too. 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 to the IDFPR. 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, please call Real Estate Institute at 800-995-1700 to speak to one of our compliance experts. More information can also be found at InstituteOnline.com/NextSteps.

Renewing Your Illinois Insurance Producer License? Better Check Your Email

Business-woman-running-with-clockIf you’re like most insurance producers in Illinois, you probably don’t give your continuing education requirements much thought until you receive a license renewal notice from the state. For years, notifications have gone out in the mail and have given insurance professionals a helpful reminder regarding when to complete CE and how to renew their license.

Well, not anymore.

Effective Nov. 5 of last year, the Department of Insurance stopped sending hard-copy renewal notices to licensees. Instead of a mailed reminder, renewal notices will be emailed to whatever email address a producer has on file with the DOI.

Don’t let this change in departmental procedures impact your ability to do business! Consider taking the following steps to make your next renewal as simple as possible:

  1. Complete your continuing education sooner rather than later. As a reminder, producers in Illinois must complete 24 hours of continuing education (including 3 hours of in-class ethics training) in order to renew their license. (Additional requirements exist for producers who sell long-term care insurance.)
  2. Verify that your email address is correct. Producers can confirm, add or change their email address by visiting the National Insurance Producer Registry online at www.nipr.com.

If you’ve completed the entire 24-credit-hour CE requirement on or before your license expiration date, follow these on-time renewal instructions.

If you’re renewing your license after your expiration date, follow this link for details about reinstating your license.


Real Estate Institute is an Illinois-approved insurance continuing education provider that offers a wide range of self-study courses and thought-provoking ethics classes. Our team of knowledgeable customer service representatives is here to assist you with all of your CE needs. Contact us to enroll today!

Mortgage Originators – The Changes Aren’t Over Yet

Magnifying-glass-showing-changeWe all knew this was coming (and, honestly, given the increasing importance of Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization (MISMO) standards in keeping our loan-level data compliant, is probably long overdue) but just when we thought we might be getting a breather from front-end form changes for a while…

The Uniform Residential Loan Application (you know it as the 1003) is undergoing a facelift. According to Fannie and Freddie, the redesign should be complete by the summer of 2016. It will likely come with a nice trial period before its use becomes mandatory. Given the expanded dataset that is being phased-in in the coming years with the CFPB’s updated HMDA rule, expect to see the government monitoring information section expanded, along with a re-aligning of the data fields to more closely match information used in evaluating applications under current GSE underwriting guidelines. In fact, this project is probably very closely related to the significant updates that Fannie has told us will be coming to Desktop Underwriter next year.

You can bet that we’ll have more information on this for you as the new form is released. Until then, drink a cup of Auld Lang Syne to TRID, and here’s to a great 2016!

Happy Originating,

Peter

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.