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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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!

Attention Brokers in Renewal: There Is Still Time, But Not Much

April 30, 2014 Renewal Deadline

April can be a stressful time for Illinois Real Estate Brokers.  Not because of rising interest rates, income taxes, or hay fever, but because of the biennial continuing education requirement due on April 30 every even-numbered year.

But continuing education doesn’t have to be stressful.  Actually, it can be done quickly and painlessly.  First, let’s break down who needs what.

  • A Broker who has renewed his/her license before, either as a Salesperson (who transitioned) or as a Broker, must complete 12 hours of core and elective continuing education.
  • A Broker who is renewing for the first time must complete a 30-hour post-license course.

The quickest and easiest way to complete your education is with a self-study program.  That way, YOU DECIDE how much time you spend studying.

  • Brokers who must complete continuing education can complete THE ENTIRE program via self-study.
  • Brokers renewing for the first time can do HALF of the 30-hour post-license requirement via self-study.  The other half must be in an interactive environment, which usually means a physical classroom or a live broadcast webinar.

Once you’ve completed the above, you are required to pass a proctored exam.  Perhaps this is the most stressful part of the educational requirement.  Maybe learning the facts will help you breathe a little easier.

  • IDFPR rules stipulate that for every 3-hour continuing education course, there must be a minimum of 25 questions on the exam, and Brokers must achieve a score of at least 70%.  That means, if you are taking a 25-question test, you can miss SEVEN and STILL PASS.
  • IDFPR rules stipulate that post-license exams must contain at least 25 questions for each 15- credit-hour course, with a passing score of 75%.  That means you can miss SIX on each test and STILL PASS.

Feel better?  If not, maybe this will help you relax.  Most Brokers successfully pass the first time when taking the exam with our school. But, in the rare event that you fail, you’re permitted to retake the exam.

While we know that most people don’t enjoy taking exams or required education, we hope that knowing the facts will help you relax a bit.  For questions about your licensing requirements, give us a call at 800.995.1700.

If you need last-minute CE or post-license education, visit our website or call us. Real Estate Institute offers programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Get Prepared for a State Audit of Your Broker Education Records

Stack of FilesThis time of year, thousands of Illinois Brokers are completing the continuing education or post-license education needed to renew their real estate licenses. If you are one of those Brokers who has already passed your course exam, you may feel confident that you’re finished. But will you be prepared for the state to audit your education records? Failure to produce the proper course completion documents can result in disciplinary action.

IDFPR-approved schools are required to provide Certificates of Course Completion to Brokers; however, the state does not want you to send this certificate with your renewal application. Instead, it is your course provider’s responsibility to report your credit hours to the state of Illinois and provide the Certificate of Course Completion to you for your records.

Most providers report the course completions to the state on a monthly basis. With the April 30 deadline only weeks away, chances are good that those completions will not be reported before the deadline. The good news is that there is a safety net in place to protect you. The license renewal process allows you to attest to the timely completion of your required CE or post-license education. As part of your renewal application, simply check the box that indicates you’ve fully complied with the education requirement for the renewal of your license. After completing the online or paper-based form and submitting the $150 renewal fee, you’re finished!

After the IDFPR processes all of the license renewals, the audits begin. The state will match renewals with course completions. If your course provider failed to submit your completion to the state, you likely will be contacted. It is a good idea to have your Certificate(s) of Completion on hand. This will prove to the state that you are compliant. If you or your course provider is unable to furnish proof of completion, you may be subject to disciplinary action and fines.

It’s not too late to complete your required education. For questions about continuing education and post-license education, call our compliance experts at 800-995-1700 or visit www.InstituteOnline.com. Our students may request supplemental copies of their Certificates of Course Completions at any time.

Why Brokers Cannot Renew Their Illinois Real Estate Licenses

You’ve renewed your Illinois real estate license in the past, so you know it’s not complicated to complete the online renewal process at the IDFPR website. Why is this year different?

Brokers call our compliance experts every day with this question. As the April 30, 2014 deadline nears, the anxiety level for Brokers is bound to increase. We’ve uncovered one of the stumbling blocks to a successful renewal.

Follow these steps and you’ll be on the right track.

  1. Complete your 12-credit-hour continuing education requirement. Real Estate Institute offers last-minute CE. Click here for details.
  2. Print out this instruction sheet with tips from the IDFPR on how to pay by credit card.
  3. Renew Online. The IDFPR allows you to complete the entire renewal application and pay online.
  4. Track down your pocket card with your license number. Here’s where the problem lies. With the license transition, all licenses with the prefix “476” were eliminated and will not be accepted. You must use your new Broker license number, which begins with “475.”
  5. Decide which identifier you will enter (PIN, SSN, or Date of Birth) along with your license number.
Remember: your license number will start with 475, NOT 476
Remember: your license number will start with 475, NOT 476

6.  Once you successfully log in, complete the requested information and submit your $150 renewal fee to the state.

Remember, it’s important to renew before April 30 to avoid late fees.

Two Steps For Illinois Broker License Renewal In 2014

Broker Renewal ClockThe Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is now accepting Broker license renewal applications.  Follow these instructions for a timely renewal.

Step 1 – 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 is in their first renewal period. Brokers in their first renewal period are required to complete a 30-hour Broker Post-License course. If you transitioned from a Salesperson license to a Broker license, you are not in your first renewal period and need CE.

The current broker renewal period began May 1, 2012 and ends April 30, 2014. If you complete CE or Post-License education with Real Estate Institute, our school reports your course completion 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 IDFPR typically mails licensees a copy of the renewal application 60 days before the license expires. 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 our compliance experts. More information can also be found at InstituteOnline.com/NextSteps.