Three Things That Every Illinois Real Estate Broker Should Remember About Disclosing Their Status as a Licensee

Real estate brokers help to create successful transactions for their clients, but they often participate in their own transactions, too. This may include buying or leasing a primary residence, the purchase or sale of investment property, etc.

When an Illinois licensed real estate broker engages in a transaction, there are special disclosure requirements that can be easily overlooked. In general, these requirements are in place to ensure that the other party in a transaction is aware of the licensee’s status – because the licensee is perceived to have more knowledge and therefore may be able to take advantage of the other party.

Failure to disclose that you are a licensee is a violation of license law that may expose you to penalties up to and including revocation of your license.

Key Requirements

  • Disclosure must be made to all parties when a licensee is selling, leasing or purchasing any interest in real property.
  • Disclosure must be made in writing.
    • You may do so when you first meet or interact with the other party or include the disclosure as part of your written offer.
    • If you include the disclosure on a contract that you submit, avoid adding a small note next to your signature (on the last page). In the past, the IDFPR has suggested that licensees add the required text in large/clear print at the top of the contract to ensure that the receiving party sees it before they review and sign the contract.
  • Disclosure requirements apply to the following parties:
    • Sole owners.
    • Joint tenants and tenants by the entirety.
    • Land trusts.
    • General partners in a partnership.
    • Officers, directors, majority shareholders and controlling shareholders of a corporation.
    • Managers or majority or controlling members of a limited liability company.
    • Anyone else with a direct or indirect interest in the subject property.

Business Entities

It’s noteworthy that licensees often get into trouble when a business entity is involved in the transaction. It’s critical to remember that brokers must disclose their status even when they are not personally a party to the contract. For example, Happy Investments LLC may be the buyer, but if Lucy Licensee is a manager of that LLC, she must still make the required disclosure.

Final Advice

Lastly, although it’s not required by law, it never hurts to also communicate orally to help ensure the other party has received your notice. You may even consider asking for a written acknowledgement of the disclosure.


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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.