Who is Winning the Real Estate License Transition Race?

In our completely unscientific study this week, it looks like broker licensees are in the lead.  We’ve had considerably more inquiries and more transition enrollments from brokers than salesperson licensees. Since salesperson licensees significantly outnumber brokers in Illinois, we found this surprising. 

We’re still scratching our heads trying to figure out why.  With all the time and effort that has been spent to obtain and maintain the salesperson license, letting it go just doesn’t make sense.  We assume a lot of salespersons still do not understand the change. Salespersons do not have the option of renewal. Transitioning from the salesperson license to the NEW broker license is the only option. So what’s the holdup!?!

  • Are salespersons waiting until closer to the deadline?
  • Are they waiting for the market to recover?
  • Are they hoping the state will change the rules?

The bottom line is that if the transition requirements (education and submitting the paperwork and fees to the state) haven’t been met by April 30, 2012, you can no longer work as an agent – no more commissions, no more referrals, no more license.  When an average commission would pay for 10 transitions, keeping an active real estate license seems like the right thing to do.  We know that the market will get better.  We know that there will be referral opportunities.  It would take legislation to change this law, and it’s just not changing.

It’s time to take back the lead! 

If you need help understanding transition education and the related state forms, give us a call at 800-995-1700 or visit our website.

Real Estate Licensees Required to “Step Up or Step Out”

The hot topic for Illinois real estate licensees is the transition that will take place beginning in May of 2011. Earlier this month, the Association of Illinois Real Estate Educators (AIREE) held its 2010 Winter Conference at DePaul University Conference Center in the Chicago Loop. The conference was attended by over 100 educators from throughout the state.

Changes to the Illinois Real Estate License Act signed into law by Governor Quinn in 2009 will eliminate the real estate salesperson license category. Those individuals who currently hold real estate salesperson licenses will be required to take additional education and apply for what will be a new category of broker license. Real estate salespersons who don’t transition to the new license will lose their license and be forced to stop practicing. During this same transition period, individuals holding a broker license under the current standards must either take additional education or give up the privilege of self-managing and managing others.

Scott Toban of the Real Estate Institute addressed the conference, explaining the new licensing standards. He explained that each licensee has a one-time option to pass a proficiency examination demonstrating that they don’t need the additional education. Scott also spoke about the new increased education requirements for initial licensure and entry into the real estate business in the state of Illinois. Scott, by appointment of the governor, serves on the Illinois Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board and Real Estate Education Advisory Council.

Alan Toban, founder of the Real Estate Institute, addressed the conference to explain the new way training must be delivered. Alan explained, “Licensees will no longer be asked to merely memorize dates or lists of rules. The new law insists students receive training that will prepare them for real-life situations affecting the public they serve.” Alan further explained, “Under the new law, a consumer of real estate services is to receive written notice from a licensee declaring whose interests the licensee is actually protecting.”

Inside the Illinois Proficiency Exam Pilot

 During the month of November, the Real Estate Institute helped Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) test the Illinois Proficiency Exams for the upcoming real estate transition.  As part of the amendments to the Real Estate License Act of 2000, licensees will have a choice of facing the proficiency exam or taking coursework to earn the right to transition to the new license titles.  A passing score on the exam will allow licensees to transition without taking the 30-hour or 45-hour post-license education courses.   The exam is expected to be available to all licensees in January 2011. 

Keeping You Honest
The purpose of the proficiency exam pilot program was to verify the suitability of the exams for use as the Real Estate Transition Proficiency Examinations for both the salesperson-to-broker transition and the broker-to-managing broker transition.  Real Estate Institute participated in the pilot with the cooperation of about 140 brave licensees. 

According to Alan Toban, founder of the Real Estate Institute, the reactions of the test takers were mixed.  “I heard people say that it was a little difficult for them, but seemed like a fair exam for a current licensee.” 

Deborah Hammersmith, Real Estate Institute receptionist, observed the crowds after the exam.  She noted, “After the exam, the test takers congregated to ask each other how they responded to particular questions.  They discovered that they all did not have the same exam and that questions varied.  They all acted like this was a big surprise!”

Years in the Business – No Guarantee
At the other end of the spectrum, Alan said, “A few seasoned salespersons and brokers found the exam very challenging and questioned whether they will pass. They were stunned that, after being in the business for so long, they didn’t know everything!” 

Clearly a passing score is not guaranteed by your years in the business.  Alan further explains, “It’s been a long time since some of these folks studied for their license, and a lot has changed. The additions that were included this year alone caught many agents off guard.  Do you know the differences among a ‘broker,’ a ‘managing broker,’ a ‘sponsoring broker’ and a ‘broker who manages’?”

PREP-to-PASS
The exams, which were given on paper, will now be scored by AMP, and any comments about particular questions from those who took the exam will be reviewed. (Later, the Real Estate Institute will make the exam available online for instant scoring.)   AMP will also check for any questions that seem to create a problem for a disproportionate number of candidates.  The bottom line is: Don’t think you are going to waltz into this test and ace it.  According to Alan, “You do need to be proficient.”

The reactions of the pilot test takers confirmed Alan’s suspicions that test preparation would be beneficial.  “With only one opportunity to pass the proficiency exam, I recommend a good exam prep tool to refresh your knowledge and, in some cases, introduce you to new laws that you may not be aware of.”