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!

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.

Illinois Real Estate Broker Renewal Time: Straight and Simple!

Broker License Renewal Deadline Is Approaching!
Broker License Renewal Deadline Is Approaching!

Let’s Get It Straight

Real Estate Institute wants to make sure that you clearly understand that Post–License Education and Continuing Education are two completely different requirements.

Brokers renewing their license for the first time need to fulfill the 30-hour Post-License requirement.  All other Brokers need to do the 12 hours of Continuing Education.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) will not give credit to any licensee who enrolls in the wrong course. Post-License credit will not be accepted as Continuing Education credit and vice-versa.

In order to qualify to renew your Broker license, the appropriate course must be successfully completed, and the IDFPR must process your renewal application PRIOR to April 30, 2014.  We highly recommend that you start your required education NOW. Once your education is complete, submit your renewal application and fee to the IDFPR. (The IDFPR renewal window opens in just a few weeks.)  Procrastinating will severely affect the status of your license and your ability to practice real estate.

If you are still confused, call Real Estate Institute immediately at 800-995-1700. Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives are compliance experts. They will assist you and make sure that you are enrolled in the appropriate course.

Let’s Make It Simple

Start today! Click here to learn more about CE and Post-License courses. Convenient self-study, classroom and webinar programs are available.

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.

Why Have So Few Illinois Real Estate Licensees Transitioned?

Last week, I attended the monthly meeting of the IDFPR’s Real Estate Education Advisory Council. At the meeting, it was announced that 5,082 real estate salespeople had transitioned to the new broker license through the end of September. Meanwhile, 1,898 brokers had transitioned to the new managing broker license category. 

That means roughly 90 percent of Illinois real estate licensees still hadn’t completed the transition process.

Common Misconceptions
Real Estate Institute fields transition questions all day long.  Most licensees who call us enroll for transition education.  However, when some licensees hear about the April 30, 2012, deadline, they seem to have no sense of urgency.  Unfortunately, this mindset could ultimately mean a loss of licensure. 

Based on my interaction with licensees who got in early and took the state’s proficiency exam, many licensees assume that transitioning is an easy, one-step process. For example, many of our students believe that by passing the state’s proficiency exam, they have completely satisfied all the transition requirements.  They don’t realize they must also submit an application for their new license.  For clarity’s sake, let’s break down the different transition methods that are available to licensees.

Salesperson Licensees

  • Salespersons who transition to the broker license by passing the state’s proficiency exam must complete the transition application and submit it to the IDFPR online or by mail to receive the new license. These licensees are also required to complete 18 hours of continuing education before April 30, 2012.
  • Salespersons who transition to the broker license by completing an approved transition course must complete the transition application and submit it to the IDFPR by mail before the April 30, 2012 deadline to apply for the new license. These licensees are exempt from continuing education for the April 30, 2012 renewal.
  • Salespersons who don’t transition to the new broker license will lose their license on May 1, 2012. There will be no late renewals. Salespersons who miss the deadline will have to start the licensing process all over again. This would mean having to take 90 hours of pre-license education and pass the state’s pre-license exam.

Broker Licensees

  • Brokers who transition to the managing broker license by passing the state’s proficiency exam must complete the transition application and submit it to the IDFPR online or by mail no later than April 30, 2012, to receive their new license. These licensees are also required to complete 18 hours of continuing education and 12 hours of classroom/interactive broker management education before April 30, 2013.
  • Brokers who transition to the managing broker license by completing an approved transition course must complete the transition application and submit it to the IDFPR by mail no later than April 30, 2012. These licensees are also required to complete 18 hours of continuing education before the April 30, 2013, renewal deadline. However, these licensees are exempt from the 12 hours of classroom/interactive broker management education for the April 30, 2013, managing broker license renewal.
  • Brokers who choose to remain a broker will need to be sponsored by a managing broker.  They are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education and renew their current license no later than April 30, 2012. Renewal forms for this purpose will be made available after February 1, 2012.

Still confused? 
You’re not alone! The IDFPR has told us that their call volume is high.  The wait on hold for licensees calling about the transition exceeds 40 minutes at most times of day. That’s why the Real Estate Institute has hired additional fully trained customer representatives. We welcome transition questions from company owners, managers, compliance officers and all licensees.  Call us at 800-995-1700 if you need more information.

Now Available – Online Real Estate Pre-License Courses!

For individuals looking to start a career in real estate or simply become licensed to take advantage of the real estate investment opportunities, finding a pre-license school in their area offering the new state-approved broker and managing broker courses has been a challenge.  For new Illinois real estate licensees, the state has mandated a 15-hour interactive program as part of the 90-hour licensing requirement.  This interactive program must be completed in a classroom or live classroom equivalent, which means it cannot be completed via self-study. 

Real Estate Institute began offering the pre-licensing courses as soon as the salesperson license was eliminated in March.  Illinois’ first new broker licensee is one of our students!  By attending our modular classes, students have been completing the interactive class requirement in as little as 3 weeks.  The live interactive classes are offered at our school in Niles, Illinois.  While this has been convenient for those in our area, we strive to serve students outside the Chicagoland area (and even out of state)!

In addition to offering classes, Real Estate Institute is pleased to announce that we are now offering online pre-license courses!  If you have completed the self-study portion of your real estate pre-licensing program by successfully passing all the required lesson exams, you qualify to join us on June 9th, as we launch our newly offered webinar. This online course fulfills the 15-hour interactive requirement.  These interactive webinars provide the convenience of participating from home or your office. 

You will benefit from instructors who have extensive frontline real estate experience in addition to being professional trainers. You can ask the instructor questions as if you were sitting in the classroom. Your interest and attention will definitely be captured during this lively program.