Are Final Exams Required for Upcoming Real Estate License Renewal?

Last year, some important amendments to the Real Estate License Act took effect. While most of the changes were subtle, there was an impact for Illinois Real Estate Managing Brokers. As the license renewal deadline approaches for Managing Brokers, our customer service team has been fielding lots of questions about the changes. Here is the key question and answer…

Do the license law changes impact your 2019 Managing Broker license renewal?

Yes, but not in a significant way.

Although the amended license law made some changes to curriculum and the way courses can be offered, the real impact of those changes won’t be felt until the next license renewal period. That’s because the state needed to finalize administrative rules that describe how those changes will be implemented. The proposed rules (which may be final by the time you read this) defer the impact of the changes to avoid confusion about requirements during this renewal period.

However, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Education (IDFPR) determined that some aspects of the amended license law were very clear and could be implemented in advance of the rulemaking process. This contradiction led to some confusion among licensees.

How does this impact Managing Broker Continuing Education?

The current two-year Managing Broker renewal period began May 1, 2017, and ends April 30, 2019. As a reminder, most Illinois Managing Brokers must complete 24 credit hours of continuing education that includes: 12 hours of core and elective CE (via self-study, online distance education, classes or live webinars) plus 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE (via classes or live webinars) before renewing their licenses.

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.) This applies to core, elective, and Broker Management CE.

When it comes to core and elective CE, attending live training is not for everyone, especially with the requirement to complete 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE. You may be looking for another way to avoid taking 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 became available in 2018 as a result of the amended license law.

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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.

Note: The state does not permit the 12-credit-hour interactive Broker Management CE course to be completed in an online distance education delivery method.

In summary, the course format you choose will determine whether a final exam is required.

The IDFPR will soon begin accepting license renewal applications, so it’s important that Managing Brokers complete their required CE now.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for over 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

 

Online Real Estate Licensing and Company Renewals

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By now, you probably received this notice from the IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate (DRE), which advises all real estate licensees that beginning October 1, paper applications for new licenses and renewals (for most license types) will no longer by accepted.  Instead, applicants must use the Online Services Portal.

The move to online licensing significantly speeds up the licensing process by automating tasks that formerly required more than one person or department to intervene.

When to Use Online Licensing Services

Beginning in October, the Online Services Portal should be used to:

  • Apply for a new license
  • Renew an existing license
  • Request a change of sponsorship
  • Terminate sponsorship
  • Update or make changes to licensee information

What About the 45-Day Sponsor Permit Card?

The new online workflow eliminates the need for a temporary sponsor permit card. As a result, this document will no longer be accepted by the DRE. Instead, Leasing Agents, Brokers, and Managing Brokers must use the Online Services Portal to request that their license be sponsored by a Managing Broker or licensed organization. Using this new system, a change of sponsorship can be completed within days.

Special Notice Regarding Branch Renewals

Last month, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB5210 into law, which eliminated the requirement for licensed real estate businesses to obtain an additional license for each of their branch office locations. This change will reduce costs and administration for real estate brokerages.

However, it will take some time for the DRE to fully implement this change and put in place an alternate process to ensure the DRE remains aware of locations where a brokerage conducts business with consumers. In the interim, these licensees must renew their branch license, but the DRE will waive the fee typically required for renewal. Branch license renewals are due by October 31, 2018 and may be renewed online here.

In Closing

Most licensees are having a positive experience with the new systems and online features, but as with any new process, there will be some quirks and problems to overcome. For example, we’ve already seen that the Online Services Portal lacks key features required by larger organizations, such as the ability to delegate access to non-licensed users who are responsible for license administration within the organization. Thankfully, the DRE has been very responsive to feedback and ideas. They are acting fast to fix bugs and make long-term improvements through ongoing investment in the technology.

If you have ideas for updates or new features for the Online Services Portal, let us know. We frequently participate in IDFPR meetings, sharing feedback we’ve received. You can comment on this blog post or send us feedback through the Contact Us form on our website.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

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.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years, offering top-rated Continuing Education and Pre-License courses in multiple formats: Classroom, Live Webinar and Online Distance Education. Real Estate Institute’s team of experts is standing by to answer questions about your requirements, our courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

IDFPR Introduces Online Licensing for Real Estate

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Streamlining New License Application Processing

Over the past two years, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has moved to implement more efficient processes that streamline the ways we interact with government.

This month, the Real Estate Division took a big step forward with the introduction of an online licensing process for new license applicants. Initially, this feature is being offered to Brokers and other individuals who have recently passed a state licensing examination.

What License Applicants Should Know

Up until now, individuals who passed the state license examination (currently administered by PSI/AMP) were required to complete and submit paperwork that is provided to them immediately after their examination. Because Illinois Real Estate Brokers are required to be sponsored by a Managing Broker, they must identify which person or company will sponsor their license. A license cannot be issued without a sponsoring broker.

While the paper-based process is still available (for now), information about successful exam completions is now being transmitted from PSI/AMP to the IDFPR. Upon receipt and processing, the IDFPR will send the individual an e-mail that invites them to apply online for their new license. The online application process eliminates the need to submit paperwork and payments by mail.

Applicants who take advantage of the new online portal will enter all required information electronically, including attachment of required documents and payment – by credit card or electronic check. Importantly, the applicant will be required to identify the sponsoring/managing broker with whom they seek to affiliate. Once submitted, the applicant will be able to monitor the status of their application. Upon approval by the IDFPR and sponsoring broker, the applicant will receive an e-mail notification that their new license has been issued.

What Sponsoring and Managing Brokers Need to Know (and Do)

This new process impacts two major areas for sponsoring brokers:

  1. 45-day permit sponsor cards
    With the traditional paper application process, there was a long delay that resulted from mailing, check processing, and application review. The 45-day permit helped to eliminate bottlenecks and enabled new licensees to get to work quickly. With the introduction of online licensing, most of these bottlenecks have been eliminated, which means that new license applications can be approved in just a few days. As such, there is no longer a need for sponsors to issue a 45-day permit.

  2. Online approval (or rejection) of sponsorship requests from licensees
    As new license applicants submit their online application, they will be required to choose their sponsoring/managing broker. (The IDFPR website will provide a list they may search/choose from.) As part of the application approval process, an e-mail will be sent to the sponsoring/managing broker with a notification that directs them to log in and approve or reject the applicant’s request. Therefore, it’s critical that sponsoring licensees have a valid e-mail address on-file with the IDFPR and monitor their inbox for these important messages. (Messages will be sent by FPR.Notice@Illinois.gov)

What’s Next?

Development of the online licensing portal is ongoing and soon, an online application process will be available to real estate business license applicants (Corporations, Partnerships, and LLCs). Sometime later, sponsoring and sponsored licensees will be able to request and approve sponsorship changes through an online process.


Real Estate Institute has been a top real estate education provider in Illinois for 25 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.

The One Resource Your Real Estate Brokerage Might Be Missing

Hands_Holding_String_of_LightsBookkeeping, recruiting, marketing, budgeting … the list of demands on a managing broker or office manager is long and varied.  From budgeting software to interior design, real estate brokerages rely on tools, resources, and consultants to get the job done efficiently and effectively.  While it may or may not be immediately apparent, a relationship with an IDFPR-approved real estate school can go a long way to help with compliance and recruiting.  When selecting a school to support your office success, make sure it has the following resources.

  • Customer Service Team – You need a school with a team of individuals dedicated to helping your agents.  A good customer service team is not only knowledgeable about the school’s courses, but can answer questions about initial licensing and the licensing renewal processes.   
  • Designated Contact – Sometimes, managing brokers and managers have questions or concerns with company compliance.  Organizing continuing education for the office or questions about the licensing process during an acquisition, for example, are very common issues that a school can assist with.  Having a designated contact who can help you address these issues can be an invaluable resource during stressful times.
  • Helpful Resources – Understanding the needs of a real estate business should be important to the school.  Tools to help you recruit new agents and maintain the ones you have should be available from the school you choose.

If you have any questions about how Real Estate Institute can help, visit our Contact Us page or call Tanya Rinsky, Director of Strategic Client Relationships, at (847) 423-5006.

Real Estate’s Leadership Crisis

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With over 94% of real estate brokerages running in the red, one of the biggest challenges we see in the industry is a crisis of finding and developing tomorrow’s company leaders.

The problem stems from the fact that most real estate brokerage managers/owners, despite being good salespeople who have risen to a certain level of success in their own real estate production, aren’t necessarily good business owners. Typically, these producers get fed up with current company leadership and start believing they can do it better. They then launch out on their own with their new company, only to fail more than 75% of the time.

So how do we help prevent this craziness? The answer is simple: Training.

Companies need to develop and/or outsource leadership development programs that can help train their own agents to be leaders. Unfortunately, most companies refuse to do this, out of fear that they’re simply training a future competitor. As a result, the task falls on trade organizations and real estate schools. The National Association of Realtors®, through its various member-only subsidiaries, used to have one of the best programs available to learn how to start, grow and maintain a successful brokerage. Unfortunately, over time this program became watered-down and has virtually disappeared.

So, the gap in professional education falls to the real estate schools or seminar trainers/consultants. One such school in Illinois, Real Estate Institute, has launched a two-day program called “Building & Growing Your Real Estate Brokerage” in conjunction with my seminar company and based upon my book, “The Real Estate Entrepreneur.” This intensive crash course covers the essential information that future brokerage leaders should have before launching into company ownership, or at the very least, within the first two years of ownership.

The program covers such essential topics as:

  • The Importance of Your Company Vision
  • Your Niche
  • To Franchise or Not to Franchise
  • Policies and Procedures Issues
  • Commission Structures From the Inside Out
  • Targeting and Recruiting Agents
  • And More! 

This course will save a future broker-owner THOUSANDS of dollars in wasted time and energy. Kudos to the Real Estate Institute for stepping up and filling the leadership educational gap in our industry.



Cliff Perotti is a 32-year veteran in the real estate business and has consulted with some of the largest brokerages in the world.  He holds 11 national designations and is the author of “The Real Estate Entrepreneur… A guide to Launching & Growing a Real Estate Brokerage” (McGraw-Hill).


2017 Illinois Managing Broker License Renewal in Two Simple Steps

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

Step 1 – Complete 24 Credit Hours of Continuing Education

Illinois real estate Managing Brokers need a total of 24 hours of continuing education (CE) which includes:
12 hours of core and elective CE 
(via self-study, online or classes) plus 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE (via classes or live webinars).

The current Managing Broker renewal period began May 1, 2015, and ends April 30, 2017. If you complete continuing education courses with Real Estate Institute, our school reports your course completions to the IDFPR.

Exceptions

  • New Licensees: Managing Brokers who are in their first renewal period might not need 24 hours of CE in 2017. Licensees who completed the Managing Broker pre-license courses during the renewal period are exempt from the Broker Management CE requirement. These licensees are required to complete only 12 hours of core and elective continuing education.
  • Attorneys: Currently licensed Illinois attorneys are exempt from the education requirements! Don’t forget to submit your license renewal application. See below.


Step 2 – Submit Your New License Application

After you have completed your CE 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 no longer mails licensees a pre-printed renewal application. However, you can print the form online. Select Print Renewal and enter the requested information. 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 Real Estate Institute’s compliance experts. More information can also be found at InstituteOnline.com/Renew.

Illinois Managing Broker Late Renewals – Your Questions Answered

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The deadline for Illinois Real Estate Managing 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, continuing 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 $200 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.

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:
Managing Broker Late Renewal Timeline

Continuing Education:

Managing Brokers who renew on time must complete 24 credit hours of CE before renewing their license. The same is true for those who complete a late renewal. So, if you miss the renewal and plan to renew sometime in May, be sure to complete CE before applying for your new license. Failure to do so will result in additional fines/penalties.

Assuming that you complete your CE in May 2015 and then apply for your (late) license renewal, take note that the CE 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, 2017.)

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 don’t sponsor any other licensees and you don’t have any active business that requires you to hold a real estate license. If you just cringed, here’s what you should know:

  • If you sponsor other licensees, these individuals will no longer have a sponsoring Managing Broker because of your failure to renew. This means that their licenses will soon be updated by the IDFPR to show their “inoperative” status. An individual with an inoperative license may not conduct real estate transactions. They will have to find a new sponsor and submit a change of sponsor request to the IDFPR (along with the required $25 fee) before continuing to do business.
  • 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!
  • If you or your sponsored licensees are also REALTORS®, 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 continuing education can be tricky. Real Estate Institute will continue offering the interactive 12-hour Broker Management CE class and webinar. Call 800-995-1700 if you have any questions about the education required for late renewal.

Which Real Estate License Type Is Right For You?

Questions With a career in real estate, many opportunities lie ahead that may not be readily available in more traditional career paths. Many people enjoy the schedule flexibility and income potential that working in real estate affords.

In Illinois, there are three real estate license types to choose from. The residential leasing agent license is considered an “entry level” license. The broker license is the most common license type in Illinois and allows you to do much more than a residential leasing agent. The managing broker license allows you to do everything a residential leasing agent and a broker do, but you have the ability to be your own boss and manage others if you choose. Depending on whether you’ll be working for a real estate brokerage, a property management company or ultimately hope to start your own business, you’ll need to consider which path you take. 

 

Comparing real estate license types

This comparison table will help you determine which license type is right for your career.

Characteristics of Illinois Real Estate Licenses

Residential Leasing Agent Broker Managing Broker
Allowed to sell all property types X X
Allowed to lease residential property X X X
Allowed to lease commercial property X X
Allowed to exchange all property types X X
Must be supervised by a managing broker X X
Held a sales or broker license for 2 of the prior 3 years X
Allowed to work under their own supervision  X
Allowed to supervise other licensees X
Can manage a sales or management office X
Required state examination Multiple-choice  Multiple-choice  Multiple-choice

plus simulation

LEARN MORE LEARN MORE LEARN MORE

 

For information about real estate licensing, visit the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation’s Real Estate Division

Real Estate Institute’s frequently asked questions have more detailed information about each license type.

Should I Renew My Real Estate License?

Is it time to break up with the IDFPR?I’m probably not the only one with an Illinois managing broker’s license who is thinking, “Is this the year I officially retire from real estate?”  I’m sure that this is a question that echoes in the minds of many this time of year when we must complete our continuing education and renew our license. I have been licensed for over 31 years – that’s a lifetime! I faithfully complete my CE and renew my license every two years. It’s been a part of my life for so long.  But  I ask myself, is it time to break off the relationship?  Is it time to write that “Dear John” letter to the IDFPR?

At this point in my life, I am a self-sponsored managing broker working out of my home. I question keeping my license because I am not actively working with the public in real estate. Recently, I faced an IDFPR audit and survived. Believe me, even though I always do things by the book, I almost threw in the towel after that experience!  However, I still like to dabble: buy a house or two every now and then and help out an old friend or family member.

And now it’s renewal time … Should I or shouldn’t I?

And my answer is… I am going for it!  I am going to complete the 24 credit hours of CE and renew my managing broker’s license. I have given it a lot of thought and have decided that renewing is the right thing to do.

Here’s why…

As long as I continue to have a passion for real estate, want to  learn new things  and help a few others, I will continue to renew my license. I have worked so hard to get this far. Like I said, my license and I have shared a lifetime together, and I am not ready to break up!

Maybe this is the year I can make a difference. Maybe this is the year I can give back and become more involved.

I have not given up hope, folks. I’m sure you feel the same.  See you in CE class.