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



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.

When the IDFPR Comes Knocking at Your Door, Will You Survive an Audit?

“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“It’s the Real Estate Professional Examiner from IDFPR assigned to review your real estate business!”

As a Sponsoring Broker, you must be prepared to open the door when the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) comes knocking. Will you be ready?

Sponsoring Brokers who are selected for an audit will receive a letter from the IDFPR establishing a time for an on-site inspection or a request to complete a Brokerage Verification Report.

Am I exempt from an audit?

Some of you are thinking that these audits do not apply to you because you…

  • Are a self-sponsored Managing Broker operating out of your home with no sponsored licensees.
  • Have not been engaged in any real estate transaction for the past few years.
  • Do not maintain any escrow accounts.

You might be surprised to learn that there are NO exceptions to IDFPR audits. If you are a Sponsoring Broker, an audit is always a possibilityYou must be prepared to participate in a compliance review at the request of the IDFPR.

How does a Sponsoring Broker survive an IDFPR audit?

Here are a few of the office compliance questions that Sponsoring Brokers must be prepared to answer:

  • Place of business: Do you maintain a definite place of business?
  • Identification sign: Is your real estate office located in a separate and distinct area, away from any retail or financial business establishments?
  • Licenses readily availed: Is your license (and those of all sponsored licensees) current and readily available to the public at the sponsoring place of business?
  • Assumed name requirements: Do you operate under an assumed name (DBA) or any name other than what appears on your license?

The IDFPR may review other sections from the Brokerage Verification Form in the examination. They are:

  • Company Licensure
  • Brokerage Agreements and Contracts
  • Advertising
  • Supervision
  • Licensee, Agents and Assistants
  • Escrow
  • Advertising

State-approved continuing education courses should provide more information. This renewal season, Managing Brokers are required to attend a new 12-hour Broker Management program. Attending Broker Management CE may be one of the easiest ways to learn additional IDFPR audit requirements. This course will provide you with a clearer understanding of compliance issues by helping you apply the law to real-life situations.

For additional compliance information, review the Real Estate License Act and Administrative Rules.

Why Some Leasing Agents Are Paying for CE They Do Not Need

money funnel imageIt’s time for Illinois Residential Leasing Agents to complete their required continuing education. The two-year renewal period seems to come faster and faster every time. The good news is that Leasing Agents only need six credit hours of CE which is half the requirement of Illinois agents who hold a Broker license. The bad news is that some Leasing Agents are completing CE that they don’t need.

Here’s why.

  • Managing Brokers and property managers are telling all of their Leasing Agents that they need CE before July 31.
  • Leasing Agents are receiving e-mails, postcards and letters from various education providers that say all Leasing Agents need CE.

If your manager tells you that you need CE and you get an advertisement, shouldn’t you go ahead and do it? Not so fast. Here’s what you need to know. Not all Leasing Agents need CE.  Leasing Agents who were licensed during the current renewal period are not required to complete continuing education before renewing. These licensees completed a pre-license course and passed the state exam not too long ago, so they are exempt during their first license renewal. Although newly licensed Leasing Agents don’t have to complete CE, they still need to pay the renewal fee to the state by July 31, 2014. If you’d like to confirm your requirement, contact the IDFPR at 800-560-6420.

If you’ve renewed your Leasing Agent license in the past, you do need six credit hours of CE and, of course, you need to pay the renewal fee to the state.


Real Estate Institute has been offering real estate continuing education to Illinois licensees for over 20 years. Leasing Agent continuing education is available in a convenient self-study format. Leasing Agents may start CE today by immediately accessing the online course book.

What Every Managing Broker Needs to Know About Their 2013 Renewal

Do you have a Managing Broker (471) license? Have you started thinking about your 2013 renewal requirements?  If so, you may be finding it difficult to determine the education requirements.  How much CE do you really need? 12 hours? 15 hours? 18 hours? What about Broker Management CE?

So how do you figure it out? We checked in with the IDFPR to be sure.  We confirmed that these are the requirements.

 Education requirements for your 2013 Managing Broker license renewal:

How did you
become a
Managing Broker?

& Elective

Broker Management Requirement

Deadline for education completion and license renewal

Passed the Broker to Managing Broker Proficiency Exam

18 hours*

12 hours
of live instruction

April 30, 2013

Completed the 45-hour Broker to Managing Broker Transition Course

18 hours*

for 2013 renewal

April 30, 2013

Initial applicant through
45-hour Managing Broker Pre-License course and state exam

12 hours*

12 hours
of live instruction

April 30, 2013

* Any continuing education credit earned after April 30, 2010, can be counted toward your 2013 continuing education requirement.

Now that you know what your education requirements are, you’re ready to get started.  Let us know if we can help. More information is available at the following links:

Real Estate Institute:

 Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation:

Real Estate Broker Management CE Now Available!

Real Estate Institute is pleased to announce that its new Broker Management Continuing Education (BMCE) course has been approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

State law requires Managing Broker licensees to complete a live, 12-hour Broker Management CE course before their renewal deadline on April 30, 2013. Self-study coursework is not permitted to satisfy this requirement. The only Managing Brokers who are exempt from this requirement are:

  • Attorneys who are currently registered to practice in Illinois.
  • Broker licensees who transitioned to Managing Broker by taking a 45-credit-hour transition course.

Real Estate Institute’s two-day BMCE class is led by experienced real estate professionals and trainers and provides a dynamic, interactive classroom experience.   This class will apply the law to real-life situations Managing Brokers are likely to experience in their practice.

Course topics include:

  • How to protect your earnings in a highly regulated business environment
  • How to create, manage and enforce office policies
  • How recent amendments to the license law affect you
  • The benefits and obligations that accompany your new license status

 The state-required exam will be given at the end of the last class session and scored immediately.  Students will leave with their exam results.

 This course is offered as a live class at our school and soon will be offered at locations throughout Chicagoland.  Click here for the upcoming class schedule.

For more information about real estate continuing education, please call 800-995-1700 or visit our website.

Real Estate Broker License Renewal Now Available at the IDFPR

Today, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) updated the online license renewal page at their website to include Real Estate Broker renewal. Agents who hold a license number that begins with 475 may submit their renewal application and $150 fee to the state.  Broker renewals are due by April 30, 2012.

If you are transitioning your license and have not submitted your transition application, you must use the combined transition/renewal form found here.

If you are a Salesperson who has transitioned and have received your new Broker license or are a Broker who is NOT transitioning to the new Managing Broker license, click here to go to the IDFPR for access to the online license renewal information.

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’?”

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.”