Top 6 Things Real Estate Brokers Get Wrong About License Renewal

There’s no doubt that it’s tough to keep up with all of the ins and outs of renewing an Illinois Broker license. But the renewal deadline is approaching, so it’s time to get your facts straight.

Here’s a short list of common myths about license renewal.

Myth #1: Broker post-license education is a type of continuing education.

It’s no wonder Brokers are confused. Many education providers incorrectly refer to post-license education as a continuing education program. Post-license education is actually a follow-up to your pre-license training, and it takes the place of continuing education for newly licensed Brokers. You must complete this one-time requirement by April 30, 2016 if you became licensed between February 1, 2014 and January 31, 2016.

In case you are thinking about waiting until the last minute to complete your post-license education, think again. Post-license is a two-part program that includes some interactive sessions, so it is strongly recommended that you start your required education NOW.

Post-license education must be provided by a pre-license school that is approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Schools that have only been approved as continuing education providers cannot offer this course. Importantly, post-license credit will not be accepted by the IDFPR as continuing education credit and vice versa.

Myth #2: You must complete an ethics course in order to renew your license.

The National Association of REALTORS® requires its members to complete ethics training every four years. REALTORS® must complete this requirement by 2016. However, you do not need to complete an ethics course in order to renew your Illinois Broker license. Illinois requires brokers to complete 12 credit hours of core and elective continuing education. Required topics for core courses can be found here. (For your convenience, Real Estate Institute includes a 3-credit-hour ethics course in our popular 12-credit-hour CE package.)

Myth #3: Out-of-state licensees have different license renewal requirements.

If you live out of state and want to renew your Illinois Broker license, you must complete the same requirements as a Broker who lives and works in Illinois. Brokers licensed prior to February 1, 2014 must complete the 12-credit-hour continuing education requirement. Brokers licensed on or after February 1, 2014 must complete a 30-credit-hour post-license education program. Brokers must also submit the renewal application and fee to the IDFPR by April 30, 2016.

Myth #4: Attorneys are exempt from all Broker renewal requirements.

Active Illinois attorneys are exempt from the continuing education requirements, but they must submit the renewal application and fee to the IDFPR by April 30, 2016.

Myth #5: Getting an Illinois Broker license through reciprocity provides an education exemption during the first license renewal.

Brokers who acquired their Illinois Broker licenses through a reciprocal state agreement (and did not complete Illinois real estate pre-license education) aren’t off the hook. These licensees in their first renewal have the same requirement as Brokers who completed their pre-license education in Illinois. They must complete 30-credit-hours of post-license education before the April 30, 2016 renewal deadline.

Myth #6: Brokers don’t need to worry about renewing their license until they receive a postcard from the IDFPR.

In previous renewal years, the alarm bell sounded when you received the IDFPR’s renewal reminder postcard with your PIN number. You knew it was time to complete the education requirements (if you hadn’t already) and submit the renewal application and payment. With the IDFPR’s recent decision to only send email renewal notifications and discontinue mailing license renewal notifications, there’s a good chance that there will be a late rush of required education completions and renewal applications being submitted to the state. To avoid late fees, don’t let this happen to you. If you aren’t sure whether you have a current email address on file with the state, you can easily update/add it here.


Real Estate Institute is approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Pre-License Provider #510.000158 and Continuing Education Provider #562.000161. Each year, thousands of licensees choose Real Estate Institute for its flexible continuing education and post-licensing education programs. If you have questions about your education requirements, our compliance experts are available at 800-995-1700 from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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!

Identifying Value in a Negotiation

Good NegotiatiorAll negotiations involve multiple “value” elements. The key to success is to first identify the value elements on each side and then “trade” value elements to reach agreement.

Easier said than done! Why? Because most negotiators don’t spend enough time identifying and truly understanding the value elements. The trading part is easy!

A home buyer and seller were negotiating and after lowering the price somewhat, the seller finally said, “I won’t go any lower.” The buyer asked his agent to find out why the seller wouldn’t go any lower. After several conversations with the listing agent, the reason was uncovered. The seller wouldn’t go any lower because he wanted “bragging rights” for his neighborhood – meaning he wanted to be able to say he had sold at the highest price to date in his neighborhood!

This “value” element was very important to the seller. In a negotiation, you can trade or exchange items of equal value. Understanding how valuable something is becomes a key objective of the skilled negotiator so that equal value can be obtained in the exchange. If the seller truly values his bragging rights (while still being realistic about the true value of the property), then the buyer should ask for something of “equal” value from the seller. For example “My buyer will pay your seller’s price if your seller agrees to a 15-day close.”

You have probably heard that the best time to buy a car is at the end of the month. This is usually because the car salesperson and/or dealer is trying to reach a goal or quota that carries some type of bonus from the manufacturer. Car dealers may even “lose” money on an individual sale because the bonus will more than cover the loss. So if your purchase happens to be key to achieving the bonus, you can negotiate really good terms for yourself!

So how can you identify the other side’s value elements in a negotiation? Try these 3 approaches:

  1. Ask! But first, tell them in general what is important to your side.
    Role modeling the behavior you want from the other side increases the odds that you will get the same behavior in return. As a buyer’s agent you might say to the listing agent, “From my buyer’s perspective, price, closing costs support, and personal property (refrigerator, washer, and dryer) are very important in this deal. What is most important to your seller?” If the listing agent shares something like, “Well, for my seller, price, closing date, and your buyer’s qualifications are key”, then you have a dialogue started where you can continue to exchange information and ask questions to determine the key elements of value.
  2. What if the other side won’t give you any information?
    Suppose the listing agent simply says, “Just submit your offer and we’ll respond based on that.” Then you might try the “self-interest” approach. The buyer’s agent could say something like, “My buyer would like to submit the very best offer to your seller. The more specific you can be about what is really important to your seller, the better the chances of my buyer meeting your seller’s needs.” In essence, you are trying to educate the other side about why it is in their self-interest to share important information – it increases the odds of getting what you want.
  3. “Either/Or” Approach.
    If the other side still won’t open up, try asking simple “either/or” questions to get an indication of what is important. “Would your seller prefer a quicker or longer closing date?” “Would your seller prefer a clean offer or would they entertain an offer with closing cost support for the buyer?” “Would your seller prefer to pay the buyer to do any necessary repairs or does your seller want to handle the repairs on their own?” By narrowing the choices you give the other side, you can focus in on the true value elements.

Sharing your value elements and understanding the other side’s value elements helps establish the basis for a win-win outcome.

Learn more about negotiation skills at Real Estate Institute.


This article was  originally published in an August, 15, 2014 blog post by Real Estate Negotiation Institute.

Why Can’t I Pay My License Transition Fee Online?

Good question! Every day, hundreds of Illinois real estate licensees call to ask us about this. The IDFPR created different application and payment processes for the two transition options: Proficiency Exam and Transition Education. 

Transition by Proficiency Exam
Licensees who transitioned with the Proficiency Exam are allowed to submit their payment online because the state was automatically sent their results. As a reminder, this state-based exam is no longer available.  The last date to take the exam was March 15.

Transition by Transition Education and Exam
For the 30 and 45 credit-hour transition courses, the IDFPR does not accept online applications and payments.  Why, you ask?  Schools are not permitted to report transition course completions directly to the IDFPR.  Instead, students are responsible for providing proof of their course completion to the state.  This means you must mail a paper transition/renewal application with your fee and course certificate of completion. 

If you wish to mail the application to the IDFPR immediately, you may visit our website to print a copy of the required license transition application:  http://www.InstituteOnline.com/Illinois-Real-Estate-Transition-Resources.asp

Additional instructions with answers to frequently asked questions about the license transition and renewal process are available here:  www.InstituteOnline.com/NextSteps.

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.

Let’s Interact!

Starting May 1, 2011, the state of Illinois will issue a “Broker” license for entry-level real estate agents. New Broker licensees are allowed to help others buy, sell, manage and lease all types of real estate.  In order to obtain the “Broker” license, applicants must complete a 15-hour “interactive class.”   Real Estate Institute will begin offering this live class in May!

“It’s really exciting to be a pioneer in the creation and development of classes that go beyond key terms and textbook material,” said Sue Miranda, instructor at the Real Estate Institute.  “The Applied Real Estate Principles 15-credit-hour interactive class delivers as the title promises. Students will learn to apply the basic textbook knowledge they receive in the program.”

Real Estate Institute’s interactive classes cover a variety of scenarios that will prepare students to pass the state exam and give them a better understanding of the real estate brokerage business. Sue further explains, “Our students will learn about real-life situations encountered by real estate licensees.  Students will receive a hands-on, step-by-step approach that will walk them through a real estate transaction from the beginning to a successful closing. “

In order to take the interactive class, students must complete a 75-credit-hour course: “Broker Pre-License Topics.”  Students can enroll now to begin this self-study course.   Real Estate Institute offers a discount package combining the 15-hour interactive class and 75-hour self-study class to satisfy the entire pre-license education requirement.