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.

Top Three Ways to Lose Your Illinois Managing Broker’s License

Pay Fine Here ImageJeopardizing your Illinois Managing Broker’s license could be very costly and can be prevented by following a few tips outlined below.

Failure to adequately train and supervise sponsored licensees
Most Managing Brokers know that one of their primary responsibilities and obligations is to adequately train and supervise sponsored licensees. The problem is that many fail to recognize that training is an on-going process. In the eyes of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and the Disciplinary Board, even seasoned licensees and top producers are not exempt from supervision. If a real estate licensee manages to get the attention of IDFPR, the department will come knocking on the Managing Broker’s door first. The first thing that IDFPR will be asking you is, “What kind of training and supervision does your company provide to its sponsored licensees?” IDFPR will expect you to have a detailed on-going supervision and training plan available for their review. Be ready to answer questions and explain the “who, what, when, and where” behind your plan or you might be subject to disciplinary action for failure to adequately train and supervise sponsored licensees.

Real Estate Institute’s Broker Management Continuing Education (BMCE) program provides  information that you can take back to the office to get your training and supervision program up and running. You will leave BMCE inspired with ideas to help you feel better prepared to create a training program that will satisfy IDFPR requirements and ensure your licensees are successful.

Aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of real estate activities
This is real IDFPR disciplinary headline news … “(Unlicensed) ordered to cease and desist the unlicensed practice of real estate and assessed a civil penalty of $25,000.”

Don’t let this happen in your brokerage firm. There is a fine line between activities that require a real estate license and those that don’t.

Today, many companies are encouraging all individuals within the brokerage firm to obtain a Broker’s license.  At a minimum, companies that specialize in residential leasing are requiring all individuals to get their Leasing Agent licenses. Practicing real estate without a license is a big problem with hefty consequences and fines.
Assistants to top producers are frequently being required to get licensed. Even if an assistant’s assignment is primarily clerical in nature and does not require a license, having a license will allow your assistants to expand their level of service when servicing your clients.

Real Estate Institute offers Leasing Agent and Broker pre-licensing programs that are flexible and allow your team to start anytime. Our dedicated staff and instructors will give your employee the care and attention he/she deserves from registration all the way through to being licensed and beyond. Call our customer service team at 800-995-1700 to assess which program is right for them.

Failure to complete continuing education
With so many recent changes in Illinois license law and the continuing education (CE) requirements, it’s no surprise that there is much confusion. Most Managing Brokers require 24 credit hours of continuing education by April 30, 2015. This includes 12 hours of core and elective CE which can be completed in a self-study format plus 12 hours of interactive Broker Management CE. There are a few exceptions to the requirements. Real Estate Institute knows exactly how many hours and what type of continuing education you need. Our knowledgeable customer service team will guide you and help select the program that’s right for you.

By developing an adequate training and supervision plan for your company, ensuring that your staff has the necessary licensing to successfully do their job, and by completing your continuing education on time, you will be on the path for maintaining your Illinois Managing Broker license.  Don’t risk your business; make sure you’re prepared for anything that comes your way!  Real Estate Institute is here to support you, call with any questions on maintaining your license.