CE Survival Guide – Major Changes to Illinois Real Estate Continuing Education

Life belt in the air

July 1, 2019 is an important day for Illinois real estate licensees.

Starting July 1, Brokers, Managing Brokers and Residential Leasing Agents are subject to new continuing education requirements. It’s been over a decade since we’ve seen major changes like this!

In January 2018, the Real Estate License Act was amended with significant updates that “modernize” education and renewal requirements. While some changes took effect right away, much of the implementation was deferred until now, so the IDFPR had time to develop transition plans. These plans included approving schools and courses that satisfy the new requirements.

Here are the facts you need to know to survive your next real estate license renewal.

FACT 1: Core A and Core B Continuing Education Courses Have Been Retired

Until today, most Brokers and Managing Brokers had to complete 12 hours of Core and Elective CE before renewing their license. That included the following:

  • 3-Hour Core A (Required Subjects)
  • 3-Hour Core B (Legal Subjects)
  • 6-Hour Elective or Core B

Now, all Core A and Core B courses are no longer available. (The course approvals have expired, for all schools). The subjects that were formerly categorized as Core B may still be offered as Electives at a school’s discretion.

FACT 2: You Probably Need to Complete a New “Core” CE Course

The former Core A and Core B requirement has been replaced by a single “Core” curriculum requirement. Brokers and Managing Brokers must now complete:

  • NEW 4-Hour Core (Required Subjects)
  • 8-Hours of Electives

Residential Leasing Agents only need to complete a special 6-Hour core course (and no electives).

If you already completed some or all of your CE for the current renewal period, you may be exempt from the new requirement.

If it’s your first license renewal, you’ll need to complete 30 credit hours of Post-License education instead of continuing education.

FACT 3: Online Distance Education Is the New Self-Study

As part of the new requirements, Core continuing education courses may only be completed in an interactive format. This includes classes, webinars and online distance education courses. The good news is that all courses completed in an interactive format do not require a final exam.

The Core credit cannot be earned with self-study courses, whether book-based or online (such as PDFs). This means that only Electives may be completed in the traditional self-study format.

Effective January 1, 2020, every Illinois professional licensed by the IDFPR, including real estate licensees, must complete at least one hour of sexual harassment prevention training before renewing their license. The training must be provided by a division-approved education provider.

This means that all real estate licensees must be sure that their CE (or Post-License education) includes this training in order to renew. This first impacts Brokers and Leasing Agents who renew their licenses in 2020.

There are more changes on the horizon. If you need someone to throw you that life preserver by reviewing your transcript or helping you navigate these new waters, Real Estate Institute is available to guide you to a successful license renewal. Here’s another resource that provides a summary of the major education changes.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for over 25 years. Our team of experts is standing by to answer your questions about your requirements, our continuing education courses and the renewal process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or at 800-995-1700.

 

Should a Career in Real Estate Be Your New Year’s Resolution?

key-2323278_1920No time like the present!

New year, new you!

2018 will be the year I…

When the calendar turns the page from one year to the next, it’s human nature to sit back and contemplate what the previous year’s experiences taught us. Self-reflections may include questions like:

Did I do what I set out to do last year?
Am I happy with the choices I made?

Sometimes we know we are just where we’re supposed to be. Other times, we know we’re on the right path but not quite there yet. A new year offers us not only the opportunity to assess the previous year but also the chance to look ahead toward great possibilities. For many of us, it means a clean slate. We leave behind the things that aren’t bringing out our best, and we grow excited as we seek other avenues where we can develop our talents.

Here at Real Estate Institute, we’re fortunate to experience the excitement and eagerness of these seekers every single day. Something finally clicks in their minds and, before you know it, we have a new classroom filled with real estate pre-license students, eager to learn and excited to begin the process of exploring a new career path. They’re taking a first step that can lead to…

happiness, self-direction, the possibility of unlimited income,
helping others fulfill their dreams, loving what they do, freedom…

Happiness means something different for everyone. Only you can determine what it means for you. What we know for sure is that the opportunities you will find at the end of your broker pre-license course are endless and only limited by your own imagination. How much can you imagine?

Why not learn about what a career in real estate can offer you? Just think, if you start your broker pre-license education now, you can get licensed and start working for a real estate company just in time for the upcoming spring market.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss how you can begin to make your dreams a reality. You can learn more about Illinois real estate pre-license programs by attending one of our upcoming free real estate information sessions or by visiting us at InstituteOnline.com.


Real Estate Institute has been a leader in real estate education for 25 years. Our team of experts is standing by to answer your questions about your requirements, our courses and the state licensing process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-995-1700.

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.

Will License Law Changes Impact Illinois Real Estate Brokers?

springfield-1648402_1920There are major changes on the horizon that will impact Illinois real estate licensees and education required for license renewals.

License Law Amendment

On Friday, August 18, 2017, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed HB3528 into law. This updates the Real Estate License Act with changes intended to streamline and modernize various aspects of the law. Some highlighted changes include a restructuring of the Education Advisory Council (EAC), new requirements for school and instructor licensing and requirements for education program content and methods of delivery.

Upcoming Broker License Renewal

With a Real Estate Broker license renewal quickly approaching, we should first take a closer look at how the license law amendments impact (or may not impact) this large group of licensees.

In summary, continuing education requirements will be updated as follows:

  1. The mandatory 3-hour “Core A” curriculum will be replaced by a 4-hour “Core” course. Brokers and Managing Brokers will be required to attend this course via classroom, live webinar or online distance education (a new option for which details are not yet available). The good news – a final exam will not be required!
  2. The remaining 8 hours will continue to be elective credits. A variety of delivery options will be available. Delivery methods with mandatory final exams will require a passing score of 75%. (Currently, a passing score of only 70% is required.)

How Soon?

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) still has many details to sort out before any changes to license law can be implemented. For example, the new “Core” curriculum needs to be clearly outlined before schools can create, seek approval and offer the new course. It will take the Real Estate Division many months to complete the rulemaking process, which won’t officially begin until January 1, 2018.

This means that most likely the full impact of these changes will not impact Brokers during their current renewal period.

What Should You Do?

We strongly recommend that Brokers stay on track and complete currently approved programs in a timely manner.

Real Estate Institute will continue to provide updates as the IDFPR develops implementation plans for the changes. Be sure to JOIN OUR MAILING LIST if you have not done so already.


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).


5 Reasons to Become a Real Estate Agent


A career in real estate can be rewarding. Agents have varied backgrounds ranging from corporate America to teaching. If you’re thinking about trying something different, you’ve chosen a great time to do it. Tuition is low, and the real estate market is growing. If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are 5 reasons you should get a real estate license – NOW.

#1 Work As Much or As Little As You Want

Selling real estate doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You can work full time and enjoy unlimited earning potential, or you can work part time and earn enough to make it worthwhile. You won’t be chained to a desk all day, every day. Many residential agents choose to work from home so they can spend more time with their families. The choice is yours.

#2 Earning Potential Is Up to You

This directly relates to the first item on our list. Successful real estate agents work hard. Top producers are tenacious, assertive and available. They understand the value of networking and use it to build their business and income.

#3 Love What You Do

Imagine waking up every day and looking forward to going to work. Ask agents why they do what they do, and they will tell you that it’s because they love working in real estate and making a difference in people’s lives. You can make a difference, too. Not only will you be helping others, but you will wake up every morning loving what you do!

#4 No Two Days Are the Same

As an agent, you’ll wear a lot of hats. You’ll act as an educator, financial adviser, counselor, life coach and concierge. A flexible personality is key to juggling the varied demands of the job.

#5 Train in a Short Period of Time

Instead of spending years in school and the tuition associated with it, you can invest a matter of weeks (or a few months depending on your availability) and about $1,000 to get the required education, exams and obtain an Illinois real estate license. If you do need financial assistance, some schools offer easy financing.

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Real Estate Institute has been a top real estate education provider in Illinois for over 20 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.

Broker Late Renewals: Your Questions Answered

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The deadline for Illinois Real Estate 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, required 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 $150 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.  However, you only have 30 days to renew online with a credit card payment.  After that, you will be required to print and mail the renewal form with a check or money order.

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:

Broker Late Renewal Fee Chart v2

Continuing Education or Post-License Education:

Brokers who renew on time must complete either 12 credit hours of CE or 30 hours of post-license education before renewing their license. (If you’re not sure which one you need, read our prior article.)  The education requirements remain the same for those who complete a late renewal. So, if you miss the renewal and plan to renew sometime in May, be sure to complete your education requirement before applying for your new license. Failure to do so will result in additional fines/penalties.  

Assuming that you complete your education requirement in May 2016 and then apply for your (late) license renewal, take note that the education 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, 2018.)

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 are not currently engaged in business that requires you to hold a real estate license. If you just cringed, here’s what you should know:

  • 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!  You should immediately notify your sponsoring broker that your license has expired, so that they may take appropriate steps to address the situation.
  • If you are also a REALTOR®, 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 the right education program can be tricky. Real Estate Institute will continue offering our popular 12-hour core/elective CE program and the 30-hour Broker post-license education program that’s required for new licensees.

Call 800-995-1700 if you have any questions about the education required for late renewal.

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.

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.

IDFPR Announces Managing Broker Transfer Application

Escalator down_Managing Broker to Broker License Transfer
Breaking News: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Real Estate posted a new form on its website that allows Managing Brokers the ability to transfer their real estate license to a Broker license.

Why now?

The unexpected release of this form (and the related process) is the result of efforts by the Illinois Association of REALTORS® to gain clarity on a process that has been part of Illinois real estate license law, but up until now not implemented by the IDFPR.

Buyer Beware

It may seem like the license transfer is a very desirable option for Managing Brokers who no longer need the additional benefits of this license type. However, as we noted in our blog post, “Can an Illinois Managing Broker Change Their License to a Broker License?”, there is no “undo button” if you decide to transfer your license. To become a Managing Broker again, you would need to have been licensed for two of the past three years, complete a 45-credit-hour pre-license course and pass the state licensing exam again. (You would need to do this even though you formerly held a Managing Broker license.)

If you crunch the numbers, you’ll find that the financial benefits of transferring your license would be minimal in the first two years. If you transfer from a Managing Broker to a Broker before April 30, 2015, you’ll be required to pay a license transfer fee now and complete core and elective CE. Then, you would once again have to pay a license renewal fee in 2016, when all Brokers renew their licenses.

How the License Transfer Works

Here are the specifics about the license transfer as noted on the IDFPR Transfer Application form.

  1. A Managing Broker license may transfer to a Broker license only if the Managing Broker license is currently in active status subject to the Department’s review and approval. Pending disciplines will be transferred to the new Broker license.
  2. Upon the transfer of a Managing Broker license to a Broker license, the Managing Broker license will be cancelled. To obtain a Managing Broker license after transferring to a Broker license, a transferee shall meet the requirements of a new applicant for Managing Broker as set forth in the Act and Rules.
  3. All Brokers must have a sponsoring Broker. If you are currently a self sponsoring Managing Broker, you need to find a new sponsoring Broker, complete the 45 Day Permit Sponsor Card, and pay an additional non-refundable $25.00 fee.
  4. All licensees required to complete continuing education (“CE”) shall have (i) renewed their Managing Broker license in the previous renewal period with the required CE and (ii) completed the following at the time of application: 12 CE credit hours, which included a minimum of 6 hours of Core CE as set forth in Section 1450.540(b)(3)(A).

Need Help Deciding What’s Right For You?

A license transfer is definitely the right move for some Managing Brokers. It’s crucial that you understand the pros and cons of this important decision. If you need help, call Real Estate Institute’s customer representatives at 800-995-1700.