How To Get Your Illinois Real Estate License (6 Steps)
Are you looking for a career change in Illinois?
Maybe you’ve decided selling homes is your true calling in life and want to know how you can become a real estate agent. Or perhaps you’ve just graduated high school and you’re looking to start early or, you’re just starting out and need some help.
If any of the four descriptions match your current situation, you’ve come to the right place. By the end of this article, you’ll learn:
- How to get your Illinois real estate license
- The pre-qualifications you need as an Illinois broker and as a real estate agent
- What the Illinois real estate exam is all about and its contents
- How to select the right broker
Let’s get started!
Pre-Qualifications For Your Illinois Real Estate License
Before we dive into the meat of this article, I’d like to share an important set of requirements to help you get started.
First, do you want to be an agent, broker or managing broker?
What’s the difference?
A broker is a real estate agent who passed the broker real estate licensing exam and can operate their own firm. Managing brokers are higher-level brokers who also passed the real estate licensing exam. A managing broker carries mostly managerial responsibility for a firm.
Brokers hold more in-depth knowledge of legal & compliance aspects along with agency administration.
Managing brokers carry more managerial responsibility. They take care of operations, set the policies, and manage employee conduct.
Managing brokers spend more time in the firm, while brokers are more flexible and work inside and outside the firm.
Pre-qualifications For A Broker License In Illinois
To qualify for an Illinois real estate license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Is a high school graduate or have documentation of the same equivalent (GED)
- Completed 75 hours of the Real Estate course. 60 hours of which are Real Estate Broker topics and 15 hours for Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles
Pre-qualifications For A Managing Broker License in Illinois
The qualifications of a managing broker to get a real estate license in Illinois are:
- At least 20 years old
- Has an active real estate license for the past 2 of 3 years
- Has a valid Illinois Real Estate Broker License
- Completed 45 class hours of which 30 are Managing Broker Pre-License Topics and 15 hours of Managing Broker Pre-License Applied Management and Supervision
6 steps you need to get your Illinois Real Estate License
Step 1: Complete 90 hours of Pre-License Coursework
The first step to becoming a real estate broker in the state of Illinois is to complete 90 hours of real estate education.
It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Becoming a real estate agent, broker, or managing broker is hard work, though I’m sure you can convince the state of Illinois you’re more than competent, am I right?
The good thing is, you can choose between online classes or on-site learning. On the road to getting your license and prepping for the exam, not everyone wants to learn face-to-face. And the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation respects that.
On-site classes are more expensive, though. If you prefer working at your own pace to prep for the exam and license requirements, take the online classes.
Out of the 90 hours, 15 hours of your coursework is an interactive experience. The state of Illinois requires at least 15 hours of interactive learning.
Don’t worry. If you choose online classes as your learning approach, you can do the 15-hour interactive lessons through live webinars.
Here is a breakdown of the topics you will learn in the course:
75 hours of Real Estate Broker Topics:
- Closing the real estate transaction
- Environmental issues and real estate transactions
- Fair Housing and ethical practices
- Forms of real estate ownership
- Illinois real estate license law
- Interests in real estate
- Land-use controls
- Legal descriptions
- Property development
- Real estate contracts
- Real estate agency and brokerage
- Real estate taxes and other liens
- Real property and law
- Real estate appraisal
- Real estate financing principles and practices
- Transfer of title and recording
15 hours Real Estate Broker License Applied Principles:
- Case studies and exercises
- Disclosure and fraud
- Distressed property
- Fair housing and discrimination
- Listing presentation
- Personal assistant and administrative services
- Presenting offers and counteroffers
The Illinois real estate licensing exam covers a broad range of topics so it’s best to use real estate education providers to guide you into building real estate course mastery.
Step 2: Register For The License Exam
Before taking the Illinois exam, register your account information on the PSI website. The state of Illinois uses PSI as the testing service and administers the exam.
Here’s what you’ll need to submit:
- Exam registration form (Can be found in the Illinois Candidate Handbook)
- Exam fee
- Fingerprint record
The license exam is administered Monday to Friday. Some testing locations offer Saturday as an option too. Upon registration for the license exam, you’ll pay a fee of $55 to take the Illinois agent/real estate broker/managing broker exam.
Once you have the approval of PSI regarding your 90-hour coursework completion, you can choose from the two routes mentioned below to register for the Illinois real estate license exam:
Phone Scheduling: Call PSI through their toll-free number 800-345-6559.
Monday – Thursday: Open from 7 A.M. to 9 P.M.
Friday – Open from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M.
Saturday – Open from 8:30 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Online Scheduling: Go to the website: www.goAMP.com. Select ‘Candidates’ and follow the instructions given
Step 3: Prepare and Review for the Illinois Real Estate Exam
Real Estate Agent & Broker Exam
The Illinois real estate license exam for an agent or broker license has two sections: A national and state section.
The National section of the exam has 100 questions while the state section has 40 questions.
The total number of questions for the exam amount to 140 multiple-choice type questions. Also, the total time allotted for your examination will be 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Here is an outline of the major topics for the National section of the exam:
- Contracts (17 questions)
- Financing (10 questions)
- General Principles of Agency (13 questions)
- Land Use Controls and Regulations (5 questions)
- Leasing & Property Management (3 questions)
- Practice of Real Estate (13 questions)
- Property Ownership (8 questions)
- Property Disclosures (6 questions)
- Real Estate Calculations (10 questions)
- Transfer of Title (8 questions)
- Valuation and Market Analysis (7 questions)
- Real Estate Terms (Varies)
The State section of the exam is related to the Illinois real estate license law. Here is an outline of the State section of the exam:
- Disclosures (10 questions)
- Laws and Rules Regulating Real Estate Practice (20 questions)
- Licensing Requirements (10 questions)
Managing Broker Exam
The Managing Broker exam has two sections: A National and State section. The National section follows a simulation type of exam.
The National section consists of 10 simulation problems; however, only 9 of these will be computed. The other problems that won’t be scored will be pretested for future exams. The total allotted time to complete the Illinois real estate license exam will be 4 hours.
In the simulation test format, each problem will have a primary issue and property type major topic. Each problem will also have a secondary topic that varies per question.
Every question presented will have a Scenario, Decision Making, and Information Gathering component.
- Scenario – Provides the body of the question, the setting, and introductory information about the client e.g. gender, age, etc.
- Information Gathering – Collect all relevant information and read all the responses before answering the question. This will test your comprehension level.
- Decision Making – Choose the best decision that fits the answer. This will test your judgment and decision-making process.
Here is an outline of the National section:
- Agency Relationships and Property Representations (3 problems)
- Fair Housing and Other Governmental Regulations (2 problems)
- Handling Money (2 problems)
- Training and Supervision of Licensees (1 problem)
- Commercial (2 problems)
- Property Management (1 problem)
- Residential (4 problems)
- Description & Measurement
- Ethical Behavior
- Freehold and Leasehold
- Government Regulations and Private Restrictions
- Property Management
The State section is purely multiple-choice questions. There are 40 total questions and relates to real estate license law.
Here is an outline of the State section:
- Disclosures (8 questions)
- Laws and Rules Regulating Real Estate Practice (18 questions)
- Licensing Requirements (8 questions)
- Managing Broker Topics (6 questions)
Step 4: Take the Exam
You’ll receive your real estate exam through a computer in the testing location. Note that if you arrive 15 minutes past the scheduled time of your examination, this forfeits your exam admission and you won’t get a refund either.
Here are a few reminders before taking the Illinois real estate license exam:
- You should bring a form of identification that is government-issued and includes your name, signature, and photo.
- You’ll need to provide a valid fingerprint scan
- Watches, coats, hats, and keys must be left inside the locker
Step 5: Select The Right Broker
After the exam and before you receive your real estate license in Illinois, I suggest using the time waiting on the results to find the right mentor for you.
Here is an outline of steps to consider when choosing the right mentor.
Decide which firm works best for you – You can choose between a national chain like RE/MAX or Keller Williams or a small-to-medium-sized brokerage firm.
Larger firms offer brand recognition, larger network access and connections, and a higher chance of bigger sales down the road. Smaller firms offer a personalized approach like one-on-one mentoring/coaching and more freedom.
Ask about commission rates and splits – Most agents are paid through commission; however, not all brokers offer the same commission rates.
Some have different compensation packages and offers. You’ll want a rate that also provides proper compensation for doing great work and future opportunities.
Find the right culture fit – Learn more about the brokerage firms in your area. This is where your research is critical to learning more about the firm’s values, interests, goals, and market presence.
Your mentor will guide you to your real estate success so choose a firm that aligns most with your values and has your best interests at heart.
To guide you in these steps, here are some questions you should ask:
- What are the benefits?
- How are their commission rates and structure?
- What kind of real estate agents do they need?
- What is their market reputation locally and nationally?
- Is there additional support and training?
- What kind of company do I want to work for?
- Do I prefer an on-hands approach with personal coaching or am I comfortable learning on my own?
Step 6: Receive Your License
You’ve finally made it. Getting a real estate license in Illinois isn’t too hard, right? Even as a high school graduate, what it takes to become a real estate agent banks on your dedication and passion for this type of career.
After the exam, you’ll receive validation to complete your Illinois real estate license application. Fill all necessary information required and submit this to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Once you submit all the requirements to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, you’ll have to pay a $125 fee. For more info, visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.
If you want to take a break, you can do so while waiting for your license. If you want to start right away, you’re allowed to practice under your managing broker for 45 days.
In the event of renewing your Illinois real estate license, you’ll have to do 30 hours of post-licensing education to keep your license active.
The state of Illinois requires 12 hours of approved post-licensing education every 2 years. This shouldn’t be difficult given all the days in a year.
Being a new real estate agent on the scene, there are still countless lessons for you to learn.
Your experiences handling different clients will strengthen your skills and competence even further as a real estate agent. Your communication skills will grow and your resiliency to handle various problems will also improve.
Most of all, don’t forget to maintain active participation in the real estate community and contribute meaningful efforts to your work. Keep learning and striving forward!