How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Illinois

Illinois Real Estate License Basic Requirements

To get a real estate salesperson license in Illinois, you need to meet certain requirements including:

  • You should be 21 years or older or if you are 18 years old, you must provide proof that you have successfully completed a minimum of 4 semesters of post-secondary education with a focus on real estate courses.
  • A high school graduate or have an equivalent GED certificate.
  • Applicants between 18-21 years of age should meet the post-secondary course requirements from a school that is approved by Illinois state.
  • Be a legal citizen of the U.S. or a permanent resident.
  • You must submit your fingerprints via a state-approved vendor and Pass a fingerprint and background check.
  • You should not have been convicted of any crime.
  • You should not owe any state taxes to the Department of Revenue of Illinois.
  • You should not have any arrears on child support payments that have been ordered by the court of more than 30 days. 

Illinois Real Estate License Costs

  • Real Estate Agent Education in Illinois: $200 to $600 (approx.)
  • Exam Fee: $55
  • License Fee: $125

Helpful Tips


STEP 1: Illionois Pre-licensing Education

Before you become a real estate broker in Illinois, you not only need to pass the Illinois Broker Exam, but you must also take 75 hours of pre-licensing education before you become a broker. You need to take the courses from a real estate school that has been approved by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The 75 hours of pre-licensing education is divided into two parts. The first part comprises 60 hours covering real estate topics like fair housing, real estate law, appraisals, etc. The second part of 15 hours comprises webinar or classroom sessions covering real estate principles like how to sell distressed properties, working with many offers, etc.

In Illinois, you can opt to take onsite classes or online classes to become a broker. However, onsite courses are more expensive, while online courses are more flexible and let you work at your own pace and are also less expensive.

Once you complete the pre-licensing education, meet the minimum time requirement and also pass the practice exam, you need to pass the final course exam with a minimum passing score of 75%.


STEP 2: Apply & Submit a Completed Application

Where to Apply

Once PSI has received the notice that you have completed the requisite courses, you can register for the broker exam at goAMP or call 800-345-6559 to complete the process. You can also refer to the Candidate Handbook that has been prepared by Illinois State for more details.

After completing the required pre-licensing education, to take the Illinois Broker Exam, you must first register with PSI, which is the testing service used by Illinois State to administer the real estate broker exams. The exams are administered at 12 sites throughout Illinois. However, before you take the exam, your real estate school must submit documents electronically endorsing that you have completed the 90 hours of classes. To do this, you must first register with PSI, before your real estate school can submit the requisite documents.

Exam Fees

The exams are administered at most locations from Monday to Friday and some locations offer testing on Saturday. To take the exam, you need to schedule an appointment and walk-ins are not allowed. Once you have selected the day and time, you need to pay an exam fee of $55 by credit card. Cash and company and personal checks are not accepted. 

If you have received your real estate license in any of the above states, you only need to take the Supplemental exam of Illinois State. When you successfully pass the 140-question exam, you can fill the license application and begin working as a real estate broker in Illinois.


STEP 3: Pass the State License Test

You need to take the 140-question exam that comprises 2 portions covering the national and state requirements. The exam is for 3.5 hours. The 75-hour courses cover various topics.

60 hours cover topics such as:

  • Real Property
  • License Law
  • Agency Structure
  • Buyer Relationships and Counseling
  • Seller Relationships and Counseling
  • Federal Laws
  • Illinois Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Contract Knowledge
  • Property Management
  • Financing
  • Independent Employee/Contractor Agreements

The 15-hour course comprise real estate principles, covering various topics like:

  • Listing Preparation
  • Agency Types
  • Buyer Representation
  • Presenting & Negotiating Offers
  • Dealing with Several Offers
  • Managing Assistants
  • Performing CMS & Pricing
  • Minimizing Risk
  • Handling Escrow Accounts
  • Handling Distressed Properties
  • Inspection Repairs
  • Antitrust Topics

After you complete your exam, you will receive your scores from the testing supervisor. To become an real estate agent in Illinois, you must pass both the national, as well as the state portions of the real estate exam and score at least 75%.

Since you are required to pass both the national, as well as the state portions of the exam, if you fail in any one part, then you need to retake only the failed portion. If you have failed one part of the exam, then you have 1 year from the original testing date to retake and pass the other portion of the exam. The exam can be retaken for up to 4 times. However, if you fail even after the 4th attempt, then you will have to retake the 75 hours of coursework again before you sit for the exam again.

Topics Covered in the Test

The Real Estate Broker exam is for 3.5 hours, in which you have 100 multiple choice questions to complete comprising the national portion. The breakup of the topics and questions are as below:

  • Real Property Ownership/Interest: 13
  • Real Property: 14
  • Agency Relationships & Contracts: 28
  • Finance: 14
  • Property Management: 8
  • Marketing Regulations: 10
  • Real Estate Calculations: 13

The Illinois portion of the exam has 40 multiple choice questions and the breakup of the topics and questions are as below:

  • Laws & Rules Governing Real Estate Practice: 20
  • Licensing Requirements: 10
  • Disclosures: 10

What to Bring to the Exam Venue?

  • You need to carry 2 types of ID to the exam venue.
  • One must be a photo ID, which has been issued by the government and it should have your name and signature. The ID can be your passport, driver’s license, state ID card or a military ID.
  • The second ID should contain your name and signature and can be your credit card, employment/student ID or Social Security card. 
  • You must provide biometric verification, which can include a scan of your fingerprints.
  • The exam is a computer-based exam and you’ll be provided scrap paper and pencils during the exam.
  • You can bring a simple, non-programmable calculator that does not have an alphabetic keyboard or printing capability.

You can use the guides and practice tests that your onsite or online school offers to prepare for the exam. For example, The CE Shop offers Exam Prep for Illinois and once you pass the exams of the school and get your certificates of passing, then you can appear for the licensing exam with PSI.


STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License

Once you pass the licensure exam successfully and you find a managing broker, you can complete the licensure process. Create your login on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website, fill out the application and pay a fee of $125.

To apply for a real estate broker license in Illinois, you need to:

  • Provide your personal information along with your Social Security Number and address.
  • Provide documentation regarding your secondary, as well as post-secondary education.
  • Mention all the professional licenses held previously.
  • Provide the documentation and details if you have been denied any professional privileges or subjected to any professional discipline.
  • Give details about your selected broker.
  • Provide details regarding criminal history (if any).
  • Answer questions regarding student loans, child support and taxes.
  • Provide information regarding government or military service (if applicable).
  • Pay the application fee.

When your application is approved, you will get a notification via email. Illinois doesn’t provide paper licenses. Illinois State lets people who are waiting for their real estate broker’s license to work under the managing broker’s supervision for a period of 45 days as their application is in process.

If you have worked as a broker or agent in the real estate industry in any other U.S. state, then you can get your license to work in Illinois easily. Illinois has reciprocity with the states including, Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska.


STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage

To be licensed as a broker in Illinois, you need to be associated with a current and active sponsoring broker. It is extremely important to find the right real estate broker to work with because the broker will serve as your mentor as you begin your new career in real estate. When looking for a real estate brokerage to work with, here are some questions that you must consider:

  • What is the reputation of the broker, both nationally, as well as locally?
  • What type of real estate agents is the brokerage looking for?
  • Does the brokerage have up-to-date, advanced systems and are they technologically advanced?
  • What is the commission split offered by the brokerage?
  • How does the brokerage support its agents in terms of training and education?
  • Does the brokerage offer any benefits?
  • Does it offer the opportunity to grow along with the company?
  • Does the company offer its agents leads and marketing and sales material?

How to Find a Real Estate Brokerage in Illinois?

Online Search

If you’re looking for a real estate brokerage to work with in Illinois, you can do an online search. Before you finally decide on which company you want to work for, check out the employee and customer feedback about the companies on websites such as Yelp, Glassdoor, etc.

Real Estate Ads

You can check out the advertisements in the local newspaper and then visit the various real estate brokerages in the Illinois area before deciding the one you want to work for.

Local Realtors Association

You can visit the Illinois Chamber of Commerce or Board of Realtors and find out which are the best real estate firms in Illinois and the ones which are represented the best. You can look at the local TV, radio and billboard advertising and “For Sale” boards in homes to see which are the popular real estate companies that are doing well in terms of business in the area.

Networking

A great way to find the right real estate brokerage firm to work with is networking and checking out various sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You can attend webinars conducted by various real estate firms or attend offline meetings and events conducted by the Real Estate Association such as NICAR (National Association of Realtors) in your area.


STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements

You can get a post-licensing education for brokers in Illinois on The CE Shop. Depending on when your real estate license was issued, you may have to fulfill a 30-hour or a 45-hour post-learning requirement.

  • If your license was issued before 8/9/2019, then you will have to complete a 30-hour post-licensing course and also a 1-hour training on sexual harassment prevention.
  • If your license was issued on or after 8/9/2019, then you will have to complete a 45-hour post-licensing course and also a 1-hour training on sexual harassment prevention.

The CE Shop offers continuing education courses on their website. The website offers the 30-hour course for $125 and the 45-hour course for $188.

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RE Agents Team