If you’d like to become a real estate broker in Illinois, it helps to understand everything involved before you start the process. Here, we’ll cover the benefits of the profession as well as everything that is required to receive your license.
Quick note: In Illinois, it’s “Broker” instead of “Agent”
Before we get started, a quick note on the terminology used in Illinois: in 2011, what used to be called a “Real Estate Agent” in Illinois was changed to “Real Estate Broker”. What is considered a “Broker” in most other states is called a “Managing Broker” in Illinois. Keep this in mind throughout this article – when we use the term broker, we are talking about the role most often referred to as real estate agent in most of the country.
There are a number of steps in the Illinois real estate licensing process, so we’ve broken it down to keep things simple. To get your license, you will need to:
Step 1: Complete Pre-License Education
Step 2: Pass the Course Final Exam
Step 3: Register for the Illinois Real Estate Exam
Step 4: Pass the Illinois Real Estate Exam
Step 5: Secure a Sponsoring Broker
Step 6: Submit a Real Estate License Application
Before we move on to the steps to get your license, consider if becoming an Illinois real estate broker is right for you.
The Benefits of Working as an Illinois Real Estate Broker
At salary.com, the average salary for a real estate broker in Illinois is listed as $44,653 to $58,140 per year. This varies depending on your commission percentage, the number of homes you sell, if you have any caps, what your split is with your broker, and the value of the homes sold.
In Illinois, the average price of a home is $267,383. Real estate brokers often make 5% commission on sales, which would be $13,369.
Salary aside, becoming a real estate broker includes these other benefits:
- Flexibility in your schedule
- Unlimited income potential
- Career mobility
- Helping people
- Familiarity with your community and neighborhoods
- Varying environments and tasks
If this sounds like a good fit for you, these are the things you should consider next.
Do You Prequalify?
To prequalify as an Illinois real estate broker you need to:
- Be at least 18-years old
- Have a highschool diploma or its equivalent
1. Complete Pre-License Education
To qualify as a real estate broker in Illinois, you need to complete 90 hours of pre-license education. This includes 15 mandatory interactive hours. The course can be taken in a live classroom or online, as long as it’s a real estate school approved by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. There are a number of real estate institutes available across Illinois, like the PDH Real Estate Academy.
The pre-licensing education covers these (and other) topics:
- Licensing laws
- Real estate practice
- Forms of ownership, transfer, and recording of title
- Financing and settlement
2. Pass the course final exam
The final exam for the Illinois real estate pre-license course is made up of 110 questions. You need to get a score of at least 70% to pass.
3. Register For the Illinois Real Estate Licensing Exam
The Real Estate Licensing exam in Illinois is administered by PSI, an outside agency. Before you complete your pre-licensing real estate course, you must register as a student with PSI. They need to receive your course completion confirmation electronically from your school before you can register for the licensing exam. To register as a student with PSI so your school can send the confirmation, use this link .
Once you’ve completed your course, passed the course test, and registered as a student with PSI, you can apply to take the Illinois Real Estate Broker Examination. You can register for the course by:
- Online Scheduling: Go to www.goAMP.com and select “Candidates.”
- Telephone Scheduling: Call PSI at 800-345-6559 to schedule an examination appointment.
- Fax: Complete the registration form included in this handbook and fax it to PSI at the number included on the form.
- Mailing your registration form: Complete the registration form included in this handbook and mail it to PSI with the examination fee (paid by cashier’s check or money order) to the address indicated on the form. Call PSI at 800-345-6559 at least 7-10 business days after mailing your registration form to schedule your exam appointment.
4. Pass the Illinois Real Estate Licensing Exam
On the day of the exam, you will need to bring:
- Two (2) forms of photo ID
- A fingerprint scan
Once you’re in the exam site, you will need to place all electronic devices, bulky clothing, and other personal items in a secure location. You will then sit at a computer to take the test.
The exam has to be completed in 3.5 hours, and the questions are divided into two parts: general and state law. You need a score of 70 to pass each section.
Some of the topics covered in the exam are:
- Real estate practice
- Property ownership
- Leasing and property management
- Transfer of title
- Valuation and market analysis
- Real estate calculations
You will get a pass or fail as soon as the exam is completed. Candidates who pass the exam will receive a score report that includes information on how to apply for the license.
5. Secure a Sponsoring Broker
To become a licensed and practicing real estate broker in Illinois, you need to be associated with a registered brokerage firm or managing broker. Before submitting your application, you’ll need to have secured this sponsorship. It’s important to choose the right managing broker, as they’ll play a key role in growing your real estate career.
Consider the following when choosing a managing broker to work with:
- Their reputation as a broker or brokerage firm
- The types of brokers they look for
- If they provide education and training for brokers
- If they provide marketing materials and potential leads
- Which systems they use
- The benefits they offer
- What is their commission structure?
- What is the growth potential?
6. Submit a Real Estate License Application
Upon completing and passing your exam at the testing center, they will provide you with instructions on how to submit your application at the IDFPR Online Services Portal.
You can submit your license application materials to PSI, P.O. Box 13482, Springfield, IL 62791-3482, or you can apply and submit all requirements for licensure on the IDFPR Online Services Portal.
For more information about the Illinois Real Estate License Exam, you can see the PSI Handbook here. With your application you will need to provide the license fee of $55, unless payment is made by credit card.
Once you’ve completed all of these steps successfully, you will receive your Illinois Real Estate Broker License. At this point, you might want to consider if you’re interested in becoming a Realtor. Here’s what this means:
Real Estate Agent vs Realtor: What’s the difference?
For a real estate agent to become a Realtor, they need to become a member of the National Association of Realtors®. The NAR is an organization for real estate agents and other industry professionals. Members are required to subscribe to standards and a code of ethics set by the association. Membership offers access to market data and transaction management services, and other benefits.
To become a part of this community, these are the steps you need to take:
- Get your state real estate license
- Join your local REALTORS® Association – find one close to you with their “find an association” tool
- Pay the application fee – this varies by association
- Maintain membership dues – to keep your title of REALTOR®, you need to pay an annual fee of $150
Become a top Real Estate Agent!
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