Becoming an Illinois real estate broker is a strong step forward in your career. Not only does this advanced license look great on a resume, it also allows you to work independently, open real estate brokerage firms, and manage other agents within these firms.
Getting the Illinois Real Estate Broker License is a fairly simple process, but it does require you to complete five steps, and have a few prerequisites before applying or taking the broker’s exam.
This guide covers all of these requirements in a simple, easy-to-understand way that will make it easier for you throughout this process.
Illinois Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker
Illinois offers two different types of real estate license: Sales and Broker.
A sales agent’s license is the initial license that real estate agents get in order to sell real estate.
A broker’s license is an advanced license that allows the license holder to operate at a higher level within real estate businesses in Illinois.
People often confuse sales agents and brokers. A simple way to look at the difference is that holders of the sales agent’s license are called real estate agents, while holders of the broker’s license are called real estate brokers.
Illinois Real Estate Broker License Requirements
First, to be eligible for a real estate broker’s license, you must meet the prerequisites to become a real estate broker in Illinois.
These prerequisites are:
- Be a minimum of 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or comparable certificate
- Have a Social Security number
Applicants must have a history of displaying good moral character.
Note:If you aren’t sure whether you qualify for a real estate broker license based on your history, check out our article on Real Estate License Eligibility.
How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Illinois
Once you meet all the requirements listed above, you can follow these five steps to easily help you get your real estate broker license in Illinois.
Step 1: Complete an Illinois Broker Pre-Licensing Course
The first step to getting your real estate broker license in Illinois is to successfully take and pass the 75-hour pre-licensing course. This coursework is broken up into two sections, including a 60-hour Broker Pre-License Topics course and a 15-hour Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles course.
The first section can be completed at your own pace online. The Applied Real Estate Principles section must be an interactive course. All pre-licensing education must be taken from an approved school.
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The 60-hour Broker Pre-License Topics course covers the basic concepts and principles of working in the industry and completing real estate transactions. Once the foundation is laid, the 15-hour Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles course will take you deeper into the technical aspects of the industry, broker management, real estate math, and real estate law in Illinois.
The required 75 hours of qualifying real estate courses cover a variety of topics, including:
- Introduction to Real Property
- Illinois Real Estate Commission and Licensing
- Property Disclosures
- Property Titles
- Real Estate Investments
- Closing and Settlements
- Contract Deeds and Property Transfers
- Environmental Deeds
- Public and Private Land Use Laws
- Estate Ownership and Rights
- Federal Real Estate Financing
- Real Estate Lending Requirements
- Property Value and Appraisals
- Real Estate Math
- Risk Management Requirements
- Fair Housing Laws and Consumer Compliance
- Listing Agreements
- Real Estate Agencies and Agency Management
Illinois does offer reciprocity for licenses held in some states. If you hold an active real estate license, your industry experience and education may count towards your prerequisites. In most instances, you will only need to take the state-specific portion of the broker license exam.
At the end of the broker course, you will be required to take and pass a final examination. The minimum passing grade is 75%. This is not the same as the state broker exam. The purpose of this test is to ensure that you have retained the information and can apply the real estate concepts you’ve learned. You will have two years to pass the exam and apply for licensure after completing your coursework.
Note:Before you complete the final course exam, you will need to register as a new student with PSI. Upon course completion, your educator will submit an electronic course completion certificate to certify that you qualify to take the state broker test.
Step 2: Pass the Illinois Real Estate Broker Exam
After completing the pre-licensing education and passing the end-of-course exam, you will need to take the Illinois real estate broker licensing exam. This test is administered by PSI.
The examination fee is $58. You will be notified by PSI once they’re received your pre-licensing certificate of completion. You must register with PSI and schedule your exam; walk-ins are not accepted. You can register by phone at (855) 340-3893 or online.
The Illinois Broker’s Exam consists of 140 questions divided into two sections. The state-specific section covers Illinois laws and regulations and consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. The national section has 100 general questions. You will have 240 minutes to complete both sections.
You must receive a passing score of 75 or higher to move on to the next phase of licensure.
If you fail one or both parts of the exam, Illinois allows you to retake the portion(s) you failed three times (total of four attempts). If you’re unable to pass both sections within four attempts, you must retake the pre-licensing coursework.
To learn more about the exam, PSI provides each applicant with a Candidate Handbook, which includes an outline of the examination. PSI encourages each candidate to review this handbook before scheduling their exam to ensure they have all of the appropriate documentation.
Taking an exam prep course provides you helpful tools and materials, such as quizzes and specific state-only practice exams, to increase your chances of passing your broker license exam the first time.
Step 3: Find Broker Sponsorship
Illinois requires that all new real estate brokers partner with a managing broker. This broker will serve as your sponsor and mentor. They will help you to learn the intricacies of working in the real estate industry, network, and find your niche.
If you’re unable to find a managing broker to sponsor you, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) will place your license in “unassigned” status. You may not practice as a real estate broker until you’ve obtained sponsorship. You will need to submit a Real Estate Sponsor Card form to receive an active license.
Step 4: Submit an Illinois Broker License Application
Once you’ve met all of your pre-licensing requirements, you can apply for your Illinois real estate broker license.
When you pass your broker examination, a PSI associate will ask you a series of background questions to ensure you meet all Illinois broker requirements. They will then provide you with a score report, which contains instructions on submitting your broker application. Applications are submitted online via the IDFPR Online Services Portal.
The application fee is $125 and must be paid upon submission. Applications must be submitted within one year of passing the examination.
Note:IDFPR encourages applicants to review the application thoroughly to ensure the submission includes all of the required paperwork. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 5: Application Review
Now that you’ve submitted your application, taking special care to ensure you provided the necessary paperwork, all that’s left to do is wait for your application to be reviewed and approved.
Application processing times are approximately 10 business days. The IDFPR asks that applicants not contact the office to check on the status of their applications.
Now that you’ve successfully passed the broker licensing exam and obtained your license, there are a few things you need to do to keep your broker license active and updated.
Illinois Real Estate Broker License Renewal and CE
In the state of Illinois, real estate broker licenses must be renewed every two years. Renewal dates are April 30 of even-numbered years.
Renewal instructions are emailed approximately 90 days before the renewal date and include a PIN number that you will use to renew online. The renewal fee for brokers is $150.
To renew your broker license in Illinois, you will be required to complete 12 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years. This must include four hours of core CE and eight hours of elective CE through an approved educator. A Sexual Harassment Prevention Training course is part of the renewal requirement and counts as part of your elective CE courses.
Illinois Post-Licensing Education
The state of Illinois requires all new brokers to complete 45 hours of post-license education. This coursework consists of three 15-hour classes and covers the real world application of the concepts you learned in your pre-licensing coursework.
The three courses include:
- Applied Brokerage Principles
- Risk Management/Discipline
- Transactional Issues
At the end of the course, you will be required to pass a 50-question final exam. This must be completed before your first license renewal date and is considered an extension of your broker education. This coursework will also fulfill your CE requirement for your first two years as a licensed broker.
Illinois Real Estate Broker License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a real estate broker license in Illinois?
The costs of getting a real estate broker license in Illinois can range between $392 and $582.
The cost breakdown is as follows:
Pre-license education courses: $209-$399
Broker exam fee: $58
Application fee: $125
How long does it take to get a real estate broker license?
The steps that typically take the most time when getting a broker license include taking pre-license education courses and exams. The average amount of time to get a broker license is generally three to six months.
What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
Real estate agents focus on working with clients on individual real estate transactions, while real estate brokers have more experience with the added responsibility of managing a team of real estate agents or brokerage business.
See our Real Estate Agent vs Broker vs Realtor page for more information.
How much does a real estate broker make?
Real estate brokers get paid just like real estate agents by earning commissions on their agents’ sales. Brokers can also charge the real estate agents they manage with a fixed monthly fee or have the option to earn money on commission sales by helping their own clients buy and sell property. According to Payscale data, brokers earn $61,314 per year in base salary, with anywhere between $10,000 and $147,000 in commissions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the median broker salary is $62,010.
How do I get a job as a real estate broker in Illinois?
Browse through available real estate broker jobs in your area using our StateRequirement Job Board!
IDFPR – Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Illinois Division of Real Estate
320 W. Washington St., Third Floor
Springfield, IL 62786
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm
Phone: (800) 560-6420
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in October 2022.
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