Illinois Real Estate License Act Update: What You Need to Know

Illinois Real Estate License Act Update: What You Need to Know

Creating stronger rules for training and professionalism and increasing consumer protections were the main drivers behind the Illinois Real Estate License Act (RELA), which was signed into law in August, 2019. The bill is an update of the Real Estate License Act, which is required to be revised every decade. 

“At the core of the rewrite effort was the guiding principle that consumers would benefit from additional protections and by a law which more clearly defines responsibilities real estate practitioners have to the public,” said Illinois REALTORS® President-elect Ed Neaves. “Our work, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, has well positioned the real estate industry to best serve consumers in the decade ahead.” 

Here’s what you need to know about the new law:

The Door is Open for Younger Realtors

There’s good news for aspiring realtors: you can get started sooner. The RELA update changes the minimum age for acquiring a real estate license from 21 to 18. Educational requirements are impacted as well. From now on, pre-license education hours are capped at 75 hours, down from 90. Post-license continuing education hours, on the other hand, increase from 30 to 45. The idea is to put more of the onus on managing brokers to guide new agents.

New Rules on the Use of Terms

The new law wants the industry to clearly distinguish real estate teams from real estate brokerages when it comes to advertising. A new list of “inherently misleading terms” notes that team names can’t include the following:

  • Company
  • Realty
  • Real estate
  • Agency
  • Associates
  • Brokers
  • Properties
  • Property

Going Virtual

The industry will now allow so-called virtual offices. Brokers have been required to have a definite physical office, which showed a commitment to protecting confidential information. Well, the state has decided this information can still be protected by a digital door as long as the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can access company information for audits or investigations.

Other Provisions and Timing

The Real Estate License Act also clarifies and streamlines consumer access to the Real Estate Recovery Fund while addressing and defining other disciplinary aspects. Certain provisions of the new bill are effective immediately, but others like the new education requirements will take longer to implement. As with many state bills, a rule-making process that will go through legislative committees will follow and can last several months. 

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