How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Illinois

Becoming a real estate agent is an enticing thought.  You make your own hours, making it great for people with kids or loved ones to take care of, and allowing plenty of much-deserved vacation time.  You’re ultimately in control of how big or small your business is, and it’s impossible to hate your boss because, well, you are your boss!  And unlike working in a big company, doing good work and maintaining a good relationship with your customer directly benefits you and your wallet, as opposed to some company bottom line.  Before you hop on the internet and start advertising your services, remember that there are important steps and procedures to follow before you can begin.  Continue reading to learn how to become a real estate agent in the state of Illinois!

1.  First, you must decide if you want to become an Illinois leasing agent, or an Illinois broker.

  • Leasing agents help people who want to rent or lease an apartment.  This license requires fewer education hours, and is the only license available to people under 21, so if you’re a young person trying to start a career in real estate, this is a great place to start.
  • Remember that the state of Illinois is no longer issuing a salesperson license.  Anyone wishing to work helping people buy and sell property must obtain a broker’s license.  A broker requires more education, but is responsible for helping people who want to buy, sell, or lease properties of any variety.

2.  After you’ve decided on your track, you must register at an approved school, such as our Chicago Real Estate Institute, and complete the necessary educational requirements in order to obtain your license.  A broker’s license requires 90 hours of pre-license education and a leaser’s license requires 15 hours of pre-license education.   And remember, you’re never too busy!  Chicago Real Estate Institute offers both live, classroom-based options, as well as a 75 hour self-study course which only requires 15 hours of live interactive instruction.  There are also online classes.  There’s no excuse!

3.  After you’ve completed your educational requirements, you must pass the state licensure exam.  Exams cost $46, and are taken upon the completion of the 15 or 90 education hours.

4.  Congratulations; you’ve passed the exam!  Now it’s time to apply for your license from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.  In order to do so, a managing broker must sponsor you.  It costs $125 to apply for your initial broker license, and $75 to apply for your initial leasing license.  Find a full list of licensure fees here.

5.  If you’ve become a licensed broker, be sure to complete 30 hours of Post-License Training, and to complete Continuing Education at least once before renewal in every 2 year period. Once you have your license, periodically check the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s website to stay up-to-date with changes to renewal and education requirements.  And before you get started, remember to contact us to register for a pre-license education course!