The cost and process to get my Illinois Real Estate License

by | May 25, 2022

How did it start?

At the beginning of 2020 my wife and I set out to launch a property management company. We saw a huge opportunity in the industry for a company that focuses on people and communication. With our backgrounds in service industries this seemed like a great opportunity for us. In this post we’re going to show you the path we took and the costs we incurred to achieve our Illinois Real Estate Broker’s License. So, the education began. 

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL?

On January 22, 2020 we purchased the education material from the Illinois REALTORS Association. The course is scheduled as a 90-hour class. This includes 75-hours of self instruction through bookwork and 15-hours “in person” via Zoom. Included with the course was an e-book (that I chose) or a paper book (that Amber chose) and access to study materials and tests via Eastern Illinois University’s online learning platform. We scheduled our online in-person class for mid-March. Our plan was that this would give us enough time to complete the 75-hours of required book work prior to the online class. 

Reading and taking the tests online, we mostly breezed through the online and book work. I didn’t keep track of the hours but 75 hours feels about right. Broken up into a chapter here and there it went quickly. My only complaint with the book was that some information was introduced in brief in one chapter and then in depth in a later chapter. My brain wasn’t thrilled with that – Just give me the information! Once the bookwork and online exams were done we receive the transcripts for the 75 hour portion of the course.

By mid-March we we were ready for the online portion. But, let me tell you, two days of online training is painful. Sure, there were breaks but real estate in a zoom webinar format for 8 hours a day can be draining. That said, upon completion of the course we had both the transcripts needed to sit for the exam. 

TELL ME ABOUT THE TEST…

With transcripts in hand (well, online) we registered for the exam. We chose a location at an H&R Block near us in Buffalo Grove, IL. Then, COVID-19 began an uptick in the United States. As states shut down, and while real estate was deemed essential, the testing centers were not. And then began the cancellations. We were stuck in the process and had zero control. 

With only a few testing sites open the wait time soared. My test scheduled for mid-April was cancelled and the earliest I could reschedule was mid-June. Amber’s test was originally scheduled for late June was cancelled and rescheduled for mid-July. 

Fast forward to testing, we passed! The exam center is nothing special. A room full of computers were people take all kinds of exams, including real estate, nursing, etc. You’ll receive your results the same day and there is no scoring – just pass for fail. Keep the document provided as you’ll need it for applying for your license. 

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL?

On January 22, 2020 we purchased the education material from the Illinois REALTORS Association. The course is scheduled as a 90-hour class. This includes 75-hours of self instruction through bookwork and 15-hours “in person” via Zoom. Included with the course was an e-book (that I chose) or a paper book (that Amber chose) and access to study materials and tests via Eastern Illinois University’s online learning platform. We scheduled our online in-person class for mid-March. Our plan was that this would give us enough time to complete the 75-hours of required book work prior to the online class. 

Reading and taking the tests online, we mostly breezed through the online and book work. I didn’t keep track of the hours but 75 hours feels about right. Broken up into a chapter here and there it went quickly. My only complaint with the book was that some information was introduced in brief in one chapter and then in depth in a later chapter. My brain wasn’t thrilled with that – Just give me the information! Once the bookwork and online exams were done we receive the transcripts for the 75 hour portion of the course.

By mid-March we we were ready for the online portion. But, let me tell you, two days of online training is painful. Sure, there were breaks but real estate in a zoom webinar format for 8 hours a day can be draining. That said, upon completion of the course we had both the transcripts needed to sit for the exam. 

I PASSED! NOW WHAT?

At this point you’re ready to sign an employment contract with a sponsoring broker and obtain your license. (Learn abour finding. asponsoring broker by clicking here.) This process is all digital now and completed on the IDFPR website. Just upload your 45-day sponsor card, transcripts, test results, pay your fee, and you’re all set! Upon completing the paperwork with our brokerage firm, I received my license within a day! By far the fastest part of this journey.

Below is a breakdown of our costs to receive Illinois Real Estate Broker’s Licenses access to the MLS, and first year costs:

Amber’s Pre-Testing Education (paper book & shipping cost more) $460.87
Erich’s Pre-Testing Education (e-book) $415.20
Amber’s Testing $55.00
Erich’s Testing $55.00
Erich’s License Fee $127.81
Amber’s License Fee $127.81
Erich – North Shore Barrington / Realtors Association (Partial Year)  $696.58
Erich – North Shore Barrington / Realtors Association (First Full Year) $1037.00
Amber – North Shore Barrington / Realtors Association (First Full Year) $1287.00
Errors & Omissions / General Liability Insurance for Property Management (First Full Year) $1495.00
TOTAL $5,757.27

Not all costs above will be the same for you. We received a sale price or discount although I don’t remember why. There is also an accelerated program online that costs more. Additionally, associations may have a first time setup cost. This is $250 and is reflected in the prices above. The point we’re trying to get across is that in real estate everyone makes money, just not you at first. Here’s a post containing an updated process and costs. 

Not listed above are other business costs: business cards, web hosting, property management software, phone/zoom, legal, etc. 

As new brokers, we focused on the rental market, home sales, and helping our clients maximize their investments. We help navigate the tricky real estate market for tenants and owners, negotiating leases, and completing the necessary documents. 

In closing, please leave a comment below and let us know where you’re from and if you’re interested in getting your brokers license. Let us know how we can help!

Erich Schwenk Headshot

Written By Erich Schwenk

Erich Schwenk is the Designated Managing Broker for the The Pineapple Brand Company. He has a passion for hospitality and created a real estate, property & association management firm around high levels of customer service, communication, transparency, and above all - trust. Before launching The Pineapple Brand Company, Erich served 20+ years as a Flight Attendant. He has a background in web development, videography, photography, and digital marketing. Bringing years of service, knowledge and these skills to real estate and its digital marketplace. He aims to help real estate brokers and their clients capitalize on their investments and reach financial independence and security.

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