By: Dave Matthews February 14, 2012
(Updated 5:55 p.m.)
(Crain’s) — Procrastination could come with a big price for local real estate agents who face a looming deadline to comply with new state licensing requirements.
Agents have until April 30 to complete the training and tests to meet the new rules, but only about 14,000, or 21 percent, out of 67,095 real estate professionals in the state have done so, says Jill Johnson, real estate coordinator at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which grants real estate licenses.
Those who miss the deadline must go through the onerous process of getting relicensed — if they want to stay in the profession.
Under the new regulations, real estate agents, or “salespeople” in regulatory parlance, will be called “brokers,” while professionals who head real estate offices, now known as “brokers,” will become “managing brokers.”
The new rules are part of a law passed in 2009 to “increase consumer protection and increase professional competency of real estate licensees,” Ms. Johnson says. Lawmakers “thought it would be helpful if the profession had higher requirements for learning and continuing education.”
But Chris Eigel, CEO of Chicago-based Prudential Rubloff Properties, doesn’t expect the new rules to make much difference beyond culling the real estate herd.
“It’s a lot more time and a lot more money than we’re used to, and when the dust all settles it’s the same thing as we had before, but different names,” Mr. Eigel says. “I’m not quite sure what it changes except that it will reduce number of licensees.”
Amid the residential slump, that is already happening naturally. The number of licensed real estate professionals in Illinois has fallen 16 percent since 2007, when 80,000 people held licenses, according to the state.
Salespeople have until March 15 to take a shortcut to a new broker license by taking a prep course, passing a proficiency exam and completing 15 hours of continuing-education courses, says Tina Stepaniak, director of professional development at the Chicago Association of Realtors. Managing brokers can do the same but must also take a 12-hour management course.
Brokers who miss the March 15 deadline must take a 30-hour course and a longer exam by April 30. Managing brokers who miss their deadline must complete a 45-hour course, take an exam and complete 15 hours of additional continuing education courses.
If professionals miss the April 30 deadline, they lose their license and must be relicensed all over again. A broker, for instance, must take 90 hours of coursework and pass exams to get a new license.
“As if they’re entering the field for the first time,” Ms. Stepaniak says.
Brokers must pay $275 to renew their licenses under the new law, up from $150 for a standard renewal in the past.
Between the time and money, many less active agents may just choose to let their licenses expire. Ms. Johnson, the state regulator, declines to speculate on how many will do that but says about 20 percent of the total typically chose not to renew each year under the old regulations.
(Note: This story has been updated to correct specifics on the continuing education required for real estate agents to be able to renew their licenses under the new state regulations.)
Read more: http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20120214/CRED0701/120219906/deadline-near-for-new-agent-license-requirements#ixzz1mUd2AYs2
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