How to become a real estate agent in Illinois

Do you have any idea on how to boost your career if you live in Illinois? The specifics of this state make the real estate industry attractive to appraisers. Thus, a real estate agent license in Illinois is your magic key to career development. The state real estate business focuses both on the residential and commercial property types for sale or rental, mortgage options, and the pricing for homes to sell is quite high there.

Yet, before starting to earn such commissions, you need to follow the path which may lead you to the real estate license. If you are interested in how to become a real estate agent in Illinois successfully, we’ll help you get the most relevant information and tips about this issue in our guide published in this blog page. Let’s start with it in details!

Interest fact:
– Do you know that due to Illinois Realtors data, the medium home price in January 2024, was $258,000 which means that the commission got by a real estate person reached over $7,740 per deal? Such trends sound great, don’t they?

6 Steps to getting a real estate license in Illinois

To make the process of licensing comfy and easy for applicants, we managed to divide it into logical and easy to comprehend parts, namely, steps. They help you to keep a self-paced ongoing process and gain success in the end.

1. State of Illinois real estate broker license requirements

The first and foremost thing is to meet the requirement list of the federal government issued for the real estate licensing candidate handbook. So, to get your real estate license in Illinois, you might be:

  • A person of 18 years old or older age;
  • An educated individual with a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED);
  • A resident of Illinois;
  • An owner of an ID number or Social Security Number which is valid to the date of your application for your identification.

These requirements form the base for your future career as a real estate agent or managing broker.

2. Complete 75 hours of required pre-licensing education

After you ensure that you fit the position of a real estate agent, the next step to complete is passing an advanced pre-license 75-hour course for realtors. This type of education provides you with the necessary information on the topics of property management, rental and leasing rules, mortgage, marketing and market research tools, finance, and national and state laws and it includes a 15-hour course on Applied Real Estate Principles. The coursework includes theory to learn for a realtor and practice lessons.

Studying in an Accredited School
Order an approved course for pre-licence real estate training in your state.

Start Education Course

There are numerous real estate schools you can enroll in to get the course or required education. The main principle for your search is that your education courses program must last 75 hours. That’s not too difficult, as, for example, Texas and California require a student to get over 100 hours of education before they qualify for the state exam.

As for choosing a school to study in, you can select both classroom in-person education in a training center or online courses held either in the format of livestream lessons or in video materials and education resources you can download from the school’s site. Flexible hybrid courses’ forms also are available.

The current cost of real estate education varies depending on the format of courses and providers’ policy. Typically it starts from $399 and more per course to purchase.

3. Pass the real estate course final exam

Since you set your career goals to become a real estate agent in Illinois, you’d be ready to pass the exam. It is provided by PSI Services LLC, a national testing provider responsible to conduct the RE broker exam state-wide. Feel free to register your account on the PSI’s site prior to the completion of your course. At this time, you also take an intermediate exam in your real estate facility which is a kind of preparation for state exams.

4. Pass the Illinois real estate examination

So, now you are in the middle of the whole process of how to get a real estate license in Illinois. When you succeed with your education exam, you can schedule the day and time for the state examination. Please, use your PC or mobile device to log in on the PSI Exam’s platform to choose the closest testing center to your residential area and indicate a reserved date. All exams for real estate licensing are held in person and at the testing facility. Before you start, you also have to pay a fee of $58.

How hard is the exam?

Usually, over 67% of students manage to pass the exam on their first attempt. So, it’s not too difficult. Especially if you prepare for it right and use information from both your education courses and additional materials, like educational videos or real estate blogs.

How many questions are on the permit test?

There are 140 questions devoted to National and state-specific topics including the real estate market, laws, financial issues, insurance, realty, property management, and so on. You can answer them in 3.5 hours.

What score do you need to pass the exam?

For the National division, the passing score is 70%.

For the state division, the passing score is 75%.

What happens if you fail the exam?

Unlike other states, in Illinois, you can take the exam only four times. After you fail for the first time, you have 3 more tries. Do not forget that if you succeeded with any section, you do not have to retake it.

After the exam in case of success, you acquire a certificate which further should be attached to your application form.

5. Find a brokerage firm or a sponsoring broker

The next of the steps refers to your future job offer. You need to find a sponsoring broker or a brokerage company which already works in the Illinois real estate market. Having support from a broker and the confirmation of their sponsorship you can go ahead.

When finding a broker, take into consideration:

  • The choice between a boutique broker and a national RE brokers’ chain;
  • Your and your broker’s area where you want to operate;
  • Personal contact with a broker during an interview;
  • Which benefit packages, advanced education, commissions and splits, and advertisement options a broker can offer its associate members;
  • Which options a broker offers for your development as a specialist.

6. License application

At last, the step which finishes your way is the application itself. To get your license please, enter the licensees’ website (IDFPR) and register there. Do not forget to review the form you fill out to avoid an error and the list of documents which should include:

  • Your pre-license transcript;
  • Examination certificate;
  • Sponsor card;
  • Your ID.

In case you do all right, IDFPR will proceed with your application for a couple of business days and send you your new license approved via email.

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Illinois?

In case you still don’t know how much does it costs to obtain a real estate license in Illinois, we have a pricing guide for you.

Cost item Price
Educational course $339-$689
Exam fee $58
Application fee $125
Total: $522-$872
Table of costs

Illinois real estate license reciprocal states

Knowing about reciprocity terms is essential if you are already a licensed real estate agent or broker who decided to relocate to Illinois from your home. Eight states offer full reciprocity with Illinois. These are:

  • Colorado;
  • Connecticut;
  • Florida;
  • Georgia;
  • Indiana;
  • Iowa;
  • Nebraska;
  • Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, there are no full reciprocal agreements with other states, so, if you move from Texas or California, or another home state you’ll have to retake your real estate exam and pass CE pre-license courses like new candidates.

Illinois real estate license renewal requirements

Your RE license issued by the Illinois state regulator remains active for two years. After that, you have to renew it. The main requirements for license renewal are not difficult. They are as follows:

You have to renew your real estate agent’s license in even-numbered years while being a managing broker you have to do so in odd-numbered years.
To apply for a renewal, you need to take 12 hours of post-licensing continuing education with 4 hours of Core Education and an 8-hour portion of elective continuing CE courses.
After the completion of CE, you can click this link and apply online for license renewal using your ID card number provided when you were licensed for the first time to return it valid again.
A renewal alert:
– New licensing fees have increased since the 1st of January 2024. Thus, for regular renewal, a real estate agent should pay $200.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR): contacts and basic information

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations is the main body which is responsible for state licensing and regulation of multiple professions including the real estate industry. You can contact this authority in the following ways:

Unfortunately, the regulator doesn’t provide an email option for multi-purpose applications, yet, if you have problems with your IDFPR profile and you cannot sign in, you can claim to

Summaries of becoming a real estate agent in Illinois

Being a real estate salesperson in Illinois is a prospective occupation which offers you high earnings and numerous benefits. The average income for real estate appraisers in this state is above the average while licensing requirements are not hard to comply with. The main things to focus on when trying to get your real estate license in IL are pre-licensing education and examination prep. If you cope with them well, you pass the final exam with no hassle, find a reliable broker, and enjoy your license quite easily and quickly. So, don’t delay and start your RE career using our blog guide as we made it for this purpose.

As a final step in our guide, we offer you to look at the list of the most frequently asked questions on the topics of real estate licensure in Illinois.

Becoming a real estate agent IL: FAQs

Can I get my Illinois real estate license online?

If we talk about your education and real estate license application, they both can be provided online. However, to pass the final exam you still have to visit a testing facility as completing the exam online is not allowed in Illinois.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Illinois?

If you thoroughly plan your activities on your way to a real estate license, it may take only three or four months since you decide to start your RE career. Meanwhile, it may take more time if you are working and studying simultaneously.

How much money can I make as an Illinois real estate agent?

The average salary of a real estate salesperson in Illinois is $90,000 annually. The entry-level for novice agents is $60,000 per year, while skilled real estate professionals with more experience as agents or managing brokers make more than $115,000 annually.

Can a felony be a real estate agent in Illinois?

Your previous background doesn’t impact the opportunities to become a real estate agent in Illinois as you have the rights to apply for a license even if you are a felony. Typically, 95% of such cases receive approval from IDFPR. The only thing to consider is that you should not hide your conviction when you apply for your real estate license.

Pre-Licensing Courses
About the author
Michael Baker is a journalist with over 5 years of experience in the real estate industry. His knowledge of licensing processes, procedures and requirements makes her an expert in the field.