Illinois Legislature Rewrites Real Estate Act

Last week the Illinois Senate passed a bill to substantially rewrite the Real Estate Act of 2000. The bill now goes to the governor for signature. Here are some of the highlights of the bill:

They’re changing the terminology of the industry. Currently, a Salesperson is what most people think of as a regular agent and Broker is the person that the Salesperson works for. Of course, the public thinks of everyone as a broker because, well, they broker deals. So they’re changing the terminology to match popular usage. The new terms will be Broker and Managing Broker. Probably a good idea since realtors aren’t supposed to be selling anything when they are working for a buyer (yeah, you heard me right).

They’re increasing the course work required in order to become either a broker or a managing broker. The broker requirement is going up from 45 classroom hours to 90 hours, while the managing broker requirement is going up from 120 hours to 165 hours. 15 of these hours have to be situational (not exactly sure what they have in mind here but with any luck it will include how to answer your phone, how to return phone calls, and how to use email). In addition, they are increasing the ongoing educational requirements for both licenses.

The increase in coursework is definitely a good idea because, let’s face it, there are a lot of Bozos running around as real estate agents. If nothing else this should clear the ranks out a bit, pushing some of the marginal players over the edge. You would be surprised at how much is missing from the current curriculum that we have had to figure out on our own. For example:

  • How to handle a short sale
  • How to find and pull up public records
  • How to determine zoning
  • Where to find the building codes
  • How to find out what the development plans are for adjoining properties
  • All the documents required for a closing
  • Typical inspection issues to look out for
  • How to use the MLS effectively

Of course, there’s no guarantee that they will apply the additional course hours to this practical stuff.

In addition to a host of consumer protection initiatives, another new requirement is that a broker will have to be licensed for at least 2 years before becoming a managing broker. The cynical part of me thinks that this is an attempt to restrict competition but I guess it makes sense – for the average person. However, given that the job is not exactly rocket science, I know of at least a couple of people who were able to move quickly into this role, without a lot of time in the trenches, and became more effective than most overnight.

This new law takes effect December 31, 2009 but existing licensees have until April 30, 2012 to comply with the new requirements. So, there’s still plenty of damage that can be done in the meantime.

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