It’s a common question we get at Illinois REALTORS® and one that even seasoned agents sometimes mix up. Here’s a quick breakdown on who handles what for REALTORS®.

Illinois REALTORS®, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and your local association are voluntary membership associations, not licensing agencies. Joining your local association provides you with membership in the state and national associations as well. With this three-part membership, you have access to resources and networking at the local, state and national levels.

Your REALTOR® membership

As a member, you have access to Multiple Listing Services, forms, brochures, podcasts, videos, social media, courses and events that help you develop your career. The membership dues you pay to your local association are used to provide benefits, resources, education and advocacy services at all three levels. Your membership dues do not cover license renewal fees – those are paid directly to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Division of Real Estate (DRE).

Your local association is your direct connection to your community and REALTOR® colleagues in your area. Your state association advocates for members at the state Capitol and beyond, and your national association represents members nationwide and administers the Code of Ethics requirement that defines what it means to be a REALTOR®. Although benefits and services overlap between your local, state and national associations, you will need to establish different member logins for each website.

Because REALTOR® members adhere to a unique Code of Ethics, all members must complete a minimum of two hours, 30 minutes of REALTOR®-specific ethics training through an training through a REALTOR® association approved education provider every three years. Code of Ethics training is a REALTOR® membership requirement, not a state of Illinois licensing requirement.

IDFPR Division of Real Estate

IDFPR’s Division of Real Estate (DRE) is Illinois’ licensing and regulatory agency for real estate professionals, not a membership organization. As a regulatory agency, DRE oversees new license applications, license renewals and professional discipline. It also establishes what education is required to earn a real estate license and to maintain licensure in the state. All education providers are required to adhere to the license law, rules and regulations set forth by IDFPR-DRE, and the department maintains a list of licensed education providers in the state. Real estate licensing and license renewal fees are paid directly to IDFPR.

You should contact IDFPR if you have issues with the IDFPR website and online portal, and if your license status is listed as anything other than “active.” Also contact IDFPR and your local association to report a change of name, email, address or sponsor.

How IDFPR and Illinois REALTORS® work together

Illinois REALTORS® is licensed by IDFPR-DRE to provide pre-license, post-license and continuing education to all licensees. Illinois REALTORS® retains records of all courses completed through our school and reports completed courses to IDFPR-DRE on your behalf. Illinois REALTORS® also collaborates with the agency to provide input into education requirements.

When to contact IDFPR vs Illinois REALTORS®

Licensing and regulatory agency:

  • Determines education requirements for licensure and license renewal
  • Sets license status (active, not renewed, expired, inactive)
  • Handles change of name, email, address and sponsor for licensing
  • Handles Doing Business As (DBA) updates
  • Licenses education providers and maintains list of licensed education providers in the state
  • Renewal fees are paid to IDFPR by the licensee prior to their license expiration date

Member-based association:

  • Advocates for private property rights and advances the real estate profession
  • Licensed by IDFPR to provide pre-license, post-license and continuing education to all licensees
  • Adheres to the license law, rules and regulations set forth by IDFPR
  • Reports education completed through our school to IDFPR. (We do not retain records of courses completed through other education providers.)