What is a REALTOR®?

Only real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) can call themselves REALTORS®. All REALTORS® adhere to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. That’s why all real estate licensees are NOT the same.


Dedicated to serving America’s property owners at both local and national levels, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, The Voice for Real Estate®, is the largest professional association at over one million members strong.

So, whether you’re buying or selling a home — it pays to work with a REALTOR®. Look for the REALTOR® logo when choosing your real estate agent.

REALTOR® Designations —The Mark of Expertise and Service

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has a variety of affiliates that provide designations acknowledging experience and expertise in various real estate sectors. NAR also offers designations and certification programs to its members, including:


ABR® – REBAC (Real Estate BUYER’S AGENT Council) awards the ABR® (Accredited Buyer Representative) designation to REALTORS® who meet education and experience requirements to better prepare them to represent buyers.

CIPS – Focused specifically in aspects “international,” these REALTORS® have a familiarity with assisting foreign investors, helping local buyers invests abroad, or serving an immigrant buyer locally; designees are the best resource in international real estate.

CRS – A CRS REALTOR® is a Certified Residential Specialist - one of the top 3 percent of real estate agents in the U.S. CRS agents have more experience and training than the average REALTOR® and they are part of a community of REALTORS® dedicated to improving the real estate industry for homebuyers and sellers everywhere. If you're looking to buy or sell a home, look for a Certified Residential Specialist, a CRS.

GREEN – NAR’s Green Designation. You have made the commitment to environmental consciousness; choose a REALTOR® who understands and shares your green real estate goals. Choose an NAR Green Designee.

GRI – A REALTOR® with the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation is trained in many areas, including legal and regulatory issues, professional standards, the sales process and technology. A minimum of 90 hours of training is required to achieve the GRI designation.


MRP – Homeownership is an important part of the fabric of America, and having a stable home environment is vital when men and women of the military are called away to serve their country. That’s why working with a REALTOR® who understands their specific needs and timetable will help make the transfer easier, faster and less stressful. A REALTOR® with the MRP certification has the knowledge and skills for working with veterans and active duty military buyers and sellers to ensure that homeownership remains affordable and accessible.

SRES – Over the age of 50 and considering selling the family home? SRES® designees have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home. So if you're thinking of buying, selling, renting or relocating, find an SRES® in your area for specialized help with your real estate transaction.

Find a REALTOR® by Designation/Certification by using the Designation drop-down menu.
Click here to access information on the family of REALTOR® designations and certifications.

How do I get my Real Estate license in Illinois?

Pre-License Requirements:

To become a real estate broker in Illinois, you must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Complete 75 hours of pre-license education:
    • Broker Pre-License Topics (60-hour course)
    • Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles (15-hour interactive course)
  • Pass the State/National licensing exam administered by PSI/AMP (140 questions)
  • Submit a license application, sponsor card and licensing fee to Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

Do you have what it takes?

Successful real estate agents are self-motivated and enjoy working with people. They are willing to devote time to building their network, and have the motivation and flexibility to attend to their client’s needs.

What do real estate agents do?

Brokers help people buy, sell or rent residential real property within a reasonable time period and at a fair price. Brokers act as an intermediary between sellers and buyers during negotiations and help draw up the necessary legal paperwork to complete transactions.

Managing broker
Managing brokers work alone without supervision and may supervise other agents. Some managing brokers own or manage their own brokerage. To become a managing broker, you must first have held an active broker license for two of the previous three years and successfully complete the required coursework and pass the state licensing exam.  If you meet these requirements, you may enroll in Managing Broker Pre-License courses.

What's the Process?

Step 1 – Take the Broker Pre-License Coursework

The two required courses for an Illinois license are:

  1. Broker Pre-License Topics (60-hours)
  2. Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles (15-hours interactive).

Click here to find information on and register for one of our fully online 75-hr Illinois Broker Pre-License Courses. This class is designed to be taken at the students own pace and there is no instructor.

We also offer an instructor-guided course at the association. This class will be offered as a hybrid course, which means you may attend the class in person or via Zoom.

Pre-License Course Information -

Pre License Course

Step 2 – State and National Exam

After you’ve completed your coursework, thoroughly review the Illinois Real Estate Examination Program Candidate Handbook.
When you’re done reviewing the handbook, you may register for the state and national licensing exams.

Step 3 – Sponsorship and Application

Before you may submit your license application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), you will need a managing broker to sponsor you.

License Renewal

To maintain your broker license, you will need to complete post-license education during your first renewal cycle and continuing education in subsequent renewal cycles.

Financial Assistance is Available

The Illinois Education and Training Grant is a scholarship for eligible individuals who are pursuing a real estate degree or license in the state of Illinois. The grant may be used towards Illinois REALTORS® D2L online courses (75-hour Pre-License Topics course & 15-hour Broker Pre-License Interactive webinar) or any live classroom offered at an Illinois REALTORS® branch. Information about this and other scholarships is available on the REEF website and inquiries may be directed via email or by phone call to 866-854-7333.

U.S. military veterans who want to start a career in real estate may apply for reimbursement of their Illinois REALTORS® pre-license class fees through the GI Bill®. The federal program applies to live pre-license classes provided by Illinois REALTORS® Licensing & Training Center education branches. Only live (including Zoom Video Conferencing), instructor-led courses are eligible for reimbursement. Click Here for More Information.

The Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF) administers the Illinois Minority Real Estate Scholarship Program in partnership with the State of Illinois, which allows us to award 60 scholarships each year to qualified racial residents of Illinois pursuing courses of study that will prepare them for careers relating to real estate or enhance the skills and knowledge that they currently use as real estate professionals. As a part of the Diversity Initiative, Illinois REALTORS® is partnering with REEF to increase the number of scholarships awarded by another 40 annually. The number of Illinois Minority Real Estate Scholarships will significantly increase to 100 scholarships awarded each year. Click Here for More Information

Eligibility: Racial minority residents of Illinois pursuing courses of study that will prepare them for careers relating to real estate or enhance the skills and knowledge that they currently use as real estate professionals.

We are happy to answer whatever questions you may have. Please contact us at Education@myRASI.com or call us at (618) 277-1980.

What should I do if I feel a REALTOR® has behaved unethically?

What should you do if you feel a REALTOR® has behaved unethically? What should you expect if you are a claimant in a Code of Ethics complaint?

Michael Oldenettel, 2018 Chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee, walks you through the process.

Associations have the responsibility of enforcing the REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics. Before you file an
ethics complaint, please first review this document.

If you decide to file the complaint, please return the completed Ethics Packet - 2018. In this packet, you will find:

  • A letter from Association CEO, Deb Frazier
  • "Before You File an Ethics Complaint" from National Association of REALTORS®
  • Form #E-1
  • Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors® - Effective January 1, 2018

Along with the completed packet, you will need to include a letter explaining the alleged violation(s), and include any supporting documents and/or photos.

Please note that the Association staff is unable to assist you in determining which Article(s) might have been violated. Please refer to the copy of the Code of Ethics.

The Property Brothers Reveal How to Make a Small House Look Larger Than Life

By Lisa Johnson Mandell | Sep 15, 2017

"Property Brothers: Buying & Selling" stars Jonathan and Drew Scott are pros at making small homes seem spacious, but in their latest episode they face a daunting challenge: landing a big sale for a minuscule 960-square-foot cottage just outside of Nashville, TN.

In the "Making the Most of Nana's Gift" episode, the Scotts work with Alex and Sam, who met on a cruise a few years ago. Sam moved 800 miles to be with Alex, and now they and their two rescue dogs need way more room than what's offered in the country house Alex bought eight years earlier.

As luck would have it, Alex's grandmother has offered him the gift of money to go toward renovating his old home to selling it, then purchasing something new. Nana will even fly in from Mississippi to view the Scotts' work! Will she be pleased? You can learn a lot about renovating small spaces from how Jonathan and Drew bend over backward to gain her approval.

Extend the landscaping

"Your curb appeal is terrible," Jonathan bluntly tells the couple. "The house appears smaller than it needs to. It looks like a tiny little cabin on this massive lot."

He suggests extending the landscaping with trees, bushes, and flower beds to anchor and extend the look of the house, rather than leaving the grass growing right up to the walls.

"If you extend the landscaping, it will make the house feel more substantial," he says.

And is he ever right!

Look up for more space

"I can't give them more square footage, but I can make it feel like there's more space by raising the roof," says Jonathan.

Noting there's space between the ceiling and the gabled roof, he cleverly removes the low ceiling, insulates the inside of the roof, and adds a higher ceiling.

"Sometimes all the space you need to add an impressive feature is already there," he quips.

Knock down some walls

When he first tours the house, Drew steps into the laundry room/mud room and says, "I'm feeling claustrophobic, and if I'm feeling claustrophobic, buyers are going to feel claustrophobic."

He suggests removing the wall between the laundry room and kitchen, because a small home doesn't really need a separate laundry room. He knows Jonathan can create a kitchen cabinet that will hide a stackable washer and dryer, which is a more practical use of the space.

Carve out a dining area

Most small homes don't have a formal dining room, but this home is so tiny there's not even room for a dining table. Jonathan's solution? Build a nice island with an apron sink, plenty of storage space, and a dining ledge. This kills three birds with one stone, and looks fantastic!

Get rid of dated wrought-iron posts

The ornate, black wrought-iron posts that were so popular toward the middle of the past century now just make a house seem dark, cramped, and dated. Jonathan removes the ones on the front porch and carport, replacing them with solid wood pillars that look far more elegant, yet stay true to the country vibe.

Beware of pressure washing

The house isn't only small, it also looks a little rough around the edges. The reason: The previous owners had cleaned the house with a pressure washer, which left left spray marks on the siding. Apparently, pressure washing can damage surfaces, so watch out!

Let the pros deal with asbestos

As Jonathan and Alex remove three layers of dated vinyl flooring and play Guess That Decade, here's what they find underneath: asbestos.

"Don't touch that," Jonathan cautions when it's first uncovered. They both slowly back away, and call in the pros to find and remove asbestos throughout the house. It costs them $1,500, which is money well-spent to remove the health dangers of asbestos.

How'd the house hunt go?

Before the renovations, Drew had guessed the house wouldn't sell for much more than $160,000. But with all the improvements, the house fetches $255,000!

Combined with Nana's gift money, Alex and Sam have a $300,000 budget to buy a new home—and Drew finds them a gorgeous 2,500-square-foot turnkey home with three bedrooms and two baths. Bonus: It's closer to where they both work and down the street from their friends.

But will Nana be pleased with the way they've spent her gift on both the old house and the new?

After she flies in to survey the results, it's clear that the grandmother is pleased. Which is good, because Alex is very important to her.

"I gave him his first bottle," she says.

And if Nana's happy, everyone is happy.

Real Estate Professionals Explained: Agent, Broker, REALTOR®

By Michele Lerner

If you’re entering the real estate market for the first time, you may find real estate professionals' various titles a little confusing. Sometimes consumers use these titles interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the roles of the various professionals, as well as different requirements for using particular titles.

Titles for real estate professionals

The real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which have different requirements for earning a license. In general, though, the titles you may come across include:

  • Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. State requirements vary, but in all states you must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn your license.
  • REALTOR®: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
  • Real estate broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
  • Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent.
  • Real estate associate broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license but chooses to work under the management of a broker.

Working With a Real Estate Professional

While you are more likely to work directly with a real estate salesperson or an associate broker, some brokers provide services for buyers and sellers themselves. If you have hired a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, that agent typically reports to a broker. The broker handles the earnest money deposit and establishes the escrow account.

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In addition, the broker bears responsibility for the actions of the real estate agents under his or her supervision. While the majority of real estate transactions go through without any glitches, a broker will step in if there are any problems with your home purchase or sale.

If you are unhappy with your real estate agent and cannot resolve the issues directly, your next step should be to talk with the broker to ask for help and perhaps another agent for you to consult.

Experience and Education

Real estate brokers not only have higher education requirements than real estate salespersons, they also must have experience working as an agent. For example, in Virginia the license requirements are as follows:

  • A salesperson must take 60 hours of classes and pass an exam with both state and national sections.
  • A broker must take 180 hours of broker-specific classes, pass an exam with both state and national sections, and have actively worked as a real estate salesperson for 36 of the previous 48 months.

When you are looking for a real estate professional, it is wise to work with a member of the National Association of REALTORS® who is committed to maintaining the professionalism of the real estate business. You can choose to work with a salesperson or a broker, but in any case you should take the time to interview your agent and ask for references.

If you want to work with someone new to the profession, you may want to ask to meet the broker as well so you can feel comfortable that someone with experience will be representing your interests. Michele Lerner writes about real estate, personal finance, and business news. She is the author of two books about home buying.Follow @mvlerner

State Regulator Announces Paperless Renewals, Licensing for Professionals

CHICAGO – Secretary Bryan A. Schneider of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is pleased to announce that paperless licensing and renewals have now been implemented for the professions licensed and regulated by the Divisions of Real Estate and Professional Regulation.  The transition away from paper-based renewals and licenses means that regulated professionals will now be able to renew their license quickly and easily online and be provided proof of licensure through email and IDFPR’s License Lookup application.   The move to paperless technology is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to modernize the state’s regulatory agency and will save the state nearly $3 million in postage, paper and printing costs over the next five years.

“By enacting a paperless renewal process and shifting to an electronic verification of licensure, we increase efficiency, reduce costs, and provide an overall better experience for our licensed professionals,” said Bryan A. Schneider, IDFPR Secretary.  “Whereas paper-based renewals intermittently experienced delays during peak renewal periods, the online license renewal streamlines that process by eliminating the need to, essentially, push paper.  Additionally, by providing electronic verification of a license through our website, we are able to provide the most up-to-date information available.”

Effective immediately, submission of renewals for professionals should be completed online via IDFPR’s website.  Once a renewal is successfully processed, licensees will receive an email that may be used as proof of licensure.  Proof of licensure may also be found via IDFPR’s License Lookup.  In the near future, licensees will be provided access to a digital, printable copy of their license.

In lieu of the paper postcard reminder, IDFPR has also implemented an electronic license reminder notification process for all professions that are not legally required to receive paper notifications. Licensees that had relied upon the renewal postcard PIN notification for renewing their licenses or for employee E-Batch renewal, may access that information via the license renewal webpage located at IDFPR’s website.  Licensees will be prompted to provide additional information for security authentication.

Licensees are strongly encouraged to visit IDFPR’s online address change webpage to provide a current email address and ensure contact information is up-to-date and accurate.