If you approach the course with the thought in mind that most of the material is just plain common sense, you will do fine. It is a fact that some of the material you will never see or need again and simply has to be memorized for the state exam, but much will help lay a sound foundation for further training.
In the real estate overview, you’ll learn the definition of real estate: the land and everything permanently attached to it. Personal property, fixtures, trade fixtures, encumbrances (liens, easements, encroachments, etc.), how real estate is described (lot and block, rectangular survey, metes and bounds), forms of ownership (alone or with others), and transfer of title (by deed) will be covered. Attention will be given to environmental issues such as radon, lead (potentially in paint and older plumbing pipes), mold, electromagnetic fields, and more. Major practical sections of the course will include appraisal, financing, contracts; agency law, fair housing, and Illinois license law.
In appraisal, you’ll examine how the appraiser arrives at an estimate of value using three approaches: cost, income, market comparison. In your career as an agent you will most often use the market data approach, usually most accurate for evaluating existing single family homes.
The financing section discusses the primary (street level) and secondary (Fannie Mae, etc.) markets, FHA and VA types of funding, conventional, adjustable rate and other types of loans. You’ll also see information on the Federal Truth in Lending regulations.
Contracts can be valid, void, or voidable and you’ll learn the difference as well as the elements that make up a valid contract. Types of listing agreements (basically employment agreements through which a Seller hires a broker to sell a home), the differences between them, and the information required will be covered in detail.
Agency law defines the relationship between the broker, agent, and client. The relationship of agent to client is called fiduciary and demands that the client’s best interest always comes first (as long as it’s lawful). The fiduciary duties include care, obedience, loyalty, disclosure, accounting, and confidentiality. Designated agency is practiced in Illinois and Dual Agency is allowed.
The Federal Fair Housing regulations will be discussed as well as the more comprehensive Illinois Human Rights Act.
When you’ve successfully completed this 45 hour course of instruction, you’ll be issued a Uniform Transcript by the real estate school which will serve as your “ticket” into the State of Illinois Exam. The state exam consists of two parts: 100 questions on the national portion and 40 on Illinois law. You must pass both parts individually in order to be eligible for a license. The course material focused on The Illinois License Act of 2000 then becomes very, very important. You will probably be given a supplement, published the Illinois Association of REALTORS® covering the major points. Make sure you know this material.
There is some math involved in the coursework, but it is fairly basic. Working through a few of the sample questions in most textbooks is ample practice.
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