Illinois Real Estate License courses

Compare the Best Real Estate Courses in Illinois

The real estate market in Illinois is incredibly varied, ranging from multi-million dollar penthouse mansions on Chicago’s Gold Coast to surprisingly affordable family homes in other areas of the state. To find your niche in the Illinois real estate industry, you’ll first need a state broker’s license. To earn it, you’ll need to complete 90 hours of pre-license coursework with an approved real estate school—and there are plenty of real estate schools to choose from. To help you home in on the best options for your schedule, location, learning style, and budget, we’ve compared and reviewed some of the top Illinois real estate schools.
School Packages Starting At User Rating Visit Site


(4.9 / 5)
Read Review
Visit Site >


(4.1 / 5)
Read Review
Visit Site >


(4 / 5)
Read Review
Visit Site >


(3.9 / 5)
Read Review
Visit Site >


(3.1 / 5)
Read Review
Visit Site >

Real Estate Pre-License Course Reviews

Illinois real estate students can choose among dozens of schools for their pre-license course. The Chicagoland area is home to many campus-based programs, and there are schools that offer classroom and online instruction across the state. The basic topics are the same in every course, whether it’s classroom or online, because the state sets the subject requirements. But that doesn’t mean you can expect an identical experience at every school. The best courses stand out because they are led by engaged, responsive instructors and offer students plenty of support, both during the course and after.

Classroom or Online Real Estate Courses?

Which type of pre-license course should you enroll in, online or classroom? For many students, the choice depends on whether they have time to attend classes and how they learn best. If you’re the type of student who learns best on your own, or if your schedule conflicts with available classroom times, online is your best bet. On the other hand, if you learn best within a group and have the time to attend class, you may want to find a campus-based course—or an online course that includes student discussion groups.

Illinois Real Estate License Requirements

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) sets the requirements for obtaining a broker’s license in the state. Unlike some states where the entry-level real estate job title is salesperson, newly licensed Illinois real estate professionals are called brokers, and their employers are managing brokers. To qualify to take the broker exam, applicants must

  • be 21 years old or older OR age 18 to 21 with four completed semesters of full-time college classes focused on real estate.
  • pass a background check.
  • complete 90 class hours of approved pre-license coursework OR be a practicing attorney in Illinois OR already hold a broker’s license in a state that has a reciprocal agreement with Illinois: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, or Wisconsin.
  • pass the Illinois Real Estate Broker Exam.
  • have a managing broker sponsor.

The 90-hour course requirement consists of 75 hours of classes on Real Estate Broker Topics plus 15 hours of Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles. Real Estate Broker Topics include

  • Appraisal
  • Brokerage
  • Closing
  • Contracts
  • Environmental Issues
  • Fair Housing
  • Financing
  • Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000
  • Property Management
  • Real Estate Concepts
  • Real Estate Math
  • Real Property
  • TILA (Truth In Lending Act)/RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures) Information
  • Use Controls for Government and Private Land

The Broker Pre-License Applied Real Estate Principles course is an interactive class series held online or in person. The 15-hour course is only available to students who have already finished the 75 hours of Broker Topics above. It’s designed to walk students through typical situations they’ll encounter on the job, such as

  • Buyer Representation
  • Confronting Fair Housing Issues
  • Handling Multiple Offers
  • Inspections and Repair Issues
  • Listing Presentation
  • Managing Assistants
  • Presenting, Negotiating, and Countering Offers
  • Writing Purchase Agreements

One thing that’s unique about Illinois’ pre-license program is that students don’t have to pass any course exams before they take the state exam. That lets you focus on the broker’s exam that will lead to your license. As a licensed Illinois real estate agent, you’ll also need to earn 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years to keep your license up to date.

Fast Facts on the Illinois Real Estate Market

The real estate market in Illinois has been a challenging one for sellers since the Great Recession of 2008.

  • As of the fourth quarter of 2017, the Chicago metro area had the most homes with negative equity in the US. (Source: Chicago Tribune)
  • The median sale price of homes across the state in August 2018 was $203,400. (Source: Zillow)
  • The two most expensive homes sold in Illinois in 2017 were both in Chicago. One was a 4-floor modern penthouse complex bought for $58.5 million. The other was an 1891 mansion with nine fireplaces that sold for $12 million. (Sources: Patch, Curbed)
  • Before he became President, Abraham Lincoln paid $1,200 for his house in Springfield. It’s now the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. (Source: National Park Service)
  • Illinois REALTORS, the state trade group, has 47,000 members. (Source: Illinois REALTORS)

More on the Top Schools in Illinois

I Love Real Estate School

I Love Real Estate provides classroom-based courses in downtown Chicago and in Naperville to get students ready for the Illinois broker exam. Students can enroll in the 90-hour course to satisfy all the state education requirements or break the process down into a separate 75-hour topics course and 15-hour interactive training seminar. I Love Real Estate also offers a la carte classes for state exam prep, a two-day intensive business-building class, and selling HUD properties.

(4.9 / 5)

Read Review >

Chicago Real Estate School

Students at Chicago Real Estate School can take their Illinois pre-license classes online or at one of CRES’ four Chicagoland locations in Bridgeport, Lakeview, Belmont Cragin, and Rogers Park. Students can choose from a 5-week classroom course, a 2-week accelerated classroom course, or a self-paced online course that covers the 90 hours of required topics to get ready for the exam. The school’s first-try pass rate for the state broker exam is more than 90%.

(3.9 / 5)

Read Review >

Real Estate Express

In Illinois, Real Estate Express offers the required 75-hour pre-license course online with text elements of the lessons that students can print if they want to highlight, make notes, and review on paper. Package options for Illinois students include the basic required course topics plus upgrades like state exam prep and post-license continuing education. All packages include access to an online student forum, a state-approved instructor, and an education concierge. Real Estate Express also offers Illinois exam prep and post-license courses separately.

(3.1 / 5)

Read Review >

Real Estate Institute

The Real Estate Institute gives Illinois students three options for completing the required pre-license hours. The Flex Path option is a self-paced online and textbook program. The other two options are the 8-week Directed-Track course and the 2-week Fast-Track course. These options combine online material with part- or full-time classroom lessons in and around Chicago. All three options include instructor support by phone, tuition financing options, and access to hundreds of online practice questions for the state exam.

(4.1 / 5)

Read Review >

Your House Real Estate Academy

Students in the Chicagoland area can attend Your House Real Estate Academy courses at 35 locations in the city and suburbs—or they can take their coursework entirely online. This school offers frequent start dates for its classroom based courses that can be completed in as little as eight weeks or as long as six months. Students can also attend all-day review sessions to prep for the state license exam. Your House has 37 years of experience and more than 10,000 graduates in Illinois.

(3.1 / 5)

Read Review >

How We Rate the Courses

We look at five major areas to determine our ratings for these selected Illinois real-estate pre-license courses: quality, convenience, comprehensiveness, engagement, and value. Let’s look at each of those in detail.

  1. Quality. We want to know how user-friendly the course is. For campus-based courses, we check to see if the locations and class times work with busy students’ schedules. For online courses, we want to see if the digital platform is easy to log on to and easy to use on a variety of devices. For each course types, we want to see if the textbooks or online technology are up to date, and we look for a curriculum that includes Illinois-specific examples to help students get ready for the license exam and their new careers.
  2. Convenience. Real estate students are busy people, often with full-time jobs, families, and household responsibilities on top of their pre-license classes. Can they work their way through the course on their own schedule? Are there review sessions, topical quizzes, and study groups students can tap into to get ready for their state exam? For online courses, can students use their smartphones as well as their computers to work on their lessons—and can they switch back and forth without losing their class progress? How responsive are tech support and customer service?
  3. Comprehensiveness. There’s a lot to learn before you can pass your license exam and begin your real estate career. Does the course go beyond the basic required topics to give students the details they’ll need pass the course, pass the state exam, and start their new job with confidence? Does the course cover every topic students may see on their state exam?
  4. Student engagement. Real estate lessons don’t have to be dull, and it’s easier to learn when they’re interesting. We look at how the curriculum is presented. Is it presented in textbook or PDF form? Are there online videos, student discussion groups, and interactive learning tools? How quickly can students get answers when they have questions for the class instructors? Does the course include a way for students to track their progress toward the exam?
  5. Value. The final area we look at puts the other four together and also looks at the cost of the course. Does the course deliver the level of instruction and support most students would expect for the price? How do the course tuition and overall quality compare to other pre-license courses we’ve reviewed?