How to Become a Property Manager in Illinois? (income| license| FAQ)

8 Steps to Become a Property Manager in Illinois

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

As a property manager in Illinois, your duties may include finding and screening prospective tenants for a property, negotiating the lease terms. You could also be responsible for rent collection, property inspection, maintenance, repair, providing updates, and communicating with the property owner.

To become a property manager in Illinois, you need to obtain a real estate broker license from the Illinois Division of Real Estate. This requires you to be at least 21 years old, complete 75 hours of pre-licensing education, pass the Illinois Real Estate Broker Exam, and work with a licensed property management company. You also need to submit an application and a $125 license fee to the Division. 

The Illinois Division of Real Estate is responsible for issuing real estate licenses and they also have the duty to ensure public interest can be safeguarded.

If you are interested in knowing about the property management career in Illinois, this is the guide for you. You’ll learn about the steps to become a property manager in Illinois income updates, career outlook, and FAQ about this profession.

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal real estate training. It is for general information only. Please always follow your State laws and best practices.

When choosing a real estate school, I prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. RealEstateExpress is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

8 Steps Become a Property Manager in Illinois 

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent

Step 2: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education

You will need to take 75 hours of pre-license broker education from a school approved by the Illinois Division of Real Estate.

The curriculum consists of three parts, which includes:

  • 60 hours of Real Estate Topics (parts 1 and 2);
  • 15 hours of Applied Real Estate Principles (part 3)

15 hours of the courses are required to consist of situational and case studies. They can be presented in a classroom or, interactive webinar or online distance education.

Step 3: Pass the Illinois Real Estate Broker Examination

Applicant writing real estate Illinois exam

This examination is to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics.

The Illinois Real Estate Broker Exam has 140 questions. The required passing score is 75 and you’ll be given 3.5 hours to write it.

Since these are computerized exams, you’ll immediately know your score after writing them. You only have four attempts to pass the exam. But this should be good enough if you have seriously prepare for it.

RealEstateExpress is an online school that I like. They offer pre-licensing courses and also have excellent exam prep materials. Their programs have a “Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee” in most of the states. That’s how confident they are. You may click here to view their courses. (**)

Step 4: Work for a Property Management Company

After you pass the exam, you must work with a property management company who holds a managing broker license in Illinois. They are the one who would sponsor your real estate license.

However, not all managing brokers provide property management services to their clients. Most brokerages focus only on the buy-sell side of the business. So make sure you find one that specializes in property management in Illinois.

Step 5: Register with the Illinois Division of Real Estate

After you pass the exam, you will be provided with a score report and instructions to apply for the real estate license. You could register your license through the IDFPR Online services Portal. There is a $125 application fee.

Screen shot of the IDFPR website. This is to apply for the real estate license in Illinois
Screen shot of the IDFPR website

Step 6: Go through a background check

The Illinois Real Estate Division needs to protect the public interest, so they will conduct a background check on all real estate license applicants.

To do so, you will schedule an appointment with an approved vendor and submit fingerprints. Then the Illinois State Police will send the results to the Department.

Furthermore, you no longer required to submit a physical copy of the live scan receipt. You just need to enter the 16 digit Transaction Control Number (TCN) on the fingerprint receipt.

I just checked with a vendor and their fee is $60.

Keep in mind that the fingerprints must be taken within 60 days from the date that you send the application to the Department.

Step 7: Complete the Post-License Course 

To enhance your real estate knowledge, you need to complete 45 hours of post-license education. The curriculum would include:

  • Applied brokerage principles (15 hours), 
  • Risk management/discipline (15 hours) 
  • Transactional issues (15 hours) 

You are also required to take a one-hour sexual harassment prevention training.

Step 8: Maintain the Real Estate Broker License

Completing real estate broker post-license requirement in Illinois

You need to renew your real estate broker license every two years. It happens in even-numbered years.

You may do so approximately 90 days prior to the renewal deadline at the Online License Renewal Portal. The Department will email you the renewal details.

In addition to the renewal application, you must complete 12 hours of approved continuing education courses, which includes:

  • 4 hours of Core CE
  • 8 hours of Elective CE (1 hour must be the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training)

The renewal fee is $150 and can be paid with a credit card.

A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Property Manager in Illinois

At least 21 years of age

Have a valid Social Security Number

Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
75 hours of pre-license courses

45 hours of post-license courses

12 hours of continuing education every 2 year
3.5 hours

140 multiple-choice questions

Required passing score is 75
Pre-licensing courses with exam prep approximately $415

Exam fee $55

Background check $60

Application fee $125

How long does it take to become a property manager in Illinois?

Illinois property manager checking continuing education requirement

It takes approximately four to six months to become a property manager in Illinois. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the 75 hours pre-licensing course, exam, background check, application, and get sponsorship by an actively licensed Illinois managing broker.

You may speed up in getting the real estate license by taking online courses. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to finish the pre-licensing education at a quicker pace.

How much does it cost to become a property manager in Illinois?

It costs approximately $655 to become a property manager in Illinois. That is the cost to get the real estate broker license and here is the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses with exam prep is approximately $415
  • Exam fee $55
  • Background check $60
  • Application fee $125

Can you become a property manager with a felony in Illinois?

An applicant with a felony may not obtain a real estate license to becoming a property manager if the Illinois Division of Real Estate determines that the offense is too severe. They would typically be more alarmed on incidents that impact the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character, and integrity.

The Department will evaluate each case independently. They may also require you to provide further documents and explanation about the incident.

According to the Department, more than 95% of applicants in the real estate professions with a conviction have obtained a license. And they had accurately disclosed their conviction on the application.

How Much do Property Manager Make in Illinois?

Researching how much do property manager make in Illinois

Property managers in Illinois make an average annual income of $103,412. It typically range between $89,771 and $118,973. (*) Your earning as a property manager would depend on your skills, knowledge and experience in managing the properties. The type and number of real estate in your managing portfolio may also affect your compensation.

At the beginning phase of your property management career, you could be working as an assistant for a property manager. So your earning could be limited at that time.

But once you have developed the necessary skillset and demonstrated your ability to work independently, there should be a significant improvement to your earning.

(*) Source: Jan 29, 2020

Practical tips to build a property management career in Illinois

Practical tips to build a property management career in Illinois

Tip#1: Obtain the Illinois real estate broker license

Although there are certain activities you may perform without a real estate license, the things you can do are very limited. Once you have a real estate license, you may work under a licensed managing broker in providing key components of property management. For example, rent, list, negotiate property rental agreement, rents collection.

If you want to move up in the field, getting a real estate license is a “must”.

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in getting a real estate license. Your first step is to complete the pre-licensing courses. You should select one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. RealEstateExpress is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

Tip#2: Network with other real estate professionals

Property manager networking with real estate professionals in Illinois

You may consider joining the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). This allows you to connect with other property managers, thus learn from their valuable experience and share ideas with one another. You will also find updates on the housing markets, changes to the laws and regulations.

Another group you may consider is the Illinois REALTORS. It consists of mostly real estate professionals. If you plan to run your own property management company, this can be a great referral source for your business.

Tip #3: Keep up to date with the real estate laws and best practices

Property managers are constantly tasked with new responsibilities and challenges. With the rise of online rental applications, environmental health and safety requirements, it’s important for property managers to be up-to-date on what their renters are looking for in a home.

You may also consider taking the following courses to equip yourself with the property management knowledge. They are offered by Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). IREM is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Even though they are not part of the pre-license education requirement, your enhanced knowledge will help to set you apart from others in the industry.

Tip#4: Start your own property management company

Setting up a property management company in Illinois

Rather than working for someone else, you may consider getting a real estate broker license and start a property management company. This allows you to hire other property managers with a real estate license. Thus, lead to a scalable business model.

However, running a company is very different from working as an employed property manager. You need to figure out all the different aspects of the business, such as marketing, branding, prospecting, hiring, training, and accounting.

The expenses will also be a lot higher. In addition to the broker license, you also need to account for business insurance, staff’s salary and benefits, office rent, furniture, office supplies, software, many more.

To obtain a real estate managing broker license in Illinois, you must:

  1. Be at least 21 years and have a valid SSN;
  2. Have at least 2 years of active real estate sales experience in the past 3 years;
  3. Hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent;
  4. Complete 45 hours of pre-licensing courses from an approved education provider;
  5. Pass the Illinois Real Estate Managing Broker Exam;
  6. Go through a background check;
  7. Submit an application and fee to the Illinois Division of Real Estate (DRE);
  8. Complete the 24 hours CE and license renewal requirement

Here’s a complete guide on how to get a managing broker license in Illinois.

I have more questions about the real estate license, whom should I contact?

You could contact the Illinois Division of Real Estate. Below are their contact info:

They also have two office locations:

  • Springfield Office: Division of Real Estate, 320 West Washington Street Springfield, IL 62786
  • Chicago Office: Division of Real Estate, 100 West Randolph, 9th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR), Division of Real Estate.


  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) (source)
  • Illinois Real Estate Examination Program Candidate Handbook (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Occupational Employment and Wages- Real Estate Agents (source)
    • Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Illinois (source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (source)
  • – Property Manager in Illinois (source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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