The Illinois REALTORS® has a Consumer Help Line to try and resolve questions relating to real estate transactions.
While this service is not set up to offer legal advice, it does provide an opportunity for the association to help answer basic questions and work to resolve some complaints consumers might have with the association's members.
The service is one more example of the importance REALTORS® place on handling real estate transactions with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity.
What is the Consumer Help Line? The program serves as an intermediary in disputes or questions that relate to real estate transactions. The service, which is free to consumers, allows Illinois REALTORS® to tap the expertise of experienced real estate professionals who are trained in problem solving. These professionals, called ombudsmen, can provide guidance on what steps to take, suggest resources for additional help and in some cases can act as an intermediary in resolving basic problems.
Who qualifies to use the service? Anyone who has a real estate question or problem relating to a transaction involving a REALTOR®. It’s important to note that not all who sell real estate are REALTORS®. If you have an issue with someone who is not a REALTOR®, you would need to contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Illinois REALTORS® who have disputes with other association members are also welcome to use this service.
Can the Homeowner Help Service provide legal advice? No. But the association's ombudsmen can provide resources and answer basic questions. In some cases, the association’s ombudsmen may be able to contact agents and work out problems without having to go through a more formal complaint process. They might also recommend that the consumer seek legal counsel.
What’s the advantage of using the service? The association has found many disputes are easy to resolve and don’t require a formal hearing process. Since a formal hearing process can be lengthy, the Consumer Help Line may be able to offer speedier resolution to some disputes.
Who are these ombudsmen? Illinois REALTORS® Help Line selects individuals who are well established as real estate experts with a commitment to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, and who understand the role communication plays in making any real estate transaction work. Ombudsmen undertake additional training to serve in this important role.
How long does the process take? Illinois REALTORS® will usually review the request the day it is received and refer it, if necessary, to an ombudsman. An ombudsman will typically contact you within one business day. He or she will make at least three attempts to contact you regarding the submitted question. Every case is different, but the program’s stated purpose is to quickly resolve issues.
What do I have to tell the ombudsman? In order to best serve you, you will need to complete this form or call the association’s Help Line at 217/529-2600 which is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Be prepared to share the name(s) of the REALTOR® involved, key dates, the property’s address and your telephone number and email address.
What if my issue is with someone who is not a REALTOR®? The Help Line can only provide guidance in cases involving someone who is an assocaition member. That’s because to be a REALTOR® a person has to take additional training beyond what Illinois requires to obtain a real estate license. In other words, not all who sell real estate are REALTORS®, but those who belong pledge to adhere to a Code of Ethics which is often stricter than what the Illinois Real Estate License Act allows or requires of all real estate licensees.
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday
Not every real estate licensee is a REALTOR®.
The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
Illinois real estate licensees are licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), Bureau of Real Estate Professions and governed by the Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000 (225 ILCS 454).