Illinois Association of Realtors

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Consumer/REALTOR® Dispute Resolution

Illinois REALTORS® is here to help

Real estate transactions can be complex. For members of the public, it helps to have someone knowledgeable about real estate practices to answer basic questions or work to resolve minor disputes.

Sometimes a member is unable to resolve a dispute with another member. Illinois REALTORS® has a team of Ombudsmen who work with consumers and REALTORS® to resolve disputes.

How it works: Any member of the public or an association member who has a question about or dispute with a REALTOR® can get assistance. The case will be assigned to a specially trained Ombudsman who will work with a complainant to resolve the issue.

Since it was founded in 2013, the program has seen nearly three-fifths of complaints handled to the satisfaction of all parties involved.

The program does not offer legal advice, but Illinois REALTORS® representatives can offer guidance on next steps to take, resources for information and can act as an intermediary in some disputes. The program has been able to clean up numerous misunderstandings and/or communication issues since its inception.

How to file a complaint

Fill out the online form with contact information and an overview of the facts of your question or dispute. 

Have a question?

Call Illinois REALTORS® at (217) 529-2600 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (Closed major holidays). 

Learn more about the Ombudsman Program

Here are frequently asked questions about how Illinois REALTORS® works to resolve disputes through the ombudsman program. 

  • What is the Illinois REALTOR® Ombudsman Program?

    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 program 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?

    Illinois REALTORS® 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 association's Ombudsman Program may be able to offer speedier resolution to some disputes.

  • Who are these ombudsmen?

    Illinois REALTORS® program 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 the form on this website, or if you have questions, call 217/529-2600 between 9:00 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 Illinois REALTORS® Ombudsman Program can only provide guidance in cases involving someone who is an association 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 requires of all real estate licensees.