As the state Bureau of Professional and Occupations Affairs transitions real estate licensees to the Pennsylvania Licensing System, known as PALS, we have received a number of questions about the application process. PAR recently reached out to Bureau Commissioner Ian Harlow, who provided an update on the changes going on at the bureau office. The following is a summary of the information he provided in response to some of our questions:
- All license renewals must now be handled online through the PALS system; paper renewals are no longer being accepted. In the first week since renewals opened, about 11 percent of the nearly 57,000 real estate licenses have accessed the system to complete their renewal.
- Most applications for new licenses are currently available online. The one main real estate form currently not online is the change of employer form, which is still in development.
- In the next few months, paper applications will no longer be accepted for any license. The cutoff date for paper forms won’t be before June 1, and licensees should receive a notice from the bureau letting them know of the new processes that will be in place. In the meantime, paper applications can be mailed or dropped off at the processing kiosk at State Real Estate Commission office, though the kiosk will be closing for lunch between 12-1 p.m. every day.
- Existing paper form submissions have a backlog of about six weeks. The bureau is currently in the process of adding several permanent and temporary staff positions to address the backlog and to maintain a much shorter turnaround time in the future. Licensees will improve processing time if they can submit as much as possible electronically through PALS.
- Phone wait times have varied greatly depending on staffing, call volume and the amounts/types of questions being asked. Licensees who need assistance are encouraged to utilize the online help resources. The “support” button at the top of the page will take licensees to an extensive help center that explains the overall system and gives information on specific topics. Each of those help topics then has a “looking for something else” option that allows them submit a message directly to a help desk. Help desk requests are typically answered within 24 hours.