imageThe Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s main computer system is down for a week — starting today, February 21 — so some productivity enhancements can be installed.

You need to be aware of what this means:

1. ONLINE license services, such as applications, renewals, address changes, upgrades, and reinstatements will not be available from February 21 through February 26. After that, due to the probable backlog, expect delays as well. Online services are expected to resume on Wednesday, February 27.

2. PAPER license services for the same things will be delayed by at least a week — after all, it’s the same computer system on the backend, someone is just entering your data for you.

If you’re updating your license, working with an applicant, or otherwise making changes to anything connected to real estate licensure, expect delays.

Forms filed by mail or online before close of business on February 20 should have been processed, according to Jeffrey Williams, board administrator for real estate at DPOR. “We’ve worked some pretty serious overtime in the past couple of weeks,” he said, in order to be caught up. Still, if you submitted something online or by mail after February 20, it will most likely not be processed for at least a week.

We know that it’s frustrating — in this age of one-click ordering and instant approvals, we’re used to administrative things happening quickly. But cut DPOR some slack. A system being used by thousands of people from hundreds of professions isn’t going to go online in a matter of minutes, and hiccups will happen.

Be prepared, leave some extra time, and soon enough things will be back to — or better than — what you’re used to.

So what will be new?

While much of the change will be on the back end — ways for DPOR to manage its staff more effectively and “make sure the team is operating as efficiently as possible,” as Williams put it — licensees will see some changes.

The online renewal process will be a bit different (it will require an e-mail address now), and the DPOR website will offer some new tools. Those include a more-robust license lookup system; you’ll be able to see quickly what continuing education you’ve completed, for example, and look up everyone affiliated with any firm. Those and other improvements will be rolled out slowly as DPOR gets comfortable with how the system is operating.

Worried? Try not to be. The changes won’t be earth-shattering, and Williams pointed out that there is already helpful information included with license-renewal cards. DPOR will also have a dedicated phone number — and a dedicated team available to answer questions (“Press 3 for online help and online renewals registration”).