Celebrated for its warm temperatures, rich culture, and flavorful cuisine, it’s no wonder South Carolina’s famed hospitality has grown to include a booming real estate industry. The Palmetto State is home to some of the finest beaches and golf courses in all of America, and its abundant real estate opportunities are sure to provide the building blocks for your success as a real estate professional.
But how can you take advantage of this vast market and break into exciting new territory? Well, that’s where we come in. Follow these seven easy steps, and you’ll be launching your career in South Carolina real estate in no time.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina
Complete a 90-hour Prelicensing Course
Pass the Course Final Exam
Apply to Take the Licensing Exam
Pass the South Carolina Real Estate Exam
Complete a Background Check
Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
Complete the Licensing Process
Let’s dive into these steps in a little more detail. Before long, you’ll be helping clients buy and sell single houses in Charleston, cottages in Columbia, or homesteads in the rolling hills of the upstate.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in South Carolina?
It costs approximately $715 to get your real estate license in South Carolina, including your prelicensing education. Some of the costs are fixed, such as the state’s licensing and exam fees, and others vary.
While you don’t need a college degree to become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you must complete the state-specific licensing process. The price of the required 90-hour prelicensing courses (and optional exam prep materials) will vary depending on the provider you choose.
$88 ($25 exam application fee + $63 per attempt)
(South Carolina real estate license costs as of January 2023)
How to Get a South Carolina Real Estate Agent License in 7 Easy Steps
South Carolina requires those seeking a real estate sales associate designation to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be lawfully present and eligible to work in the United States. Most would-be real estate agents have to complete 90 hours of prelicensing education, though if you already have a law degree or a bachelor’s or master’s in real estate, you may be able to skip this process.
Want to know more about how to become a real estate agent in South Carolina? Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
1. Complete a South Carolina Real Estate Prelicensing Course
Time commitment: 1-3 months online; 4 months if taking in-person classes
Prelicensing courses kick off your real estate career, and you’ll have your choice of completing them online or in person. Your choice of course format will depend on your learning style and what suits your schedule best.
The amount of time you’ll need comes down to how much of your schedule you can devote to classes per week. You can complete all 90 hours online; those who study at a faster pace will finish in a shorter amount of time. If you approach it like a 40-hour workweek, you’ll finish in less than three weeks.
The state of South Carolina requires 90 hours of coursework before sitting for the licensing exam. This includes:
- A 60-hour Principles and Practices Course, commonly referred to as Unit I. You must pass this course before you can apply to take your South Carolina real estate exam.
- A 30-hour Advanced Real Estate Principles Course, commonly referred to as Unit II. You can wait until after you pass your real estate exam to take this course, but you must pass this course before you can apply for your real estate license.
Choosing the Best South Carolina Real Estate School for 2023
You’ll need the help of a highly rated South Carolina real estate school to get through this weighty material. Most people choose a real estate school based on the cost and the educational format of the course. Here are the most popular options in terms of course design.
Wherever you live in South Carolina, you should be able to find a real estate school that meets in person during regularly scheduled sessions.
If you’re interested in in-person learning, we recommend checking out Real Estate School for Success. Its classes run full time, half days, evenings, and weekends, so those who want to learn in class have many ways to work it into their schedule.
Classes that meet online at scheduled times are usually broadcast over Zoom (or another videoconferencing tool).
Self-paced Online Classes
On-demand real estate classes are extremely popular for those wanting to become real estate agents in South Carolina quickly. The course material may be presented in a series of slides, videos, and interactive content.
If completing online classes appeals to you, we recommend The CE Shop. They’re a great fit if you’d like a closer look at the online learning format since they offer a free trial.
2. Pass the Course Final Exam
South Carolina is one of the few states that requires a proctored final exam for your prelicensing course. This prelicensing final exam is separate from your state real estate license exam. You need to score at least 70% to pass, though you can take the exam again if you don’t perform well the first time. The prelicensing final exam should be offered by the real estate school you choose, making the proctoring process easy and convenient.
Upon passing the course final exam, you’ll be given a certificate of completion for Unit II. This certificate will let you apply for the real estate license, so be sure to hold on to it.
23 Crucial Real Estate Exam Prep Tips You Need to Know
3. Apply to Take the Exam
Time commitment: 1 hour
Once you complete your course, an application fee of $50 must be submitted alongside your license application to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission. You’ll need to show proof of having successfully completed the 90 hours of real estate education from a school that’s been approved by the commission. The commission will send you a letter confirming your eligibility to schedule an appointment with PSI—the test vendor responsible for administering the exam. The exam fee is $88.
4. Pass the South Carolina Real Estate Exam
$88+ ($25 exam application fee + $63 per attempt)
Time to Complete:
3 hours and 20 minutes
Computer-based, 120 questions
Bring to the Testing Center:
One current government-issued photo ID that includes your signature and exam admittance form
Testing sites for the South Carolina real estate exam are located in the following cities:
Once your exam application is approved, you will receive an examination eligibility letter that’s valid for one year.
You will have 200 minutes to complete this 120-question test. It comprises two portions covering both state and national requirements; 120 minutes will be allotted for the 80-question national portion, and 80 minutes for 40 state-based questions.
Candidates will see if they pass or fail the exam immediately upon completion. Anyone who fails the exam may retake it an unlimited amount of times within one year of their first attempt. Otherwise, you must reapply to the commission before you can register to take or retake the PSI exam.
You cannot take the South Carolina real estate exam online. All students must travel to a testing location where they will be monitored for the duration of the test.
5. Complete a Background Check
Time commitment: 1-2 weeks
The South Carolina Real Estate Commission requires candidates to get background clearance from both the state law enforcement division and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Once you’ve completed your prelicensing education and submitted your application to sit for the South Carolina state licensing exam, the commission will send you instructions on how to get your state and federal criminal history background check.
Time commitment: 2-4 weeks
South Carolina requires that you work under a broker once you’re licensed as an agent. A broker has received additional training, worked successfully in the industry for a minimum period of time, and passed the broker’s license exam.
Finding a broker to work under will feel like applying for a job. Once you’ve landed some broker interviews, you’ll want to ask each broker about the split (how you and the brokerage will divide sales commissions). You’ll find that some brokerages will ask for a 50-50 split on commissions. Usually, brokerages that offer an even split will not charge monthly desk fees.
As a commissioned salesperson, your income entirely depends on your abilities and effort. Some brokerages may offer you 70% of your commissions, a ratio that may rise to 100% after you’ve met a specific sales goal (or cap) for the year.
It’s important to be realistic about your earning potential in the first few months. It takes time to launch your new business. Some new agents choose to work part time so they can still bring in additional revenue as they’re learning the ropes.
Here are some questions to consider during your broker search:
- What is their reputation, both locally and nationally?
- What kind of real estate agents are they looking for?
- Are they technologically advanced and up to date with the latest systems?
- How do they support their agents with education and training?
- What kind of commission structure do they offer?
- Do they provide agents with leads and marketing material?
- Is there room to grow with the brokerage?
Real Estate Broker vs Agent: A Head-to-Head Analysis
7. Complete the License Application
Time commitment: 1-2 weeks
The final step is a simple one. Once you’ve passed your state exam and background check and selected a brokerage, you just have to submit your final licensing application online.
That is, unless you haven’t yet completed your Unit II education yet. While applicants only need Unit I to take the South Carolina state exam, completion of both units is required to become a licensed real estate professional.
Within one year after passing the examination, applicants must submit proof that they completed all of their prelicensing education requirements along with a $50 license fee and the exam score report and license application (which is provided by PSI).
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina: FAQs
Still not sure about the path forward? Get answers to common questions about how to become a real estate agent in South Carolina below.
Is the South Carolina real estate exam hard?
While the majority of students pass their real estate exam on the first try, a passing score isn’t guaranteed; 56% of test takers pass the national portion of the exam on their first try, and 47% pass the state portion on their first try. Test companies, however, boast higher numbers for students who enroll in their courses. Be sure to pay attention during your prelicensing course and take studying seriously. If you put in the proper effort, you should pass on your first attempt. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay another $63 to take the test again.
What if I have a real estate license from another state?
South Carolina offers full license reciprocity with all 50 states and lowers the standard requirements for licensed attorneys. That means anyone with an out-of-state real estate license can expedite the South Carolina licensing process.
Individuals with an active real estate license in another jurisdiction must complete the following steps to become a real estate salesperson:
- Pass the South Carolina state portion of the real estate exam
- Submit certifications of licensure from those states where you have an active real estate license within the prior five years
- Have been licensed within six months prior to applying for a South Carolina license
- Complete the 30-hour Unit II course
How long does it take to become a real estate agent in South Carolina?
The average amount of time that people take from start to finish is generally three to six months. The two steps that take the most time when getting your license are prelicensing classes and test preparation.
If you already have a law degree or a bachelor’s or master’s in real estate, you may be able to skip these classes. This opportunity is also available to those who are licensed to sell real estate in other states. You can learn more about this process at the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s website.
Can I get my South Carolina real estate license online?
Do real estate agents make good money in South Carolina?
According to ZipRecruiter, real estate agents make an average of $70,115 in South Carolina.
Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the area and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.
Other significant details you should consider are brokerage fees and commissions. Usually, this is a fixed percentage between you and your brokerage. Commission is shared between you and your broker based on a negotiated ratio that will be fully outlined in your contract. While this may differ based on several factors, a common commission split is 70% to the agent and 30% to the broker.
What are the pros & cons of becoming a real estate agent in South Carolina?
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