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.

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How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina
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Complete a 90-hour Prelicensing Course
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Pass the Course Final Exam
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Apply to Take the Licensing Exam
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Pass the South Carolina Real Estate Exam
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Complete a Background Check
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Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
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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.

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Quick Facts
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Prelicensing Course:

$400-$650

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License Application:

$50

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Exam Registration:

$88 ($25 exam application fee + $63 per attempt)

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Exam Retake:

$63

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Background Check/Fingerprinting:

$50

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Total Costs:

$588-$801

(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

Cost: $400-$650
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. 
Related Article
Choosing the Best South Carolina Real Estate School

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.

In-person Classes

Wherever you live in South Carolina, you should be able to find a real estate school that meets in person during regularly scheduled sessions.

ProsCons
  • Interactive; you can easily ask questions
  • More expensive than online classes
  • Meet other students and enjoy a shared experience
  • Headaches of commuting
  • Easy access to the instructor
  • Finding courses that fit your schedule

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.

Visit Real Estate School for Success Now

Livestream Classes

Classes that meet online at scheduled times are usually broadcast over Zoom (or another videoconferencing tool).

ProsCons
  • Best for those needing an in-person instructor who are unable to travel
  • Finding classes that fit your schedule
  • No inconvenient commutes; great for people who live far away from in-person schools
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should
  • Ability to ask questions in real time
  • Little to no interaction with other students

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.

ProsCons
  • Classes can be taken at your convenience
  • Instructors only accessible via email, chat, or phone (if at all)
  • Can complete the courses at your own pace
  • No interaction with others in the profession
  • No commute; available anywhere with an internet connection
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should
  • Often the least expensive option

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.

Visit The CE Shop Now

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.

Related Article
How to Study for the Real Estate Exam: Tips & Strategies

3. Apply to Take the Exam

Cost: $50
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

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Quick Facts
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Cost:

$88+ ($25 exam application fee + $63 per attempt)

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Time to Complete:

3 hours and 20 minutes

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Format:

Computer-based, 120 questions

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Bring to the Testing Center:

One current government-issued photo ID that includes your signature and exam admittance form

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Passing Grade:

70%

Testing sites for the South Carolina real estate exam are located in the following cities:

  • Greenville/Spartanburg
  • Columbia
  • Charleston
  • Beaufort/Hilton Head
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Charlotte, NC

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

Cost: $50
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. 

6. Select a Sponsoring Broker

Cost: Free
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 offer benefits?
  • Do they provide agents with leads and marketing material?
  • Is there room to grow with the brokerage?
Related Article
Real Estate Broker vs. Agent: A Head-to-Head Analysis

7. Complete the License Application

Cost: $50
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.







More Career Resources From The Close

Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you’re likely to have more questions. Luckily, The Close is here to answer them for you.

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