How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in South Carolina
Requirements for South Carolina Real Estate Salesperson
To obtain a real estate salesperson license in South Carolina, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years of age or above
- Hold a high school diploma or certificate of equivalency
- Have a legal presence and permit to work in the United States
- Complete 60 hours of the Commission-approved pre-licensing course and 30 hours of Advanced Real Estate Principles course
- Pass the exam
- Complete a criminal background check
SC Real Estate License Costs
- Cost of Real Estate Agent Education in South Carolina: $400 to $600 (approx.)
- Exam Locations: Beaufort, Charleston, Greenville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach
- You can take the real estate exams at PSI Online
- You can join an online real estate school such as Real Estate Express to prepare for real estate agent education.
STEP 1: Prep Education
To pursue a career as a real estate salesperson in South Carolina, you will have to be 18 years of age. You should have completed high school education or an equivalent level. You must have a legal permit to work in the United States.
Before applying for a license, you are required to complete 90 hours of pre-licensing education from a real estate school approved by the South Carolina Real Estate Commission. The first part is “Unit I: Sales”, which is a 60-hour course, on the completion of which you must apply to write the SC Real Estate Sales examination. On passing that, you must complete an additional 30-hour course, “Unit II: Advanced Real Estate Principles”. Only after completing this can you apply for licensure along with the passing score sheets and proof of completion of Unit II.
You can enroll for the pre-licensing education with one of the Commission-approved real estate schools such as The CE Shop or The Real Estate Express. You can take it online or in a classroom session. The course fee ranges from $400 to $600.
There is an online form available on the South Carolina Real Estate Commission site to apply for the exam, which is administered by PSI.
You are exempted from taking the pre-licensing course if you hold a law degree or a four-year baccalaureate degree from a higher education institution where you had real estate as a major. Just provide a transcript to the commission which will be reviewed before you are authorized to apply for the salesperson examination.
Whether a resident or a non-resident, if you hold a real estate license from other jurisdictions, you must still apply and study for and write the South Carolina portion of the course. You will be required to submit certifications of licensure from the jurisdictions where you have held licensure in the last 5 years. You must also have received your license within 6 months before applying in South Carolina.
S.C. Code Section 40-57-115 makes a criminal background check mandatory for all applicants by a source approved by the Commission.
STEP 2: Submit a Completed Application
On completing Unit I, you must apply for the exam, pass that and then complete Unit II. Only after this can you apply for the state license.
To apply for the exam, duly fill the form available online and send it to the Commission along with the real estate school certificates, certification of licensure or qualifying transcript along with the commission approved criminal background report. If you have a license in another jurisdiction, submit proof of that. A bachelor of laws degree or with a major in real estate as well as those who have obtained a Juris Doctor must submit the transcript of the degree program.
These should be sent to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission office along with a check or money order for a non-refundable fee of $25, made payable to SCREC. If the check is returned, then a fee of up to $30 will be levied.
You must also submit identity proof such as a copy of the driver’s license, state-issued ID or your passport. You are required to also submit a copy of your Social Security card and a notarized verification of your lawful presence in the country.
You must also submit a detailed written explanation of any charges you have been convicted for or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a crime. If you have been denied a license/registration ever to practice a profession or occupation in any state or if you have had any disciplinary action taken against your license in any state, provide the explanation in a separate sheet.
The exam application fee to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission is $25. In case of the payment not being honored, you will be levied a fine of up to $30. For a license, the biennial fee is $50.
When registering for the examination, you must also pay a fee of $55 for one portion or $63 for writing both portions to the exam administrator. If you are retaking the exam, then you must pay the fees again.
The fee is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. It is valid only for a period of one year from the time of registering.
Proof of Pre-licensing Requirements
Once you complete your pre-licensing education from a Commission-approved real estate school, you will be given a course completion certificate. This should be submitted as proof when applying for the pre-licensing exam.
You must have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification, which too you must provide as proof. If you have completed your degree in law or had real estate as a major, you must provide the qualifying transcripts or certification. In case you hold a license from any other state, submit the licensure history from those jurisdictions.
A criminal background report from an approved vendor is a must and should be submitted with the application. Also provide identity proof and your Social Security Number. If you are from another country, show your work permit.
STEP 3: Pass the State License Test
You must write and pass the pre-licensing examination within a year of being approved by the Commission to be able to obtain a license. The exam is designed to test your knowledge regarding real estate principles, practices, statutes and regulations and consists of state and national portions. You must pass in both by getting 56 out of the 80 questions in the national portion right and 28 out of 40 in the state portion.
If you do not write or pass in the exam before the year expires since receiving examination eligibility, you will have to reapply to the Commission for taking or retaking the examination with PSI.
Preparing well increases the chances of doing well in the exam. Go through the South Carolina Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin to understand how to approach the exam. Take notes as you study and highlight key ideas to reinforce your learning. Study every day for at least 45 to 60 minutes with focus.
In case you fail, you can retake the exam any number of times in the next one year.
Topics Covered in the Course
- Real Property Characteristics, Legal Descriptions and Property Use
- Forms of Ownership, Transfer and Recording of Title
- Property Value and Appraisal
- Real Estate Contracts and Agency
- Real Estate Practice
- Property Disclosures and Environmental Issues
- Financing and Settlement
- Real Estate Math Calculations
- South Carolina Real Estate Commission and Licensing Requirements
- Statutes Governing the Activities of Licensees and Non-Licensees
- South Carolina Agency and Non-agency Relationships and Issues
- Additional South Carolina Statutes and Topics
- Consumer Protection Code
- Homestead Exemption
- Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
- Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statements
- SC Fair Housing Law
- SC Smoke Detector Law
Time Given to Take the Test
If you are taking both portions of the exam, you will be given 200 minutes to complete 120 questions. For the national portion with 80 questions, you are given 120 minutes and for the state portion of 40 questions, 80 minutes.
Prior to the exam, you will be given 5-10 experimental questions to allow you to get familiar and comfortable with the process. The answers are not scored and the time is not factored into the actual exam time. However, make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time. This will give you time to complete the verification process and also take the tutorial. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to write the exam nor have the examination fee refunded.
Attempt as many questions as you can to be able to increase your chances of passing. Pace yourself and keep track of time to ensure that you have enough time.
At the end of the specified number of hours, the exam will expire. You will be given your scorecard at the center itself.
What to Bring to the Exam
Bring two types of identification to the exam center. One must be a current and valid form of government-issued identification such as the driver’s license, state ID or passport. These have your photograph or a complete physical description and signature.
The second ID is a signature proof with your pre-printed legal name such as your credit card or the debit card. The signature should be visible. The name on the registration form and your Examination Eligibility Form should match.
If, for some reason, you are unable to provide either, call (800) 733-9267 at least 3 weeks before the scheduled appointment and make alternative arrangements to meet this security requirement. If all the required identity proofs are not provided at the venue without prior notification, you will not be eligible to write the exam.
STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License
The first step to getting your license is to complete the 60-hour “Unit I: Sales” pre-licensing education from one of the approved real estate schools. After you write the exam and pass, you must complete the 30-hour “Unit II: Advanced Real Estate Principles” course.
On completing Unit II, apply for licensure along with the course completion certificate and the pass scorecard. You can track the status of the license on the Commission’s website.
STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage
As a licensed real estate salesperson, you are ready to pursue clients and find leads. However, being on your own can make the climb up to establish a successful business very challenging. Working for a well-reputed brokerage firm gives you the advantage of being cushioned in case of failures and increases your chances of success. But, what counts is the reputation of the broker as well. So, research well before you zero in on a few.
Having identified potential brokerages to work with, interview them to find out the one that provides you with the following:
- Training and support
- A fair compensation
- Independence and mentoring
In this context, you will find that you have to make a choice between a national franchise and a boutique firm.
An established national brand allows a local player to use their name and resources for a fee. This instantly provides brand recognition which will look good on your resume. A national franchise also has access to training, technology and support services, which can lubricate your sales process and provide you with more leads.
However, the downside is that being a large organization, you may feel it is too process driven and you do not have enough freedom.
While the scale of operation is much smaller, being localized, the reputation may be just as formidable. You may find the team to be more supportive and the atmosphere more informal. But, the firm may not have as much access to technology and training.
Rarely, you will find firms offering salary and benefits to its agents. It is more common to work on a commission basis. Some firms may offer a fixed salary with a variable commission based on performance. Your professional goal will determine which one works for you best.
Examine the terms of the commission being offered to. Ideally, you should get the higher commission split, but if it is too high, you may be charged desk fees for the support they provide. In the months you do not close a deal, you will have to pay from your pocket.
So read the terms of contract closely and choose a firm where you get a good deal along with training and support. Finally, it should prepare you to face the world on your own when you feel ready for it.
STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements
Before the end of two years since receiving the license, you must complete 10 hours of post-licensing education. Of this, 4 hours must be core credits and 6 hours of electives.
Those with 25 years of active licensed experience can submit a request for Partial Continuing Education Exemption. Those in the military are exempted from CE during the course of active service.
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