To get a real estate license in SC, first you’ll need to familiarize yourself with exam registration and prelicensing course requirements. Then, complete a background check, take the prelicensing courses, and pass the licensing exam. Finally, complete the remaining education requirements before submitting your final license application and choosing a sponsoring broker-in-charge.
1. Understand South Carolina Real Estate Requirements
The process for getting your real estate license in South Carolina (SC) is similar to what is required by other states, although the specific requirements differ. You must be 18 years of age or older and have at least a high school diploma or GED to be eligible to become an agent, however, applicants do not need to be a resident of South Carolina to apply for a license.
In addition, you’ll need to meet the following requirements to become a real estate agent in South Carolina:
- Fingerprinting and background check: Applicants must submit to a background check prior to submitting an application for the licensing exam. This can be done through an online portal.
- Prelicensing courses: Aspiring agents must take 90 hours of real estate education in various national and state-specific subject areas like property and contract law, agency principles, and real estate financing.
- Professional experience: Applicants for a salesperson license do not need to have any real estate experience prior to taking the exam.
- Fees: Applicants must pay $40 for a background check, $63 to register for the exam, and $75 in application fees. Aspiring agents must also pay for state-approved prelicensing courses (course costs vary by provider).
2. Undergo a Background Check
South Carolina requires salesperson license applicants to undergo a background check before applying to take the licensing exam. To complete this process, visit SR&I, a pre-employment services company, and submit your information through the Authorization for Release of Information. You will be asked to create an account, provide background information, and pay a fee of $40.
Once you submit the online form, it takes 72 hours to complete the background check. You will receive an email when the check is complete, and can review a complete report on SR&I’s dashboard.
3. Complete Prelicensing Coursework
There are 90 required hours of real estate prelicensing courses to get a real estate license in SC, including 60 hours of Real Estate Principles courses before you register for the licensing exam. After completing the coursework, you will receive a certificate of completion to submit as part of your examination application.
You must also take 30 hours of prelicensing coursework, which can be taken after passing the exam but must be taken before you can apply for a license. These classes cover subjects like real estate principles, practice, and calculations. For more information, visit the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s website.
For real estate course recommendations, read our article on the best online real estate schools.
4. Familiarize Yourself With the Exam
Before registering for the South Carolina real estate license exam, check out the state-specific and national subjects that will be tested. The salesperson exam has a total of 110 multiple-choice questions covering both national and state-specific content. Questions are broken up into 15 general topic areas, so make sure you spend extra time on the challenging ones.
Review South Carolina-specific Content
The South Carolina-specific portion of the salesperson licensing exam includes 30 questions, and you will have one hour to answer them. Questions cover topics including laws of agency, fiduciary duties, financing, transfer of property, and more.
The state-specific subjects covered on the South Carolina real estate salesperson exam are:
- South Carolina licensing requirements
- State statutes governing activities of licensees
- Agency and non-agency relationships
- Homestead exemption
- Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
- Vacation Rentals and Time-sharing Plans Acts
Review General Practice Areas
In addition to state-specific real estate knowledge, South Carolina test-takers must answer 80 multiple choice questions that cover national real estate topics. You will have two hours to answer the national questions. Subject areas cover property and contract law, financing and real estate calculations, property disclosures, and general agency principles.
Subject areas covered on the national portion of the exam include:
- Property ownership
- Land use controls and regulations
- Valuation and market analysis
- General principles of agency
- Property disclosures
- Leasing and property management
- Transfer of title
- Practice of real estate
- Real estate calculations
To be confident in your study methods, you might consider using online tools and resources that guarantee a passing test. With Real Estate Exam Scholar, you can get instant access to over 1,200 practice questions for only $29. Check out their quizzes, flashcards, and glossaries for your SC real estate license below.
5. Study for the Real Estate Exam
The South Carolina real estate exam has both national and state-specific content. The prelicensing courses are a great introduction to the information you need to pass the exam. However, it’s recommended that you take an exam prep course so you have access to additional review materials like online lectures, flashcards, subject outlines, and practice exams.
Take a Real Estate Exam Prep Course
To master all the necessary subjects for your SC real estate license, you need to learn and apply the information quickly. Taking a real estate exam prep course can simplify the studying process and make it easier to digest large volumes of study materials. Prep courses typically cost $29 to $200 and offer outlines, lectures, and online communities to help aspiring agents prepare for the licensing exam.
If you work hard and take the courses seriously, you should be able to pass the exam. However, if you want additional help with studying, check out the Exam Prep Master program from Real Estate Express. You get practice exams, real estate math questions, and hundreds of real estate definitions to help you successfully pass your exam. In fact, if you don’t pass your exam on the first try, you get your money back. Click below to get started.
Master Sample Questions & Practice Exams
After you familiarize yourself with exam topics, dedicate time to answering practice questions and taking full-length, timed practice exams through an online exam prep provider. By doing so, you will review important information, learn how content will be tested on the exam, and identify challenging subjects.
Here are some sample real estate license SC exam questions provided by testing proctor PSI:
1. Which of the following interests in property is held by a person who is granted a lifetime use of a property that will be transferred to a third party upon the death of the lifetime user?
A. A life estate
B. A remainder estate
C. An estate for years
D. A reversionary estate
Answer: A. A life estate
2. Which of the following statements BEST identifies the meaning of the term “rescission of a contract”?
A. A ratification of a contract by all parties
B. A return of all parties to their condition before the contract was executed
C. A transfer or assignment of a particular responsibility from one of the parties to another
D. A review of the contract by the legal counsel of either party that may result in a cancellation without penalty or further obligation
Answer: B. A return of all parties to their condition before the contract was executed
3. Which of the following clauses in a mortgage allows the lender to demand loan repayment if a borrower sells the property?
Answer: D. Alienation
4. How much cash MUST a buyer furnish in addition to a $2,500 deposit if the lending institution grants a 90% loan on an $80,000 property?
D. None of the above
Answer: A. $5,500
5. Which of the following single-family residences would get the MOST accurate appraisal by applying the reproduction cost approach to value?
A. A rental property
B. A vacant property
C. A new property
D. An historic property
Answer: D. An historic property
6. Apply & Register to Take the Licensing Exam
After you study for the exam and are confident you’re ready to take the test, complete and submit an application to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission (SCREC) to take the exam. Once you’re deemed eligible to take the exam, you can register for a test date online.
Apply to Take the Real Estate Licensing Exam
You must apply to take the South Carolina Real Estate license exam through the SCREC. To apply, visit SCREC’s online application portal and pay the initial application fee of $25. Once you submit your application to take the exam, it will take an average of five to seven business days for the Commission to process and approve your materials.
Register for an Exam Date
After the SCREC approves your application to take the exam, register for an exam date and location through PSI’s online portal. The registration fee for both the state and national portions of the salesperson exam is $63; one portion is $55. Processing times vary depending on how you register. Online and telephone registrations will be immediate, fax registration can take up to four days, and mail registration takes up two weeks.
Exams are offered Monday through Saturday at these testing locations throughout the state:
- Beaufort/Hilton Head
- Myrtle Beach
We suggest studying for the exam first and then registering for an exam date when you feel prepared. However, you have one year to take the exam after your application is approved by the Commission, and you may take the exam an unlimited number of times within that year. For more information on the registration process and for a copy of the registration form, visit the Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin.
7. Take & Pass the Licensing Exam
On the day of your exam, arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before the exam is scheduled to begin so you can complete the sign-in procedures. The exam will be administered on a computer and you will have the opportunity to complete an introductory tutorial before starting the actual examination. Once the exam starts, one question will appear at a time. Complete the exam in the allotted three hours, then wait for the pass or fail notification.
The materials you should bring to the testing center include:
- Primary form of identification: You must present at least one valid form of government-issued identification (driver’s license, state ID, or passport) with your signature and a photograph or complete physical description.
- Second form of identification: The second ID must have your signature and preprinted legal name. Both forms of ID must match the name on your registration form and Examination Eligibility Form.
- Examination eligibility form: After applying to take the exam with the South Carolina Real Estate Commission, you will receive an examination eligibility form that is good for one year. Bring a copy of this document to the testing center and make sure the name matches the name on both forms of personal identification.
- Registration form: Print the confirmation you receive after registering for the exam and bring it with you to the testing center. As with the Examination Eligibility Form, the name on the registration form should match the name on both forms of your ID.
- Nonprogrammable calculator: Test-takers may use a nonprogrammable calculator that is silent and battery-operated. The calculator may not have paper tape printing capabilities or a keyboard containing the alphabet.
Items you are not permitted to bring with you into the examination room include:
- Personal items: You should not bring cell phones, purses, wallets, lapel pins, tie tacks, backpacks, briefcases, or suitcases to the testing center. These items must be placed in the secure storage provided before you enter the room.
- Food and drink: No food or drink is permitted at the testing locations.
- Study materials: Applicants should not bring any of their study guides, books, flashcards, or other study materials to the testing center.
- Electronics: Tablets, portable computers, PDAs, calculators, cameras, video or digital recording equipment, watches, or other items deemed inappropriate by proctors are prohibited.
To pass the salesperson exam, you must answer 56 national questions and 21 state questions correctly. You will be notified of whether you passed immediately following the exam. Test-takers who pass the exam are not informed of their final score. However, those who don’t pass are notified of the actual score and the percentage of questions answered correctly in each subject area.
If you do not pass the exam, you must re-register to take the exam at a future date. If you retake the exam within one year of your initial application, you do not need to re-apply through the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s office; simply schedule a new testing date via the PSI portal. You may register for and retake the exam an unlimited number of times within your year of eligibility.
8. Complete Advanced Coursework
In addition to completing 60 hours of prelicensing education requirements, applicants must take 30 hours of Unit II: Advanced Real Estate Principles courses. These classes may be taken before you register for and pass the licensing exam, but are not required until after you pass the exam and are preparing to submit your final license application. Visit the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s website for more information about available Unit II courses.
9. Choose a Sponsoring Agency or Brokerage
To work as a licensed real estate agent in South Carolina, you must be sponsored by a broker-in-charge who is licensed to oversee agents in the state. Fulfill this requirement by identifying a sponsoring broker as part of your completed license application. If you already have a relationship with a brokerage or have a mentor in the industry, this decision may be simple, but we compiled data on top performing teams in the state to give you a starting point.
According to Real Trends, top real estate teams in major South Carolina markets include:
Real Estate Team
Sales Volume (2018)
RE/MAX Realty Professionals
Real Estate Team
Real Estate Team
Myrtle Beach, SC
Real Estate Team
Visit our in-depth guide to choosing the right agency for more information on how to research, vet, and select real estate agencies.
Consider SC Real Estate License Reciprocity & Portability
If you’re licensed in another state, a South Carolina resident, and want to get a real estate license in South Carolina, you must meet the same general age, education, examination, and experience requirements as new agents.
If you’re not a South Carolina resident and are licensed elsewhere, you may qualify to take the licensing exam without taking the prelicensing courses. Agents licensed in other states must also submit a Certificate of Licensure with a license history, a summary of your education, and disclosure of disciplinary actions from other states where you held or hold a license.
Agents who are already licensed in Georgia and want a South Carolina license can avoid taking the licensing examination by completing a Salesperson License by Reciprocity Application, meeting various administrative requirements, and obtaining an SCREC-approved criminal background report.
For more information on how to apply for a South Carolina real estate license as an out-of-state agent, visit the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s website.
10. Submit Your License Application
After passing the real estate licensing exam, you have one year to apply for your salesperson’s license and identify a sponsoring broker-in-charge to sponsor you. A license application will be provided by PSI after you pass the exam. To finalize your salesperson application, submit a license fee of $50, your exam score report, a completed application form, and proof of a sponsoring broker.
11. Keep Up With Continuing Education Requirements
All real estate licensees in South Carolina are required to take 10 hours of continuing education courses every two years. Agents must take four hours of core classes (such as 3Ps of Professionalism) and six hours of electives, which include subjects like fair housing and property management.
Once you earn your license and are ready to take continuing education courses, check out McKissock Learning through Real Estate Express. They offer continuing education packages approved by the South Carolina Real Estate Commission and boast excellent reviews from users. Plus, McKissock offers non-credit courses to help you with subjects like social media marketing. Click here to learn more about McKissock’s continuing education options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I get my real estate license in SC?
To get a real estate license in South Carolina, undergo a background check, complete prelicensing coursework, apply to take the licensing exam, and register for a test date. Once you take and pass the exam, complete your advanced licensing courses, identify a sponsoring broker, and submit your application for a real estate license.
How much does a real estate agent make in SC?
On average, real estate agents in South Carolina earn a salary anywhere from $23,500 to $91,110, depending on the number of transactions, commissions paid to their brokerage, and how commissions are split. South Carolina brokers typically make an average of $95,566 per year. Visit our guide to real estate agent salaries for more general information.
How much does it cost to get a real estate license?
The cost of applying for a real estate license varies. Typical costs include prelicensing education costs, application fees, background check fees, exam registration fees, and costs for exam prep software. In South Carolina, salesperson license applicants must pay $75 in application fees, $63 for exam fees, $40 for a background check, and between $400 and $600 for prelicensing education.
Which states have real estate license reciprocity with South Carolina?
Full real estate license reciprocity with South Carolina is available for agents who qualified for reciprocity by written exam in Georgia and hold an active real estate license in Georgia. Agents must complete a Salesperson License by Reciprocity Application, provide numerous administrative requirements, and obtain a SCREC-approved criminal background report.
Bottom Line: How to Get a Real Estate License in SC
To earn a South Carolina real estate license, applicants must pass a background check, meet prelicensing course requirements, and pass the exam. Prior to submitting a final license application, aspiring agents must also identify a sponsoring broker-in-charge who will provide oversight as you build your career. Finally, agents and brokers must take continuing education courses every two years to maintain an active license.