This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Getting your South Carolina real estate license can be done in eight simple steps. You must complete 90 hours of South Carolina Real Estate Commission (SCREC)-approved prelicensing education, submit an exam application, complete a background check, find a sponsoring brokerage, and finalize your license application. Follow our step-by-step guide to become a real estate agent in South Carolina.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your South Carolina Real Estate License
To become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you must meet state-required mandates. You need to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and be a lawfully admitted resident of the U.S.
Did you know?
South Carolina accepts licensees from other states. However, you must pass the South Carolina portion of the real estate exam, hold your license for six months before applying for reciprocity, get a background check, complete a verification of lawful presence affidavit, and submit an application. If you live in Georgia, you must specifically submit the Georgia application.
Also, South Carolina is a cooperative state in terms of portability. It allows out-of-state real estate agents or brokers to enter the state to conduct real estate business physically. However, for out-of-state agents to work on a real estate transaction, they must have a co-brokerage agreement with a licensee of that state. To learn more about real estate license portability in South Carolina, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
If you have a criminal record, you may still be able to get your real estate license in South Carolina. On your application, you are required to disclose if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime or sanctioned by a licensing agency, along with a full explanation and paperwork regarding the offense. The SCREC will review your application and investigate your background to decide whether you’re eligible for licensure. This process may result in a delay in processing time.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
If you meet the state requirements for licensure, you can start your prelicensing education. The 90 hours of SCREC-required coursework is split into two sections: 60 hours of Unit I Sales and 30 hours of Unit II Advanced Real Estate Principles.
Unit I must be completed prior to taking the South Carolina real estate exam, but Unit II can be taken after you’ve passed the exam and before applying for licensure. However, the Commission requires that both units are completed at an accredited real estate school prior to finalizing your license application. Prices range from $375 to $649, depending on your school and learning format, but each school will cover the following topics:
- 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
- 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
Did you know?
If you hold a law degree or majored in real estate at a college or university, you do not have to take the prelicensing courses. When you apply, submit a transcript as evidence of your education to bypass the 90-hour requirement.
Kaplan is a great choice for high-quality, affordable education to meet the South Carolina real estate license requirements. It offers self-paced and on-demand classes to appeal to a variety of learning styles. In addition, it provides exam preparation and tools like interactive study groups, professional coaching, and case studies to give you a full understanding of how to be successful in your real estate career.
3. Submit the South Carolina Exam Application
After you’ve completed your prelicensing education, you must submit the South Carolina Exam Application either via paper or through the Labor Licensing Registration website portal. Along with the application, you must mail in or upload the following documents:
- Copy of a state-issued photo ID (driver’s license or passport)
- Copy of Social Security card
- Notarized Verification of Lawful Presence
- Certificate of completion from your real estate school or transcript of previous college education
- Criminal History Explanation form (if applicable)
You will also be required to pay the exam application fee of $25. If mailing the application, include a check or money order made payable to SCREC. If submitting online, you can pay using a Visa, Mastercard, or online check through the portal.
4. Take the South Carolina Real Estate Exam
After you’ve submitted your South Carolina exam application, you will receive an Examination Eligibility letter that allows you to take the licensing exam. The exam is separated into the national and state portions. You must pass both in order to move forward with the process. The exam is administered on the computer, so you will receive the exam results immediately after completing the test.
If you pass, you will receive a successful notification displayed on the screen and printout from the exam center. If you fail, you will receive a diagnostic report that indicates your strengths and weaknesses, so you can study to retake one or both failed portions of the exam. You can retake the exam as many times as necessary within a one-year period of the eligibility letter date.
South Carolina Real Estate Exam Details
80 nationally focused questions
40 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification (ID) with signatures:
70% to pass the South Carolina Real Estate Salesperson Exam, with at least 56/80 on the national portion and 28/40 on the state portion
56% on the national portion
47% on the state portion
Schedule Your Exam
The South Carolina real estate exam is provided by the PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams. You will be able to register for the exam as soon as you receive the Examination Eligibility letter from the SCREC.
To begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the PSI website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal. You will receive a copy of the South Carolina Candidate Information Bulletin for additional testing information. The fee to take the exam is $63 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card. If you require a retake, the cost is $63 for both portions or $55 for one portion.
According to The CE Shop, the pass rate is 56% for the national portion and 47% for the state portion, so you need to make sure you’re prepared for test day. PrepAgent provides real estate agents with study tools like e-books, flashcards, and vocabulary worksheets to make sure they feel confident to pass the exam. In addition, learning formats, such as video, self-paced, audio, and live webinars, aid students with a variety of learning environment options.
5. Get Fingerprints & Complete Background
All applicants are required to obtain state and national criminal record checks from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Instruction for this process and fee amounts will be emailed to applicants after the initial exam application is received and processed.
A valid application must be on file with the SCREC before having your criminal background reports sent to the Commission. If there is no application on file, the background check will be disposed of after 90 days. The report must be uploaded or mailed to the SCREC with the final application. For more information, read through the SCREC Criminal Background Information form.
6. Pick a Company to Work For
To hold an active license in South Carolina, you must find a sponsoring brokerage to affiliate your license. To make your choice a little bit easier, check out our in-depth article explaining how to choose a real estate company to work for. Although there are many successful brokerages in the Palmetto State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2022:
Collins Group Realty
Collins Group Realty
Hilton Head Island
The Stacey Sauls Group
Keller Williams Realty
Keller Williams Realty
The Joan Kelly Group
Keller Williams Realty
Chris Facello Group
Carolina One Real Estate Services
(Source: Real Trends 2022)
South Carolina Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2022
As a real estate professional, it’s important to be knowledgeable about the price points in the immediate and surrounding areas where you work. By knowing this information, you’ll be able to represent buyers and sellers effectively as well as estimate your profits. To get a sense of which cities are bringing in the bucks in South Carolina, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
7. Finalize Your South Carolina License Application
After you’ve found a sponsoring brokerage, you’re ready to finalize your South Carolina real estate license application to activate your license. Since you’ve already completed your exam application, you’ll just need to upload a few more documents to the Labor Licensing Regulation portal in order to complete the application.
You’ll need to include your passing exam scores for the national and state portions of the real estate exam as well as $50 for the license fee, which is biennial. Applications are processed within seven business days.
8. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you’re ready to start your professional real estate journey. For more information, here are some of our articles with content that is perfect for new real estate agents:
- Our article with 14 real estate agent tips covers the basics that every agent should know when they are starting out, including how to write a real estate business plan.
- Learn how to generate real estate buyer leads.
- Get nine strategies to help with real estate seller lead generation.
- Jump-start your career with the top 25 new real estate agent tips from the pros.
- Get the tools you need to build a strong real estate business out of the gate using the best real estate software and tools.