How to Become a Property Manager in South Carolina? (license| exam| income)

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So are you thinking of becoming a property manager in South Carolina? That’s great! Then here’s a complete career guide for you.

To become a property manager in South Carolina, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, complete the 30 hours of pre-licensing courses, pass the South Carolina Property Manager exam, go through a background check, register with the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.

SC Real Estate Commission is the governing body that issues licenses to property managers and regulates the real estate industry. South Carolina is one of the few states that have a standalone property manager license.

Before you decide to pursue further in this profession, it’s important to know what the role of a property manager is.

As a property manager, your duties may include finding and screening prospective tenants for a property, negotiating the lease terms. You could also be responsible for rent collection, property inspection, maintenance, repair, providing updates, and communicating with the property owner.

Although there is a Property Manager-in-Charge license, this guide will focus on the steps on getting a property manager license, which is the entry license level. So you may begin your career by joining a licensed property management firm. I will also cover the income updates and other FAQs about this profession.

But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal real estate training. It is for general information only. Please always follow your State laws and best practices.

A Table Summary of Becoming a Property Manager in South Carolina


At least 18 years of age

Have a valid Social Security Number
30 hours of pre-licensing course

50 questions

90 minutes writing time

Required passing score 70%
Pre-license courses fees – $280 (approximately)

Exam fee – $63

Application fee $25

License fee $125

Background check fee- $25

7 Steps to Become a Property Manager in South Carolina

property manager giving key to home buyers

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Be lawfully present and eligible to work in U.S
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • No prior work experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the pre-licensing education

You need to complete 30 hours of pre-licensing courses from an approved course provider. The course should cover topics such as Property Management Laws, trust accounts, rental act, management agreements and much more.  

Study Tip: When choosing a pre-licensing school, consider one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever.

Step 3: Pass the South Carolina Property Manager Exam

The South Carolina Property Manager Exam has 50 questions and you’ll have 90 minutes to complete it. The required passing score is at least 70%.

The exams are administered by PSI and the registration fee is $63.

This exam is to test your knowledge of subject matters in real estate property management, practice, real estate instruction, and regulatory issues. To help you better prepare for it, I’ll include more details about the exam content later in this post.

On the day of the exam, you should bring 2 forms of identification. One must be a VALID government-issued photo ID with your signature. (i.e., Driver’s License, State ID, Passport). Another one must have your signature and preprinted legal name.

Your result will appear on the computer screen immediately after writing it.

Step 4: Affiliate with a Property Manager in Charge

property manager meeting broker

After you pass the exam, you must work with a property management company who holds the “Property Manager in Charge” license in South Carolina. This is the firm who would sponsor your property manager license.

At the time that I’m writing this guide, I can see many job postings looking for property managers. You may search through job forums such as ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn.

There are many property companies out there, but not all are suitable for you. As you start in this industry, it will help if you work for a company that could provide you with proper training and mentorship. And you would likely start out working as an assistant to a property manager.

Rather than having you reinvent the wheels, an established property management company can show you a standard procedure in working with clients.

Step 5: Register with the South Carolina Real Estate Commission

After you pass the exam, you must apply for the property manager license within one year. You may submit the application through the licensing online portal.

It typically would take 5 to 10 business days to process your application. There is a $25 application fee and a two-year license fee of $125.

Step 6: Go through a background check

The South Coraline Real Estate Commission is responsible for issuing licenses to property managers. To protect the public interest, all applicants must pass the background check before obtaining a license.

According to the S.C. Code of Laws 40-57-115, the Commission will obtain state and national fingerprint-based criminal records checks from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). There is a $25 fee.

Step 7: Maintain the property manager license

All SC property manager licensees must renew their license biennially. Doing so online is the quickest and most convenient way to get it processed.

In addition to the online application, there will be a renewal fee of $55. You should renew your license before the expiry date, else, there will be a late fee of $15 per month.

Here’s a snippet of what a property manager thinks about this career

“I’ve been a property manager for six years, and for three years before that, I was an admin and then an assistant property manager. Being a property manager is an excellent career. The schedules are long days but flexible. If you are a parent, you will be able to attend your kid’s functions as long as you are willing to work late to make up. It’s not a micro-managed industry, so you must have the drive and high standards all on your own, else you won’t last very long. The mistakes are bigger and cost more money than other real estate lines, but the pay is great, and you can create the life balance you need if you work at it.

My advice to someone wanting to get into property management is to learn everything you can as soon as you can. Take advantage of resources and lean on experience people’s knowledge and experience.”

– Nandi Cavil, Commercial Property Manager at Cushman & Wakefield

Here’s another post where you can read more on Nandi’s thoughts about the property management profession. In there, you can find my research and analysis on this career path and valuable insights from other property managers.

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  • How much do property managers make?
  • How to start a property management company?
  • Smart ways to streamline a property management business
  • Practical business practices for your daily operation (i.e. tenant screening, rental listing, property management software.)
  • and many more…

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Here is more info on the South Carolina Property Manager Exam

Writing property manager exam

South Carolina Property Manager Exam Content Outline

I. Laws Affecting Property Management (18 questions)

  • A. License Law
  • B. Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • C. Safety, Environment, and Disclosures
  • D. Anti-trust
  • E. South Carolina Vacation Rental Act
  • F. Trust Accounts
  • G. Credit Laws

II. Property Manager, Owner, and Tenant Relationships (13 questions)

  • A. Management Agreements
  • B. Agency Issues
  • C. Property Maintenance
  • D. Risk Management and Insurance
  • E. Rental Agreements
    • 1. Types, Elements, and Provisions
    • 2. Renewals and Terminations

III. South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (15 questions)

IV. Additional Areas of Property Management (4 questions)

  • A. Condominiums
  • B. Commercial Properties
  • C. Math

Sample Questions

To give you a better idea about the property manager exam, below are some sample questions for your reference.

A. In what kind of store lease is the monthly rent based on the amount of business done by the tenant?

1. Net

2. Gross

3. Ground

4. Percentage

B. Which of the following actions on the part of the landlord would be considered “distraint”?

1. Attaching the wages of a tenant for rent in arrears

2. Seizing a tenant’s personal property for rent in arrears

3. Preventing agents from showing a rented unit to a sales prospect

4. Restricting the use of the rental property by prohibiting certain uses

C. Which of the following elements MUST be included in a property management agreement?

1. Period the contract is to run

2. Owner’s objectives for the property

3. List of current tenants

4. Provisions for the extension of the agreement past the initial period

Quote from South Carolina Property Manager Candidate Information Bulletin

FAQ about being a Property Manager in South Carolina

reviewing real estate contract

How much does it cost to get a property manager license in South Carolina?

It costs approximately $518 to get a property manager license in South Carolina. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Pre-license courses fees – $280 (approximately)
  • Exam fee – $63
  • Application fee $25
  • License fee $125
  • Background check fee- $25

You may want to invest into exam prep. This can increase your chance in passing the exam on the first try, so that you don’t need to waste time and money in retaking it.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in South Carolina?

It takes approximately two months to become a property manager in South Carolina. But it also depends on the time it takes the applicant to complete the pre-licensing course, exam, application, and get sponsorship by a licensed Property Manager in Charge.

You may speed up in getting the real estate license by taking online courses. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to finish the pre-license education at a quicker pace. Online application submission will also eliminate the mailing time.

Is there any pre-licensing education exemption for property license applicant?

If you hold a law degree or a 4-years bachelor’s degree majoring in real estate, then you could be exempted from taking the property manager pre-licensing courses. However, you must submit the transcript to the Commission for approval.

Can a felon be a property manager in South Carolina?

The South Carolina Real Estate Commission would put into consideration of the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character and integrity.

Although, certain convictions could be the reason for license denial, not all criminal record will automatically prevent you from being able to be licensed.

Whether a felon can be a property manager in South Carolina is subjected to how the licensing commission evaluates the case. It is also possible for applicant to appear before the Commission for an Application Hearing.

But don’t get discouraged as everyone has a past. The most important is that you can demonstrate that you will serve the public in a fair, honest, and open manner.

Here’s another post that covers how to apply for a license with a felony record. In there, you’ll find practical ideas which could help your application.

How much do property manager make in South Carolina?

Real estate career

Property managers in South Carolina earn an average annual income of $94,925, typically range between $82,400 and $109,208. Top 10% of high-earning real estate sales agents are making over $122,212 per year.(*)

At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you probably would not make a lot, because it takes time to build up the client base and established trust with the prospects.

As you continue to gain experience and sharpen your business skills, you should be able to notice a significant improvement to your earning.

Furthermore, your earning potential as a real estate agent would depend on the price range of the properties that you work with, the number of transactions you could complete, the commission splitting schedule with the real estate brokerage and other factors.

Here’s salary guide you may be interested. In there, you’ll find the income figures for residential and commercial property managers. What makes one earn more than others? How do education, experience, and certification play a factor in earning?

(*) Source: (May 2021)

If I have more questions about the SC property manager license, where can I get help?

You could contact the South Carolina Real Estate Commission at

  • Board Email:
  • Board Phone: (803) 896-4400

Career Tips for Property Managers in South Carolina

property managers meeting couple clients

Get enhanced education on property management

You could be feeling lost when starting in this field. One of the best to equip yourself to get the proper education from a trusted provider. 

You may also consider taking the following courses to equip yourself with the property management knowledge. They are offered by Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). IREM is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Even though they are not part of the pre-license education requirement, your enhanced knowledge will help to set you apart from others in the industry.

Stay up-to-date with the real estate laws

Property managers are constantly tasked with new responsibilities and challenges. With the rise of online rental applications, environmental health and safety requirements, it’s important for property managers to be up-to-date on real estate laws and regulations.

For example, can you charge an application fee? Is it okay to run a background check on to prospective tenants? What happen if the tenants violate the lease agreement? Who will be responsible for the maintenance, repair or damages?

Here are some real estate laws and programs you should become familiar with:

Connect with other real estate professionals

Property managers networking with real estate professionals

You may consider joining the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). This allows you to connect with other property managers, thus learn from their valuable experience and share ideas with one another. You will also find updates on the housing markets, changes to the laws and regulations.

Another group you may consider is the South Carolina REALTORS. It consists of mostly real estate professionals. If you plan to run your own property management company, this can be a great referral source for your business. They also have great resources such as the classes, events, housing reports and industry updates.

So do you find this guide helpful? If so, please share it!

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact the South Carolina Real Estate Commission or your real estate broker.


  • South Carolina Real Estate Commission (source)
  • South Carolina Property Manager Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • – Property Manager in South Carolina (source)
  • South Carolina REALTORS (source)


  • Jacob Coleman

    Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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