How to Get a Real Estate License in South Carolina?

Real Estate Agent Showing Prospective Female Buyer Around Property

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So are you thinking of becoming a real estate agent? That’s great!

Being a real estate salesperson is a rewarding career. You’ll have the flexibility in setting your work hours and conduct businesses in the way you want.

Your duty as a salesperson is to assist your clients in different real estate transactions such as buying/selling/renting properties. You will be working in the best interest of your clients and providing them with professional real estate advice.

So how to get a real estate license in South Carolina? To obtain a real estate license in South Carolina, you must complete the required pre-licensing courses, pass the real estate exam, and register at the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.

SC Real Estate Commission is the governing body that issue licenses to real estate sales agents, brokers, and regulate the industry.

If you are interested in knowing about a real estate career in South Carolina, then this is the guide for you. You’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate agent and broker, but you will also find helpful information such as the salary, career outlook and a list of top real estate firms in South Carolina.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina?

To become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you must complete the 90 hours of pre-licensing courses, pass the salesperson exam, and register at the SC Real Estate Commission.

Below are the steps in more details.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien, but you don’t need to be a SC resident to apply
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a high school diploma or higher education
  • No prior work experience is needed

Step 2: Go through the Background Check

All real estate salesperson must pass the background check before they can obtain a license. Therefore, you should go through this step before spending time studying and preparing for the exam.

You could do so online through SR&I. They are a criminal record check service provider approved by the SC Real Estate Commission. You would need to fill out the online form on their website. There is a $40 fee.

Once your form is submitted, it would take them about 72 hours to complete the report. Once it is is ready, you could access it on their website.

SC Real Estate License Background Ch
Screen capture from the SR&I website.

If you have any questions about the background check, you could use the live chat feature on their website.

Step 3: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education

Now you should enroll with an approved course provider to complete 90 hours of pre-licensing courses. The courses are broken down into two units.

Unit #1: Real Estate Principles and Practices (60 hours)

  • You must complete it before writing the real estate exam

Unit #2: Advanced Real Estate Principles (30 hours).

  • It is broken down into five modules. (6 hours each)
  • You have the option to take it before/after passing the exam. But it must be completed before getting the salesperson license.

You could find out more info at the LLR Real Estate Commission Pre-licensing Course Calendar.

Study Tip: When choosing a real estate school, we prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. You could find more helpful details on our education resources page.

Step 4: Pass the South Carolina Real Estate Salesperson Examination

This examination is to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics. You could find more in-depth details about the real estate exam later in this post.

Step 5: Find a Sponsoring Real Estate Broker

Before you submit the license application, you need to find with a real estate broker who would sponsor your license. But don’t rush into working for just any broker.

When choosing a real estate brokerage, many people only focus on the commission split, but there are many other factors you also need to consider. For example,

  • What type of training will they provide?
  • Will they equip you with the skills in finding qualify prospects and closing a sale?
  • Is there a shared office space you could use?
  • Can the brokerage provide you with adequate administrative and marketing support?
  • Will they provide you with leads to work on?
  • Do they utilize up-to-date technology (i.e.: CRM, software subscription) to streamline the daily workflow.

All these would be extremely important especially at the beginning phase of your career. We will also list out the top real estate brokerages in South Carolina later in this post.

Step 6: Register with the SC Real Estate Commission

After you passed the real estate exam, PSI will provide you with the license application. You’ll must complete it within one year from the date you passed the exam. It typically would take 5 to 10 business days to process your application. The license fee is $50.

How to Become a Real Estate Broker in South Carolina?

real estate broker license requirement

Once you have established a solid client base and develop the necessary skills, then you could consider taking your business to the next level by becoming a real estate broker.

This allows you to build a team of sale agents, where your brokerage could be providing training, marketing, administrative support, office space, and a subscription to industry software. In return, you would get a share of the commission from the transactions that your real estate sales associates handle.

So how do you become a real estate broker in South Carolina? To become a real estate broker in South Carolina, you must complete the 60 hours of pre-licensing courses, pass the broker exam, fulfill work experience requirement, and register at the SC Real Estate Commission.

Below are the steps in more details.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement

You’ll need to be at least 21 years old, have a valid Social Security Number and hold a high school diploma.

Step 2: Fulfill the Work Experience Requirement

Before you apply for the broker license, you need to be an “Active” licensed real estate agent for at least 3 years within the last 5 years.

Step 3: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education

You need to complete the 60 hours of Broker pre-licensing courses from a Commission approved education provider. It should consist of:

  • Unit 3A – Brokerage Management Course (30 hours)
  • Unit 3B – Brokerage Principles Course (30 hours)

Step 4: Pass the SC Real Estate Broker Examination

The Broker exam is to test your level of real estate knowledge. It contains 110 questions, and you’ll be given 3 hours to complete it. I’ll cover more details about its registration steps, the content of the exam and include some sample exam questions. You could find them by clicking this link.

Step 5: Register with the SC Real Estate Commission

After you pass the real estate exam, PSI will provide you with the license application. You’ll must complete it within one year from the date you passed the exam. It typically would take 5 to 10 business days to process your application.

The broker-in-charge license fee is $250 or $125 for a broker license. You’ll also need to submit the PSI score report.

Take a Closer Look at the SC Real Estate Examinations

writing real estate exam

The salesperson and broker exams are two separate tests. However, their format is so similar so that I’ll talk about them here all at once.

Exam Registration

The exams are administered by PSI. To register, you’ll need to:

  • Submit the Verification of Lawful Presence Form
  • Complete the Online Application. You’ll also need to provide
    • Registration fee is $25
    • PSI exam fee $63
    • Copy of driver license, state issued ID or passport
    • Copy of social security card
    • Official transcript of the pre-licensing courses completion
    • Criminal background check report

Here’s a complete guide in helping you to pass the exam in the first try.

Content of the SC Real Estate Exams

The salesperson exam consists of 110 questions, whereas the broker exam has 115. Both exams allow you to have 180 minutes to complete. Each test consists of the national and state portions.

Real Estate Exams Summary

Examination Portion# of ItemsTime AllowedRequired Passing Score
Salesperson-National80 (80 points)120 minutes56
Salesperson- State30 (30 points)60 minutes21
Broker- National75 (80 points)120 minutes60
Broker- State35 (35 points)60 minutes25

National Portion Exams Content Outline

Exam ContentWeighting (Salesperson) Weighting (Broker)
Property ownership8%10%
Land use controls and regulations5%5%
Valuation and market analysis 7%7%
General principles of agency 13%11%
Property disclosures 6%7%
Leasing and Property Management 3%5%
Transfer of Title 8%7%
Practice of real estate 13%14%
Real estate calculations10%8%

State Portion Exams Content Outline

  • South Carolina Real Estate Commission and Licensing Requirements (Salesperson-5 Items, Broker-5 Items)
  • Statutes Governing the Activities of Licensees (Salesperson 10 Items, Broker-10 Items)
  • South Carolina Agency and Non-agency Relationships and Issues (Salesperson-10 Items, Broker-10 Items)
  • Additional South Carolina Statutes and Topics (Salesperson-5 Items, Broker-5 Items)
  • Closing Details (Broker-5 Items) (Broker only)

Tip for Passing the Exam: Doing practice questions is one of the best ways to prepare for the real estate exam. It helps you to familiarize with the questions and exam format. You could find the exam prep providers that we like on our resource page.

Sample Salesperson & Broker Exam Questions

To give you a better idea about the real estate exam, below are two sample questions for your reference.


A. 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?

1. A life estate.

2. A remainder estate.

3. An estate for years.

4. A reversionary estate.


Scenario: You are hosting an open house. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Martin come into the house. You greet them and show them the house. The Martins tell you the house is exactly what they are looking for and they are very interested in purchasing it. You then give them information showing the various types of financing available with down payment options and projected payments. Mr. Martin tells you they have been working with Mary Hempstead of XX Realty, a competing real estate company. Before leaving, you thank them for coming and give them your business card.

A. The first thing on Monday morning, Mrs. Martin calls and indicates they have tried to reach Mary and cannot. They indicate they have a written buyer’s agent agreement with Mary’s broker. They are afraid someone else is going to buy the house. Which of the following should you do? Select the best answer.

1. Seek advice from your supervising broker.

2. Tell them to come to your office.

3. Ask them to bring the buyer’s agency agreement to you for your interpretation.

4. Tell them to be patient and continue trying to reach Mary.

5. Tell them to call Mary’s supervising broker or branch manager.

6. Tell them you are really sorry, but there is nothing you can do

Quoted from the South Carolina Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin

Real Estate Career Outlook in South Carolina

Real estate career

How Much do Real Estate Agent Make in South Carolina?

Real estate agents in South Carolina earn an average yearly salary of $52,070, typically range between $25,650 and $98,440(*)

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

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

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.

There are 4500 real estate agents in South Carolina, which is the 11th state with the highest number of real estate agents. It works out there are 2.238 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (*)

(*) Source: Bureau of Labour Statistics May 2017

[Read: Real Estate Agent Salary Guide – What Makes a 6 Figures Earner?]

Which Cities has the Most Real Estate Business Opportunities in South Carolina?

CitiesPopluationMedian Home Price
North Charleston111,593$171,300
Mount Pleasant92,867$433,400
Rock Hill77,269$171,300
Summerville (-)50,658$218,900
Goose Creek (-)45,321$187,900
Hilton Head Island40,482$372,000

The median sale price of homes in South Carolina is $176,700, with a listing price per square foot of $129. The median monthly rent in South Carolina is $1,350.

Source: (April 2019); Note: When we cannot find the median sales price, we would use the Zillow Home Value Index labeled as (-)

Top Real Estates Brokerage in South Carolina

If you want to be one of the top real estate agents, then you should learn from the best. Having a high sales volume is one of the key indicators. After all, if no one is paying for your services, then you just have a hobby rather than a real business.

Below are the top real estate brokerages in SC based on their sales volume in 2018.

CompanyCitySales Volume
Carolina One Real EstateNorth Charleston$2,788,696,129
Keller William Realty Fort MillFort Mill$1,030,696,131
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner, REALTORSGreenville$1,011,836,582
Charter One RealtyHilton Head Island$806,372,459
The AgentOwned Realty Co.Mt. Pleasant$776,904,282
Keller William RealtyMt. Pleasant$751,959,215
Coldwell Banker CaineGreenville$689,684,747
ERA Wilder RealtyColumbia$653,408,936

Data Source:

Related Questions about the SC Real Estate License

reviewing real estate contract

Is there any pre-licensing education exemption for real estate 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 real estate prerequisite courses or meet the work experience for Broker license. However, you must submit the transcript to the Commission for approval.

How do I renewal my SC real estate license?

You are required to renew the license biennially. The SC Real Estate Commission strongly recommend you to do so online, as this is the quickest and most convenient way to get it processed.

In addition to the online application, there will be a renewal fee of $45 for salesperson, and $55 for broker. You should renew your license before the expiry date, else, there will be a late of $15 per month.

Here’s more info about the SC real estate license renewal.

What are the SC Continuing Education (CE) requirement?

To remain an active real estate license, you must obtain 10 hours of CE credits during each renewal period. They must consist 4 hours of mandatory core course along with 6 hours of electives.

For Broker-in-charge license, there will be

  • 8 hours of mandatory courses (BIC Duties and Responsibilities)
  • 2 hours of elective courses

If I hold a real estate license in another state, how does it work in obtaining one in South Carolina?

This question has two different answers. It really depends on whether you are an SC resident or not.

If you are NOT a South Carolina non-resident, then you just need to write the SC portion of the real estate exam.

If you have been a resident of South Carolina for more than 6 months, in addition to passing the real estate exam, you’ll need to complete:

  • For salesperson license: Unit 2 (Advanced Real Estate Principles) – 30 hours
  • For broker license: Unit 3A and Unit 3B (60 hours)

As for Broker work experience requirement, not only you’ll need to be actively licensed for a minimum of 3 years in the last 5 years, you also must be licensed within the 6 months before the SC application.

Where can I find real estate school?

We included some helpful details on our education resource page. You could find the real estate school and exam prep providers that we like.

If I have more questions about the SC real estate license, where can I get help?

You could contact the South Carolina Real Estate Commission at

Alternatively, you could post your comment blow, then we’ll try our best in finding out the answers for you. (Note your comment will be displayed publicly.)

Final Thoughts about the Real Estate Career in South Carolina

Becoming a real estate broker could be a rewarding career. Not only in terms of financial sense, but you also get the chance of meeting many new people and working on different properties every day.

[Read: 30 Tips to become a Successful Real Estate Agent]

If you decide real estate is the career that you want to explore further, your first step is to take the real estate pre-licensing courses. However, don’t select just from any school that comes along the way.

You should find one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. We prefer schools that provide online-courses so that you could take them anytime and anywhere that is convenient for you. Here’s our education resource pagefor your reference.

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

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.


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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