How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina? (license| exam| income)

Real Estate Agent Showing Prospective Female Buyer Around Property

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

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.

To become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old, complete the 90 hours of pre-license courses, pass a salesperson exam, go through a background check, register with 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.

Before you decide to pursue further in this profession, it’s important to know what the role of a real estate salesperson is. To put it simply, an agent acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller in order to facilitate the sale or purchase of property.

They help clients find homes that meet their needs and negotiate contracts with sellers for those homes and vice versa. Some agents also help clients in searching for a rental property or lease out their units.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate salesperson in South Carolina, income figures, career updates and FAQ on 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.

When choosing a real estate school, I prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. RealEstateExpress is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

A Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson in South Carolina


At least 18 years of age

Have a valid Social Security Number
90 hours of pre-license courses

10 hours of continuing education each renewal period
110 questions

180 minutes

Required passing score: National Portion 56/80 and State Portion 21/30
Pre-license courses fees – $420 to $570 (approximately)

PSI exam fee – $63

Registration fee $25

Background check fee- $25

License fee $50

7 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina

real estate agent giving key to home buyers

Step 1: Meet the eligibility 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 equivalent
  • No prior work experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the pre-license education

Now you should enroll with an approved course provider to complete 90 hours of pre-license 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.

Study Tip: When choosing a real estate 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 Real Estate Salesperson Exam

The South Carolina Real Estate Salesperson Exam has 110 questions and you’ll have 180 minutes to complete it. It consists of the National Portion and State Portion. The required passing score for the National Portion is 56/80 and 21/30 for the State Portion.

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

  • A Verification of Lawful Presence Form
  • An online application.
  • 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

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

Step 4: Affiliate with a real estate broker

real estate agent meeting broker

Before you submit the license application, you need to find with a real estate broker who would sponsor your license.

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. A good mentor can teach you a repeatable and systematic process in running your business profitably.

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:

Step 5: Register with the South Carolina 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 pass the exam. It typically would take 5 to 10 business days to process your application. The license fee is $50.

Step 6: Go through a background check

The South Coraline Real Estate Commission is responsible for issuing licenses to real estate salesperson and brokers. To protect the public interest, all real estate salesperson 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.

After you submit the application, the SC Real Estate Commission will provide you with instructions on how to obtain fingerprint background checks.

Step 7: Maintain the real estate license

All SC real estate licensees must renew their 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.

To remain an active real estate license, you must also 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.

You should renew your license before the expiry date, else, there will be a late fee of $15 per month.

Want to know whether being a real estate agent is a good career path? I connected with several real estate professionals, and they shared their thought and experience of this industry with me. You may read their valuable insight here.

Here is more info on the South Carolina Real Estate Exam

writing real estate exam

Real Estate Exam Summary

Examination Portion# of ItemsTime AllowedRequired Passing Score
Salesperson-National80 (80 points)120 minutes56
Salesperson- State30 (30 points)60 minutes21

National Portion Exam Content Outline

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

State Portion Exam Content Outline

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

Sample 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.

B. Which of the following statements BEST identifies the meaning of the term, “rescission of a contract”?

1. A ratification of a contract by all parties.

2. A return of all parties to their condition before the contract was executed.

3. A transfer or assignment of a particular responsibility from one of the parties to another.

4. A review of the contract by the legal counsel of either party that may result in a cancellation without penalty or further obligation.

C. Which of the following clauses in a mortgage allows the lender to demand loan repayment if a borrower sells the property?

1. Defeasance

2. Prepayment

3. Acceleration

4. Alienation

Quoted from the South Carolina Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin

RealEstateExpress is an online school that I like. They offer pre-licensing courses and also have excellent exam prep materials. Their programs have a “Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee” in most of the states. That’s how confident they are. You may click here to view their courses. (**)

FAQ about the South Carolina Real Estate License

reviewing real estate contract

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in South Carolina?

It costs approximately $733 to get a real estate salesperson license in South Carolina. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Pre-license courses fees – $420 to $570 (approximately)
  • PSI exam fee – $63
  • Registration fee $25
  • Background check fee- $25
  • License fee $50

The above are just the costs of getting the license. But to start a real estate business, there will be other expenses involved such as MLS subscription, E&O premium, phone, internet, and office supplies.

Also, 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 four months to become a licensed real estate agent in South Carolina. But it also depends on the time it takes the applicant to complete the pre-license course, exam, application, and get sponsorship by a licensed real estate brokerage.

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 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. However, you must submit the transcript to the Commission for approval.

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 Unit 2 (Advanced Real Estate Principles) – 30 hours.

Can a felon be a real estate salesperson in South Carolina?

The South Carolina Real Estate Commission would put into consideration of the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character and integrity. Whether a felon can be a real estate agent in South Carolina is subjected to how the licensing commission evaluates the case.

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 real estate license with a felony record. In there, you’ll find practical ideas which could help your application.

How to become a commercial real estate agents in South Carolina?

To become a commercial real estate agent in South Carolina, you must be at least 18 years old, complete the 90 hours of pre-license courses, pass a salesperson exam, go through a background check, register with the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Basically, it is the same requirement as we just went through because most states do not issue separate licenses for residential and commercial agents.

Still, if you are going to pursue a career as a CRE agent, you should look for a brokerage that could give you the right support and resources. After all, most firms are focusing on residential property rather than the commercial’s.

Here’s the “Complete Guide to a Commercial Real Estate Agent Career“, where I cover the career outlook, earning potential, and valuable feedback from CRE agents. Be sure to check it out.

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

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

Real Estate Career Updates 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 annual income of $45,550, typically range between $29,260 and $51,280. Top 10% of high-earning real estate sales agents are making over $69,080 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.

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020)

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

Is being real estate agent a good career in South Carolina?

Being a real estate agent can be a good career in South Carolina if you enjoy running a self-employed business, interacting with different people and have flexible work hours.

According to the RedFin, as of May 2021, there were 7,189 homes sold, and the median sales prices was $279,900. All these figures went up when comparing to the year-over-year period. As I’m reviewing the data now, it seems that the demand far exceeded the housing supply. In fact, 37.8% of homes were sold above the list price.

These transaction volume shows a significant demand for real estate agents. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), there were 5,850 real estate sales agents in South Carolina, which worked out to be 2.903 sales agent per 1,000 jobs.

However, there are always people succeeding and failing in each industry. The utmost importance is how you can remain competitive in the real estate market.

Check out this article: 30 Practical Tips to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent!

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

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in getting a real estate license. Your first step is to complete the pre-licensing courses. You should select one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. RealEstateExpress is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

(**) 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 Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Agents (Source)
  • RedFin – South Carolina Housing Market (source)
  • Real Trends (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.

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