If you want to get a real estate license in South Carolina for the first time, you’ll need to know about the state real estate commission’s education requirements. These classes can be taken online or in person.
Education for new licensees in South Carolina is broken up into two units. Unit I covers 60 hours of training. Often referred to as the “pre-Licensing” or the “Principles” course, it prepares you for the state licensing exam. Once you pass the exam, you must complete Unit II, a 30-hour “Advanced Real Estate Principles” course, before you can apply for your real estate license.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from both units.
Before You Start
Before getting into the education content, there are some basic requirements you should know. First, to apply for a real estate license in the state of South Carolina you must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or equivalent educational certificate.
In addition, if you have a law degree or bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in real estate, you do not need to take the pre-licensing course (Unit I) to get your license. You also don’t need to meet the experience requirements for a broker’s license, either.
What You’ll Find in Unit I
The commission-approved Unit I course covers the basics of real estate practice every agent must know. Topics include:
Real property: Here, you’ll learn about the elements of real property, rights, forms of ownership, estates and tenancy, land use controls, transferring ownership, and more.
Business ethics: This section touches on working by the Golden Rule, recognizing right from wrong, personal values, company policies, and ethical decision making.
Laws affecting real estate, government controls: You’ll learn about real property tax laws, fair housing laws, truth in advertising, lead disclosures, and many other state and federal laws that affect real estate practice.
Real estate finance: This section touches on types of lenders for real estate purchases, lending instruments, mortgage provisions, types of loans, underwriting, credit and consumer protections, and many more fundamentals of real estate financing.
Real property pricing: This module covers valuation and appraisal, comparative market analysis, and many other aspects that influence property valuation.
Settlement and closing: Here, you’ll learn about contract basics, disclosures, recording, escrow, common terms, and other topics related to finalizing a sale.
Agency and broker relationships: This section covers laws associated with how agents should engage with other brokers and agents and the contractual nature of the relationship, in addition to agreements and authorities of agency and non-agency relationships in South Carolina.
Contracts: Here’ you’ll learn about contract characteristics, requirements, brokerage agreements, purchase and sales contracts, option-to-buy contracts, misrepresentation/fraud, lease/rental agreements, and more.
Rachel Cooper, a South Carolina real estate broker with Next Home Specialists, found the business ethics coursework incredibly valuable. In fact, it helped shape her philosophy on how she practices real estate.
“That class led me to change my outlook on my entire career,” Cooper said. “I move forward with the motto, ‘Humans Over Houses.’ As an agent puts ethics and people over the money to be earned, they will see their career excel and their lives improved.”
After successful completion of the 60-hour course, you can enroll to take your test conveniently online or in person. Once you pass the exam, it’s on to Unit II!
What to Expect in Unit II
Completion of Unit II, or “Advanced Real Estate Principles,” is required by anyone who has passed the state real estate exam, and must be completed prior to applying for licensure. The goal of the second unit is to help a licensee become “more proficient in the practice of real estate and to reinforce pertinent topics so as to protect the public when involved in a real estate transaction,” according to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s curriculum description. Unit two involves five modules:
Agency and Property Disclosure. Upon completion, the student should be able to explain agency and property disclosures to a consumer. The student should also be able to design a disclosure procedure outlining appropriate documentation and behaviors.
Real Estate Contracts. After this, a student should be able to critique and analyze a variety of real estate contracts.
Ethics and Real Estate. This portion teaches a student to assess the facts of a situation, explain the ethical choices involved, and state the reasoning for a choice.
Measurements and Valuation. After completion, a student will perform a market analysis and demonstrate the ability to do basic calculations in measuring property.
Real Estate Specialty Topics. Here, a student chooses one specialty topic of interest and must demonstrate proficiency after the course is taken. The topics include:
Investments and taxation
Commercial real estate
Closing process and procedures
Elements of construction
Consumer beneficial real estate technology
Theory and Application
The primary distinction between the two units of South Carolina real estate education is that the first unit gives an aspiring licensee the foundational information, while the second unit teaches him or her how to apply that knowledge to real-world scenarios. Both units can be taken online in the comfort of your own home.
However, once you complete these two courses, don't think your education stops there.
“The best education in my real estate career has been experience," said Cooper. "While continuing education helps maintain my knowledge on laws, ethics, and ins and outs of contracts, nothing beats experience."