A career in real estate offers a flexible work schedule, job satisfaction, and unlimited income potential. And you don’t even need a college degree to become a licensed Realtor in South Carolina.
But what does it take to launch a real estate career? Here’s how you can become a Realtor in South Carolina.
What Is a Realtor®?
Did you know that “real estate agent” and “Realtor” actually mean different things? A real estate agent is someone with a state license to practice real estate sales. A Realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). So all Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. The question is, should you become a real estate agent, or should you take the extra step to become a Realtor?
Why Become a Realtor?
Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than your average real estate agent because Realtors are held to the NAR Code of Ethics. Buyers and sellers in-the-know choose Realtors over real estate agents every time because of this added accountability. Taking the extra step to become a Realtor gives you instant credibility.
But credibility isn’t the only benefit to becoming a Realtor. You’ll also get:
- Increased networking opportunities,
- Ongoing professional training,
- And legislative advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.
Before You Become a Realtor, You Must Become a South Carolina Real Estate Agent
Getting your South Carolina real estate license gets you about 95% of the way toward becoming a Realtor in South Carolina. So let’s start with the steps you need to complete to become a licensed South Carolina Real Estate Agent:
1. Meet the basic qualification requirements.
You must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and have legal authorization to live and work in the U.S.
2. Pass a background check.
South Carolina requires that all licensed real estate professionals complete a background check. A criminal conviction on your record doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a license, but the South Carolina Real Estate Commission (REC) wants to know about any criminal issues.
3. Complete Unit I of your pre-licensing education.
You’ll need to complete a 60-hour pre-license real estate course from a state-approved educational provider.
4. Apply to take your real estate exam.
Before you can sit your South Carolina real estate exam, you must complete an online exam application.
5. Pass the exam.
You can schedule your exam directly with the exam proctor, PSI. You’ll need to correctly answer 56 out of 80 national questions and 21 out of 30 state questions to pass. You are allowed multiple attempts if you don’t pass on the first try.
6. Complete Unit II of your pre-licensing education.
There’s an additional 30-hour pre-license advanced course you’ll need to complete before you can apply for your real estate license.
7. Find a sponsoring broker.
South Carolina requires that all real estate sales agents operate under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker.
8. Apply for your South Carolina real estate license.
When you pass your real estate exam, PSI will give you the application for your real estate license. You have one year from the date of your exam to complete Unit II of your education and find a sponsoring broker so you can apply for your real estate license.
Taking the Extra Step to Become a Realtor
Once your real estate license has been issued, the only remaining step to becoming an official South Carolina Realtor is to join your local chapter of the Association of Realtors. Simply complete the application to join and pay your new membership dues. By joining your local association, you’ll automatically be a member of the South Carolina Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.
Is There a Downside to Becoming a Realtor?
The one downside to being a Realtor is the annual expense. The membership dues vary by location since local associations set their own dues amounts. Every Realtor in South Carolina pays local dues, state dues, and national dues, which totals several hundred dollars annually.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to become a Realtor in South Carolina. Becoming a Realtor isn’t required, but it’s generally a good idea as long as you can afford it.
You can always start with your real estate license and become a Realtor once your business gets going. Don’t let the annual Realtor dues keep you from starting your new career as a real estate agent!