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Can a Felon Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina?

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Becoming a real estate agent can be a lucrative and stable career in South Carolina, but the first step to such a successful career is obtaining a real estate license in your desired location. Having a felony record can serve as a roadblock on this journey, but may not be a complete bar to the profession in certain jurisdictions. 

This blog is not legal advice, but instead outlines general state requirements for people with felonies to better understand how to receive a real estate broker license. The question this blog aims to answer is whether persons with felonies can obtain a real estate license in South Carolina. 

  • Role of real estate agent 
  • Average salary 
  • General requirements to be a real estate agent in America 
  • State specific requirements  
  • Recommended action 


Role of a estate agent: 

Real estate agents facilitate the buying and selling of commercial and personal properties. When working with a seller, a real estate agent may be referred to a listing agent. As a listing agent, the typical duties can include: 

  • Conducting market research to determine an ideal asking price;
  • Identifying assets that are the property’s attractive magnets and pinpointing improvement locations;
  • Staging the property;
  • Photographing the property;
  • Listing the property on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS);
  • Advertising real estate properties to prospective buyers;
  • Hosting property showings and open house events;
  • Drafting and preparing documents, such as offers, contracts and closing statements;
  • Communicating with appraisers, escrow companies, lenders and home inspectors.

A real estate agent may also represent buyers. When representing buyers, real estate agents may be responsible for the following: 

  • Coordinating open houses;
  • Arranging meetings with prospective buyers;
  • Interviewing buyers to understand their needs and wants;
  • Scheduling property showings;
  • Coordinating appraisals and inspections;
  • Negotiating property repair requests and offers;
  • Drafting and reviewing documents and contracts;
  • Guiding buyers through the closing process.

Average salary: 

The average base salary of a real estate agent in the United States is estimated to be $105,100. In South Carolina, the estimated annual salary of a real estate agent is $102,179. 

General Requirements: 

The requirements to obtain a real estate license varies state by state, however, the general requirements are the person be of good moral character, have some specified level of experience and specified education in real estate. The applicant must submit personal and professional information in their application, pass the state real estate license exam, undergo a background check, and pay a fee. The real estate license must be renewed pursuant to the state’s criteria.  

South Carolina’s licensing requirement for real estate agents:

In South Carolina, the state requires the following for a person to be eligible to obtain a real estate license: 

  1. “[A]ttain the age of twenty-one if applying for a license as a broker or broker-in-charge;
  2. [A]ttain the age of eighteen if applying for a license as a salesperson;
  3. [P]rovide a physical address at which the licensee can be contacted in the course of an investigation. A licensee shall maintain on file with the commission his current contact information for his residential address, mailing address, email address, and telephone number. Failure to update this contact information within thirty days after a change may result in an administrative suspension of the property manager, salesperson, broker, or broker-in-charge pursuant to Section 40-57-710;
  4. [G]raduate from high school or hold a certificate of equivalency recognized by the State Department of Education;
  5. [S]ubmit proof of completion of education to the commission and, if applicable, experience requirements as specified in this chapter;
  6. [S]ubmit to criminal background check as provided in Section 40-57-115 for initial application; and
  7. [P]ass the applicable examination.” –  S.C. Code Ann. § 40-57-310
  8. “[F]or a broker license:
    1. completion of one hundred fifty hours of commission-approved real estate classroom instruction, ninety of which may be the hours required for a salesperson license, to include completion of the thirty hour Unit III A Broker Management and of the thirty hour Unit III B Brokerage Principles courses in advanced real estate principles and practices and three years active salesperson licensure within the past five years; or
    2. evidence of holding a juris doctor degree, a bachelor of law degree, a baccalaureate degree or a master’s degree with a major in real estate from an accredited college or university.”

Recommended Action:

If you are interested in obtaining a real estate license, it is best to consult with the state’s guidelines. If you do have a felony conviction, always remember to be open and transparent on the application, as lying can reduce your chances of obtaining the license. 

So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felon can become a real estate agent in South Carolina and the requirements for the license?  Have you or someone you know been in that situation?  What was that experience like and how did they deal with it?   Please tell us in the comments below.

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