How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in South Carolina

Written by: Mary Gerardine

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How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make in South Carolina

If you have a passion for property, a real estate career in South Carolina could provide an exciting and rewarding path for you. 

To succeed in this journey, though, you need to know your earning potential. While the allure of high commissions can seem attractive, an agent’s salary isn’t fixed. So, how much does a real estate agent make in South Carolina?

This article covers the average real estate agent salary in South Carolina, including the main factors that can impact your net income like the commission structure and variable expenses.

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Real Estate Agent Salary South Carolina

Multiple factors can influence a real estate agent’s salary in South Carolina, such as: 

  • Experience: The average salary of real estate agents in South Carolina is $71,344 per year. As agents gain expertise, build a strong reputation, and develop a larger client base, they can command higher commissions or fees.
  • Market Conditions: During periods of high demand and low inventory, a real estate sales agent may be able to sell properties more quickly and at higher prices, resulting in higher commissions. A slower market with higher inventory levels can pose challenges to an agent’s income.
  • Location: Agents working in popular metropolitan areas (e.g., Charleston, Greenville, or Columbia) may have access to a larger pool of potential clients and higher-priced properties, which can lead to higher earnings when compared to agents in rural or less densely populated areas.
  • Transaction Volume: Agents who consistently close a higher number of sales will generate more commission income. Factors like networking skills, marketing efforts, and client referrals play a significant role in increasing sales volume.
  • Specialization: Agents who specialize in a particular market segment may have opportunities to earn higher incomes. For example, agents who focus on luxury properties, commercial properties, or specific types of homes (e.g., waterfront homes, vacation rentals) often have the potential for higher commissions. 
  • Work Hours: The amount of time and effort an agent dedicates to their work can directly impact their earnings.

While these aren’t the only factors involved, agents must understand them in order to make informed decisions, set realistic goals, adapt their business strategies, and manage their finances effectively.

Interested in becoming a real estate agent? Check out our How to Get Your South Carolina Real Estate License guide.

Understanding Commissions

The commission structure for real estate agents is based on a percentage of a property’s final sale price. The listing agent (also called a seller’s agent) and the buyer’s agent split this percentage — usually 5% to 6% — before they share part of their earnings with their respective brokerage companies.

If a house sells for $300,000 with an agreed-upon commission rate of 6%, for example, the commission rate would total $18,000. If the listing and buyer’s agents split this evenly and their respective brokers then take a 30% cut, then each agent would take home $6,300 while their brokers would get paid $2,700.

Note that actual commission rates and split agreements can vary, depending on individual negotiations and brokerage policies.

Variable Expenses

Real estate agents can incur a variety of business-related expenses, including:

  • Licensing Fees: Agents must pay these recurring costs (e.g., continuing education and license renewal fees) to maintain their legal authority to practice. As such, they must include them in their budgeting to ensure compliance and continued operation
  • Marketing and Advertising Costs: This often involves investing in advertising, professional photography, virtual tours, brochures, signage, and online listings. While these expenses are crucial for attracting clients, they can vary based on the scope and scale of an agent’s marketing efforts
  • Professional Membership Dues: To stay competitive within their industry, many real estate agents choose to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This membership comes with annual or monthly dues
  • Office and Administrative Expenses: While some real estate agents work as part of a brokerage firm and benefit from shared resources, others operate independently and must cover their own office and administrative expenses. These can include rent, utilities, office supplies, computer hardware, software subscriptions, and insurance
  • Transaction-Related Costs: When an agent successfully closes a deal, they often incur a variety of transaction-related costs like fees for legal services, home inspections, staging, repairs, appraisals, and title searches

Managing these variable expenses effectively is crucial for maintaining a healthy financial situation. By budgeting for these expenses, an agent can navigate the fluctuations in their income and achieve long-term success in the real estate industry.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in South Carolina

In order to work as a real estate agent in South Carolina, you must meet some basic requirements and take several specific steps. Those steps include:

  1. Complete pre-licensing education. South Carolina requires aspiring agents to complete 90 hours of pre-licensing education. This course covers essential topics, such as real estate principles, property valuation, contracts, financing, and agency relationships.
  2. Pass the state real estate exam. Once you complete your required pre-licensing education, you may take the South Carolina real estate exam. Administered by PSI Services, this exam includes both a national and a state-specific section. 
  3. Undergo a fingerprint-based background check. Before applying for a real estate license in South Carolina, you must undergo a criminal background check. The South Carolina Real Estate Commission requires all applicants to submit their fingerprints for a state and federal background check.
  4. Apply for your real estate license. Once you pass the state real estate exam and your background check, you may submit your license application online via the South Carolina Real Estate Commission’s website.
  5. Find a sponsoring broker. To activate your license, you must work under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker. Finding a sponsoring broker is an important step in launching your real estate career.

By following the steps above and familiarizing yourself with South Carolina’s real estate regulations, you can pursue a thriving career in this state’s property market.

Recommended Course

For South Carolina real estate pre-licensing education classes, StateRequirement recommends:

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Real Estate Agent Salary South Carolina FAQ

How much money do real estate agents make in South Carolina?

Real estate agent earnings in South Carolina can vary significantly based on factors like experience, expertise, and market conditions. On average, agents in South Carolina earn an annual income of $71,344 and the average salary range falls between $59,600 to $91,700. To learn more, visit our Real Estate Agent Salary page.

Do real estate agents make good money in South Carolina?

Real estate agents in South Carolina have the potential to earn a good salary, but their earnings can vary based on their skills and experience as well as market conditions. Successful agents who excel in sales and build a strong client base can earn a substantial income while others may have more modest earnings.

What is the starting salary for a real estate agent in South Carolina?

The starting salary for a real estate agent in South Carolina largely depends on an agent’s ability to generate sales and build a client base. Currently, the median income of entry-level agents in South Carolina is +61.67% more than the average base salary.

How do I get my real estate license in South Carolina?

To obtain a real estate license in South Carolina, you must meet the basic requirements, complete a 90-hour pre-licensing course, pass the state exam, undergo a background check, apply for your license, and find a sponsoring broker to activate your license.

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

Obtaining a real estate license in South Carolina involves a variety of fees. Specifically, you must pay for pre-licensing courses (around $300 to $400) along with fees associated with the license application ($50), the licensing exam ($63), fingerprinting ($25), and other necessary costs.

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