The Charleston Regional Development Alliance reports that every day, 35 new residents move into the Charleston metro area, leading Charleston to become the 75th largest US metropolitan area (by population). This remarkable statistic not only outpaces regional growth predictions, but demonstrate a growth rate that is 3 times the national average.
What do these statistics mean for Charleston residents? The population influx has brought a wealth of educated young people to the region, helping to enhance the booming labor force. The growth has also created a greater need for goods, services, and - of course - housing. The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reported a 13.5% growth in domestic real estate transactions in 2015, and real estate listing service Trulia recently ranked Charleston #2 among the “Hot Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2016.
Given these trends, Charleston residents who have been considering a career change, or who are seeking additional sources of income, might consider earning a realtor’s license.
A relator’s license, alternatively referred to as a salesperson’s license, allows an individual to list, sell or manage any type of real estate - residential, vacation/resort properties, commercial, or industrial - anywhere within the state of South Carolina. Licensed realtors must be affiliated with a broker (unless they go on to obtain a broker’s license), but may choose to work independently, or with an established firm.
To obtain a provisional’s license, a prospective real estate agent must meet a few basic criteria: he or she must be at least 18 years of age, be a legal resident of United States, and possess a high school diploma or GED. Prospective agents must also successfully complete a 60-hour pre-licensing class, and pass the South Carolina Real Estate Commission exam. Prior to obtaining a permanent SC salesperson’s license, provisional licensees must also submit to (and pass) a criminal background check, demonstrate satisfactory credit history, and complete 30 hours of post-licensing coursework.
The School of Professional Studies (SPS) at the College of Charleston currently offers a 60-hour pre-licensing class, in both daytime and evening formats. The SPS also plans to add a post-licensing class to their real estate prep course offerings. Both the real estate pre-licensing and post-licensing courses are non-credit programs, and do not require admission to the College of Charleston.
To help prospective agents determine whether a career in real estate is a viable option, the SPS has developed a helpful how-to guide, which can be downloaded from the SPS website. This guide, created in association with local industry experts, will help prospective agents to get a better sense of how one can get started in this thriving industry, and what steps are recommended in order to find success. Included in the guide are descriptions of a relator’s duties, advice for choosing an agency, strategies for marketing and networking, and tips for creating a strong business plan. “Charleston area realtors have generously contributed their insight and advice to this guide,” says Alice Hamilton, Director of the Center for Continuing and Professional Education. “It is an invaluable resource for anyone who is thinking about entering this field.”
The Charleston population boom is not showing any signs of abating, and the increased demand for housing may continue for some time. While success as a real estate agent requires dedication and hard work, in a thriving market, these sacrifices could certainly be worthwhile.