CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENT:
In accordance with S.C. Code Section 40-57-115, a criminal background check is required for all applicants for examination and reciprocity.
EXAMINATION APPLICATION LINKS:
PDF Exam Application Link: http://llronline.com/POL/REC/recpdf/doc231.pdf
Online Applications Link: http://llronline.com/POL/REC/index.asp?file=Instructions.htm
Individuals must be 18 years old to be licensed as a Real Estate Agent (salesperson) and 21 years old to be licensed as a Broker.
A prospective licensee must be a high school graduate or hold a certificate of equivalency. Additionally, a prospective licensee must complete a SCREC approved 60 hour Unit 1 Prelicensing course in the fundamentals and principles of real estate. Within one year after passing the examination, the applicant must be sponsored by a Broker-In-Charge and apply for a provisional Sales license. During the first year of licensure, provisional salespersons must complete an additional 30 hour SCREC approved Postlicensing education which consists of five 6-hour courses (PL 1-5 courses). Upon completion of the Postlicensing course, the applicant will need to provide proof of completion of the Postlicensing course and the application along with a fee of $25 to SCREC.
Any applicant who has been convicted of a crime or sanctioned by any licensing agency or has adverse items on a credit report must reveal that fact on his/her application. SCREC may review the application and then conduct an investigation before an examination can be scheduled. This may result in a delay.
REAL ESTATE LICENSE LOOKUP: SC REC License Look Up
The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. § 2607 (2005), prohibits kickbacks and unearned fees, including any fee, kickback or anything of value being given to or received by anyone in any business that is incident to or part of a settlement service. This includes referral fees and/or fee splitting other than for services actually performed. “Settlement services” includes any service provided in connection with a real estate settlement including, but not limited to, title searches, title examinations, the provision of title certificates, title insurance, services rendered by an attorney, the preparation of documents, property surveys, the rendering of credit reports or appraisals, pest and fungus inspections, services rendered by a real estate agent or a broker, the origination of a federally related mortgage loan (including, but not limited to, the taking of loan applications, loan processing, and the underwriting and funding of loans), and the handling of the processing and closing of settlement. “Thing of value” includes any payment, advance, funds, loan, service or other consideration.
Consequently, it is a federal violation to pay a referral fee to anyone on a mortgage transaction. Any compensation paid from a mortgage loan must be for actual services rendered. Among other things, the referral of business or the taking of an application are not compensable services. Actual cash payment does not need to take place for a violation to occur. Some of the illegal forms of compensation prohibited by RESPA include paying for a referring source’s advertising, reducing transaction costs, or purchasing gifts.
Violations of RESPA are subject to criminal and civil penalties. In a criminal case, a person may be fined up to ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollars and imprisoned for up to one year. In a private lawsuit, a person may be liable to the person charged for the settlement services in an amount equal to three times the amount of the charge paid for the service.
Although state real estate license law might be construed as allowing real estate agents to receive referral fees from mortgage brokers if disclosed, federal law supersedes this state law and clearlyprohibits such conduct. Therefore, licensees should understand that they may not solicit or receive anyunearned fees.
SCREC’s purpose is to protect the public’s interest when involved in a real estate transaction. SCREC protects the public by licensing real estate practitioners, enforcing certain standards of practice required by the license law, and investigating and taking disciplinary action against licensees found in violation of the license law.