Become a Referral Real Estate Agent in 3 Steps
1) Get Licensed
You must have a South Carolina Real Estate License and maintain the state required CE credits. We recommend PalmettoCE.com to get licensed and for low priced CEs.
For more information on obtaining or renewing your license, please visit the
SC LLR Real Estate Commission
or call the LLR (803) 896-4400.
2) Join ReferSC
Read through the FAQ below then you will see the Join Us application below that. Once completed and the $45 application fee is paid, upon acceptance you will be emailed the Brokerage Contract to sign and instructions to move your license to us.
3) Submit Referrals
Once you are on-boarded, you can submit referral forms and communicate with the brokerage all right here. Refer a client in ANY state to a real estate agent in ANY state. If it results in a sale, you’ll get paid 90% of the referral commission! …or have us find an agent for your client.
Already an Agent with us?
FAQ & Policies
What is a referral?
A referral is when one licensed real estate agent (sender or referrer) hands a client to another licensed real estate agent (receiver), via a signed referral form. With this form the two agents agree to a percentage of the gross commission which the receiver’s brokerage will provide to the referrer’s brokerage if the receiving agent closes a transaction with the client. You can be licensed in South Carolina and refer a client in any state to a real estate agent in any state.
For example, if your neighbor is moving to Florida, you may refer them to an agent in South Carolina for the sale of their house and refer them to an agent in Florida for buying a house; receiving referral commission on both transactions.
If you refer your neighbor to an agent for 25% of the gross commission, and that agent were to sell your neighbors home for $400,000 (assuming the listing agent negotiates a 3% commission), the gross commission would be $12,000. The referral commission would be 25% of that amount, or $3,000.
When that listing agent’s brokerage sends us the referral commission, you would receive 90% of that or $2,700. Find your neighbor an agent in Florida, and get a second check.
Why do I need a real estate license to make a referral? Can I just collect a finder’s fee?
It’s South Carolina law that a real estate agent or brokerage may not pay a commission, compensation, referral fee, or finder’s fee to an unlicensed individual for risk of disciplinary action or losing their license. In the below paraphrased portion of the South Carolina law, the agent or brokerage would be considered the “licensee”.
South Carolina Code of Laws (paraphrased)
Title 40, Chapter 57, Article 7
SECTION 40-57-710 Grounds for denial of issuance of license or for disciplinary action against licensee.
(A) …the commission may deny issuance of a license to an applicant or may take disciplinary action against a licensee who…(12) pays a commission or compensation to an unlicensed individual for activities requiring a license under this chapter. Notwithstanding this section, a licensee may not pay or offer to pay a referral fee or finder’s fee to an unlicensed individual…
Do I have to be a South Carolina resident?
No! You only have to have a South Carolina Real Estate license, which does not require you to be a resident of South Carolina.
As a referral agent, can I work as someone’s real estate agent?
Not in South Carolina. Under a referral-only brokerage you are not permitted to act in an agency capacity, meaning you may not sign agency agreements with clients or represent clients in transactions. However, if you’re licensed in another state you may continue to work as a real estate agent in that state. For example if you have a South Carolina and a Georgia real estate license, you may work as a real estate agent in Georgia. Though in South Carolina you will only be able to ‘act as a non-licensed individual’, by referring clients to other agents.
How do I earn a referral commission, what’s the process?
- When you know someone (in any state) that is relocating, let them know you will connect them with an agent.
- Locate a trustworthy agent for the person that is moving. Call the agent to let them know you have a client you would like to refer to them for 15%, 25%, or 35% of the gross commission. You negotiate the amount but 25% is most typical.
- If the agent accepts, get their email address so you can send them a PDF Referral form (which we’ll provide to you). Ask them to sign and return the Referral form, which you’ll upload to us on this site.
- When that agent closes the deal, their brokerage will send us your referral commission. We pay you 90% of the commission via direct deposit or mailed check.
How much does it cost?
- $45 / year is the brokerage’s membership fee.
- The brokerage does not offer MLS, so there are no monthly or quarterly MLS or Realtor Association fees.
- When a referral commission has been earned, the brokerage retains 10% and the remaining 90% will either be direct deposited or mailed to you via check.
- You are also responsible for maintaining your CE’s or Continuing Education credits to stay licensed with the state every two years. Through our online real estate school, PalmettoCE.com, it typically costs less than $150 every two years to obtain the CEs required for renewal.
Is the $45 refundable?
The initial $45 is an application fee. Once your application is approved, it also covers your first year’s membership fee. Your card will then be charged $45 annually for membership renewal.
How do I contact the brokerage?
To keep our administrative costs low, we ask that all communication go through through this website. Use the Contact Us form for the quickest response.
I’m a referral agent, how do I get my pocket card?
Visit SC.LLR.gov and navigate to the e-Services Portal (link is at the top of the page). Once you log-in you will be able to download a PDF copy of your pocket card.
What if the other agent wants to use their brokerage’s referral form instead of the ReferSC referral form?
No problem! Most referral forms are pretty similar. But do be sure to download a copy of the ReferSC referral form from the Contact Us page. It provides the other brokerage with instructions on how and where to send the referral commission so that we can get you paid.
As a referral agent, can I sell my own home?
A Referral Agent may sell their own home for sale as long as the following policies are adhered to:
- Referral Agent may only be involved in listing a property in which they have sole ownership, or own with a spouse. Property cannot be in probate or owned by a corporate entity (LLC, S-Corp, etc). Property may not be a distressed sale, including bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce, short-sale, etc.
- Referral Agent may utilize the following resources for listing their own property:
- A flat-fee listing service, such as HomeCoin.com to have the property listed in an MLS.
- FSBO websites such as ForSaleByOwner.com or FSBO.com
- Referral Agent must include the following verbiage in such a listing:
“Property owner is a licensed real estate agent in South Carolina. This listing is not held by the brokerage of the property owner.”
- Referral Agent may not receive commission for the list side of the transaction. This must be clearly communicated to the closing attorney. Any list-side commissions received will not be paid out.
- If Referral Agent hires a listing agent to list their property; Referral Agent may sign a referral agreement with the listing agent and receive compensation by way of a referral.
- Referral Agent may agree to pay a buyer’s agent commission; request a compensation agreement from the buyer’s agent. NOTE: No listing brokerage should be included on this form. Referral Agent would enter their own name into the line for Seller or Paying Party, as the commission to the buyer’s agent would be paid from the proceeds of the sale to the buying agent’s brokerage. No other form of compensation may be exchanged.
- As a reminder, Referral Agents are not covered by E&O insurance; no transaction shall be entered into by the referral brokerage. To list a property you own, without being represented by an actively licensed (ie non-referral only) agent who performs general brokerage, is an at-your-own-risk transaction.
As a referral agent, can I be the buying agent to purchase my own home, or a new construction home?
Referral Agent may receive referral commission for purchasing a property for themself as long as the following policies are adhered to:
- Referral Agent may not represent themselves as a buyers agent. When buying a property, the Referral Agent has three options:
- Bring in a licensed and insured Buyers Agent to represent you, the Referral Agent. Tell the Buyer’s Agent, “I am a licensed real estate agent with my license held at a referral-only brokerage. I cannot represent myself as a buyer’s agent. Can I purchase with you representing me on this purchase and provide me with a referral from the closing?” Request a signed Referral Agreement from your Buyer’s Agent and/or Buyer’s Agent Brokerage. This way you are fully represented, with the protection of the insurance of the Buyer’s Agent’s brokerage. (Most preferable route)
- Request the Listing Agent to represent you. In this case, the Referral Agent should clearly communicate to the Listing Agent (or new home representative) that, “I am a licensed real estate agent with my license held at a referral-only brokerage. I cannot represent myself as a buyer’s agent. Can I purchase with you representing me on this purchase and provide me with a referral from the closing?” This can be handled as dual agency, transactional or designated agency. The decision is up to the listing agent and their brokerage’s policies. Request a signed Referral Agreement from the Listing Agent and/or Listing Agent’s Brokerage. (2nd most preferable route)
- If the listing agent is unwilling to represent you, you can let the Listing Agent know that you’re purchasing the home un-represented. Many Listing Agents may be uncomfortable handling the transaction this way as it is not common. A referral is not likely to be received going this route.
- Referral Agent is responsible for obtaining a signed Referral Agreement form. This can be from the listing brokerage or the new home representative, or if the Referral Agent brings in a Buyer’s Agent to the transaction, the Buyer’s Agent / Brokerage is who would sign the Referral Agreement form. Referral Agreement available under the Contact Us form. Per SC real estate law, real estate agents may not be paid commission directly. The referral commission must be paid to TeamWork Realty LLC by the cooperating brokerage (Listing Agent’s brokerage, Buyer’s Agent brokerage, or new home builder). Once we receive the referral commission; the Referral Agent’s commission will then be paid out to you.
- As a reminder, Referral Agents are not covered by E&O insurance, no transaction shall be entered into by the referral brokerage. To purchase a property for yourself, without being represented by an actively licensed (ie non-referral only) agent who performs general brokerage, is an at-your-own-risk transaction.
To Join Us…
- Complete the form below.
- Next, you’ll be directed to pay your $45 / application fee (which will also cover your first year’s membership upon acceptance).
- Then, we’ll email you instructions to sign the Brokerage Contract and to move your license over to us.