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Calling the Coast Home: Real Estate Professional Continuing Education Courses

About the Project

South Carolina is experiencing population growth within its eight coastal counties, with some new residents familiar with the coastal system while others brand new to its unique landscape.

The beautiful waterways and associated leisure activities attract residents from around the country, but they may not be informed on best practices on interactions with the natural environment. An identified avenue for information dissemination is through the Real Estate Professionals of these new residents. Real Estate Professionals are often the primary interface between newcomers to the coast, the community, and local environment through advising them about the location and amenities of their home or business. While this is an important link to new residents, Real Estate Professionals have not been recently included as a primary audience for coastal information providers.

Since the client-realtor relationship is so important with new coastal residents, the South Carolina Coastal Information Network (SCCIN) saw a great opportunity to disseminate resources and tools. The goal of this project being the offering of continuing education credit courses for Real Estate Professionals that will deliver up-to-date science and information on important coastal topics and issues relevant to coastal and ocean property ownership, maintenance, and use, that these realtors can then share with their clients.

Collaborators

Agencies and institutions that are partners within the South Carolina Coastal Information Network (SCCIN) collaborated in the work and completion of this the Real Estate Professional Continuing Education Courses.

These partners include S.C. Department of Natural Resources, ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve, Clemson University, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, North-Inlet Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coastal Carolina University, Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium, and University of South Carolina.

Contributions of each collaborator include course content, resource development, and course instruction.

Project Process

Interest was gauged during a quarterly SCCIN meeting to form the project team for course development and implementation. Once finalized, the project team members contacted Realtor Associations along the South Carolina coast to engage Real Estate Professionals in the course development process. These Realtors created the Advisory Committee, providing insights on what Realtors want and need in regards coastal scientific information for new residents.

The Advisory Committee was gathered in Charleston and Georgetown for collaborative meetings to discuss priority of topics, information needs, and course structure and procedures. Multiple coastal environmental topics were introduced to the committee and the members discussed the topics that would benefit them personally and professionally the most. The list of topics was then prioritized in an effort to select the course topics that would contribute the most to realtor education.

Four topics were seen as the most critical for realtors to have up-to-date information and resources, these included coastal ecosystem/biodiversity, water quality at the neighborhood level, flooding and flood maps, and rebuilding regulations. From these topics, four 2-hour Real Estate Professional Continuing Education Courses were developed under the Calling the Coast Home Series, the courses include Coastal Lifestyle for Clean Water, The Land Water Connection, Living with Water, and Tidelands, Water & Beach: Regulations & Rebuilding. The Advisory Committee was brought together again to review content and resource quality and presentation before submission to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Results/Outcomes

All four courses were approved by the S.C. Real Estate Commission and are available to be taught in 2020. After the first year of instruction, the courses will go under re-evaluate to update information, edit based on participant feedback, and renew for offering in the new year.