A recent survey has discovered that female real estate agents get better results.
The study in the Journal of Housing Research saw some 1,594 potential home buyers from across the U.S. rating the appeal of a property after taking an online, agent-led tour of a house.
Participants were shown one of eight properties in which the gender of the real estate agent was varied. Other changeable factors included the perceived attractiveness of the real estate agent.
The results showed that some segments of customers were drawn to different real estate agents, but contrary to expectations, customers were not necessarily drawn to similar agents or more attractive ones
The researchers looked at whether the customers’ overall impression of online property listings was influenced by the real estate agent, and whether this influence depends on the customer’s demographic characteristics.
And so to the burning question. Do attractive real-estate agents make a better impression on potential home buyers than less-attractive ones? The answer might not be what you think.
The real estate agents leading the tours differed in attractiveness – as assessed by a separate group of subjects – and whether or not they used “pathos,” known as subjective words used to describe the property.
Home tours conducted by attractive female agents using pathos yielded the highest ratings overall, but these real estate agents were actually more effective with male buyers who identified themselves as homosexual men than heterosexual men.
Married buyers had a better impression of homes listed by attractive males using pathos versus single buyers.
Buyers without a college degree had a higher overall impression of homes listed by attractive females who avoided pathos than buyers with a degree.
The study, which was conducted during 2014 and was only published this week, dispelled expectation that buyers would best associate with agents most like themselves.
The hypothetical agents featured in the listings were all Caucasian, but Caucasian buyers were no more positively influenced by them than were non-Caucasian buyers.
Likewise, male and female buyers showed no preference for male or female agents.
There was one exception. Men were more positively influenced than women by the less-attractive female agent avoiding pathos.
“Similarity for the sake of similarity we did not find to be significant,” said Michael Seiler, Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the College of William and Mary, and a co-author of the study.
Prof. Seiler collaborated with researchers at Old Dominion University, the University of Central Florida and Johns Hopkins University.
The Professor says the findings raised interesting points for follow-up, but little in the way of suggestions as to how agents might tailor their approach.
Within the last five years I have written how attractive female real estate agents were generally viewed as being more successful than their male counterparts. This was the conclusion from an Asia-based study.
I wonder what this latest survey says about Asians and Americans?