Attractive Agents Sell Homes for More Money?

April 13, 2012

Appearance may matter when it comes to selling homes, at least according to researchers in a newly-published study in an industry journal, Applied Financial Economics. 

Physically attractive real estate agents — both on the listing and selling side — tend to sell homes for higher prices, the researchers found. According to the study, that "beauty" effect on housing prices is about twice as large on the listing side as it is on the selling side. 

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For the study, researchers used a survey to rate individual agents’ beauty or attractiveness and then combined it with an analysis of multiple listing service data. 

The study, titled “Broker Beauty and Boon: A Study of Physical Attractiveness and its Effects on Real Estate Brokers’ Income and Productivity,” found, however, that the attractiveness of the selling agent has no impact on the length of time a home is listed on the market. 

So while the prettier-ranked agents tended to sell homes for more money, they didn’t necessarily make more money overall in their business. Researchers say that's because attractive agents tended to sell fewer properties overall than less attractive real estate agents. 

In the paper, the authors suggest that real estate agents aren't actually using their beauty to sell more properties, but instead, those considered “pretty” may just be better at attracting listings they can sell for higher prices. 

“Results suggest beauty augments more attractive agents’ wages and that more attractive agents use beauty to supplement classic production-related characteristics, such as effort, intelligence, and organizational skills,” the researchers noted in the study. 

Source: Applied Financial Economics and “Are Hotter Real Estate Agents Better at Selling Houses?” Curbed (April 12, 2012)