How Your Attractiveness Affects the Sale

October 30, 2017

Do attractive real estate professionals get more business? Not necessarily.

Researchers in a new study appearing in the Journal of Housing Research investigated whether an agent’s looks could influence buyers’ overall impression of online property listings. About 1,500 home buyers took an online audiovisual tour of a typically priced home in their area hosted by one of eight agents varying in gender, attractiveness, and pathos—or how they enhance “the verbal description of the property with superlatives,” the study says. Attractiveness of the agents was assessed by a separate group of research subjects.

Certain buyers tended to be drawn to certain agents, but researchers note that buyers are not necessarily drawn to similar or more attractive agents. For example, home tours conducted by female agents who were considered attractive and who used pathos had the highest ratings overall. These agents also were found to be most effective in selling to buyers who identified themselves as homosexual men. Further, married buyers had a better impression of homes listed by “attractive” male agents using pathos than single buyers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Researchers say the study dispels the notion that buyers would best associate with agents whom are most like themselves. “Our study shows that an agent’s physical attractiveness, similarity to the prospective home buyer, and use of pathos influences the overall impression of the home, but not in a consistent enough way to specifically instruct agents to adopt a certain strategy,” says Michael Seiler, co-author of the study and professor of real estate and finance at the College of William and Mary.

Source: “For Real Estate Agents, Being Attractive, Using Superlatives to Describe a Property Does Not Always Sell, Study Says,” Florida Atlantic University (Oct. 18, 2017) and “How Attractive Real-Estate Agents Affect Home Buyers,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 25, 2017) [Log-in required.]