The economy may not be the only thing determining your home's sale price. According to a new study, how attractive your real estate agent is can have a serious impact as well.
The research, published last month in the journal Applied Financial Economics, looked the personal characteristics of real estate agents, including looks, gender and race. The study's authors then compared those characteristics to the prices that houses sold for and the amount of time they stayed on the market. The size, location and quality of each property was controlled for, news site Big Think reported. Even with those factors controlled for, the researchers found that looks and gender mattered -- a lot. The researchers found that it can pay -- literally -- to hire a female real estate agent. According to Big Think:
Both male listing agents (those acting on behalf of the seller) and male selling agents (those acting on behalf of the buyer) are associated with lower house prices than their female counterparts.
The gender of the agents did not, however, have any impact on the length of time a house stayed on the market.
In contrast, the level of attractiveness impacted both a property’s selling time and its price point. Good-looking agents tend to sell their properties for more money -- especially attractive listing agents -- but these properties also tend to be on the market for a longer period of time. Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart believes that this discrepancy makes sense, writing that:
humans are visual creatures, and if some polished, pleasing-to-the-eye power broker who looks like a million bucks tries to sell on something worth a million bucks, we're probably going to agree to the price. That's just how sales works! The pretty people in Prada have known this for years.
This the latest in a series of studies to find that there are advantages to being conventionally beautiful. Attractive men and women tend to earn between 10 and 15 percent more on average than their unattractive counterparts. And underweight women earn significantly more money than overweight women do on average.
The real estate study also found some sobering data on the impact of an agent’s race, reported Big Think. Listing and selling agents of color tended to sell their properties for lower prices across the board. These properties were also on the market for a longer amount of time on average than properties sold by white agents.