The study that was conducted by Frank Mixon, visiting professor of economics, accounting and finance at Columbus State University in Columbus, found that agents who are attractive, on average, generated sales prices that were at $15,000 higher than the sales prices achieved by average-looking agents.
The findings were based around a simple methodology. Mr Mixon downloaded images of more than 100 real estate agents in metropolitan USA. He then had more than 400 people rate the agent’s attractiveness on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most attractive. The average attractiveness scores for each agent was combined with their sales data over a seven-year period.
In an interview with Columbus State University, Mr Mixon explained his findings.
“We found that, on average, attractive agents list houses at $20,275 above the prices listed by average-looking agents, other things equal,” he said.
“Also, we found that, on average, attractive agents generate sales prices that are $15,622 higher than the sales prices generated by average-looking agents, other things equal.”
However, the study also found that homes managed by attractive agents sit on the market about two weeks longer than those handled by average-looking agents.
Karen Vogl of hockingstuart Ringwood, who was ranked 13th in Real Estate Business’ Top 100 Agents ranking said the study, while bizarre, was reflective of people’s expectations of a well-presented agent.
“I really don’t think it is about attractiveness, but actually just about being well presented,” she told Real Estate Business.
“The study shows that, fundamentally, we want our agents to be presented well with a nice suit and cleanly shaven.”
However, Ms Vogl said truly successful agents are those who can portray their trustworthiness to a potential client.
“Real estate selling is all about trust, and that is what I think people who were looking at these images were feeling when they ranked them," she said.
“A nice well-presented, happy face is often more trustworthy then someone who has put no effort into their appearance.
“But I really don’t think it comes down to attractiveness.”
Jennifer Khoury of Ray White Bankstown, who was ranked 89th in Real Estate Business’ Top 100 Agents ranking believes attractiveness does not equate to higher sale prices.
“This is such a strange study,” she told Real Estate Business.
“But in my experience, I don’t think being attractive has anything to do with selling a home for more.”
However, she conceded that attractive people may have more self-confidence and therefore present better to a client and buyer.
“At the end of the day, you are selling the product not yourself, but an agent who is confident may actually have better negotiation skills and stronger communication and people skills,” she said.
According to Mr Mixon, the results of the study were not surprising because there is a large number of research studies that indicate attractiveness plays a big role in the workplace.
“Studies have shown that advertising firms headed by attractive executives generate greater revenue than those headed by average-looking executives. In higher education, it has been found that attractive professors get higher student evaluations of teaching than average-looking or unattractive professors,” he said.
“Studies have also shown that, in general, attractive workers earn wages that are one per cent to 13 per cent higher than average-looking workers' wages, while the wages of unattractive workers sit one per cent to 15 per cent below those of average-looking members of the workforce.”