The classic phrase may go that beauty is only skin deep, but new research finds that skin deep may leave enough room to reap considerable benefits in the world of real estate.
According to a new study conducted by Sean Salter, an associate professor of finance at Middle Tennessee State University, attractive real estate agents, at least on the surface, perform better than their “average-looking” competitors.
“When you see a more attractive person, you think ‘Superman,’” Salter told The Wall Street Journal. ”They’re going to be good at whatever they do. You think, they’re attractive, they’re smarter, they’re funnier – they’re probably a better real estate agent.”
Attractive Real Estate Agents = Successful Real Estate Agent?
So how much better do attractive real estate agents perform? Here’s what Salter and his colleagues, Franklin Mixon of Columbus State University and Ernest King of the University of Southern Mississippi, found:
Attractive real estate agents list their properties for $20,275 more than average looking agents, and sell those listings for $15,622 more than their average brethren.
For their research, Salter and co. asked 402 respondents to rate male and female agents on how attractive they were on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being very attractive and 1 being very unattractive.
The researchers then compared the agents’ respective attractive-ratings with their sales volume of the last seven years, and they actually found that every additional point on the agents’ attractive scale added (on average) $10,989 to the home’s listing price and $8,467 to the home’s sale price.
“All else being equal, we give attractive people a little bump,” Salter told the Journal.
An Industry for Beautiful People
So does this mean that “average” looking individuals should stop selling real estate? Hardly!
Salter and his fellow researchers also found considerable caveats to their findings. For instance, in the seven-year period the researchers studied, attractive agents typically carried 17 fewer listings than average-looking agents and had 11 fewer sales, and it also took them longer to sell those properties.
The agents’ beauty, Salter told the Journal, actually supplements their other characteristics, and the end result is a wash, with attractive agents producing no better than “average” agents – who are, it’s now clear, not average at all!