Does being good looking help your career? If the real estate industry is any indication, it sure does.
A recent study found that more attractive real estate agents often have higher list prices for homes they are trying to sell. Consequently, that also translates into higher sale prices and a higher commission for those real estate agents as well.
To prove this theory, Frank Mixon, a professor of economics at Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business and a research team had 402 people look at photos of real estate agents. Mixon, along with Sean Salter of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University and Ernest King of the College of Business at the University of Southern Mississippi, then asked those people to rate the attractiveness of those real estate agents on a scale of one to 10, with 10 representing a very attractive real estate agent.
After having those respondents rate real estate agents, the researchers then referenced attractiveness rankings with Multiple Listing Service (MLS) information. The researchers looked at the prices of properties listed over a seven-year span to see listing price, sales price and the time on the market. Agents deemed more attractive were found to have higher listings, sales prices and commissions.
"The results weren't surprising to me," Mixon said. "There is a growing literature in economics that relates physical attractiveness to productivity in the workplace, and to all sorts of choices people make."
However, the researchers also did find that real estate agents rated less attractive were found to have more listings and sales, which leveled the playing field among all real estate agents.
"Given the nature of the brokerage system, this confirms our theory that beauty enhances an agent’s wage," the researchers wrote in the report. "More attractive agents may be using beauty to supplement, rather than to complement, other productive activities."
The research was published in the Applied Financial Economics journal.