The key to selling your home for the best possible price is simple — find an attractive real estate agent.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales Business School have found that people are willing to pay at least an extra 2.3 per cent for a property if they find the real estate agent attractive.

In Brisbane, that could mean forking out an extra $11,289 on top of the median house price. With Sydney’s soaring house prices, buyers could pay a whopping $23,014 extra because of the sparkle in a real estate agent’s eye.

UNSW researcher Dr Robert Tumarkin says the ‘halo effect’ – a behavioural bias shown towards attractive people – is evident when buying or selling a property.

“Our research told us that the agents’ looks matter, ultimately, for the price you receive on the property,” Dr Tumarkin says, “so if you have an attractive agent, on average, you will get a higher price for your property.”

Dr Tumarkin, his colleague Dr Joakim Bang and a team of researchers surveyed thousands of people by showing them a series of photos depicting real estate agents in Sydney. The respondents were asked to evaluate the pictures based on attractiveness, professionalism, trustworthiness, age, gender and other criteria.

The team then used that data to determine whether attractiveness made a difference to the sale price of the house.

Dr Tumarkin says research shows people will pay more for things if they have some kind of bias in the seller’s favour.

“It’s a question of how big those biases are,” he says.

“If you go to the movies, you might spend an extra dollar because the movie has an actor that you find attractive, and that’s fine. If you spend more money on a house because you find the agent attractive, that is a huge transaction.”
Dr Tumarkin’s message for buyers is to evaluate the property, not the agent. For sellers, he insists it’s still important to do your research.

“You have to pick the right person for you and the property,” he says. “Experience matters, reputation matters, and while it’s true that attractive agents get good prices, that doesn’t mean you should just hire a model to sell your house. There are a lot of factors to consider when selling a house.”

Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) CEO Antonia Mercorella says it’s vital to consider an agent’s negotiating skills, not their skills in front of a mirror.

“Being a successful real estate agent is more likely the result of hard work and dedication than being genetically blessed,” she says. “It’s a fiercely competitive and very densely populated profession. Only the truly dedicated, hardest workers stand out and succeed.

“We recommend those who are thinking of selling their home do their homework – interview multiple agents and find out who is a good fit and is an accredited REIQ agent, so you know you’ve got an agent you can trust.”

Have you ever been swayed by an attractive real estate agent, or are you impervious to their charms? Have your say in the comments below!