Women make up the majority of residential real estate agents, according to the National Association of Realtors, and the median income of that group in 2016 of $111,400 in 2016 was just under 3 times better than the national average of $38,376 for those with a similar level of education. It is fairly obvious that women are very successful in real estate and would be a great addition to any office, but the real question is why.
- Women are Better Listeners: A study from the prestigious Cambridge University clinically certified that women are better at listening to others than men. This would certainly put them at an advantage when trying to figure out what a buyer is looking for in a home, which is the first step in showing them houses that meet their criteria. From a buyer’s perspective, an agent with good listening skills is worth working with because they save time by showing only homes that “fit the bill”.
- Women are Better Under Pressure: The Harvard Business School did a study of elite tennis players and found that women respond better than men to competitive pressure. This would certainly be a benefit in the field of residential real estate, where competition for listings, prices and clients can be intense. Where men might respond by walking away from a transaction or listing because it is “not worth it”, a woman may actually thrive on the challenge of overcoming the obstacles.
- Women are Team Players: Better still, women may be able to bring this sense of enjoying competition to the entire office without creating a competition. Science has proven that women are better team players than men, which can be a real benefit in the real estate market where coordination with other professionals is absolutely critical. This is also a valuable skill when a listing agent and the agent for the potential buyer need to coordinate activities such as showings.
- Women are Better Multitaskers: Recent studies of brain activity have shown that women can actually multitask better than men.. With all the different aspects of a residential real estate transaction, this almost qualifies as a super-power. The ability to effectively coordinate a loan closing with the delivery of an inspection report and title insurance would give an agent a competitive advantage by impressing other professionals involved in the closing, leading to more referrals and more closings.
- Women are More Empathetic: In addition to being able to simply listen better, women can emotionally identify with their clients more readily than men. This empathy, with either the buyer or the seller, can be the key element in pursuing a closing or negotiating a sale price. Women feel the emotional needs of a buyer or seller more keenly than men, and so will do more to reach a successful conclusion since they are more emotionally invested.
The Real Benefit
Of course, any evaluation of the comparative skills of women and men is most likely wrong, which means that none of the reasons listed here are valid or relevant. After all, each of these skills would be just as valuable in commercial real estate where women are underrepresented. If women were actually better real estate agents because of natural, feminine abilities it would be reasonably expected for them to lead in all sectors of real estate.
Which suggests that the real reason women are an asset to any real estate office is they see an opportunity to compete on a level playing field with other professionals and work hard at making the most of that opportunity. Women have been accepted as residential real estate agents since 1938. This is not the case with commercial real estate, which is still widely regarded as an ‘old boys’ network.
Any real estate office that wants to add hardworking professionals to their agency force would be well advised to drop any remaining sexist attitudes and bring women on board.