Battle of the Sexes: Male Vs. Female Agents – is There a Difference?

THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES HAS never been more relevant in real estate. Using the results of a recent survey, Kylie Davis analyses the findings to highlight some surprising facts about an agent’s gender when it comes to vendor satisfaction.

WHILE MEN and women are fairly equally represented in the industry according to the ABS (51 per cent men and 49 per cent women), a closer look at job roles shows the numbers skewing. Women are more likely to be property managers and in admin roles, while principals and sales roles are dominated by men.

Encouraging more women to become sales agents could be one of the most effective ways to improve the perception of the industry amongst buyers and sellers. The data shows female agents are overwhelmingly more competent at the ‘human’ skills of empathy, communication and accountability that vendors regard as the hallmarks of an ‘excellent’ real estate experience.

The recent Consumer Perceptions of Real Estate Agents survey by CoreLogic RP Data identified a significant difference in the satisfaction levels that vendors experience when dealing with a female sales agent compared to a male agent.

Women were perceived as more helpful by vendors, with 40 per cent of respondents rating their agent’s ability to ensure they understood all elements of the sales process as excellent, compared to 32 per cent of those with male agents.

The data showed 66 per cent of vendors with female agents felt they were very well prepared before going through the sales process, compared to 56 per cent of vendors with a male agent.

The interesting thing about the data is that at no time were respondents asked to judge or attribute the behaviour of their agent based on sex. The survey – of more than 300 property sellers – simply asked early in the piece what the gender of their agent was. Then, separately and across the survey, they were asked questions about the behaviour of their agent generally. By cutting the data according to gender, it was possible to see how those behaviours compared by male and female agents.

The most significant difference was in the consistency of experience vendors had across the sales process.

Before the sales process started, 59 per cent of female agents and 58 per cent of male agents were able to inspire confidence in the minds of their vendors that they would do a good job and get a good price for their property.

Once the sale had started, however, while confidence levels in female agents eased to 55 per cent, male agents fared much worse, falling to 48 per cent.

Once the property had sold, 45 per cent of vendors with female agents reported feeling delighted with the final outcome, compared to just 39 per cent of those with male agents.

The survey also found the female agents used by vendors in our survey were consistently more likely to be rated as excellent at key skills than their male counterparts.

According to the ‘Excellent’ rating awarded by their vendors, female agents significantly outperformed their male counterparts in the skills of handling open for inspections (41 per cent of women and 33 per cent of men), providing regular feedback (45 per cent females, 31 per cent males), following up of potential buyers and leads (43 per cent females, 29 per cent males) and negotiation skills (38 per cent females, 28 per cent males).

Female agents were also overwhelmingly more than twice as likely to be identified as excellent at managing the sales process – 42 per cent for female agents compared to just 28 per cent for male agents.

One of the most telling insights from the survey was that obtaining the expected – or better – price is a hygiene factor for vendors. They expect their agent to get the number they say they will.

And the survey showed there was little difference in the final price performance of men and women. Male agents were slightly more likely to sell a property above the expected price of a vendor than female agents (24 per cent to 22 per cent respectively), with 49 per cent of male agents selling around the expected price compared to 52 per cent of female agents, and both sexes evenly represented at 21 and 22 per cent in selling below expectations.

Gender also made no difference in the likelihood of a vendor recommending them to friends and family, with 68 per cent of vendors with male agents and 69 per cent of vendors with female agents saying they would happily recommend.

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Kylie Davis

Kylie Davis is the head of content and property services marketing at CoreLogic. She spent nearly four years as Network Editor of Real Estate at News Corp Australia, creating a national desk of real estate reporters across more than 100 titles and training them in the use of data and market journalism.