Infographic Of The Day: How Men And Women Differ When Making Big Sales

No one believes that men and women are the same. And a fascinating data set reveals how they might approach real estate deals differently.

We all know that men and women approach most everything in life slightly differently—and sometimes, wildly differently. How does this affect the way they each do business?

Rarely do you get a data set that reveals much about that question, but here’s a remarkable one from the data-viz wizards over at Trulia, the real estate listings website. They took a look at the gender balance between real estate agents across the country, and the results are pretty remarkable.

The first thing to note is that real estate, in general, is a woman-dominated field; on average, in every state in the country, the ratio of women to men approaches 2:1. Now, you can hypothesize about all sorts of reasons why that is; for example, perhaps women come off as more trustworthy to women and less threatening to men, each of which can make all the difference in a life-defining purchase such as a home. Or perhaps women, with their edge in intuition and empathy, simply make better sales people. Or perhaps the dominance of women is about sociological pressures: Real estate, historically, might have been a more amendable profession to the demands of balancing worklife and child rearing, and one avenue where women never had their career advancement limited by their sex, since the profession is filled with free agents.

All of these are worth keeping in mind as we get into the data. Because the fascinating thing is that while women dominate the field, men tend to put up a greater number of houses for sale, while women put more expensive houses for sale. Here is what the state-by-state breakdown looks like for numbers of houses put up by men vs. women:

[Click for interactive version]

As the chart shows, in most states across the U.S., the average male real estate agent puts up at least 5-14% more houses for sale than his female counterpart; in many states, such as Nevada, Oregon, and Minnesota, male real estate agents usually put over 25% more houses on the market.

Meanwhile, here is what the chart looks like when you look at the average prices of homes listed by women vs. men:

The relationship is totally flipped. Women tend to sell houses that are markedly more expensive than those sold by men, and the trend is, in fact, even more intense across all states.

This is amazing data, and it’s fun to think about what’s driving it. Perhaps it takes a "high-touch" selling approach to sell more expensive homes—one which suits women more. And perhaps men adjust to their lower commissions simply by increasing the volume of their sales. Men may be great in increasing the volume of sales simply because they sell differently: Emphasizing relative prices and the market and data, perhaps. A more analytical approach, of course, would probably yield a quicker sale, since it’s less about getting people to stretch a little for a more perfect home and more about a very straightforward comparison of data. (For anyone who wants to accuse me of sexism or gender stereotyping, I can list many, many studies that show that men, for example, make more buying decisions based on data while women emphasize personal connections.)

At the very least, you can surmise that the differences you see above are unlikely to be accidents. Whatever is driving them, they’re more likely a function of men and women using their different strengths to approach sales differently.

[Check out the interactive charts here]

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    if I want to start a business, I want to be unique, I like to take my time to analyze, study and learn, because I want to be a worldwide success and I am sure to do whatever they tell me, Jimena Quiroga

  • Datascope Analytics

    Interesting. I wonder; are gender differences between buying agents and selling agents? Are these differences statistically significant (I imagine they are, but hey, you have to ask)?

  • Re: Hi!

    What a fucked-up first paragraph. Yep, you just keep driving home that sexist programming.

  • sara olsen

    interesting analysis. which gender nets more income overall?
    and which more income per hour worked?

  • Emily Desai

    This information is timely and interesting, if not too surprising. It is great to see the way that gender roles seem to play a part in determining the volume and characteristics of home sales. It's probably the case that more detail would reveal a richer picture, but this is a great start.

  • Bob Cringely

    This is interesting, but I'd like even more to know how actual selling prices, percentage of original listing prices, percentage of lost listings (no sale), and total agent incomes compare.  

  • Jack Vincent

    Great article, but you really confused me with the way you use "put up" houses.  Do you mean to "list" houses for sale, thus put houses up for sale.  Otherwise a very insightful piece,  Thanks

  • Chris Reich

    This makes sense on many levels. Who makes the final decision on which home to buy? Who will be the "keeper" of the home (no, I don't mean house keeper)? It makes sense. But to go deeper into larger sales of other goods, in my work I see women connect at a different level than men do with prospects. Women, sorry for the broad brush, seem more interested in meeting the need than making the sale---empathy again.

    One thing that men need to understand is that buyers of big items, including industrial equipment, are more often women that one might think. In fact, purchasing is nearly dominated by women. Women won't be sold over a couple baseball tickets or a few drinks.

    Chris Reich

  • Peter

    Invaluable data, Duane. May we ask how much your roommate's father-in-law makes working from his laptop for just a few hours? Thank you for your contribution.

  • Peter Chandler

    Amazing stuff. We all of a sudden found out that women are gold diggers.
    I am high maintenance, how many hit songs on the subject, Paul Mac Carthys
    last wife demands...... and on and on and on.
    Cliff, be careful if not yet married.SignedTwice divorced and paid in full.

  • Ogilvyjd

    More mistakes here Cliff: According to your map, it's Nevada, Minnesota and Washington--not Oregon--where males put 25% of homes on market.

  • Simplymagazinecd

    Interesting and worthwhile article. We have a number of audiobooks relating to this subject on, under Business:
    Mr. Kuang's thoughts would make an excellent addition. Part of this
    relates to the Jane Austen approach to cooperation versus
    confrontation. I find that women tend to be m0re supportive in a sales
    process, less suspicious, calmer (just part of their life; we men often
    make things too important), and that gets it done.

  • Fhcgsps

     @jkirkb: is that the best you can do is publicly correct cliff's typo? you've got nothing else?

  • Jkirkb

    "ration of men to women approaches 2:1"
    I'm sure you meant "ratio of women to men approaches 2:1"?