Does Gender Bias Exist in Real Estate Sales?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

For about the past week I’ve been following a discussion on Copy Blogger – a blog where copywriters hash over various aspects of our business.

This discussion started with a post entitled “Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants,” and the last time I looked, it had 528 comments.

Obviously, the subject matter hit a nerve with a whole lot of people.

The essence of this post was that James is not really James. She’s a woman who was struggling to provide for her children and was making a dismal income writing as a woman. So she “became” a man.

When she began writing as James she landed higher-paying jobs, along with more respect. At first she even competed with herself for a few projects, and James always won out over her female persona.

So my question for you today is this: Does gender bias exist in real estate sales? And if it does, does it favor men or women?

When I opened my office all those years ago I was the first female Owner/Broker in our area, and some people were shocked at the idea. After all, what self-respecting man would want to work for a “woman boss?”

It worked for us, and now I believe every agency in our small town is headed by a woman.

So what has been your experience? Bias? No bias?

Just curious…

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Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv
REISA - 317-663-4173 - Indianapolis, IN

In real estate the trend is female and lending is male. Doesn't matter how  or why it happened. it just is what it is.

Have a great day


Dec 22, 2009 10:12 PM #117
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

There is gender bias everywhere, not just real estate. I know good and bad agents on both sides of the gender fence. I seem to recall a posting where a caller asked for a man. I am biased towards women when it comes to attorneys- most of the lawyers I refer are women, because they aren't so confrontational and they are well organized. But by their own admission if there is a physical issue with the house they aren't much help. 

Dec 23, 2009 12:08 AM #118
Mark Warner
RealEspace - Plano, TX

I have worked with both men and women and just like any religion you find good and bad people. I think we should be open minded and just check out those we want to work with thoroughly.

Dec 23, 2009 02:17 AM #119
Blake Russell
Sacramento, CA

Having been in the business in three different states over the past 29 years, I have to say that I believe there is some gender bias, but that bias comes from the eyes of the consumer, not our peers.

I personally do not care either way but if I were to do this business all over  again in another life, I definitely would rather do it as a woman.

Dec 23, 2009 05:28 AM #120
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches


I think the bias has gone down quite a bit from the late 80's.  Back then, I had a male partner.  If we went on a listing presentation together, the male head-of-the-household would address all questions to him.  But I know longer have a partner and I do quite well.  I think the public is use to dealing with women now. (It only took us a couple of hundred years!)

Dec 23, 2009 08:16 AM #121
Christa LaFarlette (la-far-let)
Your Choice Real Estate - Orange Park, FL

Very interesting----

At first I had thought the writing was within the industry.  As in I work long hours to be successful and my family gripes (from time to time).  If it were my husband running his own business and working long hours would the same go?  More than likely not.  I say this only because he was prior military and was gone alot, and although I was in private and I tried hard to not play the guilt card.

We have more women in our office then men, but that is shifting slightly and it's good!  Some of the men went for more traditional-steady paying careers as the market shifted, and their counterparts stayed in real estate.

Good stuff!  Thanks-----

Dec 23, 2009 10:03 AM #122
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I don't think there is any bias in my area.

Dec 23, 2009 12:34 PM #123
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Interesting post, no bias here!

Dec 23, 2009 02:12 PM #124
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

It's good to see so many don't believe there's a bias. Unlike the copywriter, "James," whose post on Copy Blogger prompted me to write this one, I don't see it either. But then, I've never tried pretending to be a man. (I've also never written articles for $1.50, but that's a whole other subject.)

I suppose there are people who naturally make inquiry of a man over a woman, or a woman over a man, based on past experience as well as bias. And that would hold true for real estate, copywriting, or any other kind of one-on-one service.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve - I hope everyone here will be spending the holidays with someone they love...


Dec 23, 2009 02:43 PM #125
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate


I don't think it exists in our market area among agents.

Dec 25, 2009 01:57 AM #126
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Merry Christmas to all!

And thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on this question... your answers make me feel good about the real estate industry.

Dec 25, 2009 08:00 AM #127
Delaware Junk Removal Residential And Commercial Hauling Clean Outs
Delaware Junk Removal 302-530-9186 - Wilmington, DE
Whole House Clean Outs, Basements, Garages, Attics

Marte- Merry Christmas, just about to head out for desert.  You have a good point there. A shorter woman (or man) might have a harder time also and if you are too good looking that may work against you also. 

I have found as most of us with a couple years on them that you cant judge a book by its cover. 

Dec 25, 2009 09:09 AM #128
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

We all have our ways of sizing people up - and it really is crazy to judge by height, weight, attractiveness, and gender.

I tend to judge by attitude - but the older I get the more I realize that may be wrong, too.

A person who comes across as arrogant or know-it-all may really be very insecure. Realizing that doesn't make me want to be around them any more than I did before, but at least I have a little more compassion.

Dec 26, 2009 03:40 PM #129
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Yes, that is sad. All 3 of those men were using you as an excuse for their own shortcomings. I suppose in some cases it could be a cultural thing - I have little to no experience along those lines because I live in an area that is definitely not multi-cultural.

My 85 year old neighbor is a retired pathologist and her husband a retired school teacher. Since he comes by to visit quite often, I've heard a lot about how difficult it was for her being a woman in the "Man's" field of medicine some 60 years ago. Some actually did tell her that she belonged at home having babies instead of taking the money they needed for their families. Others refused to address her by the title "Doctor" but insisted on calling her "Mrs."

She found success by doing what so many women do - working harder and longer in order to prove her worth.

I look at my kids now and think there is hope - my boys don't have the old attitudes about what women can or should do. And my daughter-in-law just plain wouldn't put up with any nonsense!

We as a society are making progress... at least the comments on this blog post indicate that things are getting better and better in the real estate profession. Let's hope that attitude keeps spreading.

Dec 27, 2009 04:06 PM #130
Suzy Morris
The Morris Team - Carlsbad, CA

Interesting post.  I have not experienced blatant sexism in the workplace since the 1980s and I know in all my careers, I have made as much, if not more than, my male colleagues. 

Dec 28, 2009 10:12 AM #131
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Suzy - that's a good thing! It should all come down to the job you do.

Dec 28, 2009 10:42 AM #132
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

My male partner is my younger brother.  The blessing is that we both have very different personality types that fit with clients. 

We have both been rejected by a client because I was too strong or he wasn't strong enough or because I was a female and he was a male.

We take it all in stride and count our blessings we are family and a team.

As my brother he has a ball telling his friends, "Wait till you meet my sister, she's not one, but two guys trapped in a woman's body!"  I'm just glad he's my business partner and brother!    Joy

Dec 28, 2009 12:22 PM #133
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Joy - You two really are fortunate! You're what family is all about.

Dec 28, 2009 03:57 PM #134
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Frisco TX Real Estate Co. - Frisco, TX
Real Estate Agents

Marte - What an interesting topic and even better comments. We are all agents of first impressions. Whether or not we like it or believe it.

I've worked with singles and single widows who reached out to me because I was a woman. They just feel more comfortable being in a presence with a woman when showings houses and riding in a car together. That's very understandable.

At the same time, I could only potentially be "me" - a woman and I'm sure it happens the same to our man co-workers whose preference would be to work with men.

In the past, when I was not an agent and selected an agent to work with, my husband and I selected a very professional, pretty looking woman just based on her photo. Men look sharp in a suit and tie but it's a different presentation when a lady presents herself in a suit (no tie, of course) in a professional photo.

In the end, once the relationship is formed, it doesnt matter if you are a man or woman. It's how you treat them and how you carry yourself that matters.

No one can deny that we are in the first impressions business. That's why we do the things we do.

The fact that woman is in ALL industries but I'm always surprise that Men dominates them. Like chefs too.

Dec 31, 2009 09:34 PM #135
John Armstrong
Armstrong, Flinders & Associates @ Realty Executives of Utah - Orem, UT

My Grandmother got her agents license in 1963 and became a broker in 1968... she was the first WCR president in Colorado... And I believe the first female Broker in Colorado... That being said... At this point I will not participate with the sexist orginization WCR;-) There are more women in Real Estate nationally because as my grandmother said... After 3 years she out earned my grandfather but for those first three years his job paid to put gas in her car to show houses... It is hard to get started in Real Estate and being a second profession in a household makes for an easier beginning... as does the fact that there is a low bar to entry. There are some reasons why men are in many cases a bit more successful at this. Most of the time it has to do with gender roles and the fact that for men this is usually the primary supporting profession. I for example take 2-5 days off for a new baby... my wife on the other hand is out of action for a much longer period with family obligations... My obligation is the house and mortgage... hers falls more to making my kids into responsible adults... Yeah... I know those roles do overlap but in general... This explains why now there are more women than men and in my experience a greater percentage of the top producing agents are men... Again... not to say there are not some incredibly talented and powerful women who are top producing agents...



Aug 19, 2010 07:19 AM #136
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