Firstly, the political affiliation of your agent shouldn’t matter. No differently than your hair stylist, grocery cashier, or doctor, good service (or bad service) knows no political affiliation. And though the occasional agent actually uses their politics as a unique selling proposition, most agents are wisely and strongly cautioned to stay on neutral topics with customers (e.g. not politics, religion, etc.) and not let potential hot topics spoil an otherwise healthy relationship.
But I thought it would be interesting to reflect on some of the occupational considerations that might affect an agent’s political sympathies and, specifically, explore why the median real estate agent probably bleeds Republican red.
No doubt agents’ political views also closely correlate to the areas they serve. Here in Fort Hood, we are in the middle of Texas, with a large military community (many of whom like myself set up roots in the area as real estate agents after their military service) and a Republican Congressman who won 68% of the vote in 2014. So naturally our agents probably are more conservative than the national average.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) gave more to Republicans this year than to Democrats, but only barely. And historically, their pocketbook’s allegiance is not to either party but rather whichever party controls the House of Representatives (the part of government responsible for spending money), which happens to be the Republicans at the moment. NAR is more interested in maintaining specific policies like the mortgage interest tax deduction that tend to have bipartisan support.
Looking at individual agent’s themselves and how much they give to either Party, it is a slight Republican advantage, 56% – 43% (Commercial Real Estate Agents are more lopsidedly Republican). However that does not take into account that real estate agents are predominantly female, a traditionally Democrat leaning demographic, and therefore it is reasonable to conclude that your average real estate agent is quite a bit more Republican than your average American.
Here are three occupation-related reasons for why that may be:
Real estate agents take their safety pretty seriously. The job description includes taking strangers to other strangers’ vacant homes, alone. Particularly in a majority female occupation, many agents feel vulnerable in those circumstances, and are well aware of the tragedies that reinforce those cautious instincts.
As such, an estimated 12% of real estate agents conceal carry while on the job. That may not seem high, but it is 2 to 3 times the national average. And another 40% of agents are open to carrying a gun. Some brokers even provide conceal carry classes to their agents that want to participate. The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) even sanctions a conceal carry course for Texas agents.
Pepper spray and other non-lethal measures are popular as well, but the popularity of carrying a gun for safety may partially explain agents’ slight preference for Republicans and their generally pro-gun policies.
For the typical salaried American, they seldom feel the full impact of the taxes they pay. Employers withhold the estimated income taxes from paychecks and employees never even see the money pass through their bank account. Often salaried employees get money back at tax time in a refund. April 15th is another payday, not tax day.
Not for real estate agents.
Agents are usually independent contractors, and therefore are responsible for paying their own taxes. They see every dime come in from the commission check, and watch every dime that leaves into Uncle Sam’s pocket. Further, they are responsible to pay their estimated taxes quarterly, instead of once annually. How would you like it if you paid your taxes four times a year instead of once? It makes the pain of taxes just a little more visceral, and might have something to do with agents’ favoring the GOP’s low tax platform.
Finally, agents also see the impact of public school zoning. Buyers can be forced into having to choose between the right home or the right school. Or sellers can watch their property values evaporate as the local school declines. I can imagine more than one agent has probably wished schools weren’t based on where you house happened to be. More often than not, the party of school choice is the Republican party.
Again, politics and real estate sales are not connected, and there are great agents partial to either party (or neither party). Thoughts? Know any politically active real estate agents? Comment below!