Some Like It Hot: Romance Fiction ♥s Real Estate

A vacation just isn’t a vacation without a good novel. While the news junkie in me gobbles nonfiction by the pound, that genre seems somehow ill-suited to the beach.

Photo credit: Simon Cocks

In preparing to soak up some sun this Labor Day weekend, I wondered how I could relax but still get some work done, at least for my trusty Book Scan readers. I thought maybe—like me—you’re looking for an escape without leaving the office entirely.

That brought me into the world of real estate fiction. A cursory search of Amazon’s real estate-related fiction offerings presented me with a whopping 403 entries in the romance novel category. Five—count ‘em, five!—of these books all had the same title. Turns out the phrase Hot Property is as much a cliché in real estate fiction titles as it is in listing copy.

Reading the synopses for these books, I determined they were not only a little too racy for the Book Scan, but also not really my taste. So, don’t expect a Hot Property review any time soon. But it got me thinking: Why is real estate such a compelling venue for romance novels?

Is it gender-based? After all, 91 percent of romance readers are women and the typical REALTOR® is a 56-year-old female.

Or maybe it’s the excitement of the job? You may groan an objection as you plow through paperwork, but the romance of a new home is undeniable. And the on-the-go nature of a successful real estate career is certainly helpful to a novelist with writer’s block.

But do real estate professionals really want readers assuming that their common haunts—be they open houses or building sites—are venues for steamy trysts? As I said, the excerpts I read weren’t exactly shining examples of professionalism. Or perhaps I’m being too prudish, as a person unacquainted with the world of romance fiction.

So I turn to you, fair reader: Would you be embarrassed if a client saw a copy of Hot Property in your laptop bag? Do these books give an unseemly tinge to the industry? Or is it just harmless fun?

Comment below and let me know what you think. Oh, and don’t forget to send me your real estate fiction recommendations. I’m still looking for a good beach read.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

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  1. How about “Open House” by Elizabeth Berg–on the jacket: ..”a love story about what can blossom between a man and a woman and within a woman herself.” I picked this up at a book sale because of the title (I decorate with books!) and it turned out to be a pretty good read!

  2. Leora Hartman

    I love the Maggie Sefton books. She is a former Realtor from Fort Collins, CO.
    Dying to Sell is a fun (if scary) read, and her knitting mysteries have a lot about real estate with an interesting character who is a Realtor. Besides, Open houses are a great place to knit and her books make you want to try knitting. Fun reads!