"You've Caught the NET!"

head_left_image

The CAR YOU DRIVE! Realtors, Honestly, What Statement Does it Need to Make?

Hope you're enjoying your last weekend of 2007, everyone!

Got a crazy question for you, and need your most honest opinion here.

How important is it to impress your clients, your staff, and other Realtors you work with, with the car you drive?

Now, we all know your car is an extension of your office.  It has to be comfortable, for you and your clients.  It has to be clean.  It has to be reliable.  But do clients and your peers judge you on the MODEL and MAKE of what you drive, even if they won't admit it to you?

Back in the day, it was your CLOTHING that made the biggest statement on you.  Your suit, your tie, your shoes.  Although neatness and presentation with what you wear still counts a helluva lot, there seems less urgency to spend tons of money on expensive suits today, especially for men.

But,  the vehicle the agent drives up in.  If he or she drives up in a Lexus, do you, subtly, have more respect for them than if they drove up in a Toyota Avalon?  If the car is a bit older, but clean, does that affect your perception of his or her status, confidence, or level of success?  The guy that has an $80,000 Mercedes, or an expensive BMW.  Does he get more traction than somebody that drives up in a nice, but "non-trophy" car?

I know, I know - it's all the in the person.  We have to stop being materialistic these days.  But often times, especially with high-end properties, your first impression is CRITICAL, especially if you are in competition with others.  What do CLIENTS think, but DON'T TELL YOU?

What about your STAFF and TEAM MEMBERS.  Does your car give them a message about how you are as a successful leader?  Can they become concerned if you don't have a visual cue, parking in the office parking lot each day, as to your success and confidence?

Need your candid reaction here, and here's why.

I have driven an Acura for many years - love the brand, the reliability, and the features.  My latest Acura is a top-of-the-line RL - a three year old model, that I bought new.  Lovely car - but very expensive to maintain, and not good on gas, especially in the city.   I purchased this car during the stronger market of early 2005, when gas was still a respectable $2.25/gallon - for PREMIUM!

Now, the lease on this car is coming due.   I'm considering downgrading to a less expensive, but nice and smaller, Acura TL, or even a classy, but $10M less expensive, Honda Accord EX.  Both of these options offer similar features to the RL, are roomy and well designed for clients - but will cost about 20% less to operate, due to better gas mileage, and a far lower lease payment.  Any option here will have built-in Navi System, as I have become quite used to this feature, nice seats, etc. - no stripped down model car.

The market here is Chicago is a Buyer's Market, and this is projected to continue, although we are confident our Team has the right business model in place to grow in 2008.  I am looking at vehicle expense as something I can trim, perhaps considerably, and am leaning to going with a less expensive vehicle here.

But will it hurt me?

Be honest, folks, and think before you answer.  Thanks!

DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

 

Comment balloon 103 commentsDean Moss • December 29 2007 06:27PM

Comments

Nice post with some good points. These are things we need to think about.
Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) almost 11 years ago

Hi Dean!

Interesting question.  I think it depends on where you live regarding what type of car you drive.  I lived in Southern California for most of my life and down there I would say YES....people do judge you on what type of car you drive.  I now live in Vancouver, Washington and up here it honestly doesn't matter!  Is the matter of fact, if you see a car that is immaculately clean on the outside, chances are it has California license plates.  The weather up here is so unpredictable that you would be at the car wash 3 times a day!  Also, I notice up here you don't see many "fancy" cars.  Most people up here spend their money on toys such as RVs, Boats, Vacation homes, etc.  Alot more down to earth!

So in closing, I think depending on where you live is what people look at! 
evie hampton

 

Posted by Evie Hampton (Re/Max Equity Group, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

Dean - check out the responses to this same question posed on Trulia Voices:
  http://www.trulia.com/voices/Tech_Tips/How_important_is_the_car_you_drive_to_your_success-7216--

Posted by Brian Sparr, SPARRproperties (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago
Dean, this is a good post. I have an Acura MDX which I am on the fence about purchasing when the lease is up in March. I also have a new Saab 9-5. My primary vehicle has been the MDX and although it has not given me problems, it's a gas guzzler. With the cost of fuel, how smart do I look to my clients and everybody else by driving this beast? I selected the MDX because I felt it was a nice mid-range statement. I try hard for something that spells out success but not come across as if I am flaunting my success either. I am somebody who can spot pretentiousness a mile away, so I am overly sensitive to this. After a few months of driving the Saab, I am concerned it might be a little too much of a statement. Plus, it's very small and not comfortable enough for clients, nor is it easy to get my signs in and out. I am considering getting rid of both vehicles. I'll be watching your post for other recommendations.     
Posted by Carol Culkin, Overland Park (Reece & Nichols) almost 11 years ago
I love this post.  I have thought about this myself.  Personally, I do not think that it matters what you drive as long as it gets you from point A to point B (and sometimes C & D) without losing parts along the way.  A neat, clean, gently used car is much nicer to look at then a new gas hog that is piled high with stuff and in need of a bath.  However, some people will always judge you by what you drive to work.  I drive a modest car to work so I can one day soon have a fun car in the garage!
Posted by Robin Lundholm almost 11 years ago
I live in an area with many families just starting out due to the military base.  I have found most people have no problem with me driving a Jetta (diesel of course).  They care more about the fact that I can guide them through the transaction smoothly than if I am driving them around in a Mercedes or Hummer. 
Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) almost 11 years ago
Evie makes a good point - the locale makes a difference. When I moved to the Hudson Valley from a "Stepford Wife" Cincinnati suburb 9 years ago I noticed how much people dress down and even made a comment to my husband that we could probably go to church in pajamas and nobody would notice. Same goes for the cars people drive. I am not sure anybody gives a hoot. But since my niche is relocation I am required to at least have a clean, newer model, well maintained car - as the relocation company expects VIP service.  
Posted by Carol Culkin, Overland Park (Reece & Nichols) almost 11 years ago
Dean, I've been in real estate for 34 years and I have always had a new or almost new car.  Sometimes I am embarassed that I have what I think is an expensive car, a fully loaded Toyota Armanda ($45000) but that is what my husband is comfortable and since he is so tall.....but I must admit it IS comfortable.  However, it IS a gas guzzler.  Personally I do not think the make of the car is important...it's the comfort level, the cleaniness, and the dependability.  I think it is good for realtors to get a new car every 3 or 4 years.  But, that's just my opinion.  If I had my choice, I'd go for small and cheaper and more econimical...go for the lower priced one.  Nissans and Toyotas seem to hold up better.
Posted by Kay Perry (Kay Perry, Broker) almost 11 years ago

Hi Dean-

Great post. In short everything about your image matters. Most of the agents in my office drive a Mercedes, BMW or a Lexus. 

Posted by .... ... (....) almost 11 years ago
I feel a nice, clean, well maintained car is all a Realtor needs.  I'm not 'into' impressing people, take me the way I am or not at all.  When I see a Realtor driving a brand new 'upper-class' car I think 'big money', I don't necessarily want that to be the first thought of people about me.
Posted by Mary Warren almost 11 years ago

Good Point,Yes I believe you are judged no matter where you are on what you drive SINCE you are a real estate agent.

With that being said it now depends on what type of clients you normally have. Are you in a luxury market or are you in a new first time home buyers market? I would base that on what I would drive.

Most people do not know the VW market and I have a VW car that is $$$. Once they get in the car they love it and talk about it. This to me is a conversation piece that breaks the ice and gets my clients and me talking and have a great time.

That is my opinion of a vehicle and I hope this helps.

Another thing is keeping the vehicle very clean will make an impression. Clean vehicle will mean clean clear mind to help process the correct home for your client. 

Posted by Susan Trombley, Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngs (Trombley Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Everyone -

Fantastic comments, thanks very much!  Brian, especially appreciate you sending the Trulia link - incredible insight here.

Hot topic, but no clear-cut answer.  Of course, you want to think that the make and model of a car is irrelevant, if your level of service is strong.  But, many, especially higher-end clients, might indeedjudge you and form conclusions instantly based on what you park in front of their home.  In competitive situations, with non-referred clients, FSBO's or expired listings, this could make or break, sometimes.

Autos still help you create and proliferate an image, as your choice of clothing does.  But conviction in what you do, and the service you provide, can be an equalizer.  But not for everyone.

Perhaps, for staff and Team, it's the way you present it to them, and explain how it fits into your overall busines model - I would rather have more dollars left over at the end of the month to promote clients' property on the internet, and market our business, than just look cool behind the wheel.

But there has to be a balance here!

Again, thanks for your thoughts, and Happy New Year!

DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

 

Posted by Dean Moss, Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team (Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL) almost 11 years ago
Anyone that buys a vehicle today without considering fuel economy is either very wealthy, or foolish. I don't see fuel prices going anywhere but up. In the past I drove Lincolns and Cadillacs but now drive a Ford Five Hundred. It has plenty of interior room, all the comfort features that you would find on a more expensive car, and gets fairly decent MPG. I think more people are starting to judge your vehicle by environmental issues rather then size or price.
Posted by Hank Roeters (Platinum Partners Realtors) almost 11 years ago

As long as it's a running, clean car I don't think it really matters. I agree with Hank above in that here where I live, in the Central Valley of California, people are more attuned to environmental issues. Driving around in a big gas guzzling vehecle is often frowned upon. I drive a Ford F-150 truck. Lots of properties here are out in the country. Not the ideal terrain for a fancy car. If I'm going to be driving clients around I'll drive my wife's G-35. Most of the clientele I work with really aren't into what you drive or what label you're wearing. If they were, I probably wouldn't be working with them.

 

Posted by Robert Cortez (Century 21 Jordan Link & Co.) almost 11 years ago

Of course people judge you based on what you drive. Especially in larger metropolitan cities. This is America.

The only types of vehicles you can get away with driving that cost very little are hybrids such as a Prius. It's considered OK to be environmentally concerned. You can explain why you have a Prius. "I wanted to buy a Rolls, you know, but I'd rather try to stop global warming," makes you a hero.

Clients look for expensive names, although they might not know how much the vehicle costs. You can buy very expensive top-of-the-line models from more modest manufacturers, but you can also buy inexpensive bottom of-the-line models from luxury manufacturers. When I see a SLK, for example, it says to me that the individual could not afford to buy the SL model, but clients generally don't know the difference unless they drive a Mercedes.

It's all about image. Can't say I'm happy about that fact, but it's a fact.


Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

I know a mega agent locally who is going to close 500 transactions this year and he drives a 300,000 mile Chevy Tahoe.  A very clean and comfortable car.

I don't believe that buyers judge you on what you drive as long as it is clean and presentable.

Posted by Jeff Payne, Panama City Real Estate (The Payne Group at Keller Williams Success Realty) almost 11 years ago

I drive a Lexus SUV - standard issue real estate car. Boring but will hold my clients.  Keeping it clean is a must! I had a detailer come out just this week as a Merry Christmas to me :)

Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) almost 11 years ago

I doubt it will hurt you provided it is clean and roomy enough for the clients. It's not like you are looking for a Yugo or Geo or a modern car along those lines.

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) almost 11 years ago
Well Dean, the Honda Accord EX is exactly what I am going to buy this spring. Nice, economical compared to what I drive now, and projects a sensible image. I don't deal in million dollar homes so I don't need a Mercedes. I want to get the most bang for my buck and I want my clients to feel I am doing the same for them. I will keep it clean and it won't smell like french fries!
Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 11 years ago
I have an Avalon because it is a nice car to drive. In the New Orleans market it makes little difference as people are not impressed by cars, homes or clothes in general. I know we are different. I actually walk a lot showing properties which suits my niche just fine.
Posted by Eric Bouler, Listening to your Needs ( Gardner Realtors, Licensed in La.) almost 11 years ago
I am nothing but  honest when it comes to these kinds of things. I love my Acura! It is not new, It is not big. My Acura is 10 years old and I think I will keep it another 10 years. It was the first brand new car I bought and paid cash for. I had my first real big year in Real Estate that year!  It has never "hurt" my business. I don't "haul" clients because I think it is too much of a liability risk in this "sue society". I think the Acura you are thinking about will be perfect :). But then again I am a little biased. I do have a Ford F150 4 Door and would feel totally fine driving that too!
Posted by Jo Olson, HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt - Stevens County (HOMEFRONT Realty) almost 11 years ago
I drive a late model Chrysler 300M. It's got 55,000 miles on it.  It looks great, and is very comfortable to sit in.  I wrote a check for it.  I wear a suit to my meetings, come prepared, and am on time.  All of which seem to be more important to my clients than my "wheels".... which are chrome by the way :)
Posted by Felix Krynicky (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago

Hi Dean - I know a number of agents who buy vehicles to impress other agents and themselves - all about ego for that type of person.  Personally, I would rather buy a car that's a comfortable ride, for both me since I'm in it most, and for my clients.  My honey is 6'2", so I make sure it's comfortable for him, and if it is, it most likely will be for most of my clients. 

A clean, well-kept car is important.  I've had clients worth fortunes in my cars and they've commented on the comfy rides, and one set of them actually kinda poked fun at some of the other agents we met who drove what they called 'ego cars'. 

We have some bridges here that can be a little hairy traveling over when we have high winds, and for that reason, my last 2 cars have had lower centers of gravity and are wide-bodied.  That's my own personal choice, but I feel so much safer in the last 2 cars I've owned.  And when I feel safe, I can feel comfortable with clients in the car with me in those kinds of conditions.

I would think, just as real estate is local, that how important or not important one's car is would be local as well.  I suppose if I drove a beat up jalopy, some clients might notice, but I don't so they don't.

Ann

Posted by Ann Cummings, Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent (RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine) almost 11 years ago
In the Cape Cod market, I do not feel that the make of car is vital. The car needs to be clean, comfortable and have high end features that clients expect like leather seats, but the agent's appearance, knowledge and persoanl skills are far more important. I drive a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe with all the extras. Other than the gas mileage, it serves me well.
Posted by Steve Clay (Keller Williams Cape Cod and the Islands) almost 11 years ago
I think it's ok to spend a little extra on your car if your a Realtor. I met a Realtor once who didn't have a car. I wondered if she took her clients out on a bus or bicycles. Anyway, I would buy the nicest one you can afford. Happy New Years!! 
Posted by Laura Testa (Nationwide Homes) almost 11 years ago
While I know it matters to a whole lot to most, I just believe it should be kept clean.  However, I would feel a little awkward driving my husband's 05 Corolla with clients.  I think they will wonder if I am serious about my profession.  They would also wonder how many transactions I close that it won't allow me to buy something that looks better or appropriate to THEM.
Posted by Latonia Parks, Certified Military Relocation Expert (Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV) almost 11 years ago
If you want a great car story check out what Bill Nasby has done.  Bill is now a big wig trainer with EXIT Corporate, but I am reminded of his story about purchasing a limo for something like $75K and then putting another $25K in technology to make it a rolling office.  He descibes it as one of the smartest things he ever did.  People loved the touch, lined up to look at property in his limo and Nasby wrote deals like crazy inside his rolling office! He said it beat anything his competition could put on the road.
Posted by Jim Mazziotti, Exit Realty Bend (EXIT REALTY BEND) almost 11 years ago
Its all about the debate here. There is no correct answer. Knowledge, competence and confidence are as comforting as a Lexus or Mercedes, egos aside. 
Posted by Dan Gobis (Re/Max Newport Realty Corp.) almost 11 years ago

Personally I think perception is everything in this business - Dress well, keep a clean and a mid grade luxury car. I have the Infinity M35 new this year. Tons of comments and appreciation from clients. Next car will be a Mercedes. The car is as important as your regularly polished shoes and pressed sports jacket, which all contribute to brand and image. Wherever you are and whatever the surprise if you have these and your are professional and competent in the job you will have the appropriate "presence" in any company and for any customer, especially if your target market is high end.

Thanks

Nathan

Posted by Nathan Holman, Absolutely Your Interests Above All Else!!! (The Holman Group - HOMESMART) almost 11 years ago
I have a clean exterior (interior another story) Ford Explorer.  Runs well, does it's job and if I have leads that need to be impressed by the type of car I drive, they need to go elsewhere.  Honestly will be thinking about downsizing next year when my son goes off to college to probably a CRV or a Sante Fe.  My husband is the one with the sports cars and those are just modest Mustangs.  I wouldn't mind even adding a late 60's Mustang in good condition with working AC to the fleet to drive around with clients :)
Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) almost 11 years ago

Dean:

I was in the market to buy or lease a new car recently. Before I opened the front door, I opened the back door and sat in the back seat to test the comfort that the car would offer my clients. For the first time in my life, I decided to lease a comfortable, four door of course with only 4 cylinders, with good mileage per gallon and a lot of power. I always drove 6 cylinders and even 8 cylinders. I believe it's time we slow down our dependency for oil. Our dependency and gas guzzlers hasn't worked lately. In any event, nowadays, all the new cars look the same. Nobody knows what are you driving.

Isaac Bensussen-www.besthomesinlajolla.com 

Posted by Isaac Bensussen (Pacific Coast Real Estate Group) almost 11 years ago
I think that a Realtor needs to drive a car that suits the market.  If you're an agent who specializes in first-time buyers, that Lexus may be overkill.  If you specialize in luxury homes, it would be ideal.  Whatever it is, your car must be clean.
Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

I refuse to buy a car that gets less than 30 miles to the gallon. So that limits me. I do need to buy a new car soon, but I am holding out for a few more choices. The car I have now, and have been driving since 2001, is a Honda Civic 4-door. I love it. I am really resistant to getting rid of it: it is paid off and hasnever had a problem, at 110,000 miles.

Also, I rarely have clients in my car. If they have children, they have to be in carseats for ages these days. So I am more likely to ride with them. Also, I use my car for dog things, so my clients are warned of dog hair LOL

I don't know if any of my clients have judged me negatively for driving a thrifty, frugal car. I am not afraid to tell them why I do so. In fact, I figure it shows them that I understand the benefits of conservative financial decisions.

Posted by Sarah Nopp almost 11 years ago
I think it may depend on your market.  For me, a clean well maintained Saturn does the job.  I don't think it has made a big difference to any of my clients.  However, there are probably some markets where it would.
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 11 years ago

I drive a Chevy Trailblazer, nothing fancy, I needed a 7 seater and it's a 6 cylinder so it's not as bad on gas as a v-8. I love it and I get really good feedback from people. I try to keep it clean. When I work with first time homebuyers, they don't feel intimidated. I have never worked with anyone in the million dollar range, so I don't know what their opinions are but my suv has never given a bad impression.

Hope that helps! Happy New Year!

Posted by Pam Graham, Jacksonville, Clay & St Johns Counties (All Real Estate Options) almost 11 years ago
I don't know what the Chicago market is like but I will share  personal experience.  I sell and have sold multi-million dollar specialty commercial properties as well as high end 2nd homes and I have been seen driving  you name it -- from a 1994 Chevy Corsica to a 2007 Monte Carlo to a new GMC Yukon to n older Suburban to a new Lexus 470.  The people that I deal with don't care if I came in a horse and buggy as long as I know a lot about the product that I am selling and have the knowledge base of the area etc. that I have.  Just my 2 cents.  I just got done looking at 2007 GMC Denli's and that has nothing to do with clients and everything to do with me and my lifestyle and comfort level; and yes it will only get 17-18 mpg but I am willing to trade that for my own comfort and needs.
Posted by Gayle Balaban, E. TN Waterfront Real Estate (The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E) almost 11 years ago
F350 Diesel.  Dually...  Crew Cab.  Not great at fitting into some places, but plenty comfortable for 5 people.  It gets better fuel mileage than many gas trucks.  Builders don't grumble about another Lexus driving housewife...  (I've heard that one a few times).  It fits with :working people" as well as higher end clients... ok, my higher end clients.  
Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) almost 11 years ago

In our market, it seems most Realtors drive BMW or Mercedes!  Honestly, I've been tempted to purchase a lower end Mercedes as it seems to be such a mark of success!  However, I then take a few moments and remember that I'm a Mom first!  My Acura MDX was purchased with the intent of using all 7 seats to carpool kids on field trips and have all the gadgets ( GPS, DVD, etc.) that I wanted.  I love my car!  I don't think anyone is intimidated by it and it is high-end enough to satisfy all!  My big issue is keeping it clean.  It seems on most days, my car is more "Mom Messy" than "Realtor Ready"! 

Posted by Cami Pinsak (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago
I'm from Detroit and the main thing that matters is that you drive an American made car and an "upper end car.
Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) almost 11 years ago
I drive a Subaru forester.  I have a client who teases me as to when I will get a Mercedes, dye my hair blonde and spend my time at the beauty shop for nails and facials.  I am practical and when I needed to take a family of 4 I used my husband's F150 crew cab as we were looking at  country property. I tend to dig my heels in.  I would love a luxury car again (had one of the first Acura Legends), but my practical side wins out.  I find I donot ferry people around that much and my partner has a expedition we use if needed!! I would rather have a car paid off. My car may not be high end, but my professionalism and knowledge come through loud and clear.  then they don't care about my car! Just my opinion.
Posted by Melanie Ross, Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828 (Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific) almost 11 years ago

Hi Dean,

This topic seems to be discussed often, honestly I can't understand why it matters what you drive. Purchasing my BMW X5 had nothing to do with clients or egos, it was exactly what I was looking for at the time and it was all about comfort as most of my day is spent in my "office on wheels." :)

Posted by Suzanne Sands, Somerset MA Real Estate (Pavao Real Estate) almost 11 years ago
I have been struggling with this issue for years. I drive a Cadillac CTS but am buying a Mercedes now. I think as long as your car runs good & is clean it is OK. But if you are going to be selling luxury homes you need to be driving at least a mid-luxury model IMHO. If you are mostly working with first time homebuyers or renters then a clean, newer model anything should do fine.
Posted by Susan Milner, Cape Coral Real Estate Broker, FloridaFutureAgents (Florida Future Realty, Inc.) almost 11 years ago

Keep it clean, keep it comfortable, that is what is about to me. Some markets it might matter.

Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
In my market, which is very laid-back, I don't think it matters one iota what an agent drives, unless it is an absolute clunker.  I drive a Honda Odyssey minivan myself, with almost 150,000 miles, but it is clean and well-maintained.  It's practical for clients and for our kids, but not at all flashy.  I would go with the Accord.  I used to drive one when I first got into real estate 11 years ago.  It was fine.
Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) almost 11 years ago
I also agree that we are judged on what we drive.  We live in a judgemental society.
Posted by Heather Fitzgerald, REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate (REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc.) almost 11 years ago
We live in North San Diego County, surfer land, though there are many expensive homes here as well.  For quite a while, my wife drove her lime VW beetle.  In some kind of strange way, that car fit in with the SoCal, funky beach scene here, and no one ever raised an eyebrow except a few of the other successful agents.  It would seem that it mattered more to other agents, and a competing agent once said in her listing presentation when she heard that we were also being interviewed, "Well...you know what car she drives!"  The owner said it didn't matter to her, and we got hired for the sale.   But, if you don't drive a luxury car, you may be subject to the same sort of thing.  We finally did move on to an Audi A6, but it doesn't have the same pizazz as the beetle.
Posted by John Hokkanen, Encinitas Real Estate (SurfTheTurf.com) almost 11 years ago

The question is what is your market. If you look at who your clients have been in the past do they drive Mercedes or Lexus or do they drive Honda Accords. If you sell to the Mercedes crowd then you need at least what they drive.

Posted by Clark Hitchcock, Realtor - Fraser Valley (Re/Max Nyda Realty Inc) almost 11 years ago
Absolutely we are judged by what we drive just as where we live. As real estate agents we know that!  I drive a 2008 Acadia and have been complimented by every buyer that has sat in it. They are very impressed and always say something about it.
Posted by LaNita Cates (REMAX of Joliet) almost 11 years ago

  I also agree that we are judged on what we drive.  We live in a judgemental society.

You are so right, Heather. Those who like mom messes probably should not be in real estate. Ick. They should run day care centers. Kid vomit, yuck. Real estate is a professional business for pros.

I suppose it depends on your market, too, though. If you're selling lower-end homes, you could probably ride a horse to work and nobody would care. If agents want to change client's misperceptions about them, perhaps they should do so from the bottom up. We're only to blame for how our public perceives us.

 

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

I drive a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup.  It is almost always dirty.  I haven't washed it since last Spring. It almost always has some sort of fencing, wood, hay, equipment or tools in the back.  The windshield is now newly cracked and has several rock chips. 

I wear blue jeans, leather work boots and a Carhart jacket to work.  I've never worn a suit or tie to work and would never get any business if I did.

I sell acreages, farms, and land.  In fact I feel comfortable in business clothing or jeans but intentionally dress to match my enviroment.  To many times I've heard "I had some slick dressed up Realtor out here last week in his fancy car to look at the place but I'd rather deal with a man in blue jeans"  Jeans it is then.

Based on the comments above there are not many places you can wear blue jeans, drive a dirty truck and show multi million dollar properties unless you are a farm Realtor.  I love it!

Posted by Jason Smith (DreamDirt Auction) almost 11 years ago

I haven't read all the comments yet, but I'll add my two cents anyway. IMO, we have to walk a fine line. We have to drive something newer, nice, clean, professional, without going over the edge and looking as if we make too much money. Driving up in a $60K car gives many sellers the impression that you're making too much and they can beat you up on commission. However, driving up in a $10K 100,000 mile car says that you're not doing enough business, which translates to lack of success. Now, of course, if you're target market is strictly very high-end clients, then a high-end car is a necessity. We have to blend in with our target clients. My target clients are the upper middle-class sellers. The folks are professional and make more than the average joe, but they don't make so much that they've lost touch with reality and believe that anyone who drives a car older that 1 year or listed under $80K is a nobody.

Personally, I actually respect, and feel more comfortable, with someone who is successful, but is a good steward of what they have. Driving a reasonable, yet nice, car says more to me than someone who pays more for a car than most double-income families will earn in a year.

Posted by Ryan Hukill - Edmond, Realtor, Team Lead (ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite) almost 11 years ago

Dean - It is late and I am too old to stop and read all these comments. I will only share that I drive two different vehicles. I have a brand spanking new Nissan or Toyata. I would have to ask the missus, she picked it out and I really can't tell one damn car from another anymore. I know that it has a hidden phone somewhere and calls come out of the radio. It gets good gas mileage.

I also have about a 1996 Jeep cherokee. It is my preferred vehicle to drive. I don't see or hear as well as I used to and it provides me with a little better protection should I make a mistake. It does smell like dog and stale cigarettes and the radio only plays country music.

I take clients out in the new one. The rest of the time I drive my jeep.

I am not selling a car and I never really cared what folks thought. If they don't want to use me because I drove up in a jeep, hell, that is there loss. Like I said, I'm not selling the jeep.

Whether it is clothes or vehicles.......just be clean and the rest will fall into place.

Posted by John MacArthur, Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes (Century 21 Redwood) almost 11 years ago

Like it or not this is somewhat an image business and depending on the market you may need an 'upscale' car to run with certain clients.  With that said, it's as much about how you carry yourself and your reputation than the emblem on your grill... truly.   We bought the Mercedes because we liked it and for its safety features and the Tundra because I wanted it.  To my knowledge I've never had a client care whether we tooled around in our Mercedes or the Tundra. I'm not all that sure the majority of clients in any price range give that much thought to what we drive. 

Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) almost 11 years ago

Hard to say...I drive a Subaru Forester, which is practical and pretty good on gas, and it's easy to get my signs in and out of.  Most people comment on the Subaru's reliability, and view it as being a good car.  

I buy a car according to my needs only, and I make my decision based purely on reliability, safety and gas mileage; as long as it doesn't look like an Aztek I'll consider buying it if it rates high in the aforementioned categories and is within my budget.

Here in Seattle, I'd say that people judge more in terms of gas mileage than status.  I know I balk when I see someone driving a Hummer or an Escalade down the street.  

Posted by Lisa Bosques almost 11 years ago

Hi Dean:  It's funny you should mention an Avalon, because I drive one.  It is a 2006, and I get excellent gas mileage with it... about 28mpg... which I think is great.  I also have a Honda CR-V... which is Honda's "Cross-over" vehicle.  It's built on a Honda Civic chassis, rides like a car, and also gets around 27 or 28 miles per gallon in the city, and 31 or 32 on long trips.  I think an Accord is a great choice. 

I sell lots of new homes, and have to drive in construction areas, so my Honda CR-V works great there.  The Avalon does not cost all that much more than an Accord, but this year's Accord looks really great, and drives very well.  I cannot see how you would go wrong with an Accord, as long as it is not too small for you physically.  Take care... happy shopping.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago

One of my goal purchases next year is a honda accord coupe, but I am not a Realtor I am a Mortgage Consultant.  So, I thik the perception is a little more slighted.  I think if I have a nice car, I do, a honda ridgeline, but if I were driving a BMW.  I think people would think I take advantage of people.

Dave

Posted by Dave Woodson, Not the Average Agent (Dave Woodson) almost 11 years ago
I don't think the make and model matter to most people as long as it is clean and comfortable. The agent of course has to be professional and it helps if the customers connect with you on a personal level too.
Posted by Cleo Shahateet (Weichert Realtors & DCC Marketing/Cyprus) almost 11 years ago

62 Corvair Spyder ConvertibleThe car topic has always been a good one for conversation streams.  With so many makes and models on the market, the conventional Cadillac has gone the way of the pay phone.  Really what you drive, depends on your lifestyle, region, and locale. 

For comfort, I drive a 99 Durango.  For fun a fully restored 62 Corvair Spyder convertible.  To be honest the classic attracts much more attention. It is a great way to get noticed and an excellent conversation starter. Everyone had one or wanted one.  It also allows me to participate in local car shows and parades...and yes, autocrosses . Again a great way to meet people.

Sometimes driving outside the box has its advantages.

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) almost 11 years ago
This is a great post for me this a.m.  I am at the point of trading in my 1998 Lexus because I just feel that it is making a statement of "you don't make enough money, do you?"  I love that car, it drives great, the gas mileage is decent, it has a smooth ride, leather seats (decked out for "its" time), but I am afraid it is time to trade it in.  NOTHING is wrong with it, again - I LOVE it and it gets me from Point A to Point B, but again, I feel as though I am judge over my car and just need a little updating.  I won't get anything new simply because it takes years to where it is worth more than you owe -- I think that is foolish and I also think that buying a gas guzzler in this day is foolish too.  I don't know what I will end up with, but I can assure you that it will be presentable, it won't make my clients feel inferior to me, I would rather them feel I need a new car, than to feel as though "they bought this" for me!  Many agents, many, many agents have cars that are far above the income level that should allow them to have that car and maintain it at a comfortable level.  I do not want to advertise that I sell cars because I sell houses, not cars.  I do, however feel that you are judged, unfortunately by the car that you drive, but a nice, clean, well kept car, that fits 1 person to a small family should do the trick, but a navigator is a must!  This was perfect to start my day, I was just out looking yesterday and must say that the FIRST thing on my mind is "gas" how many miles to the gallon!  Great post -- great answers and the trulia link was great info too!  Thanks!
Posted by Sondra Sheckler Realtor,ABR,SRES,Historic Home Specialst (Coldwell Banker, Award Of Excellence & Million $$ Producer) almost 11 years ago

Hi Dean,

I agree with Nathan Holman's comment. I live and work in a very wealthy area in South Florida (Boca Raton)where home prices range from $200,000 to $18 Million. The car is an extension of your personality and it is going to influence how you are perceived by others. I drive a Lexus ES350, in my market it is considered a luxury car but not top of the line, it allows me to work with customers in most all price ranges without being offensive. I can drive up to a multi-million dollar property to make a listing presentation and feel comfortable and at the same time I can go list a property in a lower price area outside the city and not get mug.

Manny Reynaldo - www.2bocahomes.com

Posted by Manny Reynaldo, CIPS,TRC (Prudential Florida Realty) almost 11 years ago
I don't think the model means a whole lot. Keep it clean.
Posted by Jean Doyle, Morris and Sussex NJ Real Estate (RE/MAX House Values) almost 11 years ago
I think the nice car thing, just adds to the whole curb appeal aspect of our image.  If you deal with the high end client i think that an older vehicle will down play your image of being a successful agent. Since we only get one time to make the first impression, we may as well make it the best one we can.
Posted by Paul Macapagal, NYC Sales Expert (Town Residential) almost 11 years ago

Dean

I don't let customers in my car. IT does not allow me to turn up my music. They follow me. I had a top of the line Volvo but people thought it was a  really nice car. Now I think I am going the Honda route.

Sincerely

Tom bRaatz

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) almost 11 years ago
The car is an extension of who you are. But you have to take into consideration of the cost of the vehicle. With fewer sales you would not want to be caught not making those payments.
Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic (www.mrbrownsellsgr.com) almost 11 years ago

Dean - of the makes/models you mentioned I would go with the Honda Accord.  Hondas are reliable, great on gas and generally low maintenance. 

As for being judged by my vehicle?  Well, I have a problem with that, mainly because I don't judge people by their belongings but on their expertise and accomplishments.  I'm not superficial.  I'm practical.

There is an agent in another part of our state that drives a 30 year old station wagon.  It's well cared for, runs like a top.  He chose to make his 'tag line' something like.....Classic service delivered by an agent with classic taste.

It works for him. 

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) almost 11 years ago
The last thing on earth I want is to present another reason why people think we make too much money!  A good, clean car that is "under the radar" in terms of money to me is a better than a fancy new car every two years.  I sell professional service for home sales not cars :)
Posted by Josette Skilling (Keller Williams Capital Properties) almost 11 years ago
I drive an Accord; my next will be hybrid - not only better mileage, but a status symbol of saving the world as well.  :) 
Posted by Marsha Cleaveland, GRI, AHWD, CNE (No longer in the sales business) almost 11 years ago

Oops, just noticed this wasn't members only.....I think it's important to have your car be a reflection of you and your business whatever niche that is. If you work with first timers and many young couples, a luxury vehicle isn't the best choice, in my opinion.

 

Posted by Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop, A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990! (RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker) almost 11 years ago
I think that you need to drive a car that looks like you are successful, but not ostentatious. I drive an Infiniti M35. It's not the largest model that they make, but roomy enough for 5.
Posted by Al Maxwell, Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams) almost 11 years ago
I don't know if people really care what type of vehicle we drive.  Earlier this year my silver ford focus was rear-ended and when I told one of my client's what happened she said she thought I drove a honda.  I now drive a burgundy ford focus (my other one was totaled).  I think the car should be in good condition and clean.  Although I agree with some of the other folks, if you sell many million dollar properties you may want to upgrade. 
Posted by Christina Moock, REALTOR - Cutler Real Estate (Cutler Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Dean...

Much of what I had to say has already been said...

So, I'll share something a little 'off' topic with you. Okay? Okay :)

When I am meeting with potential tenants for my personal rental houses, I always meet them at the property and peek inside whatever vehicle they're driving.

Why do I do this? Cuzz. What the inside of the car looks like will reflect what my rental house will look like :)

TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) almost 11 years ago
Maybe you should get a real conversation starter... 1963 Lincoln convertible.  It has the rear suicide doors...  Even one that is VERY nice will be less than a new car... it won't depreciate if you take good care of it... and you are recycling.  Sure, the mileage sucks, but if it starts conversations and makes money for you, it is cheaper to drive than some Prius. 
Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) almost 11 years ago
My personal opinion that it is who you know, who you are, and not necessarily what you drive.  I think you need to keep up "decent" appearances in both your business life and your personal life, but that does not always amount to what kind of car you drive, clothes you wear, etc. 
Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) almost 11 years ago
Hi Dean - By the time most people see an agent's car, they've already made the decision to work with them. So for me, a clean, comfortable and well-maintained vehicle is the only requirement. Everything else is about real estate, not the car.
Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) almost 11 years ago

I drive a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe and I love it. In fact, I love Hyundai vehicles. I was just thinking today that my car should be paid for soon. I won't get another one until I can get the car I want and wanted before I ever dreamed of a career as a REALTOR®. I want a Mercedes CLS 550 and will probably get it after I get the first two younguns at least halfway through college.

I heard/read that the truly rich don't spend their fortune on cars or designer rags. It doesn't make much sense to me to spend a fortune to impress someone who spends their money wisely. But that's just me. I've never defined anything about me by what I have.

The Honda would be a smart buy. One of my tax clients traded in a Honda a couple of years ago and I was shocked at how much she got for trade-in value.

Posted by Toni Hogan (ToniHogan.com) almost 11 years ago
Honestly, if there's anybody out there who choses not to use me because of MY CAR, they deserve whatever they get.  I invest in my KNOWLEDGE and my BUSINESS SKILLS.  My CAR has absolutely NOTHING to do with my REAL ESTATE knowledge and skill.  
Posted by Gregory Maley, REALTOR, GRI, CBR, SHS, e-PRO, ABR (Sold Buy the Sea Realty & R.E.N.T.) almost 11 years ago

I don't believe that a luxury car is necessary in real estate.  You don't want a piece of junk either.  I currently drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee, but I'm going to buy a Toyota Prius for the fuel economy.  It's a nice car, but it's very economical.  I've had clients comment about being turned off by agents in Mercedes, etc. because they simply want people to think their important.  The car won't get you more business...your marketing, sales skills, personality and people skills will attract your business.  One day I was on my motorcycle and received a call from a client wanting to see one of my listings.  Since I was just around the corner, I showed up on the motorcycle.  He liked that I was down to earth and not one of those "snooty realtors".  He ended up working with me due to the motorcycle.  And I've since showed up several times on the motorcycle, all with positive reactions from clients and potential clients.  Interesting how people's minds work.

Posted by Christopher Myers, Greater Orlando and Central Florida Real Estate (Orlando Property Group) almost 11 years ago
I think it does vary a lot by market- but they key is a well maintained and clean. If you can't afford a Mercedes, you shouldn't own one.  Owning a fancy car isn't going to make you money- hard work, persistence and excellent customer service will.
Posted by Ginger Wilcox (Sindeo) almost 11 years ago
I think it will depend on your client. Clients in price ranges over 500K will have a different view than those in the 200K market. They would like to know they are being represented by someone who is successful, and a nicer car would look more successful.
Posted by Karl Burger, Pensacola Real Estate News (ERA Beach Ball Realty) almost 11 years ago

I teach a class about this very subject.  I tell Realtors to have a reliable, safe car that is easy to get in and out of for the client.  You should keep it clean and uncluttered.  The trunk should be large enough for your office away from your brick and mortar office.

My favorite is the Toyota Avalon.  I drive a 1991 Lexus LS 400 with 202,000 miles on it.  It was paid for years ago and if meets all the standards I've set above.  I have a Garmin Nuvi 760 GPS system to easy my travels. 

I am not a fan of Mercedes and BMWs due their shaky reliability.  Many of my friends have them but they complain a lot. 

Posted by Tom Curtin, The Right Agent (Samson Properties) almost 11 years ago
I think it's interesting the comments you have gotten are biased depending upon what part of the country the agents have come from.
Posted by Mary Ann Grafft (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago

In my years of real estate, I've found it more important to have a do-it-all vehicle than a status symbol.  For the last 3 years, I've had SUV's and in my latest go round, its a bright red Dodge Durango (kw colors).  Its roomy, has a third row, leather interior, all weather mats and is roomy even for passengers behind me.  While I desperately need something that gets better gas mileage, I have a hard time carting clients around in my volvo wagon because my wife can't keep it clean.

I've only purchased one new car and it was the biggest waste of money I've ever spent.  Because I drive around 30,000 a year, I prefer something low mileage and with a warranty.  Recently, I've noticed my client are not riding with me as much as they did in my first few years so I'm considering ditching the durango for a second Volvo or possibly a VW GTI 3 door or Mini Cooper. 

I never want to appear like new money, but rather someone who is fiscally responsible.  Plus, my travels with buyers here in Charlotte can have me driving 125 miles for a day of showings (Gotta love suburbs).  I know a lot of agents have the RX300's and LS430's but they're on fleases.  The $400+ I'm not spending on a car payment is money I can spend knocking down my student loans.

As far as navigation goes, I'm no longer a fan of the built-in systems.  I purchased a Tom Tom 710 and I can set my destinations from my computer, set itenaries, and easily update the maps as well as points of interest.  Given the opportunity, I'd stick with it over a built-in system since I can take it from car to car, especially important when I have a rental while my cars are in the shop.

Posted by Jonathan Osman, Charlotte House Hunter Group (Jonathan and Associates, Inc) almost 11 years ago
Our customers dont look at our car which is a Honda EX Accord also. Not until we point it out to them and they like the fact that we don't have a more expensive car. We relate better to them it seems. Thanks for the post. I think it's important that people see this. Best of luck and Happy New Year! 
Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) almost 11 years ago
Hi, Dean.  I agree with what many others have said.  A clean car is most important.  My former broker told us once that she lost a listing driving a minivan because it wasn't fancy enough and lost another listing when she bought a Mercedes because it was too fancy.  It  certainly depends on your client.  Thanks for this topic as I am enjoying the comments.
Posted by Sal Poliandro - NJ Bergen County Realtor, Short Sale Specialist - CDPE, SRES, SFR, IRES (RE/MAX Properties) almost 11 years ago
This is a question I've been wondering myself. My car is a 1999 Dodge and I really can't afford to buy something new right now. It's a four door sedan and I keep it really clean but sometimes I wonder if clients are turned off by the older car. Do they think it's a reflection of how successful (in real estate) they think I am? It shouldn't but I guess it might cross some minds. IMO the most important thing is the car should be clean and secondly if it's easy to get in and out of or comfortable.
Posted by Mary Ann Mazzarella (Dockside Realty) almost 11 years ago
I really enjoyed this post and all of the comments.  My husband drives a Ford Expedition, keeps it clean and it is a nice, large comfortable vehicle which will fit a couple or a family with children.  I was toying with the idea of "upgrading" but wonder if a Mercedez is overkill when we normally work with people who don't drive a Mercedez and I think I agree that maybe some clients might think we make too much money?
Posted by David & Lisa Webber, www.webberteam.com (RE/MAX Executive) almost 11 years ago

Hey, everyone -

Here in Cold and Snowy Chicago, we are just BLOWN AWAY by the volume of comments on this very hot topic.  And you all answered with much thought and deliberation - THANKS AGAIN, to everyone!

I've always bought a car that I am comfortable with, but in a casual sort of way.  A Mercedes or a top-end BMW - I agree, many may think we make too much money, and perception can be negative.  Even if you work with exclusively-upscale clients, this could be a turn off.

But, like the clothes you wear - you want to be clean, neat, presentable - with just a touch of memorability. 

I have owned Acura cars for many years because they are incredibly reliable, generally reasonable to maintain (but now that gas is up so high, costs for Premium Fuel have become a business concern), have excellent trade-in values (after all, they are still really Hondas!), and create a memorable "What kind of car is this?" impression, without being too flaunty.

If my car was an extension of my personality, I might say it speaks about me as someone who is successful, but not seeking to impress others.  That he is confident in his business, but has a bit of flair.  That he is not afraid to get his hands dirty, but won't dirty his hands looking under his own hood while he is taking us to view properties.

I really don't take buyers out much anymore - our Buyer's Specialist Kathleen Weaver-Zech does - she drives a Saturn SUV.  She loves it, BTW!  Further, I don't feel I constantly have to convince myself how good I am.

In 2008, we have some serious issues.  We have to capture business in a tougher market, effectively promote our listings, and, with uncertainty as to housing demand in the first part of the year especially, not have a lot of fat in our budgets.

It is no longer fashionable, even in the more affluent sectors, I believe, to be driving some gas-guzzling hog with a trophy nameplate just for status.  I think most clients would rather me spend our not-unlimited budget on things that will get their house sold, not to stroke the Listing Agent's ego.  Those that don't, I'd be concerned about how shallow, and potentially toxic, they might be.

My leaning, therefore, is I can possibly downsize somewhat, to an Acura TL or Honda Accord EX-L, without negatively impacting my business.  Make sense?

Always welcome your further thoughts!

DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

 

 

Posted by Dean Moss, Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team (Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL) almost 11 years ago

ber,

       I agree with many of the comments already made.  I think it all depends on what you are comfortable with.  My husband and I are both brokers, each with our own style.  I drive an Infiniti G35 sedan.  It's nice and roomy and great for taking out clients.  It's also just the right size for me to drive.  My husband on the other hand drives a Dodge Dakota.  He's very casual and people relate to his down to earth style.  We make a great team.  I think what's most important is the care you give your clients and your integrity.

Posted by Joyce Jewell, GRI, ePRO, ASP, ABR, SFR, RSPS (Jewell Real Estate Agency) almost 11 years ago

Wow, this has been a great post and I've really enjoyed all the comments. It's nice to see that so many agents realize that there is a limit to how flashy we should be with our cars. Until recently, I was still driving around in my 96 GMC Suburban (11mpg was killing me). It's a VERY nice one, loaded out and still looks brand new, but one day I was at a listing of mine, putting the sign in the yard, and I overheard the neighbor across the street say to his wife "That Realtor must not be that good if he's driving that old thing." I was taken aback. I mean yes, it's a 10-year-old vehicle, but like I said, it's clean and still looks new. Anyway, my point is, different people will have different opinions, and I think as long as we're within reason and we keep them clean and nice, MOST people are OK with it.

I also want to second Jonathon's comment on the navigation. I have a built-in unit in my current Honda, but have found that the portable units actually offer more. Being able to plug them into the laptop and get update maps or map out an itinerary could be very useful for us in our business.

Thanks again for an enjoyable post.

Posted by Ryan Hukill - Edmond, Realtor, Team Lead (ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite) almost 11 years ago
Drive what you can afford and that is comfortable. All the fancy cars around won't give you more clients.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago

Wishing You HAPPY HOLIDAYS and Best Wishes for A GREAT YEAR 2008.

Tommy   New York Certified Home Inspector Long Island NY Nassau/Suffolk/Queens Home Inspections
Posted by "Tommy" Decebal, Adamescu Long Island NY MASTER Home Inspector (HomeSpector Inc. 516-851-5833) almost 11 years ago

I think not only does the answer to this question come from "where you live" but "where you sell."  As a previous HR Manager, I know that people hire people that are "like them. "  People make friends with people that are "like them," etc.   I don't think it's a stretch to think that Sellers/Buyers select a Realtor based on this same simple concept. 

Don't get me wrong, I think you should be YOURSELF, but with that said...

If your market is mostly middle-class, then driving a hefty priced "trophy car" may turn off your client.  However, if your clients are up-market, then I would try to have a nicer car, but never one nicer than your client!!  ;)

Good luck!!

Posted by Kimberly Thamm (ANDERN DESIGN COMPANY) almost 11 years ago

Interesting topic and I do have an opinion based on personal needs and safety. My husband is a Broker ad drives approx. 60K a year on the S. California Freeways. We have toll roads that cost on average 160.00 a month, gas on average, 450.00 a month, plus payment and maintenance. We decided the med. priced Mercedes Kompressor was well priced, mid sized so people driving the big Trucks and SUV's can "see him" and should last about 4 years on the road. It's in the budget, looks sharp and with all the time he spends on the road, comfort was a consideration as well.

For me, I keep my car well after it's paid for and I drive a BMW X3. I also bought the car with the dealer incentive, 2.9% financing. It takes less gas than it's larger counterparts on the road and a great car for my business, selling Insurance. It's safe, comfortable for road trips and keeping it neat and clean is important to me. I don't judge people on the type of car they drive, but I do judge on how they keep their car.  

As an Insurance Agent, I am obligated to let you all know the importance of having proper insurance coverage on your vehicle. I have our vehicles listed as "Business use" and driving in California, with so many expensive vehicles on the road, having adequate coverage is critical. Make sure you have a minimum of 50,000 in property damage coverage on your policy.

Posted by Terri Habecker, Life Matters & So Does Your Insurance Co (AIG, Allied, Fireman's Fund, CNA, Travelers,The Hartford, Pr) almost 11 years ago

Edmonds.com as a lot of information on buying cars. Internet sales and dealer incentives can make a difference in your purchase price. Even buying a one year old car can be a huge savings. Another consideration in buying a car are surcharges for expensive autos can be costly when it comes to buying Auto insurance. Farmers in Ca. gives additional discounts for having ABS brakes, a security system and for Being a "Broker or Realtor". This can be a great savings on your Insurance costs. 

If you must drive clients, safety, cleanliness and comfort would be my top priorities when choosing a vehicle. Better yet, for your own Liability, have the clients follow you to your destinations.

Ask yourself this..."If I were in an accident with a semi-truck, do I want to be in the cheapest or the safest car on the road"?

Posted by Terri Habecker, Life Matters & So Does Your Insurance Co (AIG, Allied, Fireman's Fund, CNA, Travelers,The Hartford, Pr) almost 11 years ago

It doesn't matter what it is -- or how old it is -- or how many miles it has.  But it better be clean - inside and out and all of the time!  You can buy perception and image - but you can't buy respect!  If you got them into your car, it's going to be all about how you take care fo the details.  A slob car can be a Mercedes or Lexus one week off the lot.  Get inside a slob car and you can't wait to get away from the person!  Get inside a clean, non-smoked in anything car or SUV and you know you are dealing with a person that respects his clients, feels proud of him or herself, and will work in an organized fashion to get the deal done.

Richard Zaretsky, Esq., RICHARD P. ZARETSKY P.A. ATTORNEYS AT LAW, 1655 PALM BEACH LAKES BLVD, SUITE 900, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA 33401, PHONE 561 689 6660  RPZ99@FLORIDA-COUNSEL.COM - FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFIED IN REAL ESTATE LAW - We assist Brokers and Sellers with Short Sales

Posted by Richard Zaretsky, Florida Real Estate Attorney (THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY) almost 11 years ago

in your local market (chicago), I think realtor transporatation is more about getting from A-Z.     if your budget it tight, I would just get a reliable car and make sure that it is clean and presentable to clients.

At the end of the day, people are going to judge you more on your sales volume/activity and professionalism than the car you drive.

Posted by Renee Adelmann (Marin Modern Real Estate ) almost 11 years ago
You are judged on whatever you drive! If a beater~ you look lazy! Bently~ You have class,have enough money or are looked at as very successful. You really are what you drive. I have an SUV, but now drive my Chrysler Concorde. I sell more homes in the car.
Posted by Christopher Webster, Columbia South Carolina Real Estate For Sale (Carrington Real Esate Services) almost 11 years ago
Match your car to your market.  If you sell land, farms etc, then an SUV is great.  If you sell to seniors an SUV can be almost impossible for them to get in and out of.  Making sure the car is clean and well maintained is more important than the make and model. 
Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 11 years ago
Happily driving my 2001 Toyota 4Runnner.  I know I don't think higher of someone driving a Lexus, but I have had very high end clients comment on how nice another agents car is  (when showing another agents property and she drove up in a Lexus)  So I do think it matters to some. 
Posted by Karen Willliamson, Wailea Hawaii real estate (Maui Earth Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago

Good question...how about those who live in Michigan for example - is it better to buy American versus Foreign?  I know people who who not do business with someone who doesn't support "Made in America" vehicles...jsut curious what you think about this....

Posted by Cheryl.... over 10 years ago

I traded my BMW 528 for a Prius 3 1/2 years ago.  In fact, I have two clients who were so impressed with the Prius that they went and bought one, too.  I wish I'd gotten a referral fee for that, but no such luck.  It is a mid-sized car.  It's interior has more space and better head room than my 528 had and don't even ask the difference at the gas pump.  I live where there's a Shell station selling gas for over $4 a gallon.  No joke.  Most of the gas stations on the San Francisco Peninsula sell gas for around $3.50 a gallon, so my Prius is a joy to fill up.

Consider a hybrid car.  Look at the Prius.  Look at the Camery.  The money you save at the gas pump will be major.  Your clients will appreciate that you care about global warming and you'll be helping the environment, too 

Posted by Lenore Wilkas, Lenore Wilkas (Coldwell Banker - Vista Village ) over 10 years ago

As long as it's a clean well-kept car it really shouldn't matter but people are going to judge others regardless. If I could afford it, then I'd  have a car for play (something really nice) and a car for business (something practical). Since I can't afford it, I'll continue to purchase what suits my personal & financial needs first & foremost. You should be OK with the Accord or the TL, they are both nice cars, but I'd prefer the TL. 

p.s. I also drive an Acura RL....

Posted by Eugene Jones (Weichert Realtors) over 10 years ago

I don't believe that buyers judge you on what you drive as long as it is clean and presentable.

Posted by Crandall Thomson (Keller Willaims) over 10 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments