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THE CAR YOU DRIVE, PART II. Thanks for all your comments and thoughts!

Hey, everyone -

Our Team in Chicago is just BLOWN AWAY by the volume of comments on this very hot topic of how the car you drive affects the perceptions of your clients, and those on your staff.  (See our original Blog article here.) 

Our earlier post was answered with much thought and deliberation - THANKS AGAIN, to everyone!

BTW - I'm creating a new blog post, in addition to a responding comment, to make sure more folks review these further thoughts - no "point hogging" intended, 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 flaunting.

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.

Based on your gracious input, I feel I can downsize somewhat, to an Acura TL or Honda Accord EX-L, without negatively impacting my business.   I would use any savings toward building systems and methods for better marketing our clients' properties, as well as promoting the way we work.  Make sense?

Always welcome your further thoughts!

DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Comment balloon 7 commentsDean Moss • December 30 2007 08:51PM

Comments

My husband was a car dealer.  He always said that the interior of a car reflected the way a person lived.  Clean.....then the house would be clean.  Filthy.....the house would be the same.  I've always tried to remember to keep the interior of my car clean, no matter how inexpensive it might be.  It reflects against or for me as a person.
Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 11 years ago

I was a bit sensitive to the post, I just got rid of my favorite car, a 1997 Lincoln Towncar, last of the big ones. I had 282,000 miles on it, and it was still beautiful. Replaced it with a 6 cylinder Buick, for now.

 

Posted by Dan Gobis (Re/Max Newport Realty Corp.) almost 11 years ago
My husband has not been listening to me about getting another car. I have 2003 Buick REgal. I have thought that I need a more prestigious car.  Now I am re-thinking this since your post.
Posted by Pat Laracy Baker, Realtor, Green, ABR, Holliston, Massachusetts (Realty Executives Boston West) almost 11 years ago

Thanks for your post. . .very interesting to read all the opinions on the cars we drive!  I was driving an 02 Toyota Sienna, but that's the kid/family minivan and I got tired of cleaning all the garbage out.  So I switched with my husband and now drive an 02 Camry -- looks more like a "real estate" car and a lot easier to keep clean.  I've always felt confident with either car because they are clean and I get them washed regularly. 

Bottom line: a newer model car that's clean will do fine (even for the high end buyers) -- just like your personal dress, the car is important (but it's not the whole enchilada) ;-)

Posted by Teri Deane, Realtor, ABR, CRS, SFR - The Deane Team (RE/MAX 100) almost 11 years ago
Have you driven the new loaded out Accord?  Very Phat.  You will not be disappointed.   Good luck with your search, and remember to have some fun with it.
Posted by Felix Krynicky (Keller Williams Realty) almost 11 years ago
Hi Dean:  I have never driven an Acura.  I currently have a 2007 Honda CR-V, and think it is just awesome.  The last Honda I had, I put over 230,000 miles on it, and really did not have any problems with it.  Good luck, and let us know what you decide.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago
I have to agree that your car is important. I have a friend (yes, only one) and when he sees an older woman in a caddy (do they still use that term?) with "blue hair" he always says " There's a realtor!". Nothing screams snob like an agent in a black SUV with low rider wheels and blackened windows. Me, I drive an Isuzu Rodeo because I do a lot of rental stuff and I constantly have to pick up parts, which I can hide in the back. And my windows are clear.
Posted by Dennis Swartz, MBA, GRI...experience counts! (Full Circle Property Management) almost 11 years ago

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