Does it matter what kind of car you drive as a real estate agent?

43 Replies

Hey guys! This might be an obvious question but I'm 20 years old and im obtaining my real estate liscense in about 2 months. I'll be working with 2 top producers in my area(Southern California)as my mentors and I'm looking forward to starting a succesful business. Right now I drive a somewhat older 2 door truck that I feel won't put off the best look. So I'm currently looking at 2 totally different cars. One being a small 2 door sports coupe and the other being a nice used Mercedes 4 door. I have to finance either but I really want the sports car because I love fast cars and I'm young but im not sure if it will hurt my business. Everyone I know in the industry tells me it's very rare to drive clients around as they prefer to drive themselves so how much will it matter if I drive a small sports car? Or if I kept my trucks and waited untill I made enough to buy something that has sports and luxury? Thanks guys!

@Account Closed - I would keep the truck until you start generating some income. I doubt your customers will pass on a house that you are selling b/c you have an old truck.4

Originally posted by Account Closed:

@Josh Lowe - I would keep the truck until you start generating some income. I doubt your customers will pass on a house that you are selling b/c you have an old truck.4

 I feel like thats a good idea, however my payment will be similar to how much I'm saving in gas as my truck gets terrible mpg. I belive I'll be driving quite a bit as a realtor so I forgot to factor that in. I'm mainly curious as to whether or not driving a 2 seater sporty car will affect business?

Hmm.. Very good question, I am a 22 year old agent similar to you. While yes you will be driving more on showings, you will obviously use more gas. I would hold off for a few months of buying a new car because you are talking a 4+ year commitment with financing the purchase. If you are worried about your appearence I would meet with clients at your broker's office so they get to know you and don't judge you off of your truck.

@Account Closed - How much do you want to spend? I have family in OC that has an early 2000 E320 with less than 100k miles. Perfect condition.

get a Ford Focus!! I have a 2012 that I love. 40 mpg highway and around 34 city . And they are cheap compared to most new cars. Mine is front wheel drive and made it through a Chicago blizzard , I will drive that car till the wheels fall off.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

Hey guys! This might be an obvious question but I'm 20 years old and im obtaining my real estate liscense in about 2 months. I'll be working with 2 top producers in my area(Southern California)as my mentors and I'm looking forward to starting a succesful business. Right now I drive a somewhat older 2 door truck that I feel won't put off the best look. So I'm currently looking at 2 totally different cars. One being a small 2 door sports coupe and the other being a nice used Mercedes 4 door. I have to finance either but I really want the sports car because I love fast cars and I'm young but im not sure if it will hurt my business. Everyone I know in the industry tells me it's very rare to drive clients around as they prefer to drive themselves so how much will it matter if I drive a small sports car? Or if I kept my trucks and waited untill I made enough to buy something that has sports and luxury? Thanks guys!

Hi Josh, and welcome to BP.

First, Let me suggest that you don't run out to spend a bunch of cash. Although you're working with two top producers, real estate can be a fickle business. We're also headed into the slower season and fewer sales means less commission. 

With that said, occasionally you're going to be stuck driving clients around. While some people do prefer to drive themselves, when you have clients that don't know their way around a neighborhood or a GPS, you're going to need to stick together. With that being said, I do drive my Porsche Boxster most of the time, but I also have access to my wife's Ford Fusion when needed. If I had to choose one car, I would choose the 4 door. You can always fit 2 people in the fusion, but can't fit 4 in the sports car. You can always find an alternative solution - a buddy of mine rents a car when he needs a 4 door, but that seems pretty cost ineffective to me. 

On a side note, I sometimes choose which car I drive based on what I'm doing. If I'm looking at an investment property that I'm personally buying, I will take the Fusion. I don't want the seller to think I have an excessive amount of money and can afford to pay a dollar more than I offer on a property. If I'm visiting a distressed seller, I will take the Porsche. It seems to give them a sense of comfort and belief that I have the financial means to solve their situation.

-Christopher

I mostly liked driving a 4 door MBZ personally. I bought my first MBZ new in 1983 I was 28 at the time, but looked like I was 19. Once I got a call from a buyer on my listing and they matter of factly said they are working with another agent who is not available that day and can I show my listing to them and if they decide to buy, they will make an offer thru their agent.

When I got out of my brand new MBZ, the wife literally said... "You're so young and successful... forget the other agent, we want to work with you instead" While they didn't buy the listing, I did list their house... which didn't sell as well... Rates were sky high at that time... around 17% for a 1st mortgage. So don't complain about 4.5% rates... lol

5 years later, I leased a new top of the line 560SEL but I cannot recall making one deal because of the car... I would dress like a bum and I used to joke that the car was my coat and tie... By then, I was one of the top agents in the area and I don't think it would have mattered if I drove a MBZ or a beat up Kia...

Originally posted by @Darrell Lee :

I mostly liked driving a 4 door MBZ personally. I bought my first MBZ new in 1983 I was 28 at the time, but looked like I was 19. Once I got a call from a buyer on my listing and they matter of factly said they are working with another agent who is not available that day and can I show my listing to them and if they decide to buy, they will make an offer thru their agent.

When I got out of my brand new MBZ, the wife literally said... "You're so young and successful... forget the other agent, we want to work with you instead" While they didn't buy the listing, I did list their house... which didn't sell as well... Rates were sky high at that time... around 17% for a 1st mortgage. So don't complain about 4.5% rates... lol

5 years later, I leased a new top of the line 560SEL but I cannot recall making one deal because of the car... I would dress like a bum and I used to joke that the car was my coat and tie... By then, I was one of the top agents in the area and I don't think it would have mattered if I drove a MBZ or a beat up Kia...

 Haha thanks for the insight! How do you think business would be affected if you drove a 2 seater sports car?

One of my friends who was one of the top agents in the country drove a MBZ 2 seater, the advantage is the clients would have to drive her if they wanted to just take one car.

I retired from RE brokerage 18 years ago, and today I drive a MBZ 2 seater. I bought it a few months ago used for $7k. You don't have to buy new. The car looks nice and would be quite presentable for a new RE agent. I'm old now and I don't really like the car as it isn't easy for me to get in/out of it so I will be getting rid of it shortly and buy a old beat up pick up truck when I make my move to the state of Vermont. I don't need to impress anyone and I want a beater so when I drive to Boston to fly out of the Logan Airport, I can find some unmetered street to park it for a few days or weeks at a time without worrying about it getting stolen or vandalized. In Vt, it's over 2 hours away from Boston and I hate asking friends or employees to drive me to the airport. I'm too cheap to pay for a limo... I'm also going to buy a motorcycle that will be used and hopefully ugly so no one will want to steal it.

If I was a Realtor but in Vermont, I'd probably buy a new MBZ SUV but that's just me...

I used to sell in Marina del Rey and Venice and I like the control of driving so I wouldn't buy a 2 seater today. Also I used to enjoy working with buyers and being a former professional MotoGP roadracer, I hate it when I'm a passenger with a bonehead driver or I much prefer a 4 door and I always want to drive the clients.

I'm going to go against the grain here.  I think it is ridiculous to drive a certain vehicle to "look the part" unless said vehicle is what actually is making you money.  I am going to assume that since you posted on a real estate investing website that you are planning to serve real estate investors.  As a professional full-time investor, I am not impressed by what ANYBODY drives.  Know your business, do it well.  You could ride an old rusty bike to show me a property, as long as the property makes sense as an investment and isn't a waste of my time, you will get a lot of business from me.  If you are looking to sell pretty houses to primarily retail buyers, I'm not in a great position to offer you advice.

I have worked with professionals that drive fancy cars and flaunt them, but they don't have a clue what they need to do as a professional.  I have also worked with professionals that drive 15 year old cars that will knock your socks off with sharp advice.  The latter group gets my business every time.

I would encourage you to read a few books.  Try "The Millionaire Next Door", "The Millionaire Mind", or other books by Thomas Stanley.  You may also find several of the "Rich Dad" books helpful.  If you are going to be an investor and/or work with investors, you need to learn how to think like one.

It isn't my intent to come across as a jerk.  However, in my opinion, your approach to life and profession is seriously flawed.  I'm coming across on the harsh side to make my point understood!  Don't worry about the fancy car, the perfect suit, or the expensive watch.  KNOW YOUR PROFESSION!  Be a rock star first, then worry about what you are driving when you can write a check to pay for it.

Best of luck to you.

This post has been removed.

Originally posted by @Adam Johnson :

I'm going to go against the grain here.  I think it is ridiculous to drive a certain vehicle to "look the part" unless said vehicle is what actually is making you money.  I am going to assume that since you posted on a real estate investing website that you are planning to serve real estate investors.  As a professional full-time investor, I am not impressed by what ANYBODY drives.  Know your business, do it well.  You could ride an old rusty bike to show me a property, as long as the property makes sense as an investment and isn't a waste of my time, you will get a lot of business from me.  If you are looking to sell pretty houses to primarily retail buyers, I'm not in a great position to offer you advice.

I have worked with professionals that drive fancy cars and flaunt them, but they don't have a clue what they need to do as a professional.  I have also worked with professionals that drive 15 year old cars that will knock your socks off with sharp advice.  The latter group gets my business every time.

I would encourage you to read a few books.  Try "The Millionaire Next Door", "The Millionaire Mind", or other books by Thomas Stanley.  You may also find several of the "Rich Dad" books helpful.  If you are going to be an investor and/or work with investors, you need to learn how to think like one.

It isn't my intent to come across as a jerk.  However, in my opinion, your approach to life and profession is seriously flawed.  I'm coming across on the harsh side to make my point understood!  Don't worry about the fancy car, the perfect suit, or the expensive watch.  KNOW YOUR PROFESSION!  Be a rock star first, then worry about what you are driving when you can write a check to pay for it.

Best of luck to you.

 Hey Adam!

     I totally respect your answer and being completely real with me. Thanks for the book references, I'll have to check them out! I'll be working with typical buyers and sellers starting out most likely but I'm entering the field to become an investor and possibly work with others like me. Thanks for keeping it real!!

You don't have to drive an incredibly expensive vehicle but you do need to drive something that is in good shape and gives off a favorably impression.

If your driving a vehicle that makes you look broke some potential clients will think "he is broke because he is a bad real estate agent"

@Account Closed

Professionals are distinct from the ordinary crowd. It does make a difference. Dress code is another one.

I really wish that what @Adam Johnson said was true, that it didn't matter to people what car you drove. But I think @James Wise gave really good advice - you don't want people to think you are a bad agent.

Most retail buyers know little to nothing about real estate agents and what they do. I believe they DO make judgements based on how you present yourself, including your car.

Someone else said the car doesn't have to be brand new, just nice looking and in good shape. I would skip the 2-seater. What would you do if a woman and her child came to see houses? I think your car should seat at least four.

@Account Closed A bit of space to transport small furniture and decorative items such as plants can be helpful sometimes when you are helping someone list a house. It doesn't happen all the time, but you will on occasion find yourself needing to transport stuff that might not fit in a sports car. Also,if you start rehabbing you'll wish you held onto that truck. My advice is to do a deal or two first and then see where you stand financially. 

Appearance matters, always have, always will whether we want to admit it or not. If my wife had shown up on our first date bummy and unkept, we would not be married right now. I'm just keeping it 100, ha ha ha ha. That does not mean use being an agent as reason to get your fun car that you can't afford. When I bought my first house, my agent drove me around and I know expect that. It was a nice, clean minivan :)

How about going for ordinary and decent looking in lieu of flashy and expensive?  Go for a vehicle that gives neither positive nor negative impressions.  You aren't going to sell them on what you drive, you are going to (hopefully) sell them on your ability to help them.  Fuel efficient and functional transportation.

Definitely read those books too!  You will gain a lot of insight, especially reading the Thomas Stanley books.  You will also find how quickly stereotypes can be shattered.  His books are not speedd reading material, but worth the time in my opinion.

Glad no offense was taken!  I truly wish you the best of luck.  If you are interested in the investing side, learn how to think differently than the masses, you will go much farther, much faster.

I was just thinking about this the other day. Some made the point that it doesn't matter, and I beg to differ. For instance a few years ago I was a Honda guy. A car with loud exhaust and beat up. I think if I were to show up to a house for a potential sale I will be looked at differently. In a perfect world it would not matter, but like in the military perception is everything.

On the flip side I wouldn't go out buying an expensive car just to flash to people that you "have money". Get an ordinary car show you expertise and make a sale. Well good luck!

In the view of things from the vantage point of my small fraction of the universe, the truth is a bit of @Adam Johnson , a bit of @James Wise with a cameo by @Mindy Jensen .

If I am meeting a real estate agent for the first time, I will glance over - and in - their car, just as I would a prospective tenant (it's almost subconscious now).  I could care less if they're driving a Cruze or a Camray unless it was completely falling apart (I drive a 12 year old and 28 year old VW, so new is not important).  

I am more likely to take note of the agent shows up driving something Hummer'esque or an ultra high-end luxury sedan (and not in a good way).  

However, if you will be selling luxurious pretty houses to affluent, or upwardly mobile, retail buyers, then image will be more important, as Mindy alluded.  However, at 22, I'd be cautious of showing up with a fancier ride than your clients.

BTW: I have shown-up to view properties both on a bicycle and on foot.  Real estate agents have made all sorts of assumptions based upon my choice of locomotion.

I think your car should have 4 doors and be neat and smell nice. 

Show people you keep things well. That is all that matters. 

@Account Closed

You do not need a fancy car to be an agent. I have sold upwards of 20 houses this year as a part-time agent and I drive a 10 year old Honda Civic. Not one person has even thought twice to not working with me because I drive a mediocre vehicle. My car costs around $3,500 and I don't plan on upgrading. I did get my girlfriend to agree to let me buy a Maserati (used of course) if I sell a $1 Million + house.  :)

Sell a few houses and make sure this is what you want to do as a career before you commit to an expensive vehicle. 

Good luck!

  

Does the car you drive really matter??  Yes and no.

If it's an older model car/truck, but it's clean, then people won't care.

But, if you're driving around in a rusty old truck that smells like you were just on the farm, and you're selling houses in the city, then you may have a problem.

When I first started in real estate I drove a 2 door Chevy Cavalier.  I kept it mint.  I drove CEOs, of big companies in Cleveland, around and they didn't care I was driving a Cavalier.  They were impressed by how clean it was.

Then, a few years later I was able to buy a Toyota Camry.  Had lots of nice comments on it, since I was younger driving around a nice car.

Oh, and usually top agents like driving around their clients because they get to talk with them about the houses they just saw.  Because, you'll notice some clients may be quitter while looking around the house, but once they get in the car they're talking about it, or talking back and forth with their spouse and then, as an agent, you get to listen and take mental notes.

@Account Closed  Lots of good advice here. I'm from the camp that as an agent, your car is one of the things that brand you and I choose to drive a luxury SUV. However, with little experience, you're likely not to impress anyone with a nice car. Get a clean, inexpensive late model 4 door or small SUV. 

Make a goal of the number of deals and the number of dollars in your bank account to reward yourself with the sports car. Don't give in the the instant gratification, invest in yourself and your business and you can have a garage full of fast sports cars in your future!

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