Best car for new real estate agent?

136 Replies

I'm nearing the end of real estate school and will be taking my state exam in mid-July. 

I've been reading @Scott Trench 's book, Set for Life, and I'm bought into the concepts. The problem I'm having is... figuring out which type of car to get when I move into becoming a real estate agent - don't want to go into much debt, but I also want to put my best foot forward as a professional. I am not quite to the 25k savings goal, but I'm getting close.

I have a 10-year-old minivan currently and don't think that vehicle is appropriate for my market. Any tips or advice?

@Mindi Rosser

Do you have a CPA? you may want to consult one to see how you can include the car payments in your taxes. 

One of the hardest parts in being a new agent is getting clients. If you’re considering buying a vehicle for showing house with clients purposes, I would wait until you have a lot of business to make it worth it. In the meantime, you can rent a car pretty inexpensively on Turo.com for a day or a weekend, if you have that in your area. But I would also consider your client and their price range to evaluate if it’s worth it. I find I meet most clients at houses and they are never even in my car. I don’t think your client would mind the mini van anyway, as long as it’s very clean inside. Good luck!

I’m getting my license right now too. Eventually I want to get a Elio car, but they aren’t out yet. When they are... less than 10k and 84mpg. It’s unique and will leave an impression.

The best car is a paid for car as you will have irregular income starting out and you will appreciate not having a car payment

Additionally, you will find that you will rarely if ever have a client in your car

the days of driving clients around in your car are pretty much over... and the days of you needing a high end luxury vehicle to show status are over.. 

don't worry about car... when starting as an agent its all about warm market.. friends family etc.. they wont judge you by your car.. although whatever  you have keep it clean and tidy..

My wife is a retail broker and never has clients in her car Ever.. real estate just is not done that way any more.. clients look on line then meet you at the house to look.

I though as a one who deals with investors I have clients in my car frequently.. and or my banker or other folks.

so I just buy and drive what I personally like.. and keep it clean and tidy..

Leasing is tax deductible. (Prorated against personal use). 

You need a nice clean car.  In my location if you do not have a luxury car, then potential clients will judge you as not being successful. However probably around 40% of people drive luxury cars whers I live.  

You also want to be careful about over extending as 90% of people who attempt to become agents fail completely. And of those that make it, the median income is like $40k.  

We actually end up paying less to lease my Audi Q5 than it costs to own my wifes VW Jetta when factoring tax savings and maintenance savings. ( All my maintenance is included in my lease)

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

Leasing is tax deductible. (Prorated against personal use). 

You need a nice clean car.  In my location if you do not have a luxury car, then potential clients will judge you as not being successful. However probably around 40% of people drive luxury cars whers I live.  

You also want to be careful about over extending as 90% of people who attempt to become agents fail completely. And of those that make it, the median income is like $40k.  

We actually end up paying less to lease my Audi Q5 than it costs to own my wifes VW Jetta when factoring tax savings and maintenance savings. ( All my maintenance is included in my lease)

a cute movie that reflects this is Tin Man with Danny devitto  they are 50s siding salesmen.. and the front of the office is one caddilac after the other lined up.

when I grew up in my dads land sales business the ride of the day.. was a Jeep Wagoneer with the faux wood paneling..

but now a days you can buy a nice new Mercedes small one for under 40k..  my wife and I bought Teslas and we got the 7500 dollar tax credit plus the leave benefits.. although there is no maintenance with a Tesla and no gas to buy.. Pretty handy real estate car really. 

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

Leasing is tax deductible. (Prorated against personal use). 

You need a nice clean car.  In my location if you do not have a luxury car, then potential clients will judge you as not being successful. However probably around 40% of people drive luxury cars whers I live.  

You also want to be careful about over extending as 90% of people who attempt to become agents fail completely. And of those that make it, the median income is like $40k.  

We actually end up paying less to lease my Audi Q5 than it costs to own my wifes VW Jetta when factoring tax savings and maintenance savings. ( All my maintenance is included in my lease)

 Is that factoring in the period after your wife's VW is paid off and is making no payments?  Or is this just comparing costs during the time she is paying off the car loan?

Originally posted by @Eric James :
Originally posted by @Russell Brazil:

Leasing is tax deductible. (Prorated against personal use). 

You need a nice clean car.  In my location if you do not have a luxury car, then potential clients will judge you as not being successful. However probably around 40% of people drive luxury cars whers I live.  

You also want to be careful about over extending as 90% of people who attempt to become agents fail completely. And of those that make it, the median income is like $40k.  

We actually end up paying less to lease my Audi Q5 than it costs to own my wifes VW Jetta when factoring tax savings and maintenance savings. ( All my maintenance is included in my lease)

 Is that factoring in the period after your wife's VW is paid off and is making no payments?  Or is this just comparing costs during the time she is paying off the car loan?

 If I recall correctly i divided the cost of her car by 5 years, then added in maintenance costs and prorated to come up with a monthky cost to own over 5 years and compared it against my monthly costs for 3 years to arrive at the comparison.

When I started I had a rusty old pickup truck as that's all I could afford. I actually got pulled over by the cops for having an expired inspection sticker....with a client pulled over behind me, waiting patiently, as we were in the in the midst of a group of showings. Talk about embarrassing. 

We evened the odds a little bit the following weekend, though, when that same client who was following behind me to yet another group of showings got pulled over for not wearing a seat-belt.  :-)

I’d study your market and see what other agents drive. As you’ve seen from the responses, in some markets it’s important but in others it’s not. I have yet to drive a client anywhere in my car, and most of my clients in my market drive cars that are on the same “level” as mine, clean exterior, newer (about 5ish years old or less), practical/everyday makes like Chevy, Ford, Honda, Subaru (what I drive) etc. I picked my car for my lifestyle first because my fiancé and I love hiking and camping and we live in a city that pretty much requires all wheel drive in the winter, so I wanted a vehicle that would meet all of this criteria. Personally, I think you should evaluate the car you need for your lifestyle first, then tweak it to meet the market. From my experience, cars aren’t as important as far as status symbols in a lot of places anymore.

Originally posted by @Megan Clancy :

I’d study your market and see what other agents drive. As you’ve seen from the responses, in some markets it’s important but in others it’s not. I have yet to drive a client anywhere in my car, and most of my clients in my market drive cars that are on the same “level” as mine, clean exterior, newer (about 5ish years old or less), practical/everyday makes like Chevy, Ford, Honda, Subaru (what I drive) etc. I picked my car for my lifestyle first because my fiancé and I love hiking and camping and we live in a city that pretty much requires all wheel drive in the winter, so I wanted a vehicle that would meet all of this criteria. Personally, I think you should evaluate the car you need for your lifestyle first, then tweak it to meet the market. From my experience, cars aren’t as important as far as status symbols in a lot of places anymore.

got your Dave Clarks on there  !!!  you could fly your clients around for an Arial view.. I find my clients in the day either loved to go up or would not think of it.. not many tweeners  

@Robert, do you have any faith the Elio will come out next year?!?

A used Lexus es or ls are dirt cheap and nice inside. Buicks don't hold value for a damn and are nice inside.

Wild card g37 or Q50 can be had dirt cheap as well... 10k mi lease for me is 250 mo tax included... Used ones cheap to

I love reading this kind of thread. As a slumlord and fixer, excuse me, affordable-housing landlord and renovation contractor, if I started showing up at rentals or project properties in a Lexus or Mercedes, used or new, I'd be broker than dirt or shot in the head by the end of the year.

@Mindi Rosser Just work with what you have for the time being. Most people will just meet you at the house if you need to show a property. It's pretty common nowadays. Good luck!! 

I had a similar question recently and ultimately went with a 5 year old Kia Rio, which I bought for $5k. It was clean and well kept, and gets about 35 mpg. I wanted to get a Prius as they're very reliable and get great mileage, but the cleaner ones with low miles tend to be around $10k which pretty much negates any fuel savings. I'd say just get a reliable fuel efficient car, and keep it really really clean.

I started selling real estate as a 21-year-old driving a 1997 Toyota 4Runner. If you provide a great service and treat your clients well, they don't care how old you are or what type of car you drive. I know realtors that drive 20-year-old cars and sell million dollar houses on a regular basis.

My opinion: avoid debt and focus on becoming a great realtor with extensive knowledge and great skill to offer you clients. That will get you much farther than a shiny new car.

@Mindi Rosser , I'd recommend getting a reliable car with great fuel efficiency. If you're good, you'll be putting over 20,000 miles on your car every year. Leasing is great for writing off taxes, but horrible at penalties.

If I were starting from scratch today, I'd probably get an accord or lexus. Don't get anything that serves an ego. That's the fastest way to broke. There are brokers that push their agents to buy luxury, because they want their agents in debt so that they will sell more houses.

A few thoughts:

You are going to be in that car hopefully for a TON of miles per year, get something you are comfortable in...IE you don't want to buy the cheapest office chair out there if you are at your desk 8hrs a day.

Initial perception is HUGE in sales. If you show up in an old beater, most people will question how successful you are as a professional. Like - she supposedly makes $200k but drives a $2k car?  Now - here on BP, members don't look at it like that, we know a car isn't an asset so most won't judge you. But BP members are a small small percentage of the world. For the rest, you either won't get the opportunity to show how knowledgeable and qualified you are, or those qualifications will be subliminally questioned unless you really "look" successful otherwise. And a decent car is part of looking successful.

That being said, in the very beginning don't slaughter your budget by getting a great car, because that won't get you the business. It simply confirms to prospects, yea, if she can afford that, she's making $$ and therefore knows what she's doing. Better to get the minimum acceptable, and spend the rest on finding clients so you can pay for something better.

As a seller (You don't want my car advice, trust me) of many houses, I am turned off by the 'Escalade', big hair and pumps.  But that's just me.  How the heck are you suppose to pre-walk my property for your clients wearing those shoes? This isn't the grand ball, right? People will see through it if you are being superficial. Be yourself.

My favorite realtors are business casual, same with their vehicle.  Nothing too fancy, but not a heap.  I'm the one in coveralls with the line of keys dangling down my leg so I'll drive the heap along with Jim and not care :)  

I would just keep the minivan for the time being. The realtor I used to buy my house had a 10 year old Subaru Forester at the time. It was clean and presentable. We would sometimes take his car and ride together. It never bothered me that he didn’t have a high end car. He did his job and that’s all that mattered to me. Working off commission when just getting started can be tough and the less debt you have, the better off you’ll be.

Any nice clean car will do IMO. I had a rental and when the agent showed up, it appeared to be the worst car I had ever seen. I was amazed she made it to the property. This is how NOT to be an agent. You don't need luxury, but you do need to made a decent impression. I just sold my minivan...though I rarely work with buyers. My replacement is a Porsche Carerra S, but that is about treating myself and getting a few things I want before my time ends. 

I have a Chevy Impala, yup, it’s a Chevy. The only reason I bought a Chevy was my previous car was in the shop and I needed to rent a car. Hertz rented me the same model. (Quick tip: Before buying a new car rent it for the weekend.) The Chevy is an amazing car. I drive around 35k miles a year previewing houses and meeting with vendors. I drive out of town investors around at least once a month. I thought about buying a BMW, but I am not sure it is the right message for my investors. I drive a solid, dependable, practical car. Further in three years it will be full deprecated, trashed and I will replace it. If I am prepared to waste that much of my own money on a car knowing I am going to wear it out quickly, how will I treat your money?

The best feature for any road warrior is APPLE PLAY. It allows you to connect your phone and car. I can run maps on the display and voice to txt at the same time. It has made my drive time more efficient and safer.  

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