Best car for new real estate agent?

138 Replies

Hi @Mindi Rosser !

Great question!

I've been a real estate broker for a little over six years now, and I've got to say, I've put my car through it all! All the miles, pot-holes, construction sites, neighborhoods etc. that I've driven through have really put my office-on-wheels through a lot. That being said, I love my car!

Find something with good gas mileage (30+ miles p/gallon or better), easy to drive, and that is appealing enough for your clients and customers to feel comfortable in. I'm from Texas, but a giant truck really doesn't fit the bill 100% with this criteria.

I drive a 2011 Chevy Cruz. I bought it used for $18,000 in 2012 with almost 12,000 miles on it. Flash forward 6 years, and I have just under 150,000 miles on it, and she still does her job perfectly. It's by no means my dream car, but it gets the job done, it looks nice, and I can comfortably fit another three people inside if I need to. Hopefully I have another 50,000 or more miles to go before I get another.

In terms of reliability, I hear Honda and Toyota are great cars that have low maintenance needs. You can surely find something affordable with good gas mileage as well.

Either way, whatever you decide, think about your business first, rather than personal preference. Drive what you need to drive for the next 5 years so you can drive want you want to drive in the 5 years after.

Hope this helps! And good luck with your RE career! I'm right next door in IL if you ever decide to cross the state line!

As a car guy I have always thought of my vehicle as an extension of who I am.  That being said, after having paid off cars for years and a year ago bought a BMW X5, my lesson learned is that no car is worth a car payment.

@Mindi Rosser - I am an agent working with investors, I drive a 2010 Nissan Rouge.  It is not a fancy / flashy car by any means.  But I am not the agent who wears a dress or heels or even makeup to meet with clients.  

If a client cares about what kind of car I drive, they aren't a client I will generally work with.  Investors have the same mindset and luxury cars are usually not a part of that picture.  Plus I am a landlord too and my car fits a full sized bathtub or 6 foot ladder, and clients get that.  

It is quite rare I have a client in my car, it's only when I have clients who don't have cars (which is common in Chicago) and because we are in a big city with street parking most people understand you don't want to have a nice car and street park it.  

Honestly if you can afford it i would invest in electric, Ive been a realtor for about 3 years now and my biggest expense at first was gas to travel all over my area, quickly i started thinking of better ways about it and i bought a used Chevy Volt for 14k which is electric with gas extender if needed. it had 38k when i bought it almost 3 years ago, now it has 141k, so in 3 years i put over 100k miles on it and about 90% of that was all electric, because i took extra steps and invested in a faster charger so i could have it fully charged between appointments, and i purchased 2 solar panels and a grid tied inverter that offset my electric bill back down below what it was prior to using electric to charge the car. The driving for me to show houses on electric is basically free now.. In all the time ive shown houses i have not once had anyone ride with me yet outside of new real estate guys shadowing me under our mentor program. 

I also talked my broker to install a charger at the office in the back, so i park there when at the office and charge for free :)

Originally posted by @Matt Millard :

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

 Honestly, no idea.  There’s a huge backlog of pre-purchases right now. So even after they start production you won’t be able to buy one for a couple years.  Still, I think it wold be a perfect agent car. 

Originally posted by @Robert Freeborn :
Originally posted by @Matt Millard:

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

 Honestly, no idea.  There’s a huge backlog of pre-purchases right now. So even after they start production you won’t be able to buy one for a couple years.  Still, I think it wold be a perfect agent car. 

I have been following the Elio for a long time, its never going to come to market, the funding they need has dried up and they owe 50k a month to investors who gave them millions back in 2012... 

Originally posted by @William Huston :
Originally posted by @Robert Freeborn:
Originally posted by @Matt Millard:

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

 Honestly, no idea.  There’s a huge backlog of pre-purchases right now. So even after they start production you won’t be able to buy one for a couple years.  Still, I think it wold be a perfect agent car. 

I have been following the Elio for a long time, its never going to come to market, the funding they need has dried up and they owe 50k a month to investors who gave them millions back in 2012... 

 Well that’s a shame.  Still, if I ever see it come to market I plan to get one! But I’m not holding my breath.  Thanks for the update: I had no idea. 

@Mindi Rosser

I would pick a reliable car. Also one with good gas mileage. You may be driving a good amount on a weekly/monthly basis. Thats great you are close to the 25k savings goal! 

First off congrats on moving forward with getting your license! Real estate is a fun and rewarding career. 

Keep the 10 year old minivan until you are making good money. I drive a 2 seat sports car as a realtor but my business is solely investment properties where I don't have to drive clients showing back to back houses to find the prettiest one so 2 seats works for me. I also bought the car in cash used under market value private party so YAY no car payments! 

As a broker you will be in your car A LOT! Once you can afford it buy the car you love. If you enjoy a Prius get a Prius if you want a sports car get a sports car, a luxury car get a luxury car, a minivan get a minivan, etc. 

Actually wealthy people know the second they see someone in a new base model Audi A4 or Mercedes C300 that they probably leased or financed it so you really aren't impressing anyone who is worth impressing. 

P.S Invest in buying past clients gifts not cars! 

A car with a big truck is the best car. 

Unless you selling luxury real estate you standard car is fine. I drive a 2015 Subaru XV because it's al wheel drive so great for the snow and it's got good truck space so moving items from home depot to investment property is not an issue. Try fitting a lawn mower/toilet in an Audi.

Cars really don't mean anything in this game if your an investor. Nice car means your tenants will need pay you on time or have a reason not to pay you as they think your rolling in the big buckets driving a BMW. Keep that in mind too.

Do you plan to take around buyers all day or list houses?  Save the money you'd spend on a new car, and invest the same amount into direct marketing for seller clients.  This is the thing I wish I would have done as soon as I got my license.  Start making this capital investment now, and you can have whatever car you want later.

However, you do need something that can reliably get you from A to B, but it sounds like your current vehicle will do that.  Spend some money at a car detailer to get it cleaned up.  

@Jim K. , this is EXACTLY what I just had a convo about with my boyfriend. I don't plan on showing clients properties but the type of car I have I don't want to go see properties or meet with contractors and they jack up their prices based on that.

My plan is to buy a side car just for those occasions (and I don't want to put all those miles on my luxury vehicle). I recently had a contractor come by to give an estimate for some work on the house and I parked across the street from a neighbor because I didn't want to leave the car in the driveway...lol

I've bought a few houses with a realtor and drove around from house to house too and I never got in her car. It never even crossed my mind as something to even expect. 

BTW I thought this was funny - I've been seeing an ad for a local car dealer who is advertising the lease price per day. I. E. "Lease the new so and so for only $9.39 per day" 

Big thank you's to everyone who has contributed to this thread so far! All of your insights are definitely helping me have informed discussions with the hubby about next steps with my career - and how the office-on-wheels fits into that picture. 

@Mindi Rosser Im not sure if i'm in the minority here but I never drive clients around, you may not need to either. Id keep the minivan for now, see how things go and what type of business you build for yourself before purchasing a car. If you do decide to purchase a car speak to a CPA about your specific situation you may be able to write off lease payments, insurance and repairs or you may be able to take a tax deduction for the mileage expense.

This is a great question.  For sure, buy something a little better.  If you are selling upscale properties, then an upscale car is part of the sales presentation.  It shows you are successful.  Keep the car tidy and clean whenever you are showing clients.  

Keep the van, sell houses.

I drive a 13 year old Mazda and sold 5 houses this week.

I agree with the agents who note that you will rarely have clients in your car, and the last thing you want when starting out as an agent is a car payment. A nicer car would qualify as a "nice to have" when getting started, not a "need to have". I'd highly recommend waiting until you've made enough with real estate to cover the cost of a new car, and then look into getting something. 

When that time comes, you'll be better prepared to get the perfect car as you'll have experience as an agent, and know what you want. 

Reading through these comments I suppose I am in the minority with my response:

1. If you itemize your taxes you may not want to lease a car because unless you plan to purchase at the end of the lease you will likely get hit for excess lease miles. Claiming the standard IRS rate of 54.5 cents/mile per IR-2017-204 has worked well for me. I suppose its obvious to check with your accountant on this one. 

2. I disagree that clients will not ride with you often. It has been my experience that while showing homes to Buyers roughly 2/3 of the time we will travel in one car. Why? Well because it provides an opportunity for you, their agent to comment on the areas which you drive through to each house. This helps with the Buyer's perception of your area knowledge, credibility, and value as an agent. A busy Buyer will often have a tight schedule and every minute of their time is valuable. Rather than the Buyer spending hours researching an area you can provide insight on why you live there, sell there, and/or recommend the area. 

3. Your vehicle does matter because reliability in this industry is everything. If you have an appointment with a client then you need a vehicle that will enable you to make that appointment on time. Even if you don't have an appointment you will still have open houses, office visits, listing appointments, broker tours, FaceTime calls with out of town Buyers, etc and if you are late then it reflects poorly on you.

4. If you agree with my perspective on #2 above then I suggest a 7 passenger vehicle because some of the time the Buyers (especially if they are from out of state) will have their kids with them and a 5 passenger vehicle will be small. I don't think you need to purchase a new vehicle, just one with low miles that is from a reliable manufacturer. 

I don't think this has to be complicated, however it is an important decision which can really change your business. Why not just get something like a 2014 Honda Pilot? 

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

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.

 The old 2 door Lexus popular in the projects here 

My opinion, if you want to get something different, get a smaller crossover SUV. You can even find them decked out with moonroofs, leather, etc. Stick with certified used and it should last a while. My realtor has a Chrysler 300C or he is driving his early 2000s Chevy pickup. I could care less what vehicle he is driving. I assume a big perk is having built in navigation, something I wish I had.

This is easy go with a Tesla model s with every upgrade or go with a Lamborghini Aventador.

@Matt K.

You conceal-carry in a 2-door Lexus in the Burgh hoods and the po-po stops you, your life doesn't matter whatever color you are. On the other hand, you're in a well-worn Toyota RAV4 and have your permit on the dash when they roll up, you get treated like a king. I don't think I'll ever complain about local law enforcement here. Best cops ever. Just don't work hard to be their problem.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
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  

 I wish lol. Unfortunately I haven't flown in almost 3 years (A long story for another time). I hope to get back into it someday when I have more time/money, My finace is a pilot too so the dream is to someday get our own little plane

Originally posted by @Megan Clancy :
Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs:
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  

 I wish lol. Unfortunately I haven't flown in almost 3 years (A long story for another time). I hope to get back into it someday when I have more time/money, My finace is a pilot too so the dream is to someday get our own little plane

Well keep at it nothing finer than getting up in the air.. myself  Cirrus SR 22 is my ride.. although I am bout retired after 35 years of private aviation..  

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