The Car You Drive--It Still Says a Lot About You, Like It or Not

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The current car I drive shows a perfect parallel with the fortunes of the real estate industry. I bought my shiny silver CLK Mercedes 500 CLK in 2004, probably at the high point of the bubble in real estate. My firm was doing 200-300 closings a month, sometimes doing the same borrower 5 or 6 times. This was never going to end, so why shouldn't I have an automobile which befits my elevated stature.

Fast forward to 2010, and I still have my 2004 Mercedes 500 CLK. I have made a command decision to drive this car until it can no longer move. Somewhere along the way, when I paid off the loan which I made to purchase the car, I realized how great it was not to have a car payment. That shows a certain level of financial maturity, although, truth to tell, I am in my 68th year of being alive.

As I was thinking about my car, and looking at other cars, whiz by me as I drove at the speed limit only, I have drawn the following conclusions about cars and who owns them. As usual, I am quick to make the hasty generalization, but these ate my views:

     1. Late Model Mercedes, BMW and Lexus--You are showing the world that no matter what is happening with the economy, you are succeeding. your car indicates that you have it figured out, even if, perhaps, the monthly payments are quietly strangling you.

     2. Buick (whatever year). You are sensible, and do not feel the need to impress anyone. Your car is solid, and so are you. No need to be flashy; you just want to get the work done.

     3. Cadillac (not an Escalade).  Visions still dance in your head of a prior ere, when Cadillac was king. You believe in America. You believe in Detroit. You know there are customers who share your view. They like riding around in your car.

     4. Pontiac. You feel cheated. How is it that you drive a car that is now longer made? This used to be a solid car, sometimes even flashy. Now, it is a car for which you make excuses. That is unfortunate.

     5.SUV (Hybrid).You are environmentally responsible. You are trying to demonstrate that. Your car may be a little large, but you are not polluting the environment, and you are not wasting gas. Your choice is often times commended.

These are "off-the-top" impressions. i am not trying to offend anyone. Our cars are important parts of our lives. Some of us are in our cars more than we are in our beds. How did you select yours?





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Carolyn Kolba
Serving Mentor, and all of Lake County, Ohio - Mentor, OH
Keller Williams Realty- Mentor, Ohio

Elliott, I drive a hybrid SUV, and it's more medium size.  It gets great mileage, anywhere from high 20s to low 30s, depending on where I am driving.  Pssst... run your spell-check on your post.  Just a friendly suggestion.  Interesting post, and good descriptions of the personalities involved.

Sep 07, 2010 07:52 PM #1
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I wish you had placed my 1999 Audi somewhere in that list.  It's dented and dinged, and the right hand mirror is dangling.  The tires are so bald I've been told not to drive on the freeway. 

I've been looking for a 2009 (one year old) and it's almost impossible because the manufactuers have lowered output due to lowered demand. 

In the meantime, I drive my kids' Jeep Cherokee when I have to meet with clients!


Sep 07, 2010 07:56 PM #2
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Carolybn--Thanks for the heads-up on the typos. I ran spell-check, but sometimes the context doesn't get picked up.

Margaret--I drove cars like you 1999 beauty much of my career. The way things are sitting in my mind now, I may never buy a new car again.

Sep 07, 2010 07:58 PM #3
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Acura MDX beats the Lexus and Infinity hands down at the same price: it has a useful 3rd row seat which can be a good size back area if 3rd row is folded down. It seems to have a higher head clearance in the passenger seat....clients like to feel comfortable. Finally, it came in a nice but not too flashy semi-metallic gray. All said, about as exotic as we can handle here in the midwest suburbs. 

Sep 07, 2010 10:40 PM #4
Richard Ruggaber
John Aaroe Group, Inc. - Los Angeles, CA
California Real Estate - (800) 591-5788

Two years ago I sold my 6 year old 330I BMW that I loved.  I decided to purchase a Prius and love this car.  I am hoping next years model comes out with the lithium battery and if it does I will purchase that one.

Sep 07, 2010 11:56 PM #5
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA


I spoke to the sales manager of a Pontiac,Buick, GMC dealership some years ago.  He commented that most of his Buick customers paid cash. That seems to fit with your #2 assessment.


Sep 08, 2010 01:31 AM #6
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
Destin FL Real Estate

Elliott - This is a cool analysis.  I bought my new Bimmer this year because my 10-year old Bimmer WAS about to die! The cost to own the old one was MORE than the cost to own the new one. Enough said :)

Sep 08, 2010 06:19 PM #7
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Wendy--I would have guessed that you were a BMW person. After 10 years, a car owes you nothing. I need four more years out of mine, which I have dubbed "The Prince".

Have a Nice Holiday

Sep 08, 2010 06:29 PM #8
Elliott S. Topkins
Topkins & - Boston, MA
Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

Leslie--Another of your spot-on sets of comments. Somehow, I saw you as bimmer girl, like Wendy. But then you have a practical side so the Acura works for you and you obviously love it. My car is called "The Prince" and that is the way he is treated.

Sep 08, 2010 06:40 PM #9
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Elliott S. Topkins

Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty

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