What is Appropriate Dress for a Real Estate Professional?

Real Estate Sales Representative with Teles Properties

Reasonable advice. What defines appropriate dress in your area? Here in LA, it can vary quite a bit.

To me, comfortable, practical, ready-for-anything (and preferably machine-washable) slacks, a crisp blouse or top, a jacket in the car just in case, and comfortable walking shoes comprise an outfit that can take me from walking a vacant lot to sitting in a decorator's own living room.

Original content by Marte Cliff

A few of the blogs I've read lately touched on agents showing up looking unkempt and grungy. I've seen that too.

I remember one agent whose seller required her to be there for showings. She arrived to meet me and my buyers in a pair of bagged-out sweatpants and an old t-shirt... and dirty athletic shoes. Another one used to wear an outfit made out of parachute cloth.

And one time I was looking at homes (as a buyer) in another town and was shocked to see an agent in a skin-tight, low-cut, bright pink cocktail dress and spike heels - at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

But aside from not showing up looking like you were ready to go wash the car or head for a night club, appropriate dress depends upon where you are.

In our area, you're just as likely to be called to walk up the side of a mountain or around a boggy meadow as to visit a home in town. So, wearing a skirt to work is asking for trouble. So is wearing your favorite new slacks. I remember ruining a pair once when crawling through a barb wire fence.well dressed Realtor

And the clients do notice and comment on attire...

A wealthy friend of mine wanted to sell her country home a couple of years ago and she got the idea that an agent from the city might have more buyers who could afford her home. She called me the day after her interview with these agents. She said "Can you believe it? This guy showed up in a suit and dress shoes. And the woman with him had on a long skirt and heels. She was horrified at the idea of walking the property - even our gravel driveway was too much for her. How can anybody be dumb enough to show up at a country home dressed like that?"

So, while a few do wear slacks, and a few brave women put on dresses, most agents who live and work here wear jeans. Hopefully not worn out or torn jeans, but jeans just the same. They can look almost professional when paired with a wool blazer.

And then... there are those who wear shorts. Agents who come here from other parts of the country seem to think shorts are proper real estate attire for both men and women, but the comments I've heard from clients would say otherwise. One client told me his impression was that the agent was begrudgingly taking time out from going boating to see them. Others had similar unflattering comments.

So - proper attire depends upon where you work. Suits and dresses are no doubt "the uniform" in many cities, and agents who specialize in waterfront homes can probably wear shorts without seeming unprofessional.

What I tell new agents is to look around... notice what the most successful agents in your market are wearing and copy them.




Call on Copy by Marte for:

Custom Web Copy....Agent Bios....E-mail Campaigns
Newsletters....Postcards....Custom Prospecting Letters
Articles....Blog Posts....Print Ads


Pre-written real estate letters that save you time and money -
and keep you in touch with your prospects.


Comments (2)

Maria McCaw
Urban Acres Real Estate - Iowa City, IA
REALTORĀ® at Urban Acres Real Estate

I enjoyed your blog.. As we are in a rural area.. You might get the funny look when wearing a suit and tie. :)  Great Post!

Sep 14, 2010 03:45 AM
Stefan West
West Realty - Murrieta, CA
Temecula-Murrieta-Menifee CA Real Estate

I often debate this.  I can't really go wrong with dockers and a nice shirt but I am shocked by some of what I see out there, especially by some laides.  I have literally seen fishnet stockings, whale tails, and don't get me started about cleavage.

Normally, I am all for that stuff :).  But I think I have seen some wives eyes get hard very fast!  As for me, I sometimes wear the jeans or nice shorts on hot days.  I think you have to be comfortable but not at the expense of professionalism.  There are a lot o casual yet higher end looks that work.

Sep 14, 2010 04:47 AM