Deciding on a Realtor? Check out their Ride!

Real Estate Agent with High Lakes Realty and Property Management

Since I've been hanging around with a bunch of Realtors I've noticed an interesting corollary with respect to each of my colleague's choice of transportation.  If you're looking for a Realtor, and can't quite decide on whom to use, you might want to check out their ride.  I'll tell you why in just a minute.

In La Pine, usually about twice a month we all get together for what we call an "Agent's Tour."  It's an interesting little exercise where we first meet in a central location, (way too early in the morning,) gobble up some coffee and other goodies that one of the Title Companies usually brings (which we love) then we all go and actually see the listings.. together, in a Caravan of our respective vehicles. 

Even though we usually perform this exercise carpool style, there's always a nice little t rain of vehicles that arrives, seemingly in force, suddenly at the doorstep of every poor owner faced with this impending assault on their properties.  The whole thing can be really quite amusing, especially in the winter when you factor in potential snow and ice, shoes-on or off in this, but not that house, the actual reaction of the homeowners when we arrive, chit-chat here and there about various features that are popular or not, how things got priced, or should have been, etc., etc., its all great fun just to watch, let alone, be a part of.   Plus, it's a chance to see what everyone's driving.

Cars and Real Estate seem to go hand in hand (and I know this is a stretch, but bear with me...) The common thread that ties all Real Estate transactions together is apparently the vehicle that got the agent to the office everyday, and then subsequently carried that day's client to the property of their dreams.  What choice that agent has made with respect to that which is seemingly one of, if not the most important tool in the Real Estate Agent's toolbox, is what I find interesting.

 Some agents drive big American or European sedans or humungo SUVs that seem to be chosen in order to portray an image of success and a corresponding level of competence and/or expertise that enabled them to achieve that success to begin with.  On the other hand, some agents choose a more subtle approach by driving an understated but capable vehicle that does the job without shouting out any intended messages or demanding any particular recognition.  The thinking here, I'm guessing, is that some sellers may not want to list with an agent that's not particularly hungry, and some buyers might feel uncomfortable working with someone seeming to be a little snooty. 

Others still, like myself, go for utility; image be damned.  To me, the ultimate Real Estate vehicle, especially in an area like ours that demands showings in snow, mud, mountains or manicured subdivision, is a four-door, late model, four wheel drive pickup truck that will get me and my clients anywhere-anytime, with all my signs, tools and any other various gear to wherever we're trying to get.   After all, if I can't get myself and my clients there, I can't sell it.  There have been plenty of times when I've had clients in the truck when I was seriously thankful to have been able to engage the four wheel drive in order to get us out of a jam.

The point is that when the time comes to for you to make a decision as to which Realtor to use, just for fun you might want to check out their choice of vehicle.  I think what you'll discover  is both interesting and revealing.  By the way, if my vehicle could say something about myself, I hope it describes an agent that is highly competent while still extremely hungry, polished but not arrogant (well, maybe a little) and someone who will do anything within reason to get there and back without getting stuck in the driveway of yours or any other transaction.

Fred Jaeger is a licensed Oregon Real Estate Broker and e-Pro Certified Realtor® with Gilchrist Real Estate Company in La Pine.  He can be reached directly via 541 598-5449 or .


Comments (50)

Janet Guilbault
Platinum Home Mortgage Company - Walnut Creek, CA
San Francisco Bay Area Direct Mortgage Lender

As the owner of an auto leasing company for many years, the following scenario was commonplace for MANY clients who were salespeople, not only in real estate...just anyone that called on clients in their car. There was their car (the ego car, the weekend car, the dream car, the reason they went to work every day, the one they drove to New Year's Eve dinner, or down to Carmel for the weekend. This car was hidden from the clients. Generally black (we can have black cars here....foggy cool summers) Too flashy. Would make clients uncomfortable if they knew I could afford get the idea. Coming up! One black Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche!

Then there was their client car. The one that was used to call on clients. Sensible. Reliable. Beige or silver. They were so detached from this car that they asked me to pick it out. Coming up, one beige Toyota Camry!

Were they being dishonest? Of course not! You dress differently to go to work....why can't you have a wardrobe of cars?

Oct 12, 2007 02:12 AM
Vickie Arcuri
ONE Sotheby's International Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
South Florida Luxury Real Estate

Unfortunately, Agents with Luxury vehicles will often be unfairly judged because some will assume that they're pretentious, only interested in money, bla, bla, bla and then some higher end Buyers and Sellers won't do business with you if you're not driving the "right" car because you'll be perceived as not being on their level, not successful, not worthy.  So, as a few have pointed out above, a solution is to have more than one car to use, when appropriate, or drive the one car you have and simply be accepted (or not) as you are. 

Oct 12, 2007 02:25 AM
Vickie Arcuri
ONE Sotheby's International Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
South Florida Luxury Real Estate
@ Janet--great idea :)
Oct 12, 2007 02:28 AM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Fred - I like this post - it is interesting to think about what a car tells you about someone's personality and work ethic.  I would reveal my own car here, but I am supposed to be in Candace Robinson's "Match the Wheels" contest this month.  Keep up the good work!

Oct 12, 2007 03:16 AM
Danny Thornton
R & D Art - Knoxville, TN
WordPress Guru
Fred, this is funny and informative all in one. And I have to agree with it. When I bought my home in florida I did not. And if I had, it would have told me that she was lazy.
Oct 12, 2007 03:23 AM
Gene Dexter
Asset Realty - Seattle, WA
Seattle Realtor

"The next one drives up in her suv didn't have a "brag book" or initials. On her way out she asked what are those black bags. We said old clothes that we have to bring to good will. She said let me drop them off on my way home and anything else you need I'll send over my two teenage sons. Guess who got the listing?"

Now that's a great Realtor story from Mitchell! Note how her ethic is remembered, not the color or trunk size of a vehicle.  Fantastic example, thanks!

Oct 12, 2007 03:46 AM
Jennifer Esposito
JenRan Realty, LLC - Woodstock, CT
I guess if people are going to sum me up simply by what I drive I guess they'd see I'm honest and down to earth.
Oct 12, 2007 03:49 AM
Melissa Schnieders
Melissa Schnieders Photography - Wichita, KS
If people don't choose me based on my car, then I didn't do a very good job in my listing presentation. I drive practical, fuel friendly vehicles because honestly, any car will get me to where I'm going, some just have more bling than others.  I don't buy into the material "bling" - I'm a wife and mom of 5 and that's all the bling I need!
Oct 12, 2007 04:11 AM
Mirela Monte
Buyers' Choice Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Real Estate
Oct 12, 2007 04:25 AM
Allen C. Wright
RealtyU - Aliso Viejo, CA

Drive who you show ... I have many clients that work the 55 and older crowd and they actually prefer to drive mini-vans with sliding doors on each side, they say that their clients find these vehicles easier to get in and out of ... driving families around this vehicle also works.

Oct 12, 2007 04:36 AM
Jeffrey Malburg
RE/MAX Acclaim - Roseville, MI
I'm in the Detroit area and I drive around 25 to 30,000 miles per year. That means I'm going to drive a roomy, four-door,practical, American vehicle that is decent on gasoline. I would love to get a "bling vehicle", but its just not practical. I love your approach to this blog because most of the time when I read anything about realtor vehicles it becomes an opportunity for everyone to brag about there fancy ride.  
Oct 12, 2007 05:35 AM
Fred Jaeger
High Lakes Realty and Property Management - La Pine, OR
Real Estate Connection - Central Oregon

Thanks for the comments!  I think everyone is correct when they point out that we should show up in what ever vehicle is appropriate for that particular client.  In my case however, I only have one that works and its the pickup I described in the story.

Those of you that have the privilege of multiple cars in your stable to accomplish that task are a little above my pay grade to date, but I admire the fact that you have that option.

At least two of you mentioned the idea of renting something when necessary... Wow, great idea!

Someone asked if I actually carry clients in my vehicle, and to that I say ABSOLUTELY!  I consider it to be an essential part of the bonding process with my clients to drive around together... in the same vehicle.  Usually once we've all ridden around together, chatted, laughed, talked strategy etc, I have no worries about them migrating to another agent.  If they need time alone, I give it to them at the properties.

Thanks again for the feedback.


Oct 12, 2007 05:46 AM
Drew Kondo
Sierra Sotheby's International Realty - Zephyr Cove, NV
Interesting commentary ... especially for this new agent who needs a new vehicle.  I'll definitely keep this and the comments in mind when purchasing or leasing.
Oct 12, 2007 05:58 AM
Bettina Clairmont
Bettina Clairmont - San Francisco, CA
I use what's practical here in San Francisco -- a car for which you can actually find a parking spot. It's still a four-door, but it's a RAV4 and relatively compact. With many people here being relatively "green" it's better not to drive a huge gas-guzzler ... you never know who you might offend.
Oct 12, 2007 05:59 AM
Karen Cooper
Karen Cooper | Sr Retail Loan Originator ! NMLS # 223305 | 360 Mortgage Group LLC Austin Texas - Leander, TX
Helping Homeowners w/Home Loans in 27 US States
Fun post, Fred - thank! So if one drives a 4 door compact hybrid, does that make one a loan officer? :->
Oct 12, 2007 08:48 AM
Lori Nasshahn
Gilchrist Real Estate Company - La Pine, OR
As one of Fred's personal associates, I like to think that my '98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with child seats (and cheerios, m&m's and french fries) in the back seat tells people that I may not be the top producer in our market, but that I value downhome, old fashioned family values, and am the "hostess with the mostess". If you get hungry, I have snacks in the back. Plus, for reliability, you can count on me and my Jeep getting you to the finish line.
Oct 12, 2007 09:38 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Dually with JeepsOK, first off, I'm getting a kick out of the anti-Hummer musings.  Just know that the Hummer H1 (that is the real one... you know... think military) actually has a smaller carbon footprint averaged over its life that a Toyota Prius Hybrid.  Kind of wild, huh?  The material for the batteries for the Prius are mined in Canada, assembled in Japan, have controls added in Europe and then installed in vehicles in the US.  They only last a few years.  The service life of the H1 is MUCH longer.  Unfortunately, the fuel consumption of the H1 doesn't offset the environmental impact of the build and life cycle of the Prius...

So, I drive a grouping of less common vehicles.  The F350 is the main beast.  It is 4wd, and has room for most everyone.  If I can't carry it, I can drag it.  I swipe my wife's Chrysler Town and Country minivan.  Plenty of room, and all of the candy (I really like the DVD nav system).  Under construction is the 71 Jeepster Commando, and I WILL take clients out in it... top and doors off, big tires, crappy mileage, equally crappy road manners.   

Oct 12, 2007 12:29 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
I have to drive a SUV to get my post signs in. I'd like a sedan but I like sitting up high.
Oct 12, 2007 02:14 PM
Vicente A. Martinez
Prudential Douglas Elliman Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - Woodhaven, NY
Realtor, Brooklyn - Long Island - Queens Homes
Great advice. I hope one of my prospective clients comes across your post right before my appointment with them. Best of luck and keep doing what you do.
Oct 12, 2007 04:44 PM
Sensible but Stylish in the Midwest

Great point!  To suit clients, all the sign and staging gear, my husband & I both drive older model 4-Runners!  Gracious we put on so many miles it doesn't make sense to have brand new flashy vechicles! (40K miles a year is not uncommon per vehicle)  We don't like to lose money!!  But our 4-Runenrs are kept PRISTENE!  Leather, clean and shiny, and always detailed before buyer appointments!  Clients don't often guess that our vehicles are 90's models!  (Thanks to Toyota keeping models in the same body style until lately)  Both SUV's are paid OFF and clients think we are sensible yet stylish.  We can laugh all the way to the bank!  It's Toyota so they can keep on going and going with basic maintenance.  We decided if they get looking bad we can "wrap" them with our names/logos and keep on going in our ego runners!  I do agree that at some point a classy or larger vehicle can be rented or borrowed for higher end clients!  We will have to replace our 4-runners at some point, but that might be in 20teens with a 2000's model!  But don't worry--my husband is saving up commission money for his dream Corvette paid with CASH, but that won't be for clients to see!  (Unless they are Corvette fans too!)

:-)  Keep on Trucking!

Oct 31, 2007 02:52 PM