Does the Car You Drive Matter?

By
Real Estate Agent with Online Real Estate Agent Training

Does the Car You Drive MatterIt used to be that real estate agents, and sales people in general were judged on how successful they were based on the car they drove.

First Impressions

Although I never bought into this notion, I knew a lot of sales people and real estate agents who did...and still do.   I was sometimes asked why I didn't drive a luxury car or "when are you going to buy a new car?"  And just recently the issue of "cars" came up at a training session.  Newer agents working hard just to get a few transactions under their belt are concerned that they don't look successful enough.  It is true that when people first meet us we have just a few seconds to make a good first impression.  Like it or not, when we enter a room or drive up in our car, we get judged...instantly.

I Love a New Car

As a car lover I get it.  A new, sleek and shiny new car is wonderful...and the smell...I love it!  But cars aren't a good investment.  The minute you drive away from the car dealership, the car loses value.  Plus, after the "thrill" and smell of a new car fades all you are left with is a car payment...that seems to last forever.

Your Car Should Be Clean

Whether or not you buy a new car is completely up to you, but a new car won't make you a more successful real estate agent.  Many of our clients will meet us at properties or in urban areas, real estate agents and their clients take public transportation or simply meet at the property and your client never even sees your car.   If you are driving your clients around you do need to have a car that is presentable.  It needs to be dent free and clean inside and out.  That's pretty much it.

You Won't Be a Better Agent

After that first impression your client wants to work with an agent who knows what they are doing.  If they see that you know what you are doing, they'll pay less attention to your older car.  While driving a luxury car and wearing designer clothes may make you look and feel better, they don't make you a better real estate agent.

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Candy Miles-Crocker

Real-Life Real Estate Training

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Frank Harper 08/21/2014 02:37 PM
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Rainmaker
503,567
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Clean, smelling fresh and uncluttered ... isn't that what we preach to our sellers?  We need to start by example.  If we drive up in an old jalopy filled with junk and windows that are filthy it's hard to then tell your prospective seller how their house should be fresh, welcoming, yard manicured, house uncluttered and staged ... they see us as hypocritical and do not take us serious.

Aug 19, 2014 02:21 PM #54
Rainmaker
2,857,313
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Finding comfort in a car that fits your personality and lifestyle is great, but just remember, that it will eventually just be your car in a year

Aug 19, 2014 03:42 PM #55
Ambassador
2,068,368
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Your car should matter.....only if it matters to you.

 

 

Aug 19, 2014 10:05 PM #57
Rainmaker
1,572,888
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I guess if we pulled up to an appointment in a junker that was blowing smoke and had duct-taped windshield wipers, it might matter.  Otherwise, I think as long as we're driving something clean and practical, we should be good!

Aug 19, 2014 10:44 PM #58
Rainmaker
1,270,154
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Rather sad that we have to be discussing this even.  The car doesn't improve your performance or enlarge the info you have.  Yet to some, it seems to matter.  Like I said ... kinda sad that's the case ...

Gene

Aug 20, 2014 12:16 AM #59
Rainmaker
1,543,702
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I like small cars; paid off cars; good gas mileage; making money.  When taken all together this means one thing..the ride isn't as important as the service.  Besides, the business mileage deduction is the same whether in a Corolla or a Lincoln Navigator!

Aug 20, 2014 12:27 AM #60
Rainmaker
519,355
Morris Massre
Pembroke Pines, FL
Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida

I agree with you & I have always driven older, cheaper cars, but there will always be those who disagree.

Aug 20, 2014 12:36 AM #61
Rainmaker
713,724
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

Do have dents and dings fixed as soon as possible ... you wouldn't want a client worrying that you are an unsafe driver.....

Aug 20, 2014 12:53 AM #62
Ambassador
921,340
John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Interesting post, Candy.  I've seen enought people with $80K cars that can barely afford to put gas in them to be completely indifferent to what people drive.  Do some people focus on it?  I'm sure they do.  Do I want those people as my clients and business partners?  NOPE!  Also, most of my wealthy and most financially advanced clients are driving used Hondas and Toyotas. 

Aug 20, 2014 03:06 AM #63
Rainmaker
766,261
Thom Abbott
MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Did I feel like a million bucks when I pulled up in my Mercedes? You bet I did. She was a 1986 4210SEL but when all shined up, it was an amazing looking car. 

But every visit to the mechanic at $1000 a pop got old towards the end. Is my 2009 Hyundai Sonata as glamorus? Probably not. But it's almost paid for, and it still looks brand new. Well, the seats have some stains, and we are working to get that resolved. 

I'm not sure I'll ever have a Mercedes again....never say never. But I know I won't saddle myself with a huge car payment just to look good. 

Aug 20, 2014 03:36 AM #65
Rainmaker
573,928
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

I disagree.

When I had an office, I noticed that as soon as an agent got a new car, their production went up.  Maybe it is part self confidence.

I used to drive an older car but will never go back...people do judge you by what you drive.

It also depends upon what you are selling. If you are selling low end, than any car will do...high end buyers like to believe that you are making enough money to afford new.  Your car is a reflection of you...

Cars should not just be clean...they need to be spotless and detailed.

Eve

 

Aug 20, 2014 03:43 AM #66
Rainer
29,782
Brian Force
Dallas, TX
Work With the Best!

I've seen this one go either way. Here in dallas-Fort Worth we have such a wide array of property types and client backgrounds you hear all kinds of stories. Obviosuly having a well-mainatined and CLEAN car is paramount, but I personally know a top agent that drove the same 93 Toyota for years until he finally bought a new Mercedes S550 this year. It never seemed to matter that he drove a 20 year old car.

At the same time I've heard of agents losing larger listings specifically because their image didn't fit the mold the sellers were looking for and their vehicle played a large part in that. I personally have splurged on cars in the past and have felt to have reaped the benefits of that added image effect, but by no means do I believe that it's necessary for every agent to drive a high dollar vehicle. Every agent and situation is different.

Aug 20, 2014 04:13 AM #67
Rainer
44,646
Dave Hymes
RE/MAX Gold - Placerville, CA

Clean and not a junker, although have several others have said, it matters more if you're selling luxury real estate.

Aug 20, 2014 05:01 AM #68
Rainer
42,249
Harold Smith
Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices - Acworth, GA

I drive a pickup truck but I have shown up on a motorcycle to show property. Didn't seem to matter to my clients, they still got the same great service.

Aug 20, 2014 05:58 AM #69
Rainmaker
717,189
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

INFINITI Q60S 2014 YES IT MATTERS

MY NEW CAR INFINIT Q60S COUPE WITH ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES ONE COULD ASK FOR.....  yes it does matter. Drive up to a 500k listing appointment in a 2004 Mustang which is what I used to have and guess what they question you drive up in this and guess what nope they do not question you The car is a 48k price tag and yes it makes a huge difference. a HUGE ONE.... 

Aug 20, 2014 07:19 AM #70
Rainer
24,739
Kathi Jozaitis
Golden Hills Real Estate Services - San Ramon, CA
Your San Ramon Valley Realtor. I'm here to help!

The debate on this subject will always find people on both sides. I'm on the side of a car that is clean and practical. I can't fit signs in my VW Beetle, so I bought a used SUV. For those who believe it's important to have a shiny, new expensive car, that's fine too. All I ask is you don't advise new agents to go buy a new car. It's hard enough to start a new business without adding a hefty car payment :)

Aug 20, 2014 10:56 AM #71
Rainmaker
639,414
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Yes, as many others have said... clean and organized is utmost.

Not sure you need top-end 2014 model, but 1987 Gremlin won't cut it either.

Aug 20, 2014 01:50 PM #72
Rainmaker
304,455
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

I was actually thinking of this very topic earlier.  1st off, if the price tag and maker of the car is important to the client then that is sad. If you have read the Millionaire Next Door, true folks with money have paid for old cars. Those with the nice news ones tend to have the debt but a great image.. LOL 

 

When I first started out I had a small business and my truck was wrapped with the company and large ice cream on the side. I was a hit with the kids and parents. It didn't cost me one deal. I was the one uncomfortable until I realized it made me look like a local celebrity. 

 

I also have "won" listings when I pull up to our rural areas in my 2001 Ford 150 as they think that I am one of them.. Just normal folk. 

 

In the end, most people don't care, they care more about you the person. And if your vehicle is that deciding factor then they care more about image than quality of agent. But I am realistic enough to know that those in higher end markets have to "look the part" a heck of a lot more than those of us working "just regular folk" markets.    :-)

Aug 20, 2014 04:16 PM #73
Rainer
3,051
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes - Marietta, GA
Associate Broker

I will not define myself by the car I drive or the clothes I wear.  If that's your thing, good for you but just know that I don't decide WHO YOU ARE based on those things.

Aug 21, 2014 12:21 AM #74
Rainmaker
368,106
Lynda White
Bluegrass Homes & Farms Realty, Agent Know How - Louisville, KY
Admin. Mgr., Keller Williams Realty

I'm from a poor area, and when I first started working at a real estate firm in the city, I was intimidated by the rows of BMWs and Mercedes next to my 90s Honda. However, one of the agents said that when he sold land, he actually thought he made more sales when he drove his older truck. It made me think. Like you said, as long as it's clean and presentable and you know what you are doing, it really shouldn't matter. Now I drive a black 2003 Hyundai...it blends in better but still affordable. :) 

Aug 21, 2014 02:08 AM #75
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