Realtors and Big, Expensive Gas Guzzling Cars: Status Symbol or Symbol of a Bygone Era?

Real Estate Agent with Kansas City Regional Homes

 Here's a question I have been pondering for quite a while and I thought would make a good discussion topic:  Do you personally think, as a realtor, that you need to drive a better, more expensive car that usually gets lousy gas mileage to impress your clients?  I know that we need something that is clean, comfy and relatively nice looking when we meet our clients (especially if we are going to tote them around town) but how much is enough?  If we show up in these times of outrageously expensive gas in a Hummer do our customers think to themselves, "Oh wow!  This realtor must be really great!  Just look at their car!!" Or do they think to themselves, "Now there's somebody who doesn't care about the environment!"  After all, we are living in an ever-increasing "green" conscious society.

 So what do you think guys, do our big SUV's, giant sedans and all-wheel drive monsters impress or just make us look like we are out of touch? 

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  PIC Properties - Paul Jones Re/Max Real Estate Group   Olathe, KS

I have spent my career as a Real Estate Agent in Olathe, KS focusing on the needs of my customers. I continue to work with a wide variety of buyers and sellers. I give each and every client the same quality and level of service regardless of the home price they are seeking or selling. Most of my sales are from people who are relocating to the Kansas City Metro area. My expertise is CUSTOMER SERVICE!
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Paul Jones, PIC Properties 2008.


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Tim - Arizona Short Sale Agent
Arizona Short Sale Group - Scottsdale, AZ

With the gas prices I went to Toyota and got a Scion XB (the boxy suv).  34MPG and it works awsome as a rolling billboard, Plus it is very roomy!.

 I invested a few dollars and had a vehicle wrap done with my info.

The vehicle has paid for itself already in less than 6 months with the deals generated from the ad.  Plus the Extra MPG is nice also :)

Aug 12, 2008 10:23 PM #1
Dale Terry
Yadkinville, NC

I believe that the statistics say that 70% of all purchases last year were from first time buyers, and I would have to believe those buyers are younger and more "hip" than our ageing Realtor base.  I think it would be a wise investment to have any tool that is more in line with your customer base. 

Aug 12, 2008 10:30 PM #2
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

I actually drive a 4-Runner because I need all that space to keep my stuff in! You never know what I might need, like signs, some tools, a snack or two, some water, golf clubs, some space to hide the bodies from some of my past home sellers, etc. Its the space that I need. Plus, if I don't sell a few more homes I might have to sleep in it, and I need to be comfortable!

Aug 12, 2008 10:39 PM #3
Lori Lincoln And Associates
Top Agent Serving Dighton Taunton, Rehoboth and more! - Taunton, MA
Top Agent Taunton,Dighton Rehoboth &more

I also drive a 4 runner. I am grateful to have a mode of transportation. It is a reliable vehicle, but the gas that it needs....

Aug 12, 2008 11:30 PM #4
Frank & Jodi Orlando
Frank & Jodi Orlando Get Us A Home Realty Atlanta Homes Sale - Cumming, GA

I'll stick to my Town Car, 19 miles per gallon, does not offend those whom dislike imports (even though there's no such thing as imports now) and it is easy for elderly to enter and exit multiple times. Oh, and you can put a TON of stuff in the trunk for vacations. So what if I look like a hit man...

Aug 13, 2008 12:18 AM #5
Kathleen Buckley
STAR REALTY Hopkinton - Hopkinton, MA

Car shopping back in February, I had shopped around, visited dealerships, and narrowed my choices down to either the Prius, or the Lexus RX400 (hybrid).  Two totally different cars, right?  The one thing they have in common is that they are hybrids--that was a must for me. 

Well, my husband had pretty much convinced me that for half the cost and twice the mpg (48 vs. 27), the Prius was a no-brainer.  I had been driving an Infiniti FX so was spoiled with heated leather seats, Bose sound, sunroof--the Prius doesn't offer any of those creature comforts in any model.  Still, logic said the Prius was the way to go.

Then I talked to one of my client friends about it.  She LAUGHED.  She said "You're going to drive a what??  Do you think that's the message you want to send?"  She went on to ask me what my competition drives.  (The answer is a gold Mercedes sedan.)  She reminded me that perception is reality.  Her husband chimed in with "If you were in California that might be one thing, but you need to drive something a little nicer."

Based on that reaction alone, much to my husband's dismay, I went forward with the Lexus hybrid.  Can't say I regret it.



Aug 13, 2008 12:43 AM #6
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

I have a Cadillac and would loose a lot of money if I traded it in on a smaller car. So I use it strictly for business. My wife has a Prius that we use the rest of the time. There is quite a difference between the two when it come to comfort, but the gas mileage is good on the Prius.

Aug 13, 2008 01:15 AM #7
Katie Reed
Nick Reed State Farm Insurance - Shawnee, KS

I am not a real estate agent, I am an insurance proffesional.  But since I am opening a store front soon in Western Shawnee........I have to relocate from the Brookside, MO area.  So as a consumer speaking I think you have to find a happy medium.  I don't want my real estate agent driving a big gas guzzling SUV like a hummer or tahoe.  On the other side of the spectrum, I would have a hard time taking a real estate agent that drives a prius seriously.  I think finding a luxury car.....with good gas mileage is the way to go.  A 2005 toyota avalon can be purchased affordably, and gets great gas mileage.  Also there are other options to consider.......I had a real estate agent with a built in GPS system take me around....much nicer experience than the former agent I had, who kept getting lost.  These days think green with luxury!!

Aug 13, 2008 07:00 AM #8
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I switched to a hybrid last year and have been LOVING it.  I went from a Mitsubishi Montero Sport and was afraid of the "room" issue...but the truth is, haven't missed it all.  Real estate signs fit in cars.  So do laptops and contract files.  I spend less on gas and my clients love the car.  It's a talking point from the get-go.  I think people still tooling around in SUVs are either smart to keep them because they are paid off, or are fooling themselves that they need the space.

Aug 13, 2008 07:22 AM #9
Steven Beam
RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate. - Parker, CO
Parker Colorado Real Estate

Tough one. I drive a 4Runner and love it for ski and hiking trips. For work it stinks. In and around Denver I think a Prius would be fine and I'm seriously considering it. My old office mate bought one after trading in his Suburban. His yearly gas bill went from $8700 down to $1000 and he laughs all the way to the bank. He says the Prius is a topic of discussion with every buyer he takes out in it and they love it.

Saving big on gas, insurance and car maintenance is a quick and easy way to add to the bottom line. As it sits a Prius with 40 mpg would save me well over 50% on my gas bill. Tires are chaep too. You can get a full set of tires for under $100 installed.

Plus-If I'm working with a client that is really worried about he size of my car ---I probably don't want the client.

Aug 13, 2008 07:35 AM #10
Suzanne Zick
HouseMaster of Lake Norman - Denver, NC
HouseMaster of Lake Norman

Great question!  I'm really hoping my clients don't choose to work with me based on the car I drive.  After all, we aren't in  high school anymore!

Having said that, I drive a Tahoe.  The gas mileage isn't as bad as you'd think for an SUV of that size and I haul signs, and the rest with me for my business.  The only drawback is the issue of elderly customers having trouble entering and exiting.  But, it isn't economically feasible for me to trade in right now, so I'll have to make do.

It runs and is clean (enough).  That'll have to do.

Aug 13, 2008 08:49 AM #11
Kathy Hyatt ~Plantation, Davie, Sunrise REALTOR
Remax in Motion - Plantation, FL
Broward Realtor Selling Plantation,Davie & Sunrise

I really think this depends on the type of buyers or sellers you work with.  In a middle Class they make think the Realtor makes to much money and in the upper class they may think the realtor don't make that much money. 

I have been saving, saving, saving for the Chevy Tahoe SUV and now I am completely torn because of gas prices. 

Aug 13, 2008 12:32 PM #12
Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

Some of my clients have actually said they hired me because I didn't drive a flashy car like some of the agents out there. I do drive a Jeep, but it is small compared to most SUVs and actually gets pretty good gas mileage.

I really don't think people care too much for flash anymore,

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home -

Aug 18, 2008 03:07 AM #13
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Is a good question - I guess there will always be some people who might be impressed with that, but I really believe most are impressed with presentation and experience and the wherewithal to get the job done and not what kind a car a realtor may drive.

We have a small Lexus - nothing fancy and about 7 years old now... has been paid off for about 2 years.  Nothing fancy but a little classy.  I think the only car that a realtor would need is a classy, clean 4-door to drive people around but does not need to be any bulky or fancy car.

The Somers

Aug 19, 2008 06:29 PM #14
Brenda Tressler
Crye-Leike Realtors - Clarksville, TN

Hello!I feel if possible save on the gas usage... but hopefully still have some comfort! I stopped by to say thanks for leaving me a comment yesterday and to add you as an associate. Good post! Brenda :)

Aug 24, 2008 11:31 AM #15
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PIC Properties - Kansas & Missouri
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