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CONDO CHICKS
Buzzer
reply 48 vote 3
 

Do you really think the car in which a Realtor uses for showings has an impact on a client?

It's very common to see Realtors booting around in "nicer" cars. I have heard the saying that a car is a realtor's office. Do you really think the car in which a Realtor uses for showings has an impact on a client? I have had many a debate regarding this issue and I'm curious to see what both potentially clients think as well as the agent.
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General Chit-Chat
 
 
 
ROY BHANDARI
Senior Buzzer
reply 512 vote 60
 
 
4 BEST REPLY
It's Monday morning, it's cold and I haven't had any coffee yet - I feel like ranting. Here is my (somewhat harsh) assessment of our industry and it's kind of linked to this topic ...
There are TOO MANY agents who worry too much about their perception and less about their work - which is why our industry is one the most HATED in Canada (Realtors are the second most hated profession, after Insurance sales men).
-Too many agents expect business because they know you or you are friends
-Too many agents expect business because they work for Re/Max or Royal Lepage (I think we covered this doesn't matter in a previous thread)
-Too many agents expect business because they drive a nice car
-Too many agents expect business because you bombard them with mailers
Not enough agents expect business because they are GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO.
I work in an office of over 100 agents. I am typically the first one in the office, and the last one to leave. If I am not out meeting with a client, I am at my office working on improving my knowledge of the products that I sell. That includes, calculating areas of high appreciation, determining projects that declined in value and why, determining suites that appreciated less quickly than others and why, re-reading my intermediate macro-economics and micro-economics text books as these issues come to the fore, studying REAL NUMBERS and how things like unemployment rates and inflation rates and immigration numbers and looking at the housing affordability index and how all of these things can affect your investment, looking at the various pre-construction condos over and over so I have the knowledge to have a detailed discussion with my clients about the various projects and not having to keep saying "i'll get back to you on that". Whether I drive a three-wheeler or a Rolls Royce - none of that stuff about me changes.
Yes perception is important. You know what's more important? Word of mouth...it spreads like fire. My referral business is through the roof and people tell me "client x spoke very highly of you". I've been on a number of appointments in the first 2 weeks of January because of clients who talked about me during the Christmas holidays to friends/family. I can carry a detailed conversation about the various projects, about economics, about demand/supply with REAL NUMBERS and it's because I worry more about that than the car I drive.
I met a client from my website yesterday, and she told me that the only reason she met with me instead of the 10 other agents she had emailed was because of the speed and quality of my e-mail replies. She said a number of them took over THREE DAYS to respond to an e-mail inquiry. I got back to her within three minutes. All of this stuff matters, folks.
I work with HUNDREDS of agents every day. Out of all them, I would only refer my business (if I were to leave for out of town or whatever the case is) to 2-3 of them (they know who they are). I'm friends with lots of them, some of them are great people, some of them work for amazing companies, some of them drive amazing cars - but out of all of them, there are only 2-3 that I would trust with my business and that it would be taken care of in the right way. That is a sad state of affairs and one of the reasons we are so hated.
/rantover
 
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 170
 
 
3
Hey Condo Chicks.. Love the question.
I think the car that a Realtor drives is important, and it will affect purchasers thoughts on them. A Realtor's car is especially important if you are driving your clients around town.
If a Realtor driving around town in clunker, my thought would be that they are not very successful and I would thus be hesitant to use them as my representative.
If a Realtor's car is dirty and disgusting inside, I would think that they are not very organized and do not care much for details. Again, not sure I would use them.
However, on the flip-side, if I Realtor is cruising around in a Hummer with spinner-rims, I would think that they make way too much money off their clients and I would feel less inclined to list with them...
As such, a Realtor should drive a clean and nice car, but nothing over-the-top.
That's my two-cents.
 
 
DUSTIN LONGPRE
Buzzer
reply 31 vote 5
 
 
2
My personal opinion, it is important. Anything TOO showy makes me think they don't really need my sale. Any thing too clunky they aren't good enough to make my sale. Something in between tells me they are good enough at their job to buy a nice car, but still hungry enough to work hard to get something nicer.
 
 
ANONYMOUS
NewBee
reply 4 vote 1
 
 
1
The car the realtor uses will definitely have an influence on the psychology of the purchaser but as Matthew pointed out it can cut both ways. Too flashy? Your milking too much money from your customers... Rust bucket? Perhaps your not the realtor for me.
In the end, I think you have to target your demographics which is what a lot of large businesses do... If you are going to a casual company, dress down, if you are going to a more formal organization then dress up as people like to associate and do business with like minded individuals.
More importantly than the car however is still the personality which ultimately will trump, in my opinion, the rest. I would not care or mind what car you drive as long as I felt that you honestly have my best interest at heart, are punctual, do as you say, and follow up on time and are /honest/... and find me the property I need.
 
 
CONDO CHICKS
Buzzer
reply 48 vote 3
 
 
It is definitely a fine line. An agent I know actually rents a very high end car when he is showing. He tells me that his closing rate has increased significantly. Another agent I know actually spends more on his monthly car lease then his rent. I guess all these signs point that a nicer car does make a difference with clientale. I remember when I first started in the business, I would borrow my parent's car as it was nicer then mine to show.
Now, let me ask a question. If the agent you met with didn't have a nice car, maybe he owned a "clunker" like Matt likes to put it :-) but you really liked him/her would you still consider working with them?
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 170
 
 
^^If they are driving a clunker, I would think that they are not doing very well. Sure, they could be the most honest and trustworthy person, but if they can't close a deal, then I would not be interested. Probably be best for them to take the subway, and meet you at the listings (and, be known as very "urbane").
If the agent drove a clunker, but is known to be a deal-maker and very successful, then that would be fine!
 
 
SECURITY FIRST
Buzzer
reply 19 vote 1
 
 
1
i think realtors are very aware of the way they being perceived by their clients or public as a whole and I doubt you will find an agent who is a deal maker and successful and still drives a clunker.
They have to be very good and very confident at their craft to say "f*&^% YOU!"
 
 
ROY BHANDARI
Senior Buzzer
reply 512 vote 60
 
 
1
it's a fine line indeed.
Some of my wealthiest clients do not drive flashy cars. In fact, probably my two wealthiest clients drive older cars - one drives an old Toyota Camry (from the early 90's). Another client worth 8 figures drives a 15 year old Benz that is starting to rust (expensive at the time i'm sure, but not one to keep upgrading to keep it flashy). On the flipside, I had a client who drove one of those Porsche SUV's, is riddled with debt and was forced to purchase the cheapest condo he could find (in Mississauga).
I've asked a few of my very close clients if they think it matters regarding the car - and interestingly enough, the ones that made lots of money said it doesn't matter (not all, but a majority), and the ones that do Ok said it DID matter.... which is backwards from what I expected.
Ultimately, it's how you position yourself. I was in the situation a few months ago where I had money available to purchase a nice car, but decided to use the money as a deposit for an investment condo. If I were in the same situation again - I would probably choose the investment condo again. A car is the worst investment you can make in terms of the value of the product diminishing so quickly, however, as the Chicks put it - there are agents who claim their closing ratio is up after having purchased a nicer car (thus making it an investment for an Agent) - maybe that's just because they have to work harder to keep up with their payments ;)
 
 
ROY BHANDARI
Senior Buzzer
reply 512 vote 60
 
 
2
If you're relying on the car you drive to help you "close" deals, you're in the wrong business. Use that money to hone your skills and improve your knowledge. If you want to drive a nice car there is nothing wrong with that - but do it for yourself.
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 170
 
 
^^ I love Roy's philosophy! From an investment perspective it makes no sense, and it would be better to take that money, and invest it into what you are actually selling.
Again, this goes back to my point above, if the Realtor is fantastic and is known to be a deal-maker and good to their clients, and know their business, then their car does not matter.
But, public perception means a lot in real-estate, and your car/office it is how the outside world sees you.
 
 
ANONYMOUS
NewBee
reply 4 vote 1
 
 
Roy said:

Some of my wealthiest clients do not drive flashy cars. In fact, probably my two wealthiest clients drive older cars - one drives an old Toyota Camry (from the early 90's). Another client worth 8 figures drives a 15 year old Benz that is starting to rust (expensive at the time i'm sure, but not one to keep upgrading to keep it flashy). On the flipside, I had a client who drove one of those Porsche SUV's, is riddled with debt and was forced to purchase the cheapest condo he could find (in Mississauga).

I've seen the same... quite frequently the people with a lot of money downplay everything as there is no added value in showing it off. Unless you are in Hollywood or your business is linked with exposure to the camera or lens, just enjoy your privacy and ability to know your comfortable. Besides, cars are one of the worst investments and the ones who think that because they are leasing it makes it less of a bad investment are only deceiving themselves.
As for your rant, I fully agree and this is applicable to /any/ business... Don't expect people to roll over and just hand you money because they are friends. Business is about making social connections, getting to know the individual and becoming genuinely interested in them and their needs and in turn they will reward you with money and word of mouth.
 
 
MICHAEL WINESTONE
Buzzer
reply 52 vote 3
 
 
1
I would agree that Realtors should drive a decent clean car.... It's just a part of the agents marketing of themselves. That said, I know a tonne of agents that are in debt and make less then $40k year that are driving cars that they really can't afford. On the other side, I know agents making $400k+ that drive old Hondas. It really all depends on what your perception of a car really is. I consider it a tool, and so I make sure I allocate money towards it, just like ink for my printer or an internet connection. :-)
Any agent that does reasonably well should be able to allocate a little money into the expense of a decent car. Much of it is a write off anyways, so you might as well take advantage of the tax savings.
Michael
 
 
SAYRA BIDANI
NewBee
reply 4 vote 1
 
 
I agree with Roy on this topic, a car is the worst investment out there. It irks me to see the value of my hard earned money drop 5 mins after I spend it. Also with the wealthy being more frugal these days ie Zuckerberg and his rental property (although come on buddy it's not going to break the bank if you buy) I think thrifty is the new flashy.. However having said that it's also important for agents to know their client base, if you have lots of clients from abroad from such places as Dubai, U.A.E etc where luxury cars are abundant. Do yourself a favor don't show up in a clunker :)
Great forum Buzz buzz homes lots of great topics and view points.
Sayra
www.condominiums.ca
 
 
SHAN JAFFREY
NewBee
reply 2
 
 
I agree with Roy as well, it's more important to be good at what you do and not focus on buying the car with the most bling. At the same time we as salespeople have to keep in mind that we are in the business of selling. This means that everything that we do has to reflect to the core who we are. So, drive any car you want as long as it is clean and not 'too' old. The second your clients see you pulling up in a rusted-up clunker, your stock will go down in their books. In sales perception is reality, but don't get crazy. Just my 2 cents...
 
 
P JUDGE
NewBee
reply 5
 
 
I remember back when I was working a pitch to list a manufacturing facility for sale, my co-broker rolled up in his brand new BMW. It ruined the rapport I had been building with the staff on-site in order to get to know the details of the building. They had all just been given the news that they were soon to be out of jobs, and didn't take too kindly to a suit showing up in his flashy ride. I truly thought he was going to park it off-site, but he drove right up to the door. This is an extreme example, understanding how you're putting yourself out there to be perceived is what I'm getting at...
A reasonably priced car, clean and well kept, and that is comfortable to tour people with is the best bet...If you're selling estates in West Van, then by all means, roll in your Maybach. Either way, it shouldn't be a noose if times tighten.
 
 
BRIAN ELIZABETH
Buzzer
reply 166 vote 10
 
 
1
I agree that a car is a pretty terrible investment, and that it is better to put your money into something else.
However, without a doubt, if I see a Realtor driving around in a  http://www.oldwoodies.com/img/weird/83nissan_taj-jackobs_lr.jpg then there is serious problems.
You do not need a flashy car, but something conservative and clean.
 
 
NHINCOMPOOP
Buzzer
reply 28 vote 3
 
 
1
A realtor's car is important to clients, but no more than a nice wardrobe, clean hands, and neat hair. It's part of the professional package. If any of those one things is too decrepit or too flashy, it's going to turn off most clients.
 
 
JUMIE O.
Buzzer
reply 26 vote 6
 
 
3
Interesting conversation on how much value we place on exterior representations.

To sum it up, its just a sad case of misplaced priorities and faulty value judgements if consumers and realtors alike choose to play the "my car is nicer than yours", So i must be doing something right! game.

At the end of the day, if it makes you sleep better at night or better still enables you close more deals, then knock yourself out in debt , just make sure its worth the tab.
 
 
URBANDREAMER
Buzzer
reply 96 vote 2
 
 
If you're a woman: a newish Volkswagen Jetta.
For him: a beige or dark blue Toyota Camry.
The focus should be on the client, not the car. I know a few hipster agents that get around exclusively on the TTC and their bicycles! Very cool, and up my alley.
An agent can own a nice car--just not for showings unless you're established and clearly dealing with wealthy clients, then perhaps a late model BMW 3-series or 1-series is acceptable.
 
 
EVAN SAGE
Buzzer
reply 12 vote 3
 
 
1
My .02 cents,

Your car is often the first impression people have of you in this business, so your vehicle should represent your personality and your business goals.

I work in the downtown and central market, so I have really enjoyed having smaller cars so that allow me to find a lot more parking spots.

I would never drive anything too flashy because my clients would think I was an a#*hole, but some agents who work with a flashy group of clients might really gravitate to a Realtor in a Hummer with Spinner Rims on it.

The only must is that it should be clean and able to accomodate at least 2 adults.
 
 
DAVID PYLYP
NewBee
reply 6
 
 
in my 22 years of scooting through neighbourhoods
I have been broadsided once
Rear ended three times (twice with clients in the car)
If you perceive my two door reinforced beam vehicle as a fashion statement thats fine.
When I shut my door, you feel the cluck of weighted steel not the pop of the thin skin.
I respect that frugal is the new chique
until they get hit.
It is imperative that you have a declared business use policy or the Insurance company will deny your coverage;
OH where were you going? OH you had clients in the car. The end. your coverage is denied. Now you sue and get it back.
I would love to spend less on gas and insurance. What is your suggestion?
 
 
MARCO DIFOTI
Senior Buzzer
reply 550 vote 45
 
 
david said:
If you perceive my two door reinforced beam vehicle as a fashion statement thats fine.

I am not sure that I understand the above, as I am pretty oblivious to details and terminology on cars. That the above mentioned me that you are driving a fancy car, or an old "clunker"?
David said:
I would love to spend less on gas and insurance. What is your suggestion?

Mainly highway driving or city driving? Would you consider a hybrid?
 
 
JEREMY SHIFTLER
Buzzer
reply 167 vote 3
 
 
Public image and branding is everything. Sure, in a utopic society, it wouldn't matter, but lets get real.
If you are driving around in an old beaten up Chevy, with soda cans falling out of the car, then people will think you are not very successful, and will not be as inclined to trust you with their half-million dollar deal.
I don't buy for a second that people really believe otherwise.
 
 
EUGENE MEZINI
Buzzer
reply 157 vote 7
 
 
1
A clunker will only hurt a real estate agent. His clients and even other realtors will think you are less successful if you don't drive a good car.

As for something being too flashy, I think this hurts you with some clients and helps you with others. Either way, it balances out and is without a doubt better then having a clunker.

I would personally never think to NOT give someone business because he/she was doing well. I'd feel more comfortable if they were doing well. And as the famous saying goes: "Fake it till you make it". And I don't think anyone will fake it with a clunker lol
 
 
ADDY SAEED
Buzzer
reply 66 vote 2
 
 
 
ROY BHANDARI
Senior Buzzer
reply 512 vote 60
 
 
^Link doesnt work...but the Addymobile is pretty slick.
 
 
BRIAN ELIZABETH
Buzzer
reply 166 vote 10
 
 
Here is an important side conversation, which will influence if you need a nice car or not:
Does being a Realtor mean that you are a personal chauffeur to your clients?
Do you pick them up and drive them all over the city, or do you make your clients meet you at showings?
 
 
STEPHANIE STOUTE
Buzzer
reply 60 vote 4
 
 
Brian said:
Here is an important side conversation, which will influence if you need a nice car or not:

Does being a Realtor mean that you are a personal chauffeur to your clients?

Do you pick them up and drive them all over the city, or do you make your clients meet you at showings?


I always pick my clients up and take them to all of our showings - so having a good car that is always clean is super important to me (so happy the slush is gone as I was having to rinse my car off daily!). I find the time spent together driving around is a great way to get to know people better, which helps me better understand their real estate goals and needs. It also saves my clients time and money, which I think is a great value added service. I assume this is common with most Realtor's, but maybe I'm wrong???
 
 
ROY BHANDARI
Senior Buzzer
reply 512 vote 60
 
 
@buzzbuzzhome just tweeted to this conversation -- some great back and forth here!
 
 
BARBARA
Buzzer
reply 66 vote 6
 
 
Without reading any of th above posts...I think any sales person should be cautious regarding the type of vehicle they drive. Double edged sword I am afraid. Expensive Car: Many customers will feel too much of their own hard earned money is going towards this agent's lifestyle... Other customers prefer to see a "fancy" car as it does show 'success'. If, at the very least, ability to make the car payments...Business for self friends of ours are split on this issue. Some drive fancy/expensive cars and say their clients see it as sign of success. Some refuse to drive expensive cars..they do not want their clients to think commission/fees are being over charged . Tough call.. My husband also refuses to drive a fancy/expensive car..clients would want commissions cut. A nice non-flashy respectable car is well ....respectable to all. I suppose if your clients are multi multi multi millionaires then a different scenario all togetthr.....but then you woudl not want to one-up the client... It is a fine line.
 
 
GRACECONDOS
Buzzer
reply 53 vote 4
 
 
I drive an '06 Audi S4. I bought it (used) because I really enjoy the act of driving. While some of my younger clients don't drive or have less expensive cars, many of my clients have nicer/newer cars than mine. I think I'm in a "safe" zone.
One of my clients was introduced to me by mechanic when we were both having our cars serviced. I've done 5 deals with him in the past 2 years!
Having said that, my business partners drive an Acura TL and Acura RDX (both new on lease). Their vehicles are probably seen as less flashy by some, but I don't get any pleasure from driving them.
At the end of the day, we have to be true to ourselves. Drive what you like. You'll attract like minded people.
 
 
JSHAMESS
Buzzer
reply 34 vote 6
 
 
1
Just read over this thread...it is quite interesting to see how the psychology of assumptions and subtle sub-conscious judgements will make a sale quicker or not.
Now I'm not a residential broker but in commercial, and wanted to share a little funny story. My company Colliers International's most successful brokers "Avatar Bains" who just recently retired after 32 years, was an Investment Sales broker in Vancouver and completed over $8 billion in transactions. He drove a mini van, as he had 4 kids. So just goes to show it can be what you know and not what you appear to know...
 
 
SYED SHAH
Buzzer
reply 10 vote 1
 
 
Image is everything. When the www.Groperty.com Team meets up with developers, realtors and other important constituencies, we bring our A-game. Your appearance sets the standard for the business relationship and a shiny roadster never hurts in creating a good impression. Hopefully the aforementioned does not sound too superficial. Do not misinterpret - nice clothes and a fancy car does not correlate with an abundance of sales, it is all about how you use it in conjunction with your sales tactics.
 
 
JOSIE STERN
Buzzer
reply 109 vote 57
 
 
I think it's important to drive a clean, fairly newish car but besides that I I agree with ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING Roy Bhandari has said. Well said Roy.

Concentrate on what matters, providing the best service and results for your clients, and not driving a flashy car.
 
 
GORD SMART
BuzzStaff
reply 224 vote 37
 
 
I have always thought there is way too much emphasis placed on what a real estate broker drives. In fact if I am selling my home and peak out the window to see my broker pulling up in a $90,000 SUV, my first though is ... "Hey, the commission I am paying this guy is WAY too much!"

Common sense and humility go a long way.

It is ironic that many brokers spend exorbitant amounts of money on a depreciating asset such as a vehicle while working in an industry which trumpets buying/selling an asset that claims value-over-time as priority one! - Hmmmm ....
 
 
ALEX KVITNITSKY
Buzzer
reply 51 vote 6
 
 
The car and the brand behind a Realtor definitely plays a significant roll for the young professionals that are entering the business.

Although we would all like to think that the world is great and we don't judge a book by the cover, but do you really believe it? if I'm not mistaken according to a statistic I've read recently; the average age for a Real-Estate professional is 55, and what that means is that the public is used to the older folks giving advice about Real Estate Investments.

So now a young guy comes in who does know substantially a lot about the industry, who reads the market updates, who knows the area of focus well, that has a strong background in negotiating, and the prospects discounts the agents credibility by the age and the perception that "what could a young guy know in the few years that his been in the business?"

And that's when a car is important, because it instantly changes the perception in the positive direction, the brand supports the change, and after everything the young professional would get a chance to show what he/she are made of.
 
 
MARGARET PELC
NewBee
reply 4 vote 1
 
 
1
I know a lot of the older agents think this makes a difference. If they drive a fancy or expensive car, it sends a message that they are successful. Personally, I like to keep things real. If my clients are working with me, they will know that I do not play games, I am straight foreward and to the point. I would prefer that I truly build long term relationships with my clients than shallow passing aquaintances. Therefore, I do not worry about what kind of car I drive and honestly, regardless of what you are attempting to say about yourself, clients will figure it out regardless. Just be yourself. You will do much better for it.
 
 
JAKE CHRISTENSEN
NewBee
reply 2 vote 1
 
 
1
I think it's very important. Dress for success so to speak. A number of years ago I had a fellow stop by my house to talk with me about investing. He pulled up in a car with one of the doors a different color than the rest of the car. The answer is obvious, he did not get my account. I think cars that realtors use can be too lavish, it all depends on the clientele. If you're going to list a mobile home, pulling up in a Jag might not be a good thing. If you're going to list a mansion, pulling up in a Ford Escort might not work. Keep two or three cars for different clients :)
 
 
JAMIE KINCH
Buzzer
reply 142 vote 40
 
 
What I think matters is that you drive a clean and reliable late-model vehicle. Less for image purposes and more for a reliable mode of transportation. If someone drives an old beat up vehicle how can they reliably make it to their appointments. 

I don't see the value in the "fake it until you make it" philosphy that has been hinted at a few times. When it comes to Realtors and cars.... first, people's BS detectors are usually well tuned and they'll be able to tell if you're "green" or if you fall short in the qualifications department. Plus, vehicles are a terrible asset. They depreciate faster than Ikea furniture. Why in the world would you want to burden yourself with bigger payments, repair costs, gas bills, and insurance? Overextending yourself financially is not smart. 

Drive something presentable and clean, provide REAL knowledge and skills to your clients, then when you have the money to buy something nicer/fancier (and if you want) upgrade to something better.
 
 
ALEX KVITNITSKY
Buzzer
reply 51 vote 6
 
 
Unfortunately people tend to be judgmental, first impressions do go a long way, and if that's what it takes to get pass that, than I would strongly recommend to do so.

I agree that in the end it all trickles down to how knowledgeable you are, the skill set you posses as an agent, and how you handle yourself as a business man, but without that "shoe shine" you're just like everyone else, or worse.

you might disagree with "fake it until you make it", but if you worked with a seller and you couldn't apply the same principle to yourself, how would they know you can apply it to their property to ensure it gets the most money possible within the least amount days spent on the market?  
 
 
JAMIE KINCH
Buzzer
reply 142 vote 40
 
 
I'd be interested to hear what people consider to be "nice" cars. Obviously luxury vehicle brands are Audi, BMW, Lexus, Acura, Mercedes-Benz, and so on. A nice car in my books is a Honda Accord. Reliable, nicely designed and built and can be decked out with leather/nav/etc. to make it nicer. 

I think first impressions matter, but judging people on what they drive or how they dress can get you into trouble. I have a friend whose father is worth 10's of millions and drives an entry-level Toyota Camry. I've never seen/heard of anyone judging him based on what he drove. I also go to school with someone who drives a brand new Audi S4 and is spending almost all his cash/credit on it..... I think this kid is an idiot.
 
 
ALEX KVITNITSKY
Buzzer
reply 51 vote 6
 
 
I personally consider the German auto makers you mentioned as good start-ups; c-class, 3-series, etc. They have good safety ratings, luxury-sport, drive comfortably, cheaper on insurance, hold value  and engineered to out last most Japanese auto makers. By the way if you were to buy a 3 year old luxury sport, you would pay just as much as brand new accord under lease.

The person who owns 10 million dollars already made his fortune, and name for himself - People come to him to get opportunities to make money, which would include Realtors. I see why he wouldn't care much about impressing anyone anymore.
 
 
JAMIE KINCH
Buzzer
reply 142 vote 40
 
 
If you buy a 3 year old luxury sports car though you don't get the same tax benefits as you do with a leased vehicle..... just something to take into consideration.

Yes, if someone has already made their buck, then they may be less concerned with appearance, but this mindset of making an impression through consumer goods (which is what a vehicle is) is how we have gotten to where we are today. Household debt (excluding mortgage) is at an all-time high as a portion of household income.

The Huffington Post had an article about household savings the other day. The average person surveyed said they were planning to save $10,000 on average in 2013. Not for retirement, a house, or anything like that but for vacations, shopping, and luxury goods.

Also because lender money is almost as good as free these days, people can easily live beyond their means. If you were to even crank someones interest  up to 8% on a LOC, mortgage, car payment, etc. the situation for quite a few households would change drastically in my opinion.
 
 
ALEX KVITNITSKY
Buzzer
reply 51 vote 6
 
 
I agree with you 100% on household debts, but as far as my opinion on having a luxury car to take your clients in, well its still the same for the exact same reason why you wouldn't show up to a listing presentation with the same clothes you would wear to watch a leaf game with your buddies.
 
 
JAMIE KINCH
Buzzer
reply 142 vote 40
 
 
@Alexander Kvitnitsky I think we're on similar wave length. I think we just differ slightly on what constitutes a nice car and at what point someone lays judgements on your character, abilities, etc. when first meeting you.
 
 
MATTHEW SLUTSKY
Senior Buzzer
reply 2299 vote 170
 
 
@Jamie K. @Alexander Kvitnitsky ...it is all about building your own brand, and what you drive is part of your brand, especially when you are in sales.
 
 
JAMIE KINCH
Buzzer
reply 142 vote 40
 
 
@Matthew Slutsky well said. Different strokes for different folks...... Now that being said, like the majority of guys I want my sports car sooner rather than later. ;)
 
 
DANIEL MIZRACHI
NewBee
reply 4 vote 2
 
 
After I got two comments from two different clients about my not cheap at all car, I had no other option then to buy a new BMW.
 
 
ADAM BRIND
NewBee
reply 4 vote 3
 
 
1
I think this thread is too funny. I want in.

In my opinion, cars don't add value, the Realtor does. You should be able to add value to your clients long before they see or enter your vehicle.  However, I do believe that a Realtor should stay away from driving the two extremes: a clunker ('93 Civic) or anything super flashy ('13 Bentley).  Anything in the middle is a personal lifestyle choice.
 
 
JAMIE KINCH
Buzzer
reply 142 vote 40
 
 
@Adam Brind bingo!!! The value of ANY professionals service is in their services, not their car, suits, shoes, et cetera. 

I agree to stay away from the extremes, but in between it is all personal preference and doesn't matter as much as some people have mentioned.
 
 
SEBASTIAN ALBRECHT
NewBee
reply 4
 
 
I think that it's not so black/white - there are many cars that aren't the top and intimidating models, yet they are far from clunky. Sometimes it's more important to show that the car is in good hands no matter how old it is - in my opinion an older car that is not looking old is a good impression.

Although I must agree with what was already said - the real value lies in Realtor's abilities and experiences, not in his car. The car itself may be a very misleading first impression as it very often doesn't reflect realtor's capabilities. 
 
 
STEPHEN MARLOW
Buzzer
reply 43 vote 6
 
 
I think i'd like to see my realtor drive an SUV. Roomy, comfortable, and a smooth drive for clients.
 
 
ELIZABETH SAGARMINAGA
Buzzer
reply 84 vote 9
 
 
As a Realtor, it's best to have people in the car with you since you can "sell" the property as you drive, plus answer questions about local schools, shopping, etc. 
I think you should be driving a normal car around and not show your gouging the hell out of them.
 
 
TAMARA BATTA
NewBee
reply 3
 
 
Just like a Realtor's appearance, a vehicle (inside and out) should be trustworthy, neat and tidy.
 
 
PED NAIMI
NewBee
reply 1 vote 1
 
 
1
I think a lot has to also do with the clients you serve too and making sure they're comfortable. If you're in a market where you work mostly with buyers getting in lower priced condos then you can look out of place in a $100,000 car. That being said, you don't want to pick your clients up in a clunker if you're showing them multi-million dollar homes.
 
 
HOLLY
NewBee
reply 2
 
 
Since this thread has been continuing for years already, I will bump it into 2014. After reading all of the responses here, I am curious what the opinions are about my vehicle. It is a very clean 1999 silver Toyota Solara SLE.

My car looks similar to this one:
http://www.autoliquidatorsoftampa.com/1999_Toyota_Camry%20Solara_Tampa_FL_195478450.veh

My vehicle does not have cracked leather, like the photos show of that one, and mine also has tint applied to the windows as well as two mufflers that produce a sporty hum. I am the second owner of this 15 year old car and it was the elderly woman who owned this vehicle initially, not me, who "hipped" it up with the mufflers and new stereo. I keep my Solara very clean inside and out. I am not yet a realtor but am strongly considering entering into the profession. My initial thought was that I'd need a new car that was, at least, larger. I haven't confirmed it, but have read online that it is the norm to travel in two cars in Seattle when showing. As a young woman, I have also read that for safety's sake, one should always have their own vehicle when showing clients homes. While my car does have a large back seat I think that, obviously, my two-door is not ideal for showing. I do not want to offend potential clients, but I have to admit that I am very concerned about my personal safety and would far prefer to travel in separate vehicles.

The main reason is that I do have have a newer car is because I too believe it to be a waste of income to put my money into a car, or cars. I am far more interested in proper investments as well as other things and experiences that add true value to my life. While I think that I possess good taste and class, I do not feel compelled to have a car that speaks for me. When purchasing fashion items for myself I will always pass over any that have glaringly obvious branding that screams out. I am myself and will not advertise for these companies when all I actually need to advertise is sincerely genuine: The intelligent, quality individual that I am.

While the Solara is not my dream car, it does suit me just fine and it's not on my list of priorities to acquire a new vehicle right now unless it's truly necessary. My reasons to upgrade would be to save on gas (figuring in the price of the new vehicle into that equation) and to have space to fit larger items in the back on occasion. A realtor friend of mine claims she couldn't get by on less space than she has in her current SUV due to the signs and all of the paraphernalia she requires, but I believe that I can fit those items in my rather large trunk just fine.

I believe that it's smart to have a car that runs well, is clean and is, by no means, a clunker. Such a vehicle represents my logical approach without completely abandoning style or fun. My car is no luxury vehicle but it's a hundred times more fun to drive than my mother's Mercedes SUV and, in addition, it's probably quite literally a hundred times cheaper to maintain. ThatBlueTEC and the cost of maintenance on her machine is ridiculous to me and, were she to gift it to me, I would promptly sell it and buy a smarter car.

Thank you to all for your thoughtful replies!
 
 
JAMES BOMBALES
BuzzStaff
reply 90 vote 12
 
 
1
While I wouldn't expect a new agent to have the latest BMW, I would expect my agent to have a well maintained late-ish model vehicle for all the same reasons as @Matthew Slutsky pointed out in an earlier post. Being a home (and auto enthusiast) I might take notice on an agents vehicle more than others, but I do think it would have a bit of an impact on potential clients given the amount of visibility and use an agents car would have.

@HollyThe Solara's a great car, and as a Toyota, very reliable. However, as you mentioned having a 2-door coupe probably isn't the best for showing homes to families, or couples. I drive a coupe myself so I know first hand how difficult it can be to get multiple passengers in and out.

Perhaps take a page out of Phil Dunphy's book and consider a Sienna? Just be careful if you decide to advertise on it! http://news.buzzbuzzhome.com/2013/12/quotes-phil-dunphy-2.html
 
 
HOLLY
NewBee
reply 2
 
 
Thank you so much for your reply, @James Bombales!  I love Phil Dunphy, so thanks for the laughs :-)

Having had more time to think about my car and branding, I did come to the conclusion that a new vehicle is imperative for my success. A friend of mine strongly encouraged me to get a minivan and, having driven his Sienna XLE, I will admit that it's extremely comfortable and, surprisingly, it's got spunk and is not bad to drive. Still, I can't be that practical. I think that a vehicle with a hatchback is important if I'll be handling signs and such, and a more upright seating posture is appealing if I'll be on the go as often as I project that I would. Without having test-driven one yet, I have narrowed my options down to the Lexus RX 350 (or 330), so still a reliable Toyota. I think that could be a nice choice.

Faced with buying a new car I hadn't anticipated and a paycheck that I might may not see for a long time I am growing more and more concerned about the costs associated with developing a a career as an agent. I knew to be prepared for this, but the costs just keep adding up as I research details more and more. I have read that 1k a month is not uncommon for costs associated with the job. I haven't added it all up to the cent, but my startup costs are looking like tens of thousands.  I had a lot of determination and grit set aside but, I have to admit, I'm increasingly frightened.......
 
 
 
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