Question Details

Stephanie Ke…, Real Estate Pro in San Antonio, TX

It's time for a new car. . .What do you think is the best car for a real estate agent and why?

Asked by Stephanie Kelley, San Antonio, TX Fri Apr 30, 2010

It's that time - My caddy has seen better days and I'm not sure I want another one. I want decent gas milage, comfort for my clients and I mainly work with mid level to upper mid level buyers. Any suggestions? ?

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I have seen a replacement radio that is single din (normal replacement size radio for aftermarket) that has a slide out 7" screen that includes radio, cd, and GPS. I think it is about $300 +/- It can be easily added to any newer car. You will likely need o buy a plastic adapter and a wiring harness adapter. Both would likely cost around $25 for many cars.

The grand marquis/crown vic is the last full sized car left it seems. You have plastic pockets in the door that holds stuff. It also has a split bench up front. The fold down armrests in the middle allow file folders to be shoved in securely. I have placed about 1" thick items in it and they do not fall out. But you do have to shove them in a bit.

Big trunk. I can fit enough boxes filled with music cd's to fill up a 4' x 8' table with proper placement. Or you could fit 3 annoying clients in there |;<{0 Believe me, signs would fit easily. The car is rugged enough to put a trailer hitch on (with trans cooler added) and carry any trailer you wanted.

Do not worry about bluetooth and gps being present. You can easily add those items with aftermarket equipment. A bad radio can also be easily replaced. I changed the radio in my car 3 times. It had a casette deck, (no ty), I put in a used cd player that died. Put in another cd player which was ok but then got one for $26.01 off ebay that plays mp3 and wma which is better for me. I could easily replace it again in under 1/2 hour and replace it with a gps touch screen dvd player and all the rest if I wanted to pay that much for something I do not need or desire.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 1, 2010
Everybody's taste and rationale is different.

When it was time to look for a car, my immediate requirements were: head room, trunk room, leg room, fuel economy and flexibility.

i liked the idea of riding high (as in SUV), but also wanted fuel economy and "green" features (hybrid). But since i haul things (some staging supplies) as well as people and my dogs, I also wanted versatility and flexibility.

Got a Ford Escape Hybrid. Love, love, love this car.

Then took advantage of the cash for clunkers program and traded in my 1989 Grand Cherokee for a Honda CRV. Why not another Ford Escape? They nearly ran out of them during the mad dash for the clunkers, and the only ones who did have it didn't want to deal.

I love my CRV (with the built-in navigation) and felt lucky to have gotten it during the clunkers program. It's peppy. It meets my requirements (but it's not as good to transport the dogs because the back seat doesn't fold flat like the Escape does)

Check out Ford's swap your ride program. Now, they even have the self-parking feature on the Escape.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 6, 2010
Stephanie, you could always buy a vintage body and install modern running gear. Just a paint job would cost about $1,000 and could be more if the paint was gone with a lot of rust to remove.

Before you ever consider a vintage car look online for reproduction parts. Some cars can get everything except for the roof (like an original mustang) while others can get almost nothing. If I just wanted the old looks with reliability I would be tempted to install a new computer controlled engine from a totaled car (you get the wiring harness and everything that way) and get a rust free body. Put the 2 together and you have a classic look with modern reliability.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 6, 2010
Hi Steph,
I like the Toyota Highlander small SUV I was in today. Sporty but large enough for whatever.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Unless an agent is driving a Bentley, I won't deal with him/her, because s/he isn't my type.

Yeah . . . right.

Seriously, does anyone qualify his/her agent by the vehicle that s/he drives? Why not simply get the one that you want and can afford?

Hopefully, the vehicle that you'll select will be large enough to comfortably fit at least 4 6-footers.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 3, 2010
If you hadn't mentioned gas milage I had two ideas for you. Ford excursion, they all fit and it's got power. A conversion van because it fits many, has comfortable chairs all around and some have a table in center perfect for laptops and signing documents. Large vehicles means large advertising wraps, hard to not notice. Lexus is probably more like what you have. Maybe the Hyundai Genesis? Personally I prefer suv's.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 1, 2010
My low-end: Walking or NYC subways. My high end: NYC taxi. I know that doesn't help - perhaps a little comic relief though. It does bring home the point how local real estate really is, even with a question as broad as yours.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 1, 2010
Hi Stephanie -

Basic, sound advice - Buy what you like and can afford ..........only prerequisite, in my opinion, is that it should have 4 doors - Realtors really shouldn't be driving around in snazzy sportscars for business - where do you put the clients?!

Keeping it clean, as Joan mentioned, is one wants to get in the back of a messy car (must admit - sometimes the back of my car looks like a traveling filing cabinet!).

Enjoy your new it in good health and prosperity!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 30, 2010
I second Joan. A well kept, clean car matters more than the name plate (and I am a "car guy"). I have a newer Honda Accord with navigation. It's comfortable, is presentable, and has a decent navigation (which means one less device you need to carry around). Take the money you save... invest it in your business... and enjoy your success!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 30, 2010
Hi Stephanie
With gas prices in NJ creeping up to $3.00 per gallon I'm looking for a car based on fuel efficiency. I'm on my 2nd Honda Accord which I'm very happy with. A lot of agents around here drive around in a Lexus & Mercedes models, I also believe you should what you can afford, just keep it clean & impress your clients
with your real estate expertise instead of your wheels.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 30, 2010
Fords crown victoria is the same car as a mercury grand marquis. However, the mercury has more prestige (I think).

You might also consider a lincoln town car. It is the same thing except a bit longer and more expensive new. When I bought my car I looked online. I looked within 500 miles of florida. The sad fact is that fomoco is the last decent maker of a rear drive full size car with a comfy ride. My 1993 crown vic was a lemon, but once fixed did fine. The rust monster ate it alive. Ford pretty much fixed its problems by 1995.

The amazing thing is the engines changed a lot during the years. My 1999 gets 2-3 mpg more than my 1993 did with the same engine size. The funny thing is my 1993 died during cash for clunkers, I could not trade it in for the $4,500 as it got one mpg to many. The 1999 got 2 mpg less (per the govn't)and really gives better mileage.

When I looked for a car I had 3 criteria. 1 rear wheel drive 2 gas mileage (better= decision) 3 smooth ride. Every dealer I talked to (and there were several) said the crown vic. marquis, or towncar was the way to go. An old chevy would get 18, maybe 20 mpg. I have had people say they got 30 with a crown vic. So far I have not bested 27 mpg myself.

I am not a ford fan. I always preferred chevy's. But I will buy the same type car into the future.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 30, 2010
Get a mercury grand marquis. rear wheel drive ( a must for me) smooooth ride (also a must) 25-27mpg or better on the highway. 20 and better in town (not big city sitting for hours). Plenty of power, not to tall, easy to handle and not to hard on gas. You may have to buy a slightly used one (not a bad economic decision) but I am very happy with my 1999 I bought just a few months ago. Look at consumers reports as 2 years were lemons.

The other option would be a full size suv. But the gas bill will be a lot bigger.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 30, 2010
I thought about wrapping and even looked into it. I'm just not sure it's the best choice for me. Has anybody else done that and what kind of success have you had with wrapping?

If I were sure you could keep the car running, I would almost prefer something vintage, very comfortably restored inside, just for the recognizability factor, but my first question was really just directed to finding out what other agents are driving that they really like and why it works well for their business.

I really appreciate the answers that I am getting and am carefully considering all responses. Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 6, 2010
Have you ever thought about wrapping your car for advertizing purposes?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 6, 2010

Some sort of higher end hybrid car. You need a car that is comfortable for transporting several people, and it is very important to protect our planet. Have fun and best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 3, 2010
Your advice is sound, and I guess should have been more precise in my question. Keeping the car clean should be a no brainer. I have had an Accord in Real Estate - loved it, a Mazda Millenia - liked it, and a Cadillac CTS, loved the car, not sure it was the best for my clients in the back seat.

I also have a Ford Expedition with almost 150,000 miles, still runs good and I can take out a big family in that, but it does use a good bit of gas and is a little long in the tooth. I am keeping that one, though because it's a great vehicle for taking signs and staging materials out to the properties.

I just don't have a lot of time to go out and check out all the features that are available and thought my fellow agents may have something to recommend. Dan has given me the most info so far. Thanks Dan! I want space around the driver compartment where I could stick a file if necessary, a place for my I-phone, hook up with navigation and blue tooth, a good sound system, decent gas mileage and enough space for comfort for my clients. I don't want to spend a fortune, I don't need brand new, but do need low milage because I will pile up the miles. I could "afford" the upper end cars, but frankly, dont find it necessary to impress the clients. I would prefer to buy American, so I guess I am talking myself through all of this. It can be a small SUV type or a sedan as long as the gas milage is good and it has the other features I desire.
If you have a car that you are using in your busines and you just love it . . . please tell me what you drive and why!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 1, 2010
The best car for a real estate agent is the same one as for anyone else. Buy one you can afford.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 30, 2010
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