This is such a good question. Okay, I am an admitted, self-ordained, car-crazy gal--the product of a father with three daughters who loved cars and shared that love with his eldest daughter, me--so I love cars. But I don't go overboard with the luxury vehicles, and have never owned an overpriced luxury car.
I have an older 1972 Camaro, a 1998 (10 year old plus) Isuzu Rodeo with four wheel drive, and an expensive Acura RL. Annie, none of my cars are new--both the Isuzu and the RL are over 10 years old, but they are kept clean inside and out, so that no one cares if they are the latest or best model cars. If I'm driving up to a multi-million dollar client, I'll use the RL because--especially if the client is staring out the window--the RL says that I am successful at my job and that I take my position seriously enough to make money at it as a profession, rather than a hobby or part-time job.
I know something as insignificant as a car shouldn't mean anything really, but people make snap judgments based on many things, and I would prefer to eliminate as many issues that cause me to lose a listing or a client as possible. Remember, by the time you've hit the front door of any home, the potential client has already made about 10 quick decisions about you based on your age, your height, your car, your dress, and your sex. It's just a business fact--I don't make the rules.
Personally, I'm with Bill Eckler on this one (and I always seem to be in your corner, Bill) that your car need not be brand new or worth more than a small condominium, it just needs to be kept clean. However, eventually all agents who wish to make this a profession will need to invest in a good higher-end car that is comfortable to work in, rides well (very important) and can accommodate your clients comfortably--this does mean a sedan for most of us.
Thanks, Mark, very thought-provoking question!!
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA