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Asked by Mark Roncone, Naperville, IL Wed May 7, 2008

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Answers

21
AJ Heidmann, Agent, Arlington, VA
Sun Jul 20, 2008
I agree that it is more important that your car be clean inside & out, and in great working order (as my Volvo SUV is in the shop getting the repairs for the guy who rear-ended me), than the make / model. That being said, when you drive up for a higher end listing, what you drive does project an image to the seller, if only subconciously. We've probably all driven up to homes that had no curb appeal, but once you got inside you really felt the house was great. As an agent, aren't you trying to give potential clients as many reasons as possible to hire you? If you're driving a Ford Pinto in cherry condition in Alexandria, VA you might find yourself in an uphill climb with the seller.

Just our 2 cents...
2 votes
Paul Gallaher, Both Buyer And Seller, 62220
Sat May 24, 2008
If I see a realtor driving around in this market in a Mercedes or Lexus, it makes me want to sell my home FSBO. If I sell my $250k house at a 7% commission, the real estate company makes $17, 500. I know the realtor typically gets half. So... for $8, 750 if you show my home 20 times and do all the paperwork, what is your hourly rate? Maybe $350/hour? mmm, no thanks.
2 votes
I'm not sure how you came up with your calculations, but I only wish I was earning 7% or $350 an hour. Realtors earn on avg only $50 an hour. Each sides brokerage gets only half the commission (usually 3%) and the agents share is only a percentage of that...on a $250k deal their take home pay is about $2000. It takes a lot more than 25 hours to market and sell your home and realtors have to pay out of pocket for all marketing and fees to maintain a license. Good luck on your FSBO...I'm sure you'll be calling a realtor after a couple weeks!
Flag Sun Jun 3, 2012
Anniederouin, , San Jose, CA
Sun May 17, 2009
Thats exactly my issue!!! I have a 1998 Oldsmobile 88 and it is NOT in a very good condition from the outside including chipped paint and from the inside it definitly needs some work done worth more than the car is worth. I am feeling a little insecure about approaching clients and taking them out in my car because whether they would admit it or not I feel like they would think: " Oh wow she drives that thing? I must be one of the first clients that she is working with." I already lose a lot of credibility because of the fact that I look really young so that would be yet another thing that could add to buyer's and seller's insecurities about agents. I feel like you don't need a BMW or a lexus but honda or toyota works best and I really wish I had one. So I hope I find a client that will buy / sell a home with me because of my " Do you know how much harder I will work to represent you in this deal? I want it 100 times stronger than that agent that is already drivinga lexus!" One of these days hopefully it will work !
1 vote
Slash, , Chicago, IL
Wed May 7, 2008
I always cringe when I see my fellow Realtors pull up in Lexus and BMW SUV's. I have had a couple people twll me they chose me because of my nice little clean American made Ford. It gives the appearance that you are making piles of money when you drive big expensive cars.
1 vote
Grace Hanamo…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Sun May 17, 2009
Mark:

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!!

Sincerely,
Grace Morioka
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Nov 12, 2008
Mark,

I have heard tell that the best type of car to drive is a........clean one!!!! Nothing turns off a potential buyer stuck in a vehicle that is a proverbial mess and many view this as a reflection of the way an agent conducts their business.

messy+dirty+disorganized= no deal

Good luck,
Bill
0 votes
, ,
Wed Nov 12, 2008
I'm sure it matters to some people, but I know some very successful agents who drive economy cars. Personality and expertise make a much bigger difference. On the other hand, years ago when I was looking for my first home, we met with an agent whose back seat was filled with empty beer cans and McDonalds bags. That mattered.
0 votes
Mike Garr, , mobile agent on the move
Tue Nov 11, 2008
The age old question. Ahhhhhhh i love this stuff. I have a solid listing script, prospect,prospect,prospect and when i have to I park 3 doors down and come out with the listing that will sell god willing. If your not dressed right or are just a know it all then it doenst matter what you drive , your out. I would be really leary of a client who would judge me on my car ummmmm but people are people and ya know what, there's always something of the skill at getting over objections weather its your car or commission.
0 votes
Debt Free Da…, , 85260
Sun Jul 20, 2008
If it is clean and kept up well that should be a clue. If they are a slob it will definitely show up in how their car looks. How they take care of their car is how they will take care of you.
Web Reference:  http://GetPrequalified.com
0 votes
The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Sun Jul 20, 2008
I find that bullet holes turn some buyers off.

A great book to read: The Millionaire Next Door." Folks with money drive the 5 year old Fords and pick-ups.
Web Reference:  http://www.cindihagley.com
0 votes
Lisa Schade, Agent, Libertyville, IL
Sun Jul 20, 2008
This is a great question!

Growing up, I was taught that presentation was everything.

As I get older I realize that I don't have to prove anything to anyone! I just need to be clean and presentable.

I need to convey my knowledge and expertise in a clear and concise manner. That's all that really matters, anyway.

Personally, I am an investor, and My net worth is no one's business but my own.

I learned a long time ago, that if you flaunt who you are and what you have, you pay more!

Professionally, I have put systems in place that allow me to work ONLY with serious clients that want their home SOLD or need to buy a home NOW.
I do not work with clients that just want their home listed, by someone they think can sell their home. because they drove up in a sportscar or a luxury sedan.

And I don't make it a habit of becoming a clients personal chauffeur.

I'm sure you will say, that I'm not very busy...but let me ask you this....

Would you rather spend your time and energy on productive actives that make you money? WOrking only when you're making money.
Or
Waste your time on Activites that make you look busy, or "successful" as we equate busy.

Success is as success does.

You are only successful if you can pay your bills.

If you're one step ahead of the bill collectors, who are you really fooling, yourself or your clients?

At that point, you wouldn't be able to convey your knowledge in a clear and concise manner anyway.

I have chosen, to leave the BMW in the garage until someone gets to know me and knows that I paid Cash for mine.

My business practice allows me quality time with my family, the ability to be at ALL family Functions. And work diligently for people who truly see my value.

Check out my website- I'd love to know if you can tell what kind of car I drive?
0 votes
Thu Jun 12, 2008
It shoudn't matter, but psychologically I think it affects people's perception. Of course, they would never tell you that!
0 votes
Greg Zaccagni, , Illinois
Wed Jun 11, 2008
You can't judge a book by it's cover. I once worked with a loan originator that made over $1m in annual revenue as stated by the company during awards presenations (better times than now) and he intentionally drove a lesser car so his referreal sources wouldn't know or be resentful.
Web Reference:  http://www.GregZaccagni.com
0 votes
Custom Realty…, , 30342
Wed Jun 11, 2008
The kind of car you drive isn't as important as how you present it. Is it clean on both the inside and out? Remember this is your office, you need to keep it as professional looking as an office.
0 votes
Mary Ann Zar…, Agent, Severna Park, MD
Wed Jun 11, 2008
Yes I prefer a nice make of a car that gets decent miles and is comfrontable. However the agents knowledge is more important than her car make
0 votes
Walt Ramsay, , Rock Hill, NY
Wed Jun 11, 2008
JUDGE ME ON MY PROFESSIONAL SKILLS, THANK YOU
0 votes
Joan Congilo…, Agent, Freehold, NJ
Wed Jun 11, 2008
As an agent over 21 years unfortunately I would have to say yes for some but not for all. It really depends on the type of market area you work in. If your market area is an upscale market they do have a tendency to be a bit pretentious & will look for the Shallow Hal agent driving a fancy car for a security blanket. However, the average home buyer or seller will not care as long as you present yourself as a professional, intelligible realtor that is there to place their needs first,
0 votes
Patty Tyrcha, Agent, Schaumburg IL 60194, IL
Wed Jun 11, 2008
I don't think it makes any difference. It's the service you get that counts. How you feel about that person not what kind of car they drive.
0 votes
Ekerry.com, , Wheaton-Glen Ellyn
Sun May 25, 2008
I like successful people so a higher end car does not turn me off. Now a Realtor with a dated car is like a home with shag carpet.
0 votes
Debt Free Da…, , 85260
Sat May 24, 2008
As long as you are not paying for gas who cares...
Web Reference:  http://getprequalified.com
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sat May 24, 2008
Your sense of what we make, Paul, is a little askew.

In my opinion, what you drive does matter... as a Realtor, your car is your office. Now that doesn't mean it needs to be the latest BMW X/5, or the sleekest Mercedes S-650. But studies have shown (and these are not just realtor-related studies) that people like to do business with successful people. The fact that you drive a nice car is an indication that you are successful, and that other people have used you in the past, and you were successful with them.

So... you can do business in a 1994 Ford Escort with some rust, but I don't think you'll attract many high-end clients dragging them to million dollar homes in that car. In my opinion, your car should be recent (no more than 5 years old), in good condition, clean & washed, and smell nice. In many cases, a brand-new hybrid is an excellent choice, and in some markets Mercedes and BMWs make sense. I know a local agent who has enjoyed a reputation as the agent who drives a "smart car" (she can't take more than one client with her at at time, so often her clients have to drive... but it's quite a gimmick).
0 votes
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