Does it matter what kind of car a Realtor drives?

2007 Mercedes GL450 SUVI was out one evening last month with a friend of mine who is also a Realtor. We drove in his $50K Mercedes SUV, which, at two months old, still had the new car smell. He had written up two Buyer deals that day and remarked to me that he thought his new sled was helping his real estate business. “How’s that?” I asked.

He said he thinks the nice car establishes credibility and evidence of success and expertise. He senses that when he meets Buyers for the first time and takes them out looking at homes in the Benz, they seem to be predisposed more than before to trust and believe in his advice and opinions. Following the purchase of the new Mercedes, he’d been doing better than before. He thinks it’s because buyers take him more seriously than when he drove his older Chevy Truck or Honda Sedan.

I then asked, “How do you know Mercedes doesn’t just make you feel better about yourself, and it’s your positive attitude and elevated self image that is causing you to do better, and not necessarily the car?”

He conceded that I might have a point, but he thinks the car definitely creates a positive impression with buyers which translates into more written deals. I remained skeptical.

A few days later I ran into one of the most successful and well respected Realtors in the U.S., who works in my Keller Williams office. I asked what kind of car she drives. She said, “Mercedes”. “Do you think that matters?” I asked. “Absolutely”, she said.

In her opinion, our vehicles are part of our attire, just like the clothes we wear. “What you drive says something about you, just like how you dress.” she says. I’m not going to argue with someone I admire so greatly, so I started thinking about this.

I guess I’ve been ruined by reading the book The Millionaire Next Door. As documented in the book, many people with nice cars and homes, and other evidence of a high consumer consumption lifestyle, are probably flat broke, in debt up to their ears, and have no savings. Not always, of course, but more often than not this is the case. Knowing this, and having seen proof of it within the thousands of tenant credit reports I’ve seen containing high late-model car payments with modest income, nice things don’t impress me much, especially cars.

Frugality and simple living, on the other hand, combined with smart investing and living debt free are things that matter to me. Had my friend with the Mercedes bragged that the nice shirt he was wearing was picked up used at Goodwill for $5, I would have been more impressed with that than the Mercedes. Had he pulled up in a 3 year old Toyota that he purchased used for cash, I would have been more impressed than with the new Mercedes. I’m weird that way about money, and I can’t help it. I like buying things that go up in value (like rental property), not down.

Nevertheless, I decided to take inventory of mine and Sylvia’s vehicle situation. The 7-year-old minivan with 129,000 miles has carried many of mine and Sylvia’s buyers all over Austin these past years, and helped us sell many homes. This is a base model, no frills Dodge Grand Caravan Sport that we purchased used when it was 3 years old. It was a typical penny pincher purchase straight out of the book of frugality. If you’re one of our past buyers, you’ve probably ridden in this blue van. It runs good and the A/C blows cold. What else matters, right?

2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L with navigation and dvdBut when the transmission went out again this week, it was two days later that I drove out of Howdy Honda in Sylvia’s new 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L. Not the top of the line Touring model, but the next notch down EX-L with the navigation system and XM radio, leather seats, power doors and all the other bells and whistles, including a DVD system I doubt we’ll ever use. This purchase goes against every grain of my being. I’d rather spend $30K on a down payment on another investment property than a new car which has already depreciated thousands of dollars in 3 days.

Will we sell more houses driving a nicer vehicle? I’m still not convinced it matters, but we’ll see. One thing is for sure, the Odyssey is one awsome sweet ride compared to the old Dodge, and I have a very happy wife.

Posted by Steve
9 years ago
Steve

Steve is a Real Estate Blogger, Husband and Dad, UT Austin Grad, Runner, Real Estate Broker and owner of Crossland Team and Crossland Real Estate in Austin TX.

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Mare - 9 years ago

Steve – being frugal and smart about money doesn’t make you weird. I agree with you 100%, and I think it’s a message you need to harp on more, if anything.

‘I guess I’ve been ruined by reading the book The Millionaire Next Door. As documented in the book, many people with nice cars and homes, and other evidence of a high consumer consumption lifestyle, are probably flat broke, in debt up to their ears, and have no savings. Not always, of course, but more often than not this is the case. Knowing this, and having seen proof of it within the thousands of tenant credit reports I’ve seen containing high late-model car payments with modest income, nice things don’t impress me much, especially cars. ‘

This reasoning, in a nutshell, is why I get worried when I hear that housing starts from 250K up have increased by 47%. I get a little nervous when I hear about the 300K condo projects going on downtown. I wonder how many people can really afford it by the terms you mention – able to pay off their credit cards at the end of the month, 6 months of emergency funds in their savings account, able to cope with a high dollar emergency, make maximum contributions to their retirement accounts, and get the car paid off as soon as possible if they took out a loan for it. This might be a financial utopia, but it isn’t a huge stretch for those who have the income to qualify for it to begin with.

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ARZ - 9 years ago

It probably matters somewhat. Think of it, buyers pay you 3% (i know i know, technically it’s the seller pays the 3% from the sales price, but the buyer have to pay for the mortgage where that 3% came from). That 3% is a very arbitrary concept. For example, if you take them around the town to see houses, do they actually feel that they’ve gotten a better service setting in a premium car? I bet many of them do think of that way. We once fired an agent once with a dirty mini-van filled with trash and dried up soda cups. Not sure if his car was part of the reason we decided to drop him, but we certainly didn’t feel thrilled of getting back into his van again.

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Steve - 9 years ago

Hi Mare, thanks for your comments. I worry about those things you mention also, people over-extending themselves and not being grounded in a frugal mindset. We are blessed to run with a circle of friends many of whom value and embrace frugality, and living below one’s means.

With our new van, I justified breaking my own rule about purchasing new vehicles by knowing that it’s not just a car, but a business tool as well. Clean, reliable transportation is a must for a Realtor. The transmission breakdown in the Dodge spooked me, and I frankly don’t have time to shop for a used van during the busy summer.

ARZ – that’s too bad about your grungie Realtor. Sad but it doesn’t suprise me. I guess it proves that the question can in fact go the other way. People will no doubt be turned off by a dirty vehicle, and also Realtors who dress like slobs (which I am unfortunately guilty of sometimes, but not usually when I have clients with me).

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Nam - 9 years ago

Steve — what a great post. I have several minds about this which I will elaborate on in no particular order.

1. I, too, am a fan of Millionaire Mind/Millionaire Next Door, so know well of what you’re talking about. My wife and I live simply and below our means. Material items don’t primarily define our identities: our actions, achievements, and contributions do. (Though I admit some nice things sometimes within reason can be a pleasant form of reward — complete self-denial can be lead to a pretty miserly and empty life). I also have a love/hate relationship with cars…having to buy anything in excess of $10,000 that depreciates is just one of those things that strikes me as, well, absurd. On the other hand, I’m a car design fanatic and I really appreciate the creativity and innovation that engineers and designers come up with.

2. Having formerly lived in New York City, I have a pretty good idea of what it’s like to live in a world of daily conspicuous consumption. There, the display of material items became a sort of sophisticated “style language.” If you’ve ever seen the movie American Psycho (or read the book), you would get a pretty good idea of the extremes this can go to. Wearing an Armani suit says something different about yourself than wearing one made by Versace. Some people actually deeply care about this level of distinction. Sometimes that language can be transcendent, and not speak to money, wealth or status per se, but speak to a personal identity free of brand labels. If you and your wife have ever attended a nice dinner party, you might admit that it’s fun to play dress up once in awhile, and if you’re in the company of friends, most likely they are judging you not the clothing label, but how good you look cleaned up. This, by the way, is the fundamental message of shows like “How Do I Look?” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” — what you wear can transform your own self-confidence and project it, too. And no, you don’t have to be a label-whore to pull it off.

3. So what does this have to do with cars? Everything. A car is a projection of a person’s identity (or aspirations). Having done extensive marketing in the past, this is a no-brainer. What is revealing about your blog post is that your comments about the Honda Odyssey only reinforce this point. Yes, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW, etc to most people project an *image* of wealth and success. When was the last time you saw a hip-hop video where the rap star was wearing $100,00 worth of bling and driving a Hyundai Elantra? Now, let’s extend that logic. Steve, you chose a Honda Odyssey as your new ride. I would bet you $50.00 that some large percentage of Honda Odyssey owners (or any Honda or Toyota) are … guess what? Millionaires Next Door. Why? Because despite the gee-gaws and upgrade doo-dads you’ll probably never use, it still makes your wife happy, and image-wise probably the Odyssey won’t compromise your values and sensibilities to the outside world. This is what flashes in your client’s subconscious mind the first time she meets you as you drive up in your new van: “There’s Steve. He’s obviously a practical, no-nonsense person that understand the value of money. Like his car, he’s going to be reliable and trustworthy. I will get my money’s worth with Steve. Plus, obviously he loves his wife.” Voila.

4. Lastly, I would point out that just because you (or I) don’t judge people based on their clothes, car, and material possessions, that doesn’t mean that the overwhelming majority of people in this world do, too. I think it’s safe to say that most people (at least in my generation) don’t know how to save worth a damn and are caught up in hyper-materialism. Case in point: most home-equity loans are used to buy boats, or cars, or whatever else they don’t need more of. They think owning more and more and better and better is the path to identity. This is *exactly why* the act of a client judging her realtor based on his car is so prevalent. Think of it another way, if 1.5% of the U.S. population is a millionaire, and most of those folks possess “Millionaire Minds” then, wouldn’t only 1.5% (or a small, pitiful minority) of your clientele *not* judge you by the car you drive?

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Mare - 9 years ago

NAM – That’s some great logic. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But there is something about the Mercedes that strikes me that I forgot to mention. If I were a first time buyer, and especially if I were a first time seller, I might look at that Mercedes and think, ‘Oh man – how much is this deal going to cost me? Is he/she going to try to smooth talk me into something I don’t want?’ or, ‘I wonder if agents really are as greedy as I hear.’ I’m sure that this is NOT the case with your friend, Steve, and I would obviously give someone the benefit of the doubt; however, the suspicion would be in the back of my mind.

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ARZ - 9 years ago

While the book Millionaire Next Door is a very inspirational book teaching of fascal responsibilities, it has some flaws. People will have to read that book with a critical mind. I have a friend who literally by by the book’s common rules: such as insisting on using Entertainment book coupon on every meal, play golf weekly, and always clipping coupons from the newspaper. The problem is, he wasted a lot of time by thinking if follow these simply rules he will get ahead. Unfortunately, these little things don’t seem to matter when you are not thinking actively how to create more wealth. Being frugal is good, but it doesn’t lead you to wealth. In other words, there are plenty frugal but poor people out there. Being smart and diligent is more important.

Don’t blame on people being over extending. Look at your country. American government has been maxing out it’s national debt credit cards long time ago. this pattern is no longer reversible unless a major social event like the great depression occur. But that would be too painful. Take a look at this documentary: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279

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Leon Fu - 9 years ago

Hey Steve,

Your Honda costs $30K. The Mercedes $50K. The question is does spending an extra $20K over the lifetime of the vehicle helps you do more business? Let’s say this vehicle lasts you 10 years (quite reasonable I believe). You’re only spending an extra $2K/year. If the average house that you sell is $200K and you get 3% of that, that’s $6K in commissions. In other words, if this Mercedes helps you sell more than 1 extra house every 3 years, it’s worth it!

Since you use your vehicle for business and not just personal use, you have to think of this differently that most of us that just use their car to get around. I feel that it depends what kind of clients you serve. It might matter more if you are selling $1 million dollar homes vs. $120K to 150K homes to lower middle class.

You are in the service business and the car you drive your clients around in is part of that service. Does the Mercedes ride nicer and is it more comfortable than the Honda? If so, it’s worth it, so I think you might have been a little bit penny wise and pound foolish if you could afford the Mercedes. If I was in your position, I would have gotton the Mercedes. You would definitely sell more houses b/c of it. There are enough people out there that would be impressed or simply appreciate the extra service to justify the extra $20K over the life of the vehicle. I don’t drive clients around, so I still use my 2001 Nissan Pathfinder which still runs great after 75K miles.

Leon

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Steve - 9 years ago

Thanks for your comments Nam. Really good stuff. Interesting too.

Mare, we did consider a Lexus SUV (briefly) due to Toyota quality, and the outstanding service our neighbor brags about (free loaners every time he drops his car off for service – that’s a great perk). But with multiple instances weekly of also having to haul 4+ kids (our 2, plus friends) for sports, outings, camps, etc., nothing can substitute for a minivan. The 7 passanger SUV’s don’t cut it and the gas mileage is terrible on most.

ARZ – point well taken. Believe me, we splurge on things when it makes sense. I think it’s a question of discipline though. Some people simply cannot restrain their spending under any circumstance other than lack of funds or credit. Knowing how to be frugal, but choosing to splurge and treat oneself from time to time is I think a good balance in life. Anyone can spend more than they earn, and most do. Fewer of us can spend less than we earn and save or invest the rest.

Leon – You have a good point. I almost used your exact logic to trick myself into going for a nicer vehicle, and in part used it to justify buying new instead of used. End the end, as noted above, it had to be a minivan though, and my research led me to the Honda as the best choice.

Steve

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Mare - 9 years ago

Leon – you have to consider how much they’re really paying for that car. I’m making the asumption that both Steve in the Honda and his buddy in the Mercedes are carrying a note on their vehicles. I’ll also assume that they’re not taking out a loan at 0%. Even if they can write off the depreciation of their vehicles (and I’m fairly sure they can), they’re still going to be paying more than 30K or 50K. If they purchased a used vehicle that’s a year old, just as nice, etc., they’ll save in the long run. The question here is – is it worth it? The answer is subjective. How can you prove that the Mercedes was the reason that agent sold an extra house or two? Steve has a happy wife, so to him, it’s worth it (and I agree! ;p). If the guy with the Benz thinks it helps his business, then to him, it’s worth it. If you’re only looking at the bottom line and buy accordingly, then it’s not the greatest financial move they could make. Steve understands this, and from a practical point of view, you have to consider it.

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jim - 9 years ago

Steve, A very happy wife is is always my highest priority. Nice going. I think the important thing here is common sense and balance in the way we live and conduct our lives. If one feels driving a more expensive vehicle, or wearing a certain brand of clothing, or… will increase their net income, then it just might. I try to justify these types of purchases by need vs. want. I can certainly appreciate a nice vehicle, but for me, I am going to miss the old blue Dodge van. Drive safe.

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Leon Fu - 9 years ago

Mare,

The fact that its going to be more than $30K or $50K isn’t really relevent here. You are right that whether or not it’s worth it is completely subjective. My point was simply that it does not take much for the Mercedes (only extra 1 or 2 houses every 3 years, and perhaps less if Steve sells on average greater $200K property) to be mathematically worth it over the Honda. Of course, this is also Steve’s personal vehicle, so there are other considerations besides just business. So congrats on the Honda!

Leon

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D Sundstrom - 9 years ago

Steve,

As a family currently looking for a rental investment in Austin, we’ve spent some time in realtor’s cars.
Plus, my mother made her living selling real estate.

The #1 thing: the car must be clean. As you have kids and busy schedule this takes special diligence.
To me it is one of the first indicators that my realtor is committed to the details it will take to close a deal.

That said, would I prefer to be chauffered around in a Mercedes? Sure. It’s not a car I’ll ever buy (sounds like our
views on money are the same), so why not. But I wouldn’t mind a new Honda van either, and certainly a clean
Honda over a dirty Mercedes.

Someone above said you could’ve bought a Mercedes over a Honda and it wouldn’t have made much
difference over 10 years. Well, even my mom turned her cars over every 3-5 years. You don’t want
to have a car with a worn suspension or any other noticable problems. The Honda is reliable but make
sure you fix even the cosmetic things.

David

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Lurking Troll - 9 years ago

Rule of thumb: buy what you want (within your means) and you will be happier because you did what you want to do. If that’s a Honda great. If that’s a 100k Range Rover great. I’m sure Steve can afford just about what ever vehicle he wants but likes Honda’s so more power to him. But to imply that everyone else who purchases a vehicle that is expensive (to you) is only doing it out of vanity trying to keep up with the Jones is simply ludicrous. There are many benefits to a well engineered vehicle many simply are more comfortable and safer. Mercedes invented 90% of the safety features everyone enjoys on cars to day. Anti-lock breaks, air bags, crumple zones, ridged passenger cell, skid control, and many many others. Personally, I would rather be in a proven safe vehicle.

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Liz - 9 years ago

Driving an upscale car may increase one’s credibility and improve one’s confidence, but I think what people are looking for is a realtor who is knowledgeable and familiar with the area and the business. I read an article from oakhillgazette.com that discusses Steve and Sylvia’s many years of experience –and that’s what buyers want. They will trust someone who knows what they are doing.

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Simon - 9 years ago

When we toured lots of houses with Steve in his truck, we couldn’t care two hoots about the car (which we, and our little boy, thought was really cool anyway). We were far too busy listening to his insightful comments on the neighbourhoods we were in and the reasons why we shouldn’t or should make an offer on the house we just viewed. Can’t quite grasp, from a buyer’s point of view, what benefit could be gained from a swanky car, unless it was equipped with a satnav system that knew that whether or not the local school was any good or not, or whether the floorplan of the house that we just looked at might appeal to buyers when we come to re-sell. If people LISTEN to their realtor, rather than be impressed by cars or clothes, then they will not go far wrong.

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Lurking Troll - 9 years ago

Liz are you saying that having a nice car means you don’t know what you are doing? Seems too me as if a bit of harterism (sic) is going on.

Is it not ok for a realtor to spend money he or she earned and know what they are doing?

My wife drives a 750Li because it’s one of the only cars she feels safe driving. She does about 15 -20 million in sales a year. Every one of her customers is ecstatically happy except for the occasional rotten egg.

Just remember you can’t take it with you. And your kids should be self sufficient when they grow up.

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Bill - 9 years ago

Congrats on the new van. You point out a fine line betwen frugrality and image. However, in so far as the saying goes “the clothes make the man”, in US society the car certainly projects an image. The Honda van was probably an excellent choice as it serves clients of all persuasions — it will be the rare one that will look down on a loaded, late model Odyssey. Keep it clean and in good condition and it will serve you for many years.

We recently purchased a Volvo — something of a deal in that it was an end of model year special from the dealer, although clearly not as frugal as keeping an otherwise serviceable vehicle. My wife noticed that when we pull up in the Volvo, we often get better service or a better reception than driving our former, less prestigious vehicle. At the same time, I rather like the idea that a Volvo doesn’t scream show off the way some German makes do. Like it or not, image matters.

It is possible to take the Millionairne Next Door too literally. How many non-millionaires lead frugral lives? Is it frugality that truly leads to wealth, or is that just one attribute? If you read the follow-on book, the Millionaire Mind, true wealth generally comes from keen business sense and marketing savvy together with financial restraint. A million is a modicum of financial security; ten million is financial freedom. If having a nicer car is part of a realtor’s effective marketing, then so be it. The other thing to remember about the Millionaire Next Door is that it is a biased sample — US residents who lived and acquired wealth over historically the best long-term stock market just about ever. Just about anyone who saved a fair amount did very well. It is unlikely that those acquiring wealth now will have such a favorable 20-30 year run in the stock market. As such, if you want to acquire true wealth, it will take some more moxy. This is not to say don’t save or don’t be frugral — just don’t think that alone is the way to go.

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Steve - 9 years ago

> Is it frugality that truly leads to wealth, or is that just one attribute?

Hi Bill. I think you’re right. Frugality is but one aspect. But I do think unbridled consumer spending, or the lack of an ability to make smart spending choices, will doom a person to a lifetime of high debt and no/low savings.

Wow, few of my blog posts have generated this many comments and opinions. I really appreciate everyone’s feedback.

Steve

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Steve - 9 years ago

> are you saying that having a nice car means you don’t know what you are doing?

I think she’s not saying that. She’s saying that she thinks knowledge is more important than image.

Steve

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Nam - 9 years ago

All these posts got me thinking that 20/20 or Dateline should do a segment on this.

Perhaps take the same realtor with two sets of clients in two different cars with hidden cameras in each. Not terribly scientific but probably fun to watch.

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Mare - 9 years ago

> ‘It is possible to take the Millionairne Next Door too literally….’

Hi Bill – you make some very good points here (and reminded me I need to follow up on The Millionaire Mind.) I completely agree that it takes marketing and financial saavy, but I think that saving money is the foundation on which you build those things. A frugal mindset is a fruitful thing – if you don’t have money to invest, it’s almost pointless to be saavy. If you can successfully build a business with a paid-off, dependable vehicle (that you keep clean and well-maintained), it does beg the question: Why can’t you keep doing it with another reasonable car? I think that Steve and Sylvia are at a point in their careers where they get most (if not all) business from referrals and investors, so they’re not at a point where they have to worry about image to build a client base (and fork over the money to market themselves). When you’ve been in that frugal mindset for so long, I can see where your brain would be screaming, ‘Why am I wasting this money on a depreciating asset?!’ Even if that car does help your image, is it really helping your business? How much of a return are you seeing on your investment to justify NOT putting that money somewhere else? To answer that, I think it depends on where you’re at, where you want to go, who you’re trying to impress, and why.

My husband and I are in our early 30’s. We don’t have kids (yet – working on that), we have no unsecured debt, and I’m not working. We could qualify for that Mercedes. But in making that purchase, we wouldn’t be able to set aside anything into retirement, and we wouldn’t be able to save much. We would be building debt if we had a major emergency, or if my husband lost his job. Throw in a couple of kids on top of that, and that can be a very scary proposition. To evaluate the true cost of that Mercedes, I would have to consider how much I will lose by not investing. That would be the money, the interest I could have made on that money, and the taxes I’ll have to pay because I’ll have to declare a higher income. Then I’ll have to consider the amount of interest I’m paying on the loan. It comes out to WAY more than 50K over the life of that loan. And it’s all tied to ONE depreciating asset that immediately loses value when I drive it off the lot. Considering the position we’re in, that’s a really bad financial move – and the heck of it is, we’re not in a bad position. Even if we could put 10-15K down, we still couldn’t justify the monthly expense for several years to come. I realize that this isn’t a unique situation – every one who takes a loan on a vehicle is going to take the hit – but not everyone who purchases a high-end vehicle can afford it by those standards, especially the ones with kids to consider.

That’s an average Joe way of looking at it, and I understand that real estate is one of those few jobs where image counts, and your ride gets lumped in with that image. I just don’t think that having/not having a luxury vehicle is going to be a deal breaker, or that no one would refer you because you don’t have one. I don’t think that someone would give you their business just because you do have one, either. It’s a situation that you can’t objectively measure, and I think that’s the only way to answer the question.

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Bill - 9 years ago

Mare –

Wow, Steve is right, this is a busy post — but one that touches on important subjects.

I don’t disagree with you at all — actually, it looks much like you and your husband’s life situation and outlook is very much the same as ours.

All I am saying is that it is possible to overdo frugality — if the point of saving is to defer later for retirement and security, it is possible to overdo it. Not that many people do that!

The economists use a term called “consumption smoothing” and a lot of sophisticated math to optimize savings rates and seek to balance consumption over the course of one’s life. I don’t like their models insofar as they don’t correctly weight downside risk, IMHO, but they have a point … you shouldn’t give up too much today to defer until tomorrow. It is possible to read The Millionaire Next Door and make the conclusion that you should save every last dime. Balance is what is needed.

On a related note, I just can’t see Steve in a Mercedes…the whole match of car image to personality is so wrong, it is laughable. But a loaded Honda is a pretty good choice for his matching him, his car, and his clientele.

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Steve - 9 years ago

> On a related note, I just can’t see Steve in a Mercedes…

Hey, watch it there!! I do own one 10 year old suit (i.e.my real estate photo) 🙂

That’s what I thought about my friend. He use to drive a 2001 Chevy Silverado Z71 like mine. Now that he drives the Mercedes I joke with him, “what rich lady did you steal that from?” He counters that it has a Diesel Engine and tows his boat just fine. I’m still not use to seeing him drive the Mercedes though, but I sure like riding in it.

As for me, I’m more of a bluejeans, tennis shoes and truck kind of guy. The van is for Sylvia and I just borrow it when needed. One thing I will say, the Honda drives better than anything I’ve ever owned. It has a suprising amount of power and acceleration. Dull to look at but fun to drive.

Steve

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Mare - 9 years ago

Bill – I definitely think you can overdo frugality – my husband is a case in point. I practically have to make him do something nice for himself, or surprise him with something. He gets all bent out of shape if we’re a little in the red BEFORE the end of the month. It doesn’t stop him from going to poker night though, and rightly so. Life is too short to be a scrooge!

Steve – if you get to wear jeans and tennis shoes, I wanna come work for you! I dread having to wear stockings and heels when I go back to work. In my last job, I wore scrubs and mules – it was like going to work in pajamas and house slippers. It spoiled me.

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Jeremiah Morgan - 5 years ago

Steve, good topic. Here in New York City, the better dressed a realtor, the more expensive brand name car he/she drives, the more skeptical I am about their credentials. More often than not, the realtors with least experience, that I have come across, I could be wrong, put the most effort in their facade. The most knowledgeable AND ethical realtors I have worked with drives older models cars, all non luxury brands, we feel at ease right away with these realtors. Best of luck.

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Juan Garcia - 4 years ago

Steve,
Here in Florida, image is everything you got.However, if you go to do a listing presentation to a distressed property owner, you better show up in a car that doesn’t scream “I just want to sell your home”. With buyers and investors, different story, you better have a car that says “I know what I do and how to do it”. To put it in b&w, listing: Toyota Corolla; buyers/investors: BMW 5 series

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Cecilia Sherrard - 3 years ago

In my 11 years as an agent, I’ve driven all types of cars. My latest model is a gas guzzling, Acura MDX. I’m looking to buy a new one now and I honestly have no idea what I want…

It’s awful and I’m spending way too much time with this decision. I don’t want a high-end brand/model and I also don’t want a cheaper car. I guess middle of the road, but gas mileage has become really important to me. Sadly, my favorite brands right now are the new Hyundais and Kias. — The just don’t get the credit they deserves in society though. It’s considered a “cheap” car, but it gets the best gas mileage, has the best look, value, features, drive and warranty.

People DO judge you. The first question I always get is “Where do you live?” … People love to know where you live, where you went to school and what you drive.

Most care more about those things than how experienced you are and how you can help them.

I think they base your knowledge and ability to help them based on where you live… and what kind of car you drive…. A lot of “assuming” goes on in our society today…

It’s awful, but true.

Anyone that says it doesn’t matter is living in a bubble.

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