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Old 11-08-2008, 08:08 AM
3,651 posts, read 5,206,186 times
Reputation: 1991


I am thinking of going into real estate as a second career after I retire. I will still be under 60 so I think I could work at this for a number of years before actually stopping working.

Do you need a late model luxury car to be a realtor? I live in an upper middle class suburb and have a "normal" sedan that has low mileage, is well kept but older. It has all the comforts like air conditioning, radio, cd, etc. but its not a Cadilac, BMW, Lexus, etc.

I've been told that clients are impressed when the realtor has a luxury car. I really don't want to buy one now - maybe later if I am very successful but now the markets not too good so I doubt if I will be in any position to buy a luxury car in the next few years. Pls advise.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:21 AM
Location: Albany, OR
540 posts, read 1,853,935 times
Reputation: 355
You should get lots of perspective on this here! Its a tough decision.
If you buy too "nice" a car - your customers will think you are rich and don't need the money
If you have a "cheap" car - your customers will think you are no good at your job

*using customers vice clients - your CLIENTS will know you and not care - they've already picked you

Much of it depends on your particular market and the segment you are going to be working in. For me in my area (mid-Willamette valley Oregon) I wanted a newer vehicle that was functional and comfortable for all to ride in. I keep it clean and well-maintained (well, I do need an oil change at the moment...that "maintenance light" keeps flashing at me) and its a CRV so it has plenty of room in the back for signage. It was a good choice for me...of course when this market starts moving again I may buy that BMW - who knows!

Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:25 AM
1,305 posts, read 1,955,230 times
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Like all things real estate, it's local.

In Phoenix, you are what you drive. So real estate there had nice cars. Clean, comfortable, very pleasant. In fact, some real estate agents (during the boom years only) actually hired limo drivers to drive them around so the agent didn't have to deal with the traffic or directions.

Since moving to Seattle, it's the complete opposite. Here, you are what you do to the enviroment. The real estate agents frequently have old cars, oftentimes they're not clean, and frequently they want you to follow them around in your own vehicle. My car is honestly much newer and cleaner than most vehicles I've seen real estate agents have. (Mine's a 1999 so it's not new by any means).

The only caveat is I have gone with discount real estate agents in Seattle so maybe they don't get enough commission to justify a newer car but I don't think so.....
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Old 11-08-2008, 09:48 AM
91 posts, read 332,144 times
Reputation: 56
If your car is clean, comfortable, and four doors, you should be fine.
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:12 AM
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
2,124 posts, read 7,618,430 times
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Agreed. Don't go buying a new car for Real Estate. After you are in, and see if a) you like b) your good at it and c) you are going to continue in it

then you can buy a car that matches your target audience.

I work with a lot of relocating families that have kids. I drive a Van with a DVD player. I like the captains chair in the second row and the bench in the back. The sides have auto doors. easy in and out, can easily bring coolers for water and snacks, and the kids love watching the player!!

It works for my primary target audience.

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Old 11-08-2008, 10:25 AM
Location: Barrington
39,241 posts, read 29,776,212 times
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In my area, 9/10 buyers are opting to drive their own car and follow. They want their down time and it needs to be respected. I know of quite a few agents who have 2 seater sports cars and never drive clients.

Old guard agents tend to drive older luxury cars. Newer/younger agents are focused on mileage.
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:51 PM
192 posts, read 524,932 times
Reputation: 66
My sister began her real estate career driving a beat up old van. Yep, she was mortified, BUT her caring and professionalism provided her with well earned success and a luxury car - when she could afford ir. Starting out in real estate costs more than you might imagine. Please do your homework so you are not surprised by office charges, association, mls monthly, E & O insurance, ADVERTISING, signs etc. etc.! I'm not trying to scare you but I see too many new agents in shock and distress due to the outlay of $ when starting out. The most successful agent in our office drives a 2 seater sports car!! So there you go!!!! I wish you all the best!!
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:31 PM
Location: Lake St. Catherine, Poultney, VT
151 posts, read 533,546 times
Reputation: 73
Mileage is the most important thing to me, but I am already a neat freak. Remember Your Car is Your Office. Keep it Clean, Neat, Smell Free (don't smoke in there and don't eat burgers and fries in there either)

Buy a car that fits YOU and Your Business. Buyer Clients do not judge you based on the car you drive and Buyer Clients will be the ones in there. Do not buy a sports car and do not but a tiny car.

When car shopping, start with the driver seat. Get in and adjust it to you. Then get out and go into the back seat. Is there enough room for 2 - 3 people back there with the seats set where you need them to be? Is there Air Conditioning to the rear? How about Heat?

For the record, I drive a Nissan Altima Hybrid. Prior to that I drove a Yukon. My clients enjoyed both vehicles. I enjoy the smaller gas bill with the car.
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:18 AM
Location: Downtown Austin
5,923 posts, read 14,522,378 times
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You should drive a car that will neither overly impress nor offend your expected clientelle, and it's a local decision, as others have pointed out.

I drive a 2008 4 door Chevy Truck, which is not a problem in Texas. My wife (also a Realtor) drives a 2007 Honda Odyssey. Sometime I drive the Odyssey (buyers with kids) and sometimes she drives the truck (if I need the Odyssey). We rarely receive comments on either. We had very successful years in a 2001 Caravan and a 2001 Chevy truck, both with 120K+ miles, before we upgraded both. I do think a clean minivan is the best of all worlds though.

We never, ever let buyers follow us. If they have a small baby and a carseat, I'll ride in their car. If we are already working together, they live local, and they want to meet to look at just one house or two, then that's ok to drive separate cars.

But, in my opinion, the dialog that happens about the houses, the neighborhoods, etc. is a vital part of the decision process and part of the service we offer. I'm not a tour guide, I'm a sales professional.


Last edited by austin-steve; 11-09-2008 at 11:21 AM.. Reason: edit
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:59 PM
353 posts, read 866,849 times
Reputation: 213
Originally Posted by bigtrees View Post
Like all things real estate, it's local.

Since moving to Seattle, it's the complete opposite. Here, you are what you do to the enviroment. ...frequently they want you to follow them around in your own vehicle.
It's not very GREEN if I am following you and we are burning gas in two cars instead of one is it?
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