It seems many professions have the stereotypical sets of wheels. If playing to this stereotype, it would seem engineers have boring sedans, accountants seek the cheapest car available, and large property owners all drive pickups.
But what about real estate agents? As one who has worked with an abundance of them in my brief lifespan, let’s determine if this profession succumbs to a stereotype. I’m sticking to first names for the duration.
In 1998, I moved from Jefferson City to Cape Girardeau just prior to getting married.
The first agent was Birdie. Birdie had been in real estate long enough to have listed the property on which Buckingham Palace was later built. However, her chariot was a nearly new Cadillac Deville. With its 4.6 liter Northstar V8, she drove like her butt was on fire. Mrs. Jason and I had a singular interaction with her; Birdie’s ignoring my repeated demands to stop and empty my bladder helped seal her fate.
The agent we would use to purchase our house was Patty. An agent new to the area, she had recently moved to Cape Girardeau from somewhere around Los Angeles. She had brought her Blazer along and it still had California plates upon our initial meeting.
We used Patty’s services again nearly three years later when we sold the house. By then she was driving a Buick Regal.
In 2001, we moved 440 miles northwest from Cape Girardeau to St. Joseph. On our first day there, we met Nan. Her Mercedes was the first one I experienced. A true wheel-dealer, Nan lamented about having purchased the Mercedes.
It seems her previous steed was a Ford Bronco. Nan said it’s ability to go anywhere in any type of weather was something her Mercedes could only dream about doing.
From what she jokingly told us, we wore her out on real estate. Upon purchasing our house (only the 75th she showed us), Nan and her husband moved a half-hour south to Kansas City. When we departed St. Joseph in 2006, she had just re-entered the real estate world.
By then, Nan’s Mercedes was long gone, replaced with a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Heading 190 miles east to Hannibal, our first excursion was with Beth. For the life of me, I cannot remember what she drove. Upon her making a few snide and sarcastic remarks, we told the broker to find us another agent.
John was quite good. His Ford F-150 also has the highest standard deviation of this group.
Trimmed out with a moonroof, leather seats, and an automatic on the floor, John’s F-150 was equipped unlike any pickup I had ever ridden in. A few years after purchasing our house, we entertained the idea of buying something with acreage. John showed us a few and he still had the F-150.
At some point John started his own realty company and he asked Becky to show us a few parcels. Having driven an early Prius, I was impressed how far Toyota had advanced their hybrid technology in the interim and how well it was applied to the Camry. It was nearly the exact same shade of tan as John’s F-150.
In 2011, my employer was restructuring and I took a job in Jefferson City. This is where the number of agents truly flourishes.
The first agent we had on the selling end in Hannibal was Margaret. She didn’t last real long. After advertising our house in several publications for $30,000 more than our asking price and subsequently taking no ownership of it by blaming the secretary, we unceremoniously fired her. I only saw her white Avalon once.
After Margaret departed, we swapped brokers and were offered Jacki. The embodiment of the ditzy blond stereotype, Jacki drove a dark blue Buick Enclave. Her sloth and unresponsiveness resulted in Mrs. Jason and I introducing her to greener pastures.
Jan is a real estate goddess. When we first starting doing business with Jan, she was driving a Nissan Murano.
Soon thereafter the Nissan disappeared for a Mercedes GL. I first saw the Mercedes when Jan stopped by one day while we were checking on the house. The outside temperature was about zero degrees Fahrenheit and Jan had only a thin jacket. When I inquired, she said from her living in Alaska for over thirty years she generally didn’t even wear a jacket until it was ten degrees Fahrenheit.
Jan was successful in getting our house sold.
When we moved to Jefferson City, our first agent was Marcelle. Marcelle was a decent agent and was worried about how much longer her 2002 Camry would last. At the time it had 120,000 miles and was starting to give her a few intermittent electrical troubles.
On more than one occasion she had to borrow her mother’s Mercedes E55 due to the Camry acting up (Marcelle’s mother had retired from real estate). An illegal shenanigan by the head of Marcelle’s team was what prompted us to take our business elsewhere.
Alan seemed to drive a different vehicle every time we saw him. At first it was a Highlander hybrid.
The Highlander was interspersed with a Suburban that belonged to his son.
After showing me a house best redecorated with five gallons of gasoline and a torch, Alan told me of some “wonderful” property he had listed. For four times the typical price per acre for this area, I could have whatever piece I wanted but it did require a ten acre minimum purchase. Knowing the property was a glorified ravine, I compared the price to bovine fecal matter, adding there was absolutely nothing to warrant that type of entrance fee.
He immediately feigned an illness and we never saw him or his Highlander again.
Moving on from Alan, Susie had recently relocated to Jefferson City. She was a very good agent, having once been one of the top ten producing agents in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Sadly, our relationship was short lived as she was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently refocused her efforts.
Mrs. Jason rode in her Cadillac, but I did not.
Our next agent was Donna. When we first met her, she was driving a blue Ford Fusion.
Other times she was driving a red Ford Fiesta. Donna’s tenure was also short as she didn’t provide comparison prices or copies of signed paperwork despite repeated requests to do so. She must have skipped that part of real estate school.
Shopping around yet again brought us to Julie. With vanity plates advertising her profession, the headlights on Julie’s Lexus were phenomenally cloudy for its age. Julie was another short lived agent as the last house she showed us was one in which she couldn’t be bothered to even get out of her Lexus.
After Mrs. Jason and I critiqued her motivation and integrity, we bid Julie adieu.
This is a repeat; calling Jan the Real Estate Goddess for advice upon divesting ourselves of Julie, we realized Jan’s real estate license was good for the entire state, so we worked with her to purchase the house we wanted. Her husband also owns a Mercedes SUV – whichever one is rated at around 400 horsepower.
Thus my questions: What have your real estate agents driven? Where were you at the time? And, do you think there is an accurate automotive stereotype for different professions?
Thanks to Jim Klein for inspiring this question.
My last one drove a pearl white Lexus LS400 with gold badging and a Jesus fish on the back, and he also wore a golden cross necklace prominently over his button up shirt.
This is what sells in OK…
Mine (Amy in 2010) drove a Jetta. Still does, but now the newest generation. This was in SW Washington state. Bank owned and shorts sales. Was a good time to buy.
The guy I dealt with in Lake St Louis drove a pearl white Deville. The guy I deal with in Cincinnati has a leased Explorer…the lease is almost up and he is looking for a low-mileage Avalanche to buy. He had a Denali before the Explorer. Always drives white vehicles.
My parents’ realtor, who is their current next door neighbor, drives a black Cadillac CTS.
I think this is one of those professions where you have to look successful, even if you are broke. I also imagine the top 10% make all the money, and the rest are all scrounging for scraps.
When we moved four years ago, our broker drove a deep red W-body Impala LTZ. The builder’s real estate agent drove an older model Honda CR-V. Neither were the typical real-estate agent cars I would’ve expected.
On this subject, this past winter I actually took the classes to get my real estate license (which I never ended up going for afterwards). The teacher, a successful real estate agent in his late-60s probably, drove a Jaguar. But as it was winter and an especially bad one, nearly every class he drove a Panther LTD Country Squire, which he called his “winter car”. Interesting contrast to the Jag.
The agent who helped us buy our farm here in the Middle West fourteen years ago was driving a year-old Cadillac Catera, and was pretty vocal about all the times she’d had it in the shop already…
My real estate agent drives a Tesla
Our listing and selling agent was a friend of my parents’. She had a Lexus ES300. This is in the San Francisco Bay Area, the place of crazy real estate.
One of the most successful companies here has a 15-seat Mercedes bus – he uses it to ferry around the wealthy Chinese who have been buying up homes in the area.
Our agent Stephen, drove a GMC Acadia. He was a great agent, and the Acadia seemed a good fit for his job.
The car I once associated most with real estate agents was the second-generation Cadillac Seville.
Lexus RX 350 in starfire white pearl
The ones I can remember have been (approximate years) an ’03 Acura TL (in ’07), a ’99 Lexus RX (in ’13) and an ’09 Lincoln MKC (this spring).
Jason, you make me feel very fortunate with regards to realtors. My wife and I only dealt with one buying our current house, and were happy with him (I bought my previous house on land contract). I helped my mom buy a house this spring in the same city I’m in, and her realtor was even better than mine.
I’ve had good luck with them until I came here. Perhaps living in a state capital of 40,000 people, with the related transient professional population, has bred some degree of apathy. I have talked to multiple real estate professionals from elsewhere and they are shocked with what I’ve experienced, so it’s an isolated thing.
It’s a job I would enjoy. I’m truly considering getting my license when I retire in ten years.
wow you must have some interesting tales….I never imagined someone dealing with so many real estate agents
My wife and I tend to bring out the best and worst in people, so we’ve been able to experience quite a bit.
A lot of real estate agents like to drive 10 year old Jags or Cadillacs.
They make the realtor look like they make a lot of money but in reality the cars are almost free. All about image.
When we moved to Eugene, our agent drove….a Volvo 245 wagon, the official CC of Eugene. I knew then we weren’t in Silicon Valley anymore.
I sold our Los Gatos house myself, and came out almost $200k ahead! I interviewed a couple of agents and they told me my house was worth no more than $690k at the time. I managed to sell it myself for $840k. That combined with not paying a 6% commission, netted me a lot of extra money, critical to making our move to Eugene and becoming financially independent.
It’s a well know fact that real estate agents ask much more for their own properties than what they suggest for a selling price, because their #1 priority is in a fast sale, before their listing agreement expires and the homeowner signs with another agent. The book Freakanomics dedicated a whole chapter on that carefully researched reality.
Their own self interest is much greater than your pocketbook. I have bought and sold several houses without a broker since then, and would never go back to using one. It’s a very inefficient business model (for the seller or buyer).
One can negotiate a lower commission nowadays, but back then that was not really the case. Even then, I prefer to cut out the real estate agents. Sorry, if any of you are in the business.
I don’t know of any other business model that allows such a large % to be taken compared to the work done.
My last REA claimed her back hurt her and sat in her car after we met her there, while we toured the house ourselves. She could have potentially made about $18k for unlocking the front door.
Yes, I’m a Realtor, as is my wife. No, I am not interested in a pissing match with anyone 🙂 Yes, we find it rewarding and actually try to help people rather than helping ourselves first. This pays off in repeat business and good referrals and reviews. People generally know if they have a crappy agent. Jason really knows…
It’s a business transaction like any other. There are some good apples and a lot of very bad ones. Some people feel comfortable doing the research and going it alone, others want representation. Everything is negotiable. No good agent will tell you the price that you MUST list at. They will always ask you what you think and then show you why you are either too low or too high or perhaps right on the money. You also don’t have to pay whatever commission someone wants and conversely they don’t have to take what you are offering. Most states do not allow and never have allowed there to be a “standard” commission, look it up in your state. Most people though do not ask. Same as with selling a car, most people do trade it in rather than trying to sell it themselves. Most people have no idea of what is involved. Yes, every once in a while there is a slam dunk but many/most times there are not.
I would hasten to add that it is not true that in every case (or even the majority of cases) you will end up way ahead if you go it alone.
And someone else hit the nail on the head, the top 10% (actually way less than that, probably more like 3%) really do the lion’s share of business in any market. The average agent nationwide sells less than 4 homes a year – that person does NOT have a handle on the market and there are a lot of them out there. The barriers to entry are too low and allows all kinds of chaff in. Selecting the RIGHT person is key. Take the time to read reviews, get recommendations, and talk to several agents and actually interview them.
Oops; forgot about that 🙂
Realistically, the great majority of folks need someone to assist them with their transactions. I’m an inveterate DIYer, from delivering my youngest son to building houses to buying and selling real estate. So my perspective is not going to reflect the typical buyer’s or seller’s.
And I know several terrific REAs; folks I can readily recommend (and do).
But doing one’s homework (which is drastically easier now) can pay off, like in any other large business transaction. Knowledge = cash.
Agreed. And thanks 🙂 And there’s the perfect hook – If, like Paul, you are willing and able to deliver your own children, then I anoint you capable of selling your own home without argument from me. All others, if you are moving to or from Colorado I’d be happy to help you or if it is an area or city that I am not intimately familiar with myself, can refer you to someone capable.
And I almost forgot the whole reason I logged in:
The Realtor we used when we moved here (CO) five years ago drove a two year old Volvo XC70.
The Realtor we are using to look at some property in Wyoming currently drives an F150 FX4 SuperCrew.
Thanks Jim! You beat me to it before I could log in. I’m a career Realtor and have been since ’96 and a Broker since ’03. There are a lot of bad apples in RE that jump in and out and don’t think it’s a profession and have the perception that it’s a lot of easy money, then drop it when it turns out to be work.
My particular pet peeve is people that think 1 agent is getting the entire commission. While there are many business models, the total commission is generally split 4 ways (listing agent, listing broker, selling agent, selling broker.) When interviewing agents, be wary of agents that drop their commission quickly! If they’re so quick to give up their money, how strong are they going to negotiate for you and your money? There are also a LOT of expenses- typically half of my income goes to required dues, fees, marketing, tech, insurance, advertising, etc. It’s not a gold mine that so many people dream it to be, but if I didn’t love it, I would have given up a LOOONG time ago.
There is definitely a fine line of what type of car people deem “acceptable” for an agent to drive, too cheap and you’re a bad agent, too nice and you’re over paid.
Ltd, that sounds very familiar.
The house Jan is selling us is the same house where Julie sat in her Lexus. Knowing we wanted the house, Julie was adamant we pay her $800 on top of her commission – after I had told her prior we would not do so. Never having signed a contract with Julie we dumped her and called Jan, The Real Estate Goddess.
Another one where greed cost them.
Sold my Dad’s house without an agent in 2013. Bought my first house in ’98 without a buyers agent. Rented for a year with the agreement owners may sell after 1 year. The property management company was also a agency, I offered to buy if owners wanted to sell, they did and accepted my offer without ever even listing it. Bought a mobile home directly from owner by knocking on the door with the ‘”for sale” sign in my hands. I wish I had not used a buyer agent for my rental house in 2010. Still, it proved to be a good investment as it’s value and rental rates have increased big time in the last 5 years. In the future, though I won’t use one.
6% – that’s high. I believe it used to be pretty high in Austria but nowadays they are legally limited to 3%, usually payable by the BUYER (no, it does not make sense to me either). I would have bought unaided but most people use an estate agent and – since the start of the real estate bubble here – private buyers (particularly in Vienna) seem to think they’re sitting on a gold mine with corresponding fantasy prices; perversly, estate agents are more realistic (well, what good is it if you cannot sell the property for ages because it is way too expensive?). Oh, my EA in the current deal drives a Passat station wagon, but I’ve seen them in all sorts of things from a Mini to MB C-Klasse coupe. Current EA lives out in the country which may explain the wagon. Oh, his name is Franz (well it is Austria).
Our agent in Boston drives a black E60 5-series. AWD, of course. I was kind of surprised, I had expected a newer SUV. He’s quite successful, so I suspect he just likes the car.
Nearly all of the other agents I ran into had a premium-brand SUV. Lots of GLKs and Q5s.
I spoke to a pastor at a big, affluent Baptist congregation and he said he had to be REALLY cognizant of what kind of car and boat he had (the church owned the house). He always bought used sailboats, and would drive nice, but not flashy cars, lest the flock feel like they were being fleeced. They wanted their pastor to look affluent, but not TOO affluent.
Just like these realtors, you have to know your audience…
That’s funny. Baptists are pretty common here in the Carolinas. I was shocked when a co-worker who was the treasurer at his not really that big Baptist church told me what their pastor made in salary – it was substantially more than the Episcopal Bishop for upper SC makes and nearly double what my parish’s rector makes in total compensation. Episcopal clergy mostly drive sensible Japanese vehicles – probably for the same reasons most other sensible, but not highly compensated professionals do – honest value and lack of negative brand associations in their social world. The good Father can slum it without shame in an Accord.
My one and only realtor drove a gray Camry.
Clergy vehicles could be a whole other subject…I grew up Catholic, and while I can’t specifically recall the vehicles of many of the priests who came and went, I do remember that our pastor for a span of nearly 10 years drove Buicks. Two consecutive LeSabres (late 80’s and early/mid 90’s) and then a Park Avenue (late 90’s). Those cars seemed to fit both the job (dignified but not fancy) and his personality (Philadelphia native of blue-collar roots).
Yeah, the church in my neighborhood’s pastor has gone through about 10 Buicks in the last 20 years. I remember they were the “bankers car” back in the day for the same reason, the “mid-luxury” brand denotes success, without the flash (and worries they’re wasting your money) of a Cadillac.
I go through the same dilemma now myself, as an attorney with my own practice. I want my clients to see that I’m successful and good at what I do, but without questioning if they’re overpaying. To date that’s been primarily mainstream branded Japanese sedans, but in the nicest trim with leather etc. Nice, but without the pomp of a Lexus or another “luxury brand”.
Buick is always on my radar for having the right image, just waiting on a mid to full sized sedan that’s class competitive.
Perhaps a Toyota Avalon Limited in a dark, but not black color? A Tahoe / Suburban / Grand Cherokee would work in the same colors if you want an American brand. My father had a Lacrosse for a couple of years – he didn’t feel it was a proper Buick despite it’s powerful drivetrain and quietness. Too narrow in the drivers space and overall width along with access and visibility issues caused by the styling. He hasn’t been happy with any car since his beloved 1974 Buick Electra 225.
Good comment, Ltd. As a salesman, my father always impressed upon me the same approach to car choice that you have. Unfortunately in later years his budget never matched his aspirations, and his ’67 Falcon lasted him through till ’89. And I grew up in the hippie era, so a lot of his ideas didn’t ‘take’ with me.
As a pastor, I’ve always been conscious of not being extravagant. But then, my ’74 Cortina lasted me though until ’05. Yes, I’m working on the story. My old car was always a talking point as I kept it immaculate, everyone could always tell where I was, and being in small rural parishes throughout my working life it fitted right in with what many of the people drove.
That wouldn’t have worked in a city parish though – but then city life doesn’t agree with me. 🙂
Well, my brother the Pastor now uses a pair of Pontiac Vibes to shuttle his brood around (he has 7 kids) since someone backed into their Grand Caravan and wrote it off by denting the door. Gotta love insurance companies.
Our current house is the only one we’ve ever bought. After 16 years I can’t remember our agent’s name or what she drove…
@haroldingpatrick- You nailed it. The Avalon is kind of the “dream car” of mine in this category. I’d need a hybrid to compete with the MPG’s my current car (Altima SL) gets, and they’re approaching $40k, but it absolutely nails the “success with no flash” look that I like.
Pope Francis tools around in a Ford Focus, and has been known to request less showy rides when he is on tour internationally, if it’s not the Popemobile.
I suppose it’s harder to be a “fisher of men” in a shiny new fishing boat!
Can’t remember what the one who actually sold my house drove, but from others there were a couple of midrange Acura sedans and other slightly-upscale cars like an Audi; one drove a Subaru. Don’t remember any SUVs.
Mine, circa 2006, drove a Nissan Altima. I think it was beige.
Slightly off-topic: I wouldn’t call that F-150’s shifter “on the floor,” but the shifter linkages (or rather, whatever the equivalent would be in an auto) probably do go straight down and ahead a little bit.
Slightly more off-topic: I think the ’04 F-150 was the first full-size truck to have available bucket seats with a console-mounted automatic. Earlier bucket seat F-150s just had the column shifter.
Wow, who knew there could be so much drama involved in dealing with estate agents.
We bought a house for the first time in December – if memory serves, the agent drove a Peugeot 308, something about that size but quite new and bling. Most of the agents we saw drove something Focus sized or one size smaller, fairly new but nothing expensive.
One place we looked at but didn’t buy, the agent (who funnily enough was full of shit) drove a Mercedes M-Class. I think the agency in question was a family business and he was one of the family, but I think the car made me even less inclined to trust him.
You have no idea . . . . Our first attempt at selling my house last year was an absolute disaster, all due to an agent who was way more interested in the development he was pushing than selling our house.
The guy we picked for this year’s effort got us asking price in four days, and the entire move was done in less than sixty, for what was a reasonably painless experience. And “reasonably” is the best you can expect. Nothing in real estate is ever totally painless or easy.
Indeed. The question is whether it will be painful or excruciatingly painful. I’m hoping it’ll be the 1st this time…
Sold our house18 months ago and bought another, used the same agent we had in 2003 for our first home. Don’t remember what she drove the first time, but second time she had a mid 90s Pontiac Sunfire convertible, teal with a white top. That was in the summer; by the time the fall rolled around she was driving a 10-yr old gold Chev or GMC pickup truck. She’s in her 60s, divorced and has been successful in real estate since the mid 90s.
Our agent drives a beautiful chocolate brown Audi A3, which here in San Francisco, is a wise move, as it is not too big to park.
My wife and I just purchased our first home in July, in Richmond, VA. My cousin Dan was our agent, and he drives an Accord sedan. I think it’s an ’09. However, he might be an outlier as he’s not a full-time realtor–it’s a side gig.
In 2009, when we were looking for an apartment in Durham, NC, my wife had a friend who was a realtor, and she showed us a few places. Mai drove a 2000 Mercedes E430 sedan; perhaps more typical for an agent’s ride?
Our Real Estate agent-saleswoman drove-surprise! A Toyota Corolla. Since I`m a lapsed Catholic and havn`t been to mass for over 45 years, the last car I remember a priest driving was a `67 Olds 442. I thought they were to supposed to take vows of poverty.
Not all orders take vows of poverty, and some are blessed with gifts from wealthy benefactors. When I was a child, our parish priest drove a black Buick Electra 225…his family owned a large, regional meat packing firm, and he got a new one every year.
Interestingly, I was watching a special last week on Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., and one thing that was mentioned is that he has directed those in the vocations (priests, brothers, nuns, etc.) to drive modest vehicles. I’ve read that the Holy Father tools around Vatican City in a Ford Focus or a Renault 4.
No, they don’t take vows of poverty. And since Catholic priests do take vows of celibacy, and their living quarters are provided, you’d love to see what luxuries they do allow themselves.
The one that really sticks in my mind is Father Oh-What-A-Waste (as the coeds called him, can’t remember his real name) of the Gannon College theater department. Early 30’s, 60’s Richard Chamberlin (aka Dr. Kildare) looks and he drove a new Jaguar XK-S V-12.
I was in the seminary and what they always said was that you need to be all things to all people. Most parishes I worked in kind of expected Father to be dressed nice and drive something decent, it says something about the parish that the priest is professional and takes his job seriously enough to respect the Church and his people enough to dress and act the part.
It will differ depending on what part of the world you are in, but in America, I think a Buick or Chrysler or a well appointed Ford or Chevy are perfectly acceptable priest cars. If someone gave me an older Cadillac or Lincoln, I’d have no problem driving them either. If I had gotten ordained, I would stay away from Mercedes, BMW, or Jaguar and such though.
Just this year two family members sold their houses using the exact same realtor and I very vividly remember the real estate agent and her car – a blonde, slightly overweight 40-something woman with very heavy make-up and jewelry driving a loaded pearl white Buick Lacrosse, which, being a Buick, was adorned with similar amounts of chrome and jewelry. I remember looking at her, and the car and thinking “that seems exactly right” both in regards to what my stereotypical image of a realtor in the Midwest would be, and in regards to how much the woman looked like a human version of the car.
Perhaps it would be different in California or New York, but I think in the majority of the US, a large semi-luxury sedan is just about the perfect ride for a realtor. Driving a compact or anything “thrifty” could give an image of a cheap and/or unsuccessful agent, while something like a Mercedes or Escalade would seem ostentatious and wasteful in a middle class setting. Think any Buick, Avalon, Lexus ES, maybe a fully loaded Taurus or a Chryser 300. Nice, but not outrageous.
In the early-2000s a family friend was in the real estate business and she drove a pearl white 2002 Oldsmobile Aurora – a car that always struck me as being built for real estate agents. It fit her perfectly when new, although the complicated electronics and cheap GM trim fell apart rapidly, and she passed down the heavily-depreciated heap to her high school son by about 2008.
I think amazing amount of Buick suits female characters very well, and they are all mid-size to larger cars. Park Avenue, LeSabre and newer LaCrosse for example.
Aurora is a popular hand-me-down car in college these days ( but on the tail of it ) and some cars are… well
A purple Mercury Sable with tan vinyl roof and spoiler for example.
Very good point. The same principle applies to small town lawyers and – having had one as a father – there was a pattern to all his purchases: something solid but never too flash; you want your clients to know you are successful but you should not rub it in.This being Israel, it meant an American car but not a V8 or a coupe: a Plodge rather than a Chrysler or a Desoto, a Fairlane rather than a Galaxy, a Valiant rather than a Polara and so on. He followed that when he moved to European and then Japanese cars: Ford Cortina as opposed to a Granada, Peugeot 405 and not a 605, an Avensis rather than a Camry (heaven forbid a Lexus, that was for TEL AVIV lawyers)…
Thinking back, the last time I rode in a realtors car was about 1983. It was recently featured on CC in the worst engines category. A late about 1980 buick/olds wagon with the diesel. Went all over Houston.
Wife and I both got realtors licenses about 98 or 99. I thought I would give it a shot and did part time. Teaching spec ed at the time and found I really couldn’t leave my kids even though real estate gives a pretty decent paycheck. We both drove Saturn SLs. Decent mileage, four doors, AC, and didn’t make us appear very rich at all.
Around here realestate pirates seem to drive the blingiest SUV their extortianate fees can cover or a HSV Holden or a FPV Falcon both sell in the requisite 100K + zone.
Here it’s usually mid-sized German cars. Always seem to be black.
London estate agent Foxton’s has been sending its sharks – sorry, agents – out in customised Minis for years, with a reskin every 12 months (they send the agents off to be resprayed in orange at the same time). It is hard to drive through London without seeing a few Foxton’s Minis, usually driven with vim and vigour…
Couple more from the Google archive…
All you need is love (and a fat commission):
Street art! (I’ll stop now.)
Only bought one house, still my current residence, in 1991. The realtor drove a ’68 gold Caddy limo complete with jump seats. Turned out to be appropriate for this all-60s neighborhood!
Recently, I searched for an apartment. The landlords/agents drove the following:
– 1994-2000 Mercedes C-Class like the one pictured (I kid you not), but worn and rusty
– A Ford Ranger
– A Lincoln MKX
– A Volvo S80
The landlord of the one I decided on drives a previous-generation GM full-size pickup.
My father sold real estate for many years. In the late 80s through the 90s he drove a string of Chevy Corsicas. I doubt he had many passengers but instead met many prospective buyers at the property.
I’ve bought two houses in my life, selling my first and dealing with our listing agent solely by phone (he came highly recommended, but my job necessitated an early move and temporary rental until our house sold). So, I have no idea what he drove.
The first agent I worked with was a married mother with one kid and drove a late model Lexus RX something(???)
Our next buyers agent had the stereotypical white late-model Mercedes C320. When I met her once in the parking lot of the local realtor’s association in Sarasota, the three most common makes were probably (Jeep) Grand Cherokees, Lexus, and Mercedes. Silver and white as far as the eye can see.
I have yet to purchase a house or deal with a real estate agent, but I do recall a number of years ago when my uncle was trying real estate he purchased a black Buick Lesabre, a late 1990s model, when it was only a year or two old. I also recall a friend of mine trying her hand at being an agent, buying one of the last Mercury Mountaineers that came off the line to replace her aging Astro minivan.
Interesting QOTD. I have had precisely one transaction with a real estate agent. I bought my first house by owner from owner, and sold it the same way 5 years later. It helped that it was in a hot area. I dealt directly with the listing agent on my current house. When she did not have to share the commission with anyone, I became her very favorite prospect. 🙂
She drove a 1990-91 Cadillac Brougham (this was in 1993). I have a neighbor down the street who now does the lion’s share of sales in my neighborhood. He has one of those new Cadillac crossovers, whose initials I can never remember.
Since I’m selling my house right now we get a broad cross section. Our agent has an Audi Q7 and the last 2 I saw had a Nissan Murano and a BMW 335i wagon with AWD. I’m wondering how long before a Realtor shows up in the ubiquitous Subaru Outback.
Other than that when we were looking for a rental in Joplin Mo. back in 93 the Realtor drove a beautifully preserved W123 300D which may be the only CC driving agent.
An REA neighbor of mine drove a black/black 87 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL, up until a couple of years ago. Now he drives an older Porsche Cayenne. Create an illusion of success without a major investment.
There was a movie made in the late 80s called Tin Men. It was a comedy about a group of competitive aluminum siding salesmen. All of the salesmen drove Cadillacs. Since the movie was set in 1963, it’s a great opportunity to take in some fine curbside classics from the comfort of your own home
That movie (Tin Men from 1987) was the story of my Dad’s life in the early/mid ’60’s. I rented it and watched it with him. The grins and red flushed face were priceless to see.
Was that another Barry Levinson Baltimore story?
yup. Supposedly he originally was going to have them sell Formstone, a fake-stone covering that was really popular in Baltimore in the ’60’s, but figured nobody outside of Baltimore would know what it was.
I am not sure about automotive, but there is a definite stereotype for real estate agents, and you hit it dead on in most of your experiences. The “Jan” type is atypical. Keep her phone number around!
Her business card has been in my wallet for nearly three years. She is very atypical in that she gives a damn – which is why we like her so much.
Living in Florida, three women had shown us homes and one drove a Lexus two door sport coupe, what’s that model from the early 00’s? One other woman drove the Mercedes SUV and the final one had some older Mercury Sable. The Sable was pretty beat up too and yeah that comes off in your professionalism cause here I was thinking that she either was a new realtor or that she can’t sell worth jack.
The other two women that drove the Lexus and Mercedes had that certain flair about them and those two both knew the market and what they were selling.
While up in upstate NY, the realtors all seemed to have their summer sport cars or winter SUV’s or trucks and that was fine and acceptable cause of area conditions.
My realtor, Tom was rolling in some kind of dark grey Nissan sedan. Altimaxima or some such. A pretty unassuming car for an unassuming guy. At least on the surface. The “Alice in Chains” sticker in the rear window kind of gave him away as a pretty cool dude all around.
We’ve only ever once bought a house. I don’t remember what the agent drove – I was very ill at the time – and it was a case of “Follow my car”. Guess we didn’t look reputable enough to even get in the door.
My better half is a broker, and drives a Murano. We live in Northwest Arkansas (home to the headquarters of Walmart, Tyson and J.B. Hunt), and while the area is becoming more suburban-to-slightly urban, many buyers want to look at large, wooded and/or lakefront lots. And for those properties, it’s sometimes good to have a bit of ground clearance.
But as others have said, it’s rare to ferry potential buyers around from property to property, as an agent did in 1998, when I was looking for a house as part of a company relocation package.
Sadly, after the murder of an agent in Little Rock last year, and the attempted kidnapping of one in Fayetteville this year, many if not most agents now require unknown clients to meet them at the real estate office, get a copy of identification and then drive to the property in separate vehicles.
The agent who sold us our house was a former neighbor and drove a ’79 Crown Vic. But, then again, that was in 1986.
When we moved out here in 1997, our agent drove a Lexus LS. Our property was in two pieces, so we sold off the portion that’s disconnected from the rest about five years later. That agent drove a late 1990s GMC Yukon (And still does), but had a 1989 Chrysler New Yorker as a second car. In 2008, she gave us the New Yorker when our Escort finally gave up the ghost. The second agent was a close family friend by that time, though….
Out here, a lot of the real estate agents prefer American vehicles. Today, there are a lot of crossovers and smaller SUVs, but not too many Suburbans/Expeditions or pickups.
My agent drove a Mercedes like “Jan” did. Small one about 10 years old in silver.
I’m in charleston sc I don’t know how to sell my own house so I’m looking for someone to do it for me. I won’t be using Danny again. He wasn’t the best. But he was who we used when we found the place.
There is a local “Star” real estate agent that I went to high school with. She drives a Yukon Denali, or did a few months ago. When she started out in real estate about 25 years ago, she had a late 70’s Regal, and the cars have become bigger and more expensive as time has moved on. And her name has gotten longer and/or changed as husbands have come and gone too. With 3 kids from 3 exes, holidays must have been a trip. Maybe they still are with grandkids and all that.
She has an amazing number of expensive houses near mine for sale now with her name on the for sale sign. She was pretty hot back 40 years ago, but when I see her now, I think, “Old lady with really really oddly colored BIG hair!”. She’s hispanic and her weird sort of orangey “blonde” hair just looks ridiculous. She’s too old for her hair to be the black it used to be, but it would look better grey/silver/white than the orange it is now. And she has the thing that women do to themselves that I just don’t get. Her real eyebrows are gone, and now she has the odd “I’m surprised” drawn in brows about halfway up her forehead. Ladies, it just makes you look like a clown. Don’t pluck your eyebrows, it comes back to hurt you in the end.
Reading your comments put a big smile on my face this morning. I know a few ladies like this that I also went to school with.
She now has her hair a light blonde, and it looks downright wrong. She’s getting the “bug eyed old lady” look to the point now where it’s hard to even recognize her as the same person I went to school with. She’s really pasty white now, and the whole “package” is just a “WTF happened to her?”.
One really embarrassing thing happened with me and a girl I kind of had a crush on back in HS. She was a couple of years older and I was sort of friends with her brother who was my age. She was very cute and was a little too “perky”, but I really did like her. Her name was Kathie (It’s not Katherine, it’s Kathie (I told you she was perky) She got married in ’74 and moved away. One day I was at the grocery store and this woman comes up to me and calls me by my whole name, and starts telling me about her brother “Gary”. I had no idea who the hell she was and she’s talking about “Gary”, and how he’s still in Columbus. At that point, I realized who it was, it was a total shock. I couldn’t believe Kathie had turned into an old lady “scarecrow”, super skinny and looking totally different. Her husband came lumbering up a couple of minutes into the conversation, and at that point, I was absolutely certain it was “Kathie”, as he looked like an older version of what he looked like in high school, a 6’5″ Barney Rubble clone with the biggest feet I had seen to that point. When I left, I was really sad that she had changed so much. It kind of spoiled any fantasy I had about her. I see someone who graduated with them all the time and she looks really good, just an older version of what she looked like in high school. Odd how aging changes some people and not others.
I’ve had 2 real estate agents from my house owning years( 1987-2003)
the first one who became a long time friend is around my age so he was early 20’s when we met in 87. at that time he had a 76 cobra II and a mid 80’s lebaron coupe.
over the years he progressed to a black grand prix, 2 black jetta diesels. a black dodge ram dually and his current ride, a black(maybe this is a theme?) audi. with the possible exception of the cobra II these were all real estate only cars as his family cars were several used minivans and suvs over the years.
he said several times his belief that people knew real estate agents had familes…
they just didn’t want to see evidence of that in their cars!
the last agent was an older local lady who I used to sell my mobile home way in the back of beyond in eastern Ontario. My real estate buddy was my agent to buy, but his only comment on the property when we went to see it was ‘its not the end of the world, but i’ll bet you can see it from the kitchen window’ so when it came time to sell it was suggested I go local. she drove an immaculate black Fleetwood Cadillac which I never saw offroad and a 77-78 beefed up dodge ramcharger that looked like she could drive it to the gates of hell and back to make a deal and have no fear of not making the trip.
so that was my experience with city and country real estate rides.
Minivan Kia sedona I believe. Older couple worked together. When I was doing insurance adjusting I met a number of realtors (they would almost always give me a business card when they met me, ) Mostly they drove mildly upscale SUV’s Lexus RX, MB ML, Acura MDX.
Interesting thread concerning realtors’ cars and their work ethics. Having only purchased one house in 2008, and having used only one agent, my agent (don’t know if she is a broker) drove a silver 2002 Highlander. She liked it so much she had a dealer search the auctions for another one, this one was a light green of the same generation, after it was totaled.
Having never purchased real estate before, I felt it imperative to be professionally represented. My agent was one of my landscaping clients; she had badgered me to consider buying a house in 2005, but I felt not ready for homeownership. By 2008, with all debts satisfied and impeccable credit, I saw a condo (sale by owner) I liked and called her for help. Immediately she discouraged it because she was worried about the seller refusing to pay her commission. Ultimately the lack of a HOA and being overpriced led me to look elsewhere. I wanted her to be my buyers agent, but she had me sign something different. After 3 to 4 months and several dozen properties she said she was getting tired of my indecisiveness and to make a decision. She refused to draft lowball offers on the grounds it was a waste of her time. She threatened to quit when I insisted on seeing a house priced $30k over my pre-qualification, claiming it was unethical. Found out afterwards it was a double lot, and the seller divided it for the buyer (arrrrg!). I don’t know why I stuck with her other than she, and her siblings and parents, were my longtime landscape clients. Eventually she did find the home I’m in now, and it is wonderful and has been literally problem-free; but I did pay full asking price, minus 3% and $1k in minor repairs. Don’t know if I’ll use her again; I was a little put-off by her.
On a side note, when it became known amongst my other clients and friends I was in the real estate market….good gawd. Everyone and their sister is an agent; they were coming out of the woodwork!
That’s a very good question and I’m amazed by the variety of answers (which is a reason why I became addicted to CC in the first place). I sold my house in Luxembourg last spring. The 1st agent came rolling in a nice little Opel Adam, which is a wise choice for anybody who has to find a spot 20 times a day in a European city. But he half-parked it ON THE SIDEWALK right in front of my garage, while there was plenty of space 50 meters down the street. Big mistake. And I won’t even describe his shoes. The 2nd agent came on foot, because he only worked in my neighbourhood anyway (thus he knew every street like the back of his hand). And he had cool shoes. I hired him. The house was sold in 2 days, for an excellent price.
This is going back a bit but as a kid in 1974, we moved to a new town in country Victoria.
The agent had a brand new Leyland P76, I remember being impressed with the roomy comfortable interior with the new car smell.
Ive only bought one house, in 1999, and the agent had a current at the time, Mitsubishi Magna,
Well it was a cheap house.
I’ve met a lot of agents specialized in agricultural real estate, so farms and farm land.
They often drive the usual suspects: D- and E-segment German diesel sedans. From a Mercedes C-Class to an Audi A6.
The fee in that specific part of the business is mostly somewhere between 0.5 and 1.0%. So € 12,500 to
€ 25,000 goes to the real estate agent when selling the complete farm (land included) for € 2,500,000.
My late wife, Patti, was a real estate agent between 1998 and 2006 when she was diagnosed with the illness that later killed her. During that tenure she drove: Something-90’s Acura Legend, 98-BMW M3, 2000 Jeep Cherokee, another E36 M3 (which she beat the hell out of and I promptly got rid of it), another 2000 Jeep Cherokee, 2004 Mazda 3 and a 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The last three cars were owned simultaneously.
I’ve long been convinced that real estate agent is one of the few logical justifications for owning a SUV/CUV. There were a lot of times during the housing boom that the clients wanted to see the view from the far end of the property in the new building development but weren’t about to get their feet muddy walking thru the property. Patti developed some serious off-roading chops, and I still have an undying love for the XJ Cherokee. If she hadn’t totaled the second one, I’d still have it today.
Stereotypes for real estate agent drives? I’ve noticed a couple. The most important one is that no real estate agent drives a bottom of the line Chevrolet or Ford or equivalent. That reeks of being unsuccessful. And Mercedes seem to be real popular with agents, more so than BMW or Audi. I wonder if it has something to do with long term durability?
My wife and I were discussing this topic this morning of what vehicles the realators that we dealt with drove and she reminded me of this one guy named Phil that sold us our second home in Amsterdam, NY. He drove a red Lotus and while driving to the first house he wanted to show us, he got stuck on a snow hump when pulling into a driveway and had to be towed out.
When my wife and I moved locally last year, our agent drove a new Buick LaCrosse. She backed it into the fire hydrant at the end of the driveway of the house we bought. She lamented that she had done $1500 of damage to month-old car. After that, she always parked in the center of the cul-de-sac. The listing agent for our new house drove a late model Mitsubishi Galant. Both cars were sort of pearly white.
In the late eighties, my family moved to the Boston area, and my parents took my sister and I with them house hunting. We had to have different agents for different towns, one agent was allowed to show houses in the whole metro. So, I remember three agents’ cars. A Mercury Grand Marquis, a Nissan Maxima, and a Toyota Camry.
I too work in real estate. I work from a suburban office of about 70 agents. Our parking lot is as diverse as just about any suburban office around us comprising banking, telephone, medical, insurance, etc.
The dominant vehicle style would be a medium to large CUV / SUV. Brands from Kia to Cadillac are represented. This could be as high as 70%
Sedans, to the extent that they exist, tend to be large mid-sizers – Camry, Passat, Fusion, Avalon, Impala, various Hyundai.
Luxury brands of any style are probably under 10%.
The vehicles got smaller fast during the recession – we are in a somewhat gas intensive business! Vehicle size is creeping up again.
Beaters and subcompacts are pretty much non-existent. Compacts are rare – nobody wants their clients resting their chin on their knees!
Several models of Jeep seem to be on the rise – a strong CJD dealer near our office may be the reason, but we picked up a huge new Toyota dealer as a neighbor last fall – that could shift things again.
Outliers: One Prius, there is one empty nester that swears by minivans as a business vehicle, full-size four door pick-ups are under represented compared to the market, but there are at least four. A few agents own CCs that show up (rarely) at the office for meetings and all the paperwork we tend to have to do. I don’t think anybody takes a CC to a client meeting.
Cars tend to reflect the agent’s personal lives and hobbies – people with families and hobbies requiring towing tend to have the bigger people haulers. Empty nesters are more likely to have sedans. Agents that are also into rental property or home building tend to have at least one truck – this may also be the beater exception now that I think about it – older SUVs for job site activity and pulling work trailers.
Jason’s experience is a lot like our parking lot – quite diverse. The old timers tell me things were more uniform – much like office attire used to be suit and tie. Today its more khaki and polo, and people had to move on from upscale full-size domestic sedans mostly because the auto market hasn’t been dominated by full-size domestic sedans since 1979. Agents feel a lot more free to do their own thing.
Last one I dealt with (2006-07) drove a base model Dodge Intrepid. A car as unassuming and no-nonsense as she was.
Things have certainly changed since I was a kid. Some of my earliest and fondest auto-related memories center around my parents’ search for a new home in the summer of 1976. With one exception the agents who brought prospects to our old house and the sales reps at the various new subdivisions we visited drove some sort of Broughamtastic luxury vehicle. It was quite a treat for me at age 7 to ride around in cars with factory 8-track players, power windows and pillow velour seats. The seatback mounted cigarette lighters on one agent’s fully loaded Pontiac Grand Ville particularly intrigued me. It was all a long way from Mom’s base model ’72 LTD or Dad’s Ford Courier.
The one “luxury” exception was driven by a Coldwell Banker agent with whom my parents briefly dealt. IIRC her name was Lila, in her late 50s-early 60s and spoke with some sort of European accent. She drove her clients around in a new Volvo wagon. Lila was used to dealing in much more upscale properties than my parents’ little green house in a “declining” neighborhood and it showed. Mom thought she was a real snob!
Speaking of Mom’s LTD, my other great automotive memory of that summer was when Mom did some house shopping one afternoon while Dad was at work. After walking through the display models and getting some info Mom (with me in tow) headed back to the LTD to go on to the next subdivision. Try as she might, she couldn’t get the thing to start. Fortunately the owners of one of the homes down the street from the models were working outside and noticed my Mom having difficulty with the car. When they came by to ask how they could help, Mom asked if she could use their phone. Instead they offered to take us home…..in their Honda Z600.
The one time I ever dealt with a real estate agent was in 2000, when we sold our first house. I don’t remember what kind of car “SleazeBob” drove, probably some sort of K-car with 200,000 miles based on everything else he did and said. If there is any justice in the world SleazeBob has gone back to working the night shift at the Gas ‘n Go; he for sure didn’t have the skills to succeed in a people oriented environment. We hired him because he was a friend of a friend; huge mistake, to this day the woman who recommended him apologizes every time we see her.
Your really need to get a smartphone app! :). We looked at about 50 houses and looked online and hundreds before we found ours. I only ride with the realtor a couple times. Most of the time I would meet her at the house on my lunch break. This was in 2014 and their was no time to wait for the weekend to look, stuff was getting bought up from under us if we waited that long.
My agent drove a BMW 7 series.
House shopping was different in 2001! The advent of all the online listings has made it easier by far but pictures can still be deceiving. An agent I talked with when agent shopping was embarrassed I knew the available houses better than him.
Online has made it more immediate for buyers, and in some cases, perhaps less work for agents. Being a family member, ours just set us up a login for MLS online and basically said “tell me what you want to see and I’ll set up a showing”. He knew that we knew the area better than he did (he’s out in the ‘burbs south of the city) and that we would in all likelihood find new listings just as fast as he would. We only ended up actually touring twelve properties, and the only time we even rode anywhere with him was to go have a drink at one point between two showings…
I was 6 when we moved in 1980 to Crookston, Minnesota, and we had multiple realtors haul us around, two of whom drove us around in Oldsmobiles…one in a ’76 Ninety Eight (where I played with the power windows much to the realtor’s frustration) and the other in an ’80 Delta 88 (the realtor looked to us in the back seat more than he looked at the road, it seemed). When we moved to Fargo in 1985, the realtors were MLS and we had only one realtor. He drove a ’78 or ’79 Buick LeSabre in a lovely shade of puke green. That LeSabre seemed tired even then, despite being only 6-7 years old. I think my folks thought that, given his success as a realtor, he should’ve been driving a nicer car!
I briefly worked with a female agent in the late ’80’s who drove a manual transmission Toyota Cressida. And our current neighbor is an active agent; she drives a 6-speed 3rd gen Acura TL. Both in fairly heavy metro traffic areas. Our most recent buyer’s agent drives aLexus RX hybrid; our most recent seller’s agent drove an E-Class diesel when they weren’t sold in California; he had it imported from Florida with just over the 7500 mile allowable limit for California “import”.
The last realtor I worked with drove an Acura TLX. Since we are talking stereotypes, I always imagine women real estate agents driving an Acura, Lexus or Mercedes small sedan or small CUV. I imagine men driving the same, but midsize. I think of older time real estate agents in Cadillacs. The thing is, the stereotype often holds up for me because that’s usually what I see. I think what others have said seems to be the case, its one of those professions you kind of need to “look” the part. Not absolutely, but I think when people know agents make most of their money on commissions that if they drive nice cars and wear nice clothes, they must be good at what they do.
Were I a real estate agent, I’d probably get a well taken care of Lincoln Town Car were I going to haul people around in it. I’m a big guy, and just the standard Town Car back seat is comfy. Plus the ride is real nice.
My agent drove a Chevy Malibu four banger, nothing special. Back in the late 80s, my dad sold real estate for awhile, when he was driving a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass 4-door. My neighbor’s house is currently up for sale, and the agent is driving a Hyundai Sonata.
I know a realtor, and she is pretty succesful in her business. She sells houses in the 400k-500k range in a planned community near Houston. She drives a BMW 3 series and when asked what she loved most about her car she told me: It is paid off.
We have a home staging business and deal with real estate agents all the time. It seems light prestige is the key. Two have not-new but recent BMWs, a 1 series convertible and a last-generation X3. One has a high-end Rogue. One has a 3-generation back Acura TL. One has an A4 and another has an E350. They’re kind of all over the map. In SF, it’s all BMWs or Lexus RX400h.