Is finding the best cars for real estate agents really important?

To me, a car is just something that brings me from A to B safely. But that’s just me.

Unfortunately, for real estate agents, a car does not only have a transportation job to do.

For them, a car is also an advertising medium that sends a particular non-verbal message to their target clients.

So, now the question is, what are the best cars for real estate agents who want to convert more clients?

Based on the researched data, your best bet in terms of best cars for real estate agents will be the Ford F Series, the Toyota Highlander, the Subaru CrossTrek, or the Tesla Model X, hence a model that relates most with your target client’s income group.

In the rest of my article, you will learn how I arrived at this conclusion.


Does it Matter What Car You Drive As a Real Estate Agent? Spoiler Alert: First Impressions Matter Persuasion Wise

Marketing aims to sell a product or service to a potential buyer.

In the context of real estate and real estate agents, the “buyer” is usually a property seller (selling your services) or a buyer (selling a house).

And one fundamental principle of marketing is to get someone to like and trust you.


Because you will have better chances of persuading the person.
How does the first impression come into play with that?

Well, the first impression can influence the like and trust part, and since potential buyers or sellers are humans, they, too, make decisions about you and others within the first few seconds or minutes.

This is at least what psychology says.

Something similar is also what Irmak Olcaysoy Okten from the Association of

Psychological Science states in an article from 2018:
“Any information about a person, from her physical properties to her nonverbal and verbal behaviors, and even the environment she inhabits, influences our impressions and judgments about her. “ (e.g., Ambady & Rosenthal, 1993; Gosling, Ko, Mannarell, & Morris, 2002)

“First impressions have been shown to last for months (Gunaydin, Selcuk, & Zayas, 2017) and affect personal judgments even in the presence of contradictory evidence about the individual (e.g., Rydell & McConnell, 2006).”

I wouldn’t say I like this situation particularly, but as it seems, we have to consider this typical human behavior.

What I found to be relevant regarding cars is that the physical properties and the environment someone inhabits influence the first impression.

Well, you don’t dress directly in a car. 

Still, in some way or form, cars are a bit like a physical extension of your physical properties and fall into the category of the environment someone inhabits.

Except for a study about dating and first impressions with cars, I couldn’t find a direct study about this direct connection.

Still, we can assume this connection by logical deduction from the above.

And the dating study at least gives us a clue.

In the context of sellers, it’s only you, the real estate agent, that needs to make an excellent first impression, and in the context of dealing with potential buyers, it’s both you and the respective house that needs to make a good first impression.

Additionally, when someone needs to decide on something complex, such as selling or buying a house, the subconscious mind is much more involved than the conscious mind, affecting both sellers and buyers.

How do I know that?

It’s from the study “Unconscious Thought Theory” from 2006.

This study analyzed how we make unconscious decisions when confronted with complicated choices, such as buying or selling property.

The study mentions that conscious thought is more involved when solving simple tasks (e.g., what countertops to choose from).

It also means that you will have more persuasive power when you make it easier for the seller’s or buyer’s subconscious mind to decide.


Why Even Think about “Best Cars” for Real Estate Agents? Do They Even Matter?

We know now with a degree of certainty that a car can be an extension of your physical properties and also falls a bit into the category of the environment someone inhabits.

Both factors influence first impressions.

We also know that the subconscious or unconscious mind is more involved in more complex decisions, such as the ones happening in real estate for sellers and buyers.

Do you think now it is safe to assume that using the right car as a real estate agent will influence the decision-making process of a potential buyer or seller?

I would say so, but not alone. It would need to be part of an overall persuasion strategy.


4 Different Arguments & Perspectives About Cars for Real Estate Agents

Now that we have the rather sciency part behind us, let’s also look at some somewhat subjective arguments and perspectives that some real estate professionals can have about driving the “right” or “best” car.


“It Depends on the Target Group or the Type of Clients”

I start with the argument I like best because it seems pragmatic and marketing-oriented. The best car is the car that your target clients can relate to the most.

For example, if your focus is on luxury real estate, you may want to choose a luxury car.

If you are specialized in the lower price ranges, your best bet will likely be a budget car.

Imagine if you want to sell a $2 Million mansion, but the car you use is worth what the seller’s shower curtains cost.

It might not make the best first impression.

In that case, showing confidence when negotiating with the seller will be challenging. But I am not saying it can’t be done.


“The Car I Want, and That Serves Me Best”

This argument is more based on the own needs of the respective real estate agent.

They buy the car they like and what suits them best for their daily needs and costs.

Decisions for the right car are made based on gas mileage to drive far distances to their clients or a spacious interior.


“Better Always ‘Overdress’ with ‘High-End’ Cars”

This one is about projecting success, and only with luxury cars will you be able to make such a first impression that potential clients will think you’re successful.

The thinking goes that to make a client feel comfortable that you, as the real estate agent, are the right fit, they will need proof (unbiased or not) that you are already successful and good at what you are doing.

Because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be able to drive such a nice car.

“Nice” is relative, depending on the client you are dealing with.

For a high-end property seller, “nice” might mean a Lamborghini; for a middle-class seller, it might mean a Cadillac or Lexus.


“Better Always ‘Underdress’ with ‘Budget’ Cars”

This argument comes from those who think they shouldn’t be judged by the type of car they are driving but by how they do their work.

I sympathize with that one.

If a potential client judges them based on their car, they won’t work with that client because it wouldn’t be right for them anyway.

Budget cars can also make some clients more comfortable because they will feel the real estate agent is an everyday girl or guy.

It is likely true when you, as an agent, focus on middle-class properties.

For some sellers or buyers, a nice car might signal that the respective realtor has a lot of money to spare, so they might be entitled to discounts.

I suspect this might happen when clients can’t relate to the type of car an agent drives because of their income.

Another argument is that some clients are indifferent to cars, so why should a real estate agent spend more on one?


Which Ones Are the Best Arguments?

To reach a conclusion, let’s think briefly about the positions I just presented and compare them with the existing studies, scientific facts, and my logical deduction.

To find the answer, we need to ask ourselves the following question:

Which argument best supports the goal of increasing the likelihood of making an excellent first impression with your potential target clients and thus increasing your closing rate?

A higher closing rate also implies that you are more persuasive.

Being more persuasive in your ad copy will increase your conversion rate, and being more persuasive in personal encounters with potential clients will do the same with your closing rate.

You likely already know the answer if you are a regular reader of my blog.

I already gave you a clue when I presented the argument, and I admitted that I was biased.

So, it’s the first argument I presented – “It Depends on the Target Group or the Type of Clients.”

The same principle as in digital marketing or physical marketing applies.

To persuade better and thus convert better, you want to know your target group as well as possible and speak their “language” to make an excellent first impression.

There is also the attention part of the marketing and copywriting formula AIDA again.

The attention part also needs to cause a good first impression to get your client’s attention.

And since I consider the car of a real estate agent as an advertising medium, it should be treated as such to get your message across efficiently and effectively.

Because although not explicitly but indirectly, you communicate a particular message with your car.

Now, how can we apply this information practically and strategically in terms of marketing?

The last part will give you a basis to make a sound decision on what kind of car you will need based on the target clients you are mainly focusing.


21 Popular Car Brands Based on Sales

Let’s start by checking statistics on best-selling car brands. This is how we can measure popularity.

Once we know that, we can determine which car fits the target client’s income group best.

So according to this source, the 21 most popular car brands in the U.S. are the following considering the annual sales volume…

VehicleNumber of Sales 2022 (U.S.)Base PriceType of Income-Class
Ford F Series653,957$64.990,00high
Chevrolet Silverado520,936$48.490,00high
Ram Pickup468,344$42.895,00high
Toyota RAV4366,741$37.785,00high
Toyota Camry295,201$35.900,00high
GMC Sierra241,521$35.205,00high
Honda CR-V238,155$33.695,00high
Tesla Model Y225,799$33.245,00high
Jeep Grand Cherokee223,344$31.500,00high
Toyota Highlander222,805$29.725,00middle
Toyota Corolla222,216$26.525,00middle
Toyota Tacoma215,853$26.500,00middle
Chevrolet Equinox212,072$26.400,00middle
Ford Explorer207,763$26.250,00middle
Tesla Model 3195,698$26.135,00middle
Nissan Rogue186,481$26.120,00middle
Jeep Wrangler181,41$25.800,00middle
Hyundai Tuscon175,307$25.295,00middle
Subaru CrossTrek155,142$24.260,00low
Honda Accord154,612$22.445,00low
Mazda CX-5151,594$20.075,00low

As you can see in the table above, I ordered it first from the best-selling cars and then from their base prices from high to low.

Then I grouped the list into three.

The three groups represent the cars most likely bought by lower, middle, and higher-income classes.

It is pretty safe to say that when you focus on properties for the lower-income class, you may want to go with the vehicles I marked for the low-income class with “low.”

Potential clients from this group will likely relate to the car you drive.

Should you focus on clients from the middle class, you may try the vehicles I marked with “middle” and the ones I marked with “high” for clients from the high-income class.

You can also make an educated guess by observing the area in which you are operating and find out what type of the above cars you see more often.


And What is the Best Luxury Car for Real Estate Agents?

One small group I didn’t mention in the above list.

It’s the high-end real estate clients you find in top-notch luxury real estate markets (the one-percenters).

Here you may wonder what the best luxury car for real estate agents would be most suitable for when you target this type of client.

In the older version of this article, I still mentioned that BMW was the most popular luxury car brand.

According to this source, this situation has changed since my last update). You may not be surprised, depending on the state you live in…

But now, the “best” or most popular car brand for the luxury segment is Tesla.


Get to Know the 4 Best Cars for Each of Your Target Real Estate Prospect’s Income Classes…

I picked out the most popular (highest sales numbers) car and researched review videos from each group. You will find them in the table below.

It’s the Ford F Series for real estate prospects you want to target in the higher-income class, the Toyota Highlander for the middle-income class, the Subaru CrossTrek for the lower-income class, and the Tesla Model X for the luxury segment.


3 Financial Tips for Your Next Realtor Car

In this last section of my article, I will leave you with three money-saving tips you may want to consider now that you know which car is likely ideal for your real estate business.


1) Nothing Better than the Smell of a New Car, Right? Or Better a Used One?

I don’t know about you, but the odor of new cars never repelled me. The contrary is the case.

But maybe I am just weird. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were actual “smell designers” to make a new car more appealing to potential buyers.

But as I am finding out right now, this is officially not (yet) the case, according to this source.

I digress a bit. If the decision about a new or used car were only about odor, I would answer the question: “Sure, always go with a new car.”

If there weren’t a thing called money and finances…

And as you may imagine, the decision is a pretty individual one and depends on your driving needs, budget, and how much reliability you expect from the car.

The advantage of buying a new car for your real estate business is you get a model with the latest features and technology.

It usually comes with a warranty and no sleepless nights about the car’s history.

Additionally, depending on where in the U.S. you operate, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit or a tax incentive (e.g., tax exemptions or rebates).

The downside is a higher price tag and a fast value depreciation.

The apparent advantage of used cars is their affordability, and the lion’s share of depreciation is already behind them.

Also, you likely pay fewer sales taxes when you buy it.

But the downside is more wear and tear, likely more frequent visits at the car workshop, and a history you never know for sure.


2) Cash Deal or Financing?

You may also wonder whether to buy your next car for your real estate business via cash or financing.

Here are the advantages of both considerations.

Three advantages of a cash deal:

  • No interest payments on a car loan, reducing the total cost over time.
  • Better negotiation power (you may know that already from real estate deals)
  • You get instant equity

Three advantages of financing:

  • More affordable and thus better for your cash flow
  • You will improve your credit score
  • Tax benefits, because the loan could be tax deductible


3) To Lease or Buy that is the Question

You may have to decide between buying via financing or cash and leasing or buying your next car.

If you don’t have to drive crazy distances, this might be an even better option tax-wise.

Why? Because there is something called “car lease write-off.”

According to this source, the IRS includes car leases on its eligible vehicle tax deductions list.

So with a car lease, you have another way to reduce your taxable income by the amount paid for a leased vehicle used for your real estate business.



Unfortunately, as a real estate agent, your car is part of your marketing message and, in a sense, an advertising medium to generate a specific first impression that can influence how you convert potential clients into customers.

You may want to choose the vehicle type best suited to target the prospects you are mainly focusing on and serving to match your marketing message with your target group.

To choose the right one, consider the income group your potential clients likely belong to.

And the latter can be found when you consider the property price ranges you usually specialize in.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher