Is it really so important to find the best cars for real estate agents?

To me, a car is just something that brings me from A to B in a safe way. 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 certain 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 a Toyota (at least in the U.S.) and 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.

Why First Impressions Matter Persuasion Wise, Especially in Real Estate

The aim of marketing is 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.

Why?

Because you will have better chances to persuade the person.

How does the first impression come into play with that?

Well, the like and trust part can be influenced by the first impression, 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 don’t like this situation particularly but as it seems, we have to take this typical human behavior into consideration.

What I found to be relevant with regards to cars is that the physical properties and also the environment someone inhabits have an influence on the first impression.

Well, you don’t dress yourself directly with a car, but in some way or form, cars are a bit like a physical extension of your physical properties and also fall a bit 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, but 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 a good first impression, and in the context of dealing with potential buyers, it’s both you and the respective house that need to make a good first impression.

Additionally, when someone needs to make a decision for something complex such as selling or buying a house, the subconscious mind is much more involved than the conscious mind. This affects 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 we are confronted with complicated choices, such as buying or selling property.

The study mentions that conscious thought is more involved when the task to solve is simple (e.g. what countertops to choose from).

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

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 falls also a bit into the category of the environment someone inhabits.

Both factors have an influence on first impressions.

What we also know is that the subconscious or unconscious mind is more involved when it comes to more complex decisions such as the ones happening in real estate for both sellers and buyers.

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

I would say so, but not alone. I think 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 take a look at some rather 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 basically 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, and it will also be a challenge to show confidence when negotiating with the seller. But I am not saying it couldn’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 just buy the car they like, and what might fit them best for their daily needs and costs.

Decisions for the right car are made based on gas mileage to be able 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 you will be able to make such a first impression that potential clients will think you’re successful.

The thinking goes that in order to make a client feel comfortable that you as the real estate agent are the right fit, they will need some sort of proof (unbiased or not), that you are successful already 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 again relative, depending on the respective client you are dealing with.

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

Better Always Underdress with “Budget” Cars

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

I sympathize with that one.

In the case of a potential client judging them based on their car, they wouldn’t work with that client because it wouldn’t be the right one for them anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

best cars for real estate agents

Which Ones Are the Best Arguments?

To get closer to a conclusion, let’s think for a moment about the different positions I just presented and compare them with the existing studies and scientific facts and my own logical deduction.

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

Which argument best supports the goal to increase the likelihood of making a good first impression with your potential target clients and thus increasing your client conversion rate?

A higher conversion 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.

Should you be a regular reader of my blog, you likely already know the answer. Well, I actually already gave you a clue when I presented the argument. 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 a good first impression.

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

The attention part also contains a good first impression, so you 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 in an efficient and effective way.

Because although not explicitly but indirectly you communicate a certain 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 your target clients you are mainly focusing on.

Popular Cars Based on Income

Let’s start with checking statistics on the car brands based on income groups. The source will be Statista.

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

The 5 Most Popular Car Brands in the Low Income Group (ordered from high to low popularity)

  • Chevrolet
  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Honda
  • Nissan

The 5 Most Popular Car Brands in the Middle Income Group (ordered from high to low popularity)

  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Chevrolet
  • Honda
  • Nissan

The 5 Most Popular Car Brands in the High Income Group (ordered from high to low popularity)

  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Chevrolet
  • Honda
  • BMW

While Statista wasn’t more concrete about the exact dollar amount of the annual income, it is interesting to see that basically in all of the income groups, Toyota is popular and prevalent.

This also coincides with this source that states that Toyota is the most popular brand in the U.S.

It also means that Toyota somehow manages to offer and sell cars to all three kinds of income groups.

Now, given these facts, let’s focus on Toyota and dig a bit deeper to find out which annual income class is likely to buy which car.

According to Investopedia, the median annual income for the lower-income class was $25,624, $78,442 for the middle-income class, and $187,872 for the upper-income class per a three-person household.

Now, let’s check the prices of Toyota car models.

I put them all in a table and divided them into three pricing groups (low, medium, high).

VehicleTypePriceType of Income Class
2021 CorollaCars & Minivan$20,025Low
2021 Corolla HatchbackCars & Minivan$20.662,00Low
2021 C-HRCross Overs and SUVs$21.545,00Low
2021 Corolla HybridCars & Minivan$23.600,00Low
2021 PriusCars & Minivan$24.525,00Low
2021 CamryCars & Minivan$24.970,00Low
2021 RAV4Cross Overs and SUVs$26.150,00Low
TacomaTrucks$26.250,00Low
2021 Camry HybridCars & Minivan$27.270,00Low
2021 Prius PrimeCars & Minivan$28.220,00Low
2021 RAV4 HybridCross Overs and SUVs$28.650,00Low
2021 VenzaCross Overs and SUVs$32.470,00Middle
TundraTrucks$33.825,00Middle
2021 SiennaCars & Minivan$34.460,00Middle
2021 HighlanderCross Overs and SUVs$34.910,00Middle
2021 AvalonCars & Minivan$35.975,00Middle
2021 4RunnerCross Overs and SUVs$36.590,00Middle
2021 Avalon HybridCars & Minivan$37.100,00Middle
2021 RAV4 PrimeCross Overs and SUVs$38.100,00Middle
2021 Highlander HybridCross Overs and SUVs$38.510,00Middle
2021 GR SupraCars & Minivan$42.990,00High
2021 MiraiCars & Minivan$49.500,00High
2021 SequoiaCross Overs and SUVs$50.200,00High
2021 Land CruiserCross Overs and SUVs$85.565,00High

Looking at the table, it is 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 with the car you drive.

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

By the way, you can get some Toyota deals here and here, should you be on the look-out at the moment.

But for the top-notch luxury real estate market (the one-percenters), you may want to try a BMW, since this brand seems to be the most popular luxury car brand (source).

Conclusion

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

Based on the data I discussed in this article, your best bet in terms of best cars for real estate agents will be a Toyota (at least in the U.S.).

But you may want to choose the vehicle type of this brand based on the potential clients you are mainly focusing on and serving to match your marketing message with your target group.

To be able to choose the right one, you want to take into consideration the income group your potential clients likely belong to.

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