Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by Amy W.

Posted by HankM on June 22, 1999 at 21:32:22:

Hmmm, I’ve never tried a dress and heels; but that might work in parts of my market area. Don’t think my wife would go for it though.

I can’t add a whole lot other than to tell you that I haven’t put on a tie since leaving banking and most properties look at/buy are in 150-200K areas. It’s how you carry yourself.

I’d look at the flip side, how many times have you met someone and thought “gee they dress really well, but the lights are on and nobody’s home” …

Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by Amy W.

Posted by Amy W. on June 21, 1999 at 12:14:01:

Hi. I know this may seem like a silly question, but I’m interested in how all of you full-time investors dress and act the part of being an investor. Basically, is this a suit and tie or heels and hose kind of business, or do you dress casually? I’m interested in how your buyers and sellers perceive you. I would think that dressing in business-wear may make you seem too “slick”, but that dressing too casual may seem too unprofessional. Any thoughts on this? Also, for those of you who run your offices out of your home, where do you meet with buyers/sellers? Is it always at the property in question? Thanks in advance!


Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by Roy

Posted by Roy on June 23, 1999 at 06:25:50:

I meet the BUYERS and SELLERS in the property and it’s because I don’t want them to know where I live,
much safer.

Comes down to… - Posted by David Alexander

Posted by David Alexander on June 22, 1999 at 15:00:26:

Confidence and how your able to communicate. I personally, if you’ve seen me know that I’d throw you off in a heartbeat(Longhair, ballcap, tshirt and jeans or shorts). But, it works for me, because I feel comfortable, and am able to convince the sellers to let me solve there problems. It’s just a matter of your own confidence level and what you feel comfortable in and how your able to make the seller comfortable. I also, would drive up in an older car, used car because I don’t want the sellers to believe I have any money, just the ability to get it and solve their problem.

If I wore a suit and tie I’d feel to out of place, If I cut my hair… well my world might fall apart, LOL.

Do you think if Trump showed up in tshirt and jeans it would matter to anyone but him. He might feel different but the people doing the deal with him wouldn’t care because they know he can deliver. That descision is based on delivering and communicating confidence.

David Alexander

Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by B.L.Renfrow

Posted by B.L.Renfrow on June 22, 1999 at 12:59:07:

I have been in the medical profession for a number of years. Some time ago, there was a now-classic study published in which the investigators showed emergency department patients pictures of the same health care providers, but dressed differently in each photo. In some, they were wearing a dress shirt, tie and white lab coat (all the photos were of men). In another set, they wore a casual shirt and jeans, and in the third, they wore hospital scrubs and a lab coat. The patients were asked to indicate which providers look “most competent.” Overwhelmingly, they consistently picked the ones in tie and lab coat.

I think the findings apply here as well. (No, I don’t wear a lab coat when I meet with sellers!) But we’re holding ourselves out to strangers as professionals whom they should trust with probably the largest asset they’ve ever owned. And we certainly want to look successful, even if we’ve yet to complete a deal. Image DOES count! If you drive up in a dented, dirty 1982 Rustmobile, it sure doesn’t present an image of a successful investor, even though you may have the GNP of Saudi Arabia in your bank account.

I think it’s a matter of circumstances too. If I’m meeting with the seller of a $100K house, you can bet I’m going to show up in a tie and jacket. However, if it’s an inexpensive property in a less-desirable area, I’ll just wear a shirt and slacks. Heck, I haven’t done any MH deals, but if I’d walked into some of them around here in a suit, I’d probably be dodging buckshot!

I just finished a very interesting book by Tom Hopkins on selling real estate. It’s directed toward the RE agent, but I picked up tons of useful information on the many aspects of interacting with buyers and sellers, and he devotes a whole chapter to exactly this issue. (Can’t recall the title right now, but I can look if anyone’s interested.)

So, no, it’s not a silly question at all.

Brian (NY)

Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on June 22, 1999 at 01:50:40:

I once agreed to meet an older fellow at a neighborhood cafe I’d never been to before. I’d approached him earlier to see if he might be interested in selling his multi unit.

I put on my best suit, the good shoes, and the gold tie pin.

Turned out it really was a cafe/lunch counter thing where everyone knew everyone and daily showers were clearly optional.

I was way overdressed, the big joke, and I could see the eyes rolling from every corner of the place . . . and I still walked out of there with a signed contract.


Not really sure it matters, everything else being equal.


Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by Matthew Chan

Posted by Matthew Chan on June 22, 1999 at 24:01:51:

I don’t think it is a silly question. It is very valid.

The recommendation I give pretty much applies to doing business in general not just real estate. There are some things our attire need to convey: respectability, credibility, personableness (is that a word?) and professionalism.

I think everyone’s style is a bit different. Anyone who has seen Ed Garcia and Terry Vaughan side by side can vouch for that! :slight_smile: They both have their individual styles but convey all of the attributes I listed. That is because their personalities “fit” with their attire.

In my case, I have found that what works for me as a professional male is slacks and a long-sleeve dress shirt with no ties or jacket. Like you said, I don’t want to appear “rich” or “slick”. I can’t speak for the females and their techniques but, as a guy, it is easy to spruce up by wearing the shirt “properly” or to be more casual by simply rolling up my sleeves.

It used to be I tried to be do business in jeans and it didnt work too well. When I work a tie and/or jacket, I would look out of place. I have learned to simply have a moderate look.

I hope that helps a bit…

Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by Mark-NC

Posted by Mark-NC on June 21, 1999 at 12:33:37:

Thats a Good question. And I quess it depends on what type of deals you are doing. I usually dress casuall neat for my deals, but thats up to you and the type of client you are meeting. The main thing is to act like you know what you are doing. I work out of my home, but I prefer not to have any one come to my home , so I may meet them at the property or alot of the time I will meet at a restaurant, I call these"waffle house deals".

Casual (nt) - Posted by Mark (SDCA)

Posted by Mark (SDCA) on June 21, 1999 at 12:28:54:


Yeah those Long Haired…OH That’s ME LOL - Posted by Mark R in KCMO

Posted by Mark R in KCMO on June 22, 1999 at 19:52:37:


Yeah, I have people tell me that I would make more if my hair was shorter. I just chuckle, I remember what I was making when it WAS shorter… LOL

I agree its more about solving problems, then looks, I have walked into “open houses” for million dollar homes, and at first glance they wonder what I am doing there, after a talking to me, for a few seconds instead of handing my thier card like they were doing with the other “lookers” they asked for My card, and were interested in finding properties for me to “look at”.

Here is what not only I feel is information that I need to know, but is also the one that has the reators knowing that I am there to buy.

“What things in this house do you think would need to be changed or updated to make it worth what there the rest of the area is going for?”

They ALWAYS have an answer.

IF the price is over 100K, I’m a remodeler for resale, not a rehabber LOL

Mark R in KCMO

Re: Comes down to… - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on June 22, 1999 at 15:21:11:

Yeah, I mean look at Karp - and he still does tons of deals!! :wink:


Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by Amy W.

Posted by Amy W. on June 22, 1999 at 14:57:02:

Thanks to everyone who responded to this. Everyone seems to have a very different opinion. My thinking on this is that you should look clean and well-kept and probably shouldn’t wear jeans and a tee-shirt, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s necessary to wear a suit and tie (or in my case a dress and heels) to meet with people who are buying/selling typical bread and butter properties. I think that if you’re dealing with higher priced properties though, it might be a good idea to spiff things up a little. Just my opinion. Thanks again everyone.


Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by HankM

Posted by HankM on June 22, 1999 at 21:21:17:

I did the opposite … I showed up at a country club in shorts (it was like 95 degrees out and real humid) … “I’m sorry sir, but you must wear pants” … this wasn’t a calamity either I’d known the guy casually for some time, so we went to a local bar, had a drink and worked things out.

But he kids me about it to this day AND I’ve been back to that CC twice and I remembered to wear pants. Oh well.


Re: Dressing/Acting the part - Posted by David Alexander

Posted by David Alexander on June 23, 1999 at 01:19:55:

Like I said it depends on what your comfortable so that you can make the seller feel the same.

I remember yesteryear, when I waited tables over ten years ago, at an upscale steak restaraunt. You would have people come in that were in there suits and tie, portraying to act biggity and that they made alot of money, when in essence they had to get back to there “JOBS”. Toward the end of the lunch rush afew more tables would come in these people in casual attire, very good tippers, not just straight 15% no matter what. These people had time, would stay sometimes for hours. They had already made there money and didn’t have to Impress anyone, they had their own confidence and self assuredness. You wouldn’t know it until they left, as their chaffeurs drove them off in Limo’s or Rolls. I never forgot that.

David Alexander