What "car" should the investor drive? - Posted by Barry

Posted by BrokerScott (Mich) on August 07, 2003 at 06:00:46:


What “car” should the investor drive? - Posted by Barry

Posted by Barry on August 06, 2003 at 12:53:44:

Hi Folks,

Yes, I am very serious about my question. Does driving an older vehicle make an investor appear unsuccessfull to the owner of a home you go to look at? They make think “this guy can’t even afford a decent car, why should I sell them my home”.

Does driving an expensive care to look at junkers make you look like a braggart? Does it make you look too successfull, so perhaps you won’t get the lowest price.

Should the RE investor just drive an understated sedan?

In my area home prices are about 300k and up. I have a strong opinion that driving a Hyundai to a potential deal would make you look like a small timer or new seminar graduate.

Any serious opinions on this?


Re: What car - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on August 07, 2003 at 01:29:15:

It depends what kind of investment you do but, if the focus of your investment strategy is buying directly from homeowners, you would be best to drive a nice, big car. Most motivated sellers are motivated sellers because they are not particularly smart. They probably don’t understand why and if what you are offering is good for them. Most of them will consiously or unconsiously base their decisions on petty personal prejudices they can understand like how you are dressed, the color of your skin, if you are nice to their cat, proclaimations that you are offering them best deal they can ever hope to get, and what kind of car you drive.

Why a car at all? - Posted by Jim FL

Posted by Jim FL on August 07, 2003 at 24:48:04:

Frankly, I’m one from the school of thought which says what you drive does not matter.
As long as you present a solution to the sellers problem, which allows you to make a nice profit, who cares.
Beleive me, I ride a Harley, and do rather look the part these days. I have a shaved head, a long wild goatee, getting grayer(sp?) by the day, tatoos, and a constant tan on my arms and face with “Riding shadow eyes” from glasses.
Sometimes I wear a “Dew ragg”, to keep the sun off my head. That is me, and people can sell me their house…or not, as a good friend of mine once said.

The last house I bought, I road up on my bike, in a black t-shirt with my company logo on it (My buddies cool design, bikeresk, if there is such a word.), jeans, boots, and riding gloves.
My soft black leather brief case fits nicely in my side bag, so I carry my office with me. Cell phones are pocket size these days, thank goodness.
After arriving, the seller told me her problem, the numbers made sense, and we signed a deal.

She PAID me to take her house, gotta love that.

Not once did she make a dirogatory comment about my ride, or the way I dress.
I was confident, sincere, and the only investor in the area who would return her call, because she was behind on payments.
She caught them up, and then covered a few more, from an insurance settlement, and then walked away.

I got nice equity, cash flow, and enough money to add some more chrome to my bike when I feel like it, maybe get another tattoo, I have one planned ya know. :slight_smile:

If it is raining too hard, I drive an older Dodge Intrepid, 97, clean, runs good, but older body style.
Suits my needs, and I buy houses in ALL price ranges, even did one worth well over a million last year. (Met that seller on my bike the first time, in a tank top, they caught me on my cell at the beach and wanted me to come right over.)

Don’t sweat what you drive, get what fits your needs, and learn confidence in what you have to offer.
Make sure you know your solutions cold and can perform.
That will go a lot longer than a new beemer, or corvette.

My bike works for me, and I like to ride…fits all classes too, rich folks like them, poor folks do too, and most know they ain’t cheap.

Just don’t drive something that leaves an oil spot on the seller’s driveway. My bike is brand new and does not, my car, gets parked on the street when ever possible. (it is getting older.)

Take care,
Jim FL

Re: Investor’s car - Posted by Jasonrei

Posted by Jasonrei on August 06, 2003 at 23:36:32:

I suppose it depends on your line of RE investing. I buy houses that retail for under $100k. I also drive through some rough neighborhoods at times. Usually I go out in a 4-cylinder '98 Ford Escort (decent mileage, dark tint, very unassuming). I drive my F-150 for personal stuff. I suppose if your car is quiet and clean, they won’t even think twice about what you’re driving. If it makes a lot of noise, or if it was filthy, I might question your ability to follow through on any offer you made me.

I wouldn’t want to drive a really expensive car around to look at houses or meet distressed owners. If you drove up in a really nice car you might put them on the defensive.

Cheapest house yet - drove there in my BMW 740IL - Posted by Scott - North Carolina

Posted by Scott - North Carolina on August 06, 2003 at 22:43:01:

I just bought a house in a poor area of town and picked it up for $8,500. I parked in the street in my “Flashy” 740IL and it never entered the equation. I offered a real solution today and they took it, period. I even gave the lady a ride home (the house is vacant and she took the bus to our appointment) and she commented on how she liked low riding cars.

My opinion is that the people who are pooh-poohing nice cars either can’t afford them or are so tight with thier money their hands tremble when they have to spend .75 cents on a pack of gum.

Happy motoring!!!

What you feel comfortable driving… - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on August 06, 2003 at 21:58:35:

I always drive my bright “Red BMW Convertible”.

This goes against the advice of some, and it may well make an impression on others initially… especially those losing their house, that they simply don’t like someone who is successful and carefree… sporting around in a flashy car…

All that seems to fade after we begin talking about their problem, and not focussing on the car… Believe me, they can quickly understand why I am driving the car of my choice. That issue is secondary, after their needs come first…

Funny, and true story… just tonight. The gal, whose house I am saving from foreclosure… said to me tonight just after we came out of the closing… I love your car… Look at what I am driving… I have to start it with a screwdriver… (true statement). I simply reiterated to her how much closer she is today, to driving a new car… She said, “Do you really think so…?”.

Here is why she is closer to throwing away that screwdriver…

Last week at this time, the house is going to Sheriff Sale, they have 4 judgments liens agaisnt them for about 65K, following the foreclosure sale.

7 days later, the sale is in the process of being DISMISSED, I have bought all the judgment liens against them, and satisfactions will be entered soon… Bottom line, foreclosure dimissed, and no judgment liens… A major turn around in their financial life… Now and for many years to come.

Of course I make big money on the deal… 50K, enough to buy another new BMW… Now here is the question… Do you think that these folks would have rather had me driving a 10 yr old p/u truck, and not be able to solve these problems for them, or do you think that they really care much about it tonight… basking in the relief of their new found circumstances…?

Results override any of the emotions that may get in the way of whether someone cares what car you are driving…

Just the way that I view things…


It’s not about the car… - Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on August 06, 2003 at 21:42:51:

IMO, Just pick the car/truck that happens to be the most convenient to get out of the driveway, or the most comfortable in the current weather situation, or the one that needs to have gas put in so you can fill up while you are out on the road; it doesn’t really matter.

Now shoes though, there you need to be careful… a bad loafer just doesn’t inspire confidence!

Cars - Posted by Tom-FL

Posted by Tom-FL on August 06, 2003 at 20:51:26:

Well, if the seller is looking to sell to a millionaire, they’d better be looking for someone driving a car bought second-hand for less than $25,000, with 3 of 10 being a Ford F-150 pickup.

Just a thought.

Numbers are from the book “The Millionarire Next Door”.

Nobody said… - Posted by bmw

Posted by bmw on August 06, 2003 at 20:21:11:

The best answer; a minivan. Definately not flashy, yet comfortable. More room inside than an SUV, by far. It’s hard to tell an older one from a new one. They will think you are very practical.

my favorite cars… - Posted by David Krulac

Posted by David Krulac on August 06, 2003 at 19:41:32:

  1. when dealing with tenants, I like an old car, my favorite is an 82 Cordoba.

  2. when dealing with farmers, I like a pickup truck, American made and definately no flashy import, no bimmers, or benz.

  3. when dealing with a a professional, you want to drive a car just slightly less than theirs. Maybe if they have a Mercedes or Porsche, you drive a Volvo or Saab. Never drive a rust bucket, never a pickup truck. Maybe a nice older Mercedes. One real estate investor I know has an immuculate Mercedes but its 15 years old. A five year old luxury car still lokks good at half the price.

At one time I had a Porsche, a pickup, and a beater, one of them was right for most occasions. If you only have limited use for a nice car, rent or borrow one and leave your beater at home.

David Krulac
Central Pennsylvania

All those who said buy a cheap car… - Posted by Arthur

Posted by Arthur on August 06, 2003 at 18:46:24:

If you were selling your house due to it being foreclosed on, who would you take mroe seriously, the guy in the flashy car? or the guy in the 89 Escort? Both put the same offer on the table.

Would you think the flashy guy was a success and the Escort guy a success wannabe?

At the end of the day, most people we would buy from are desperate to sell…the flashy car just tells them you are serious and can do the deal.

I am sure there are situations where a skanky car would be best, but on the whole, a flash one is best IMHO. Lets face it guys and gals, whats the point of making bundles of cash if your not going to enjoy it?

Re: What - Posted by Linda Simms

Posted by Linda Simms on August 06, 2003 at 15:57:00:

Ron Legrand who purports to be an exceptionally successful Investor, is adament in his recommendation of a Big Black Mercades. Who knows?

Jeep Grand Cherokee - Posted by Mike G

Posted by Mike G on August 06, 2003 at 15:33:18:

I drive a mid-90’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. I can’t think of a better car for a real estate investor. It’s nice enough to drive to the country club to meet w/ big wig potential investors for a round of golf, but not too flashy to drive the ghetto’s and talk to lower income buyers/sellers at the grassroots level. Plus it can go off road and has plenty of storage.

My car allows me to wear many hats.

Ferrari F40 - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on August 06, 2003 at 15:32:10:

… that’s what I drive to all appointments.

Seriously though, it just doesn’t matter. A flashy car will make you look successful to some … too slick for others.

An old car will make you look like a loser to some, smart and conservative to others.

All I can say is - make sure it’s clean, neat and doesn’t show any of your political views on it (i.e. no anti-abortion stickers, Carter for President, Jesus loves you, Honk if you’re horney, etc.


Re: What - Posted by eric-fl

Posted by eric-fl on August 06, 2003 at 15:25:06:

I actually know a guy, a good friend of mine, who has been hobnobbing with some fairly-high-powered people lately, and is networking with them for an executive job.

He, too, fretted over this issue, until he traded in a 2 year old Chevy pickup, with quad cab, and all the trimmings. He traded it in on a 10-year-old BMW 318 (the entry level), with 78k miles on it. For the same price. The BMW is smaller, less comfortable, has a worse ride, and of course, about 50k more miles on it. All because he thought a pickup-truck was too “worker like”, and didn’t want the executives to see it.

Hopefully it’s needless to say, I disagree with his decision. This guy is tops at what he does, knowledgable, and articulate. The bigwigs aren’t talking to him because of the kind of car he drives or doesn’t drive.

The car you’re driving, the clothes you’re wearing, even the presentation materials you’re using, all add up to maybe 5% of a successful sale or persuasion of a prospect. The overwhelming thing that is important in these situations is YOU - people are going to make a decision whether or not to deal with you, not your car. If you walk in feeling unconfident because you pulled up in a Hyundai, that is going to do far more damage to your closing ratios than the car could ever have done on it’s own. Don’t let it become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What “car” should the investor drive? - Posted by Bill H

Posted by Bill H on August 06, 2003 at 14:41:08:


Clothes don’t make the man … and I am sure that “Cars will not make the driver”. Sam Walton of Wal-Mart drove and old 1968 Pickup if memory serves me correctly…don’t think there is any argument about his success.

Your presentation, manner, knowledge, confidence, etc., will do much more to make/break the deal that what car you drive.

Good Luck,

Bill H

Pick ups - Posted by Raul

Posted by Raul on August 06, 2003 at 14:34:42:

I think you should not drive anything flashy, I recently got a '03 Ford pick up because here in Texas can go both ways, poor and wealthy drive them.

If I really want to impress somebody I can borrow my wife’s Bimmer. :wink:

Re: What - Posted by Brent Leach

Posted by Brent Leach on August 06, 2003 at 14:22:25:

You are worrying to much. Dont live your life other people want you to live. Live the life you want to, so drive the car you want to drive.


Brent Leach

Cars… - Posted by Marcos

Posted by Marcos on August 06, 2003 at 14:04:08:

I’m going to agree with Ron(as usual), and disagree with most. You shouldn’t hide your cheap car around the corner. If you drive a Viper, I sure as heck wouldn’t come up to a homeowners house in that. I like to take a low key approach. I know what I’m doing, and I’m confident, but I’m not going to rub it in their face. If I come up in a $30k car or more, and I tell them I’m only going to be able to give them a few grand for their house, how is that going to look? Versus, me coming up in my '96 Dodge Dakota, and telling them I’m trying to help them out, and I believe I can get them a few grand as well. If I come in with a flashy car, I can feel their guard coming up. It’s all about walking softly and carrying a big stick.

Do you feel like you need a nice car to appear “competent” in the sellers eyes? I don’t think that can be further from the truth. Hell, I want one of those new Z Convertibles. I’m not going to do it though.

I don’t think I’ve found a successful real estate investor who has been doing it for more than 5 years driving anything flashy. Only the real estate “investors” on late-night TV do that.

Just my opinion.