Real estate is one of the most competitive industries, and agents are constantly looking for ways to stand out, whether it’s through an engaging social media strategy, catchy marketing or even having a fly wardrobe and fancy car to boot. When one agent couldn’t afford to upgrade from her 2000 Ford Explorer — featuring paint embedded with silly string and shoe polish — she made the truck’s character part of her brand. And it’s paying off.

  • Many agents feel the pressure to drive fancy cars in order to project an air of success.
  • One agent, Jessica Diane Moers, shared her frustrations and revelations surrounding this issue on agent Facebook group "Out of the Box Owl."
  • Moers realized her clients didn't care about her car, and she's decided to make it part of her brand. In the end, she encourages agents to accept themselves and their individuality.

In a highly competitive and image-driven world, many people feel the pressure to make the best first impression.

Real estate is one of the most competitive industries, and agents are constantly looking for ways to stand out, whether it’s through an engaging social media strategy, catchy marketing or even having a fly wardrobe and fancy car to boot.

So, what happens when an agent can’t afford to roll up in a Rolls-Royce? Are they doomed to be unsuccessful?

Jessica Diane Moers, a newbie agent from Texas, grappled with this issue and decided to share her story on the Out of the Box Owl Facebook group. She wrote:

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Moers says her fellow agents never made disparaging comments about her car, nor did they encourage her to buy another one.

But, she says, some of the anxiety came from family and friends who would jokingly ask: “You’re going to drive clients around in that thing?” She felt those comments and questions implied that she needed to put on an air of success to be successful — and that her car just wasn’t going to cut it.

Agent personality: What sets you apart

Moers was in the midst of wedding planning and buying a new home and knew she didn’t have the resources to put toward a new car. So she worked with what she had and made sure the car was immaculate on the inside as she drove around.

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Although none of her clients complained or even asked about the car, she says she still felt the pressure to make excuses for the way her Explorer looked.

“I would say ‘Excuse my SUV; I have a classic Camaro and my husband is working on it,’ ” she says. “Or one time, I remember saying ‘Pardon my SUV, I’m surprised someone hasn’t called the cops with me driving this around here.’ ”

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Real estate agent Jessica Diane Moer’s 2000 Ford Explorer.

She said her breaking point came a couple weeks ago, when she finally grew tired of making excuses and came to the realization that her clients simply didn’t care about the car she drove.

“Instead of making excuses for my truck or trying to have an image, I’m just going to be like, it is what it is, this is my truck, this is my personality, and this is what I have to offer to you,” Moers said. “People really don’t care what you drive. They want to know what sets you apart from other Realtors.”

Your authenticity benefits your clients

After her “aha moment,” Moers felt compelled to share her story in hopes of getting support from her fellow Realtors. She expected to get a few likes and comments, but the post ended up garnering 102 likes and 54 comments from Realtors who are facing and conquering the same challenge.

“To find out that I’m not alone…it was good to see that there were people out there working and being successful without a fancy car.”

One of those successful agents is Michael Domenichetti, from Burlington, Ontario. Domenichetti says he ditched the suit and tie for jeans, a button-down shirt and red high-top sneakers.

To top off the look, he grew out a beard that lumberjacks would be jealous of.

“I feel more relaxed and confident because I know who I am and why I am doing what I do,” he says. “By the way, just signed a $1M listing last week and have a $1.6M listing coming up next week.”

On the other hand, 23-year-old agent Brett Jordan Friesen says he loves driving his BMW. Likewise, Glynn Williford says he pulls out his Jaguar when he’s meeting and entertaining clients.

Both say their cars don’t determine their success, but it’s a matter of driving what you like.

Kerry Redding, a broker/owner in Austin, Texas, sums up the debate: “Do what makes you happy. Buy a new car if you want. Don’t buy a new car if you don’t want to. Who cares? It’s your business.”

Moers says she’s making the car part of her brand, along with her trademark red eyeglasses and lipstick. She even plans on bringing back her Pink Floyd T-shirt and Converse “Chucks” into her daily wardrobe, and she’s relishing the day she can drive up in her classic Camaro.

And what about the money she would have put toward a new car? She now can afford to plan a 12-day tour of Scotland with her husband.

Email Marian McPherson.

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