December 21st - 2014

Driving in my car: REALTORS® and their vehicles

Driving is a big part of our jobs. Having been raised by a REALTOR®, I learned that fact early on.

By Liza Tallen

Woman in carDriving is a big part of our jobs. Having been raised by a REALTOR®, I learned that fact early on. This line of work keeps us in our cars a great deal, which is a double-edged sword. I enjoy driving and it’s great to have freedom during the workday to travel all around an area. I experience some really great moments and some not-so-great moments, since there are pros and cons to spending so much time in the car.

The pros are that I have really gotten to know traffic patterns and traffic flow as well as learning shortcuts, and the best times of day to take certain routes. I know the good times to hit the coffee shop to avoid a line-up. I know where to find the lowest gas prices and the best car washes. People recognize my vehicle in their neighbourhoods and call me to see what I’m up to.

The cons are that I’m sitting down a great deal during the day. I’ve also experienced all kinds of drivers and can find myself at the mercy of traffic, construction and accidents. A hard part of this job is the waiting -- waiting to do an offer presentation, waiting for clients who may not show up, waiting for home inspectors or appraisers, and so on.  When I’m waiting in my car, people may think I’m a stalker or a thief casing their neighbourhood!

When I first started in real estate I had just moved back from the west coast, leaving a different job. I had a sharp looking Mercedes Benz ML350 – my dream car. I was so proud of that vehicle and how hard I had worked to earn it. But once I got into real estate, one of my prospective clients told me that they did not pick me as their representative because of my car. They felt I was too young to have earned that car, and I must not really need the money. Now I try to match my choice of vehicle to my client base. I sell family homes so I drive a family-style car, a sports utility vehicle that fits a whole family.

I believe that your market plays a role in the vehicle you choose as a REALTOR®. Our car is a representation of us. Working in a luxury market may warrant a luxury vehicle, whereas a jeep or all-wheel drive may be best for cottage country. As frequent motorists, we must think about issues such as a vehicle’s driveability in different weather conditions, gas mileage and the environmental impact of our vehicle.  Comfort is key, so I ask myself whether a particular vehicle will suit my clients. Will a tall person be comfortable? What about an 80-year-old or someone with mobility issues? Two-door vehicles are not an option in my market. If my buyers take a separate vehicle, I find that I miss that relationship-building time with them.   

Construction or traffic can turn perfect timing into me being 20 minutes late. During my first few years in the field I got stressed if I was five minutes late. I’ve since learned to account for slow traffic in my planning, and I always call my clients if I think I’ll be late.

Bottled water and snacks are important items to bring in the car, since finding time to eat is difficult. A change of shoes and socks is also a good idea, since you never know what you’ll step in! In winter, I store road salt, a shovel, blanket, spare mittens and an extra jacket in my trunk. One hazard of being in the car so much is witnessing accidents. I have first-aid training and keep a kit handy so that I can at least help make a bad situation better. I have used my first-aid kit four times this year, and I hope I don’t need it again anytime soon.

Liza TallenDriving for work still appeals to me. We bring people to houses and houses to people. As our clients watch us pull into their laneway, we aim to earn their trust and help to “drive the process” as they navigate what is often the largest single purchase or sale of their lives. 

Share this item

Helping your clients deal with form overload Call for candidates – OREA

For more information contact

Ontario Real Estate Association

Jean-Adrien Delicano

Manager, Media Relations

416-445-9910 ext. 246