Real estate agents often drive home buyers from one property to another in their own vehicles, requiring an understanding of basic protocols to make it a productive ride
Would you jump into a car with a stranger to ride around neighborhoods you don’t know? While most of us wouldn’t normally do this, the trust that potential home buyers place on a real estate agent when they jump into an agent’s car is testimony of the value they associate to the advice of a real estate professional.
That said, riding with strangers often carries a number of implications—from personal security to insurance and even communication—and this article establishes a basic point of reference for both real estate agents and home buyers alike.
Here are some basic questions real estate agents should ask themselves before driving customers around the neighborhood:
- Does your car insurance have enough coverage? Be sure to have enough insurance to cover you, but most importantly check with your insurance company to find out if additional coverage is needed when riding with passengers—particularly those with whom there is a business relationship in the field of real estate.
- When was the last time you cleaned your car? If you are looking to make a great impression, be sure to take care of your vehicle by cleaning it often. Vacuuming a car often helps reduce any unwanted smells originating from dust and other substances brought into your car on your shoes.
- Do you have sensitive documents lying around? You have probably shown other properties and have personal information from other home buyers in your attaché or briefcase. As a precaution, don’t have sensitive documents lying around because it may be seen as a sign of carelessness by other customers.
- Can you fit everyone in your car? While home buyers may want to ride with you, be sure to communicate to them that there are limits to how many people can ride in your vehicle. You can get pulled over for having an overcrowded car as it is unsafe and can result in a hefty fine.
- Did you put enough gas before meeting your customers? Being ready for your customers shows that you not only care about their time, but also that you are well-prepared for a day of showings. Don’t wait until the car’s gas tank light is blinking to add gas. As a general rule, fill it up if you know you’ll be driving home buyers around.
- Are you talking too much? Riding in a car with potential home buyers will give you a chance to listen to everything that the like or don’t like. It also gives you a chance to understand how they think, who makes the decisions, and why they are looking for a home—all valuable knowledge for you, the real estate agent.
If you are wondering what home buyers should do when riding in a real estate agent’s car, the basic protocol is to sit back, relax and ask a lot of questions—as long as they are not about the ethnicity, religion or other information that can be considered illegal for real estate agents to answer.
That said, real estate agents are a great source of knowledge about real estate and the home buying process, but they also study MLS listings to uncover opportunities and features that can make a difference in your home search.
Above all, home buyers should be respectful of their real estate agents’ vehicles as these are a tool in their business. In fact, many real estate agents consider their cars to be their “office”, given the amount of time they spend showing homes or scouting listings around the neighborhood.
Have fun and enjoy the ride to the best listings in town—courtesy of your friendly real estate agent.