Can your real estate attire affect your success as an agent? If you aren’t dressing appropriately for a real estate professional, it very well could.
As we all know, strangers judge us for a variety of reasons. Our attire is one of those reasons. If you look unprofessional, or if your attire seems to see you’d rather be somewhere else, potential clients do notice. And some will say “No, he (or she) is not the agent for me.
People don’t say “Dress for success” for no reason. It’s a wise idea.
What is appropriate real estate attire?
Ignoring the two extremes of “too sloppy” and “too dressy” for a minute, appropriate real estate attire depends entirely upon where you are and what kind of property you deal with.
Your prospective clients are paying attention, so you should too!
If you sell rural properties…
You may very well be called upon to hike up the side of a mountain or around a boggy meadow, find a log on which to cross a stream, or climb through a barbed wire fence or two.
Appropriate dress would be jeans and boots or walking shoes. Jeans can look professional when teamed with a collared shirt and blazer rather than a t-shirt.
After I let my license go, a friend with a home on a nice 5 acre parcel decided to sell. Not believing that the agents in our small town would have enough marketing reach to bring the price she wanted, she called someone from a large firm in a nearby city.
A pair of agents showed up. He in a nice suit and highly polished wing-tips. She in a long skirt and heels. They were horrified at the idea when my friend suggested touring the meadow and viewing the creek at the far side of the property.
My friend said later “Even our gravel driveway was too much for that lady. How could anyone be dumb enough to show up at a country home dressed as they were?”
If you sell waterfront properties…
Your real estate attire might consist of shorts and a polo shirt – and you might show properties from your boat.
I’ve also heard that shorts are deemed appropriate for those who sell homes in golfing communities.
Unfortunately, some who moved to our small mountain community from such locations didn’t realize that it wouldn’t be well-accepted here. I heard more than one potential buyer say they left an agent because (based on their attire) they felt that he or she was begrudgingly taking time out from play to show them a house.
If you sell high-end homes or condos…
A nice suit or a dress and heels are appropriate. I was in a broker class once when the instructor said we should not drive expensive cars or wear expensive clothing or jewelry. He felt that it gave the impression that we made too much money.
One agent – who was wearing heels, a long skirt, and more jewelry that was probably wise – spoke up. She said that if she didn’t dress as she did and drive a Cadillac, her customers would think she was not “one of them.”
So – you need to pay attention and gauge your own clients’ reactions.
If you sell mid-range homes…
The consensus of opinion has been that you should dress “one step above” what your clients will likely be wearing. Does that mean “business casual?” You be the judge.
Whatever you choose, it should be attire that shows you’re a professional, but you do not hold yourself in a place that’s looking down on your clients.
Even if you sell fixer-uppers or tear-downs, you need to look professional.
The people buying those homes are likely to be investors or do-it-yourselfers who are willing to do the hard work to turn an abused house into a home.
They deserve the respect you show by dressing appropriately.
Going back to the extremes in real estate attire…
Not long after a brokerage in our town had changed hands, I happened to run into two of the agents who worked there. One of them announced that he was quitting. He said: “She may own the agency, but she doesn’t own me.” It seems that the new owner/broker had laid down the law about his real estate attire. No more baggy, stained sweat pants and old t-shirts.
He DID dress more like he was ready to go wash the car or muck out the barn than show a house. And he wasn’t the only one in our community who did so. I saw agents “working” in bagged-out sweat pants or old jeans and t-shirts more times than I care to remember.
Another agent often showed up in “parachute pants.” (Do you remember those?) Now I expect there are those who wear leggings – which only look good on ladies with perfect figures. And even then – are skin-tight pants appropriate business attire?
At the other end of the “silly scale” was the woman I saw one morning in an out-of-town real estate office. She was wearing a skin-tight, low-cut dress in hot pink, with spike heels. Depending upon the people she socialized with, she was dressed appropriately for a night on the town.
Then there was the agent who wore short-shorts and low-cut tank tops… She sold lakefront property, and she was moderately successful – but not with married couples.
Your real estate attire contributes to (or detracts from) your image as a professional.
So what should you wear?
It all depends on where you work and what kind of property you list or sell. Is yours a rural community like mine, where (with a few exceptions) men don suits and ladies wear dresses only to go to church?
Is it a golf or boating community? Do you sell farms and ranches, or equestrian properties?
Is yours a community filled with young families or seniors who are downsizing? Or do your usual clients wear designer clothing?
Look at your potential clients, then look at successful agents.
If you’re new to real estate and wondering what real estate attire will make you look the most professional, just look around you.
Take clues from your prospective clients. Then look at the most successful agents who serve the same clients you hope to serve. They are probably doing it right, so follow their lead.