Any Realtor can go out and “buy an image”, but is it genuine?

One of my VW bugs, a blue 1973 from several years ago Don St Germain

One of my VW bugs, a blue 1973 from several years ago.

My daily driver is a 1974 Gold Volkswagen Beetle (no kidding!), and more often than not, people ask about it at the gas station, grocery store parking lot, and even at our local Realtor tours. It seems everybody used to have one, or knew somebody that had one, went on road trips in one, or learned to drive in one.

When I’m at class for the Real Estate Board, I’m the only one in the parking lot with a 1974 Gold VW Bug. In fact, not am I the only one there with a 70’s VW Bug, I’m the only there at all with a car that’s from the 70s, never mind from the 80s or even the 90s.

Occasionally at listing appointments, I’ve had future clients sit in the car, have their picture beside it, or drive it up and down the driveway. I had a fellow in his 80s say he hasn’t been in one in over 30 years… and if he could start it up. And he knew exactly what to do – press the gas pedal for a moment, turn the key and give it some gas. It’s like riding a bike, you never forget.

I’ve always been a VW fan, and have bought and restored quite a few of them, mostly late 60s to mid 70s. It’s what I like to do in my spare time, and it is very different from real estate and keeps me grounded. And I enjoy it. A lot.

There’s a great bumper sticker I’ve seen on a few older restored cars that says “BUILT, NOT BOUGHT”. I can relate to that bumper sticker. I put hundreds of hours into the VW, and while you may not see it at first, it makes me feel good that I brought it back to life. It was in very rough shape when I bought it from the previous owner where it had sat for 12+ years.

I like things with character, with history and a story. I like to be genuine. It makes life interesting, and it makes life memorable. Time and time again I find Realtors get their real estate license, go out and buy an expensive watch, lease a new luxury car, create some phony persona and spend a small fortune on “buying an image”.

That’s not me. What you see is what you get, not an overly polished, sugar coated “image” that has no more value than that next car payment.

I’m the Realtor you’ll see pull up and show properties in my bug, whether they are $200k or $9M. I get to collect new stories every time I meet new clients.