Tips for real estate agent outfits

by Corben Grant on 12 Nov 2021

The most important job as a real estate agent is to help clients buy and sell their homes, but you should also look presentable yourself well while doing it. Just like when you stage a home, appearance can be extremely important in how your real estate clients perceive you. Professional attire can communicate personality and expertise as a real estate agent as well as instill confidence in your clients. Despite how much we want to believe it isn't true, your appearance and your first impressions matter! Most clients, no matter how kind they are, can't help but judge based on their first impression so you need to take advantage of that and put your best look forward.

There are no hard and fast industry rules when it comes to a dress code for real estate agents. Especially for someone new to the real estate business, it can be a lengthy process to discover what is appropriate and develop your personal style. You may have a dress code to follow from your employer, but not always.

Even for established real estate agents, you may not have put too much thought into your looks, or have found that trends have drifted from the more strict real estate dress codes of your earlier years. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some basic tips to consider when choosing your outfits as a real estate agent.

Business casual is a spectrum

The conventional day-to-day dress code for a real estate agent is the ever-popular business casual. Business casual is less of a dress code and more of a spectrum of many looks. You want to project a professional appearance while also not looking intimidating or unapproachable. On the balance, between business and casual, it’s generally best to lean towards casual for a real estate agent, but there are some nuances to that decision.

Dress shoes or sneakers? What to wear or what not to wear for real estate agents

What does business casual clothing mean exactly? It’s hard to say. Business casual exists in the territory between a full suit and the jeans-and-a-t-shirt look. Think button-up shirts or blouses rather than t-shirts and feel free to lose the tie. Choose a blazer or sport coat over a suit jacket or a more casual coat. Opt for slacks, dress pants, or chinos over jeans, shorts, or leggings. Go for classic shoe styles rather than sneakers. Feel free to forgo the high heels, but keep your shoes closed toe.

Basic colours and patterns

Colours-wise, a business casual dress code typically leans towards muted tones, generally blues, browns, and greys. These days, it's also acceptable to branch into more exciting colours, but try to avoid loud and distracting ones.

Patterns-wise, business casual would call for mostly solid colours, maybe some basic stripes and simple patterns. Avoid any patterns that are too aggressive or distracting.

Consider your audience

One thing to consider for real estate agents when choosing your outfit is the audience you want to work with and how clients perceive different looks.

An older, more traditional client may feel more comfortable with a more traditional real estate agent. Perhaps this means a more business-oriented dress code. Consider suit jackets, dress shoes, and maybe a tie. Sticking to a more casual dress code may make this sort of client see you as inexperienced and lacking care in your work.

Younger clients on the other hand are not going to respond as well to more professional attire. They might feel more comfortable with real estate agents with a more casual look instead of following a rigid business dress code. Younger people, especially those new to real estate, may have some anxieties about home buying so displaying a casual appearance will put them more at ease and help build your relationship. With more progressive clients, you may be able to ignore a lot of conventional dress code rules and branch out.

Consider your setting

Consider the environment you’re going to be in. Are you showing a house to one client? Dress with them in mind. Will you be meeting multiple clients at an open house? Dress to show off your own personality and make yourself visible in the crowd. Are you attending a real estate event with a dress code? Be sure to follow it.

You should also consider dressing differently if you are hosting an open house at a top-of-the-line condo in the city as opposed to a more modest showing for one client at a farmhouse in the country. You don't want to look out of place in the areas you are trying to sell real estate.

Consider utility

A real estate agent has a dynamic job so this tip is especially useful to consider when you're doing showings, for example. Your clothing needs to cover you up, but it also needs to be functional.

When showing a property, you may be inside or outside, you may have to get down low to look under things and you may even end up with dust or dirt on you depending on the state of the property. That means that you should be ready in the cold months with an easily removable jacket. You should avoid potentially revealing clothing or clothing that restricts your movement. And, keep in mind that, as an agent, you’re on your feet a lot, therefore, a comfortable pair of shoes is key.

Consider fit

When it comes to an outfit, 'fit' is right there in the word! Even if you have the most well-made clothing, it won't look right on you if it doesn't fit properly. You don't want to look like you are swimming in your shirt or being choked by your collar. Choose clothing that is flattering to your body type, and wherever possible, get pieces fitted to your exact measurements.

While it may be a lot more expensive, a custom-made garment will look better on you than anything else because it is tailored specifically for you. If you attend events that require you to wear a suit and plan to for many years, a bespoke or tailored suit can be a worthwhile investment.

Cultivate a personal style

While it’s helpful to consider your clients and setting when picking your clothing, ultimately, you are the one that is going to have to wear them. Take into consideration what you like and why. Buy more of the things that you love and get rid of pieces that don't feel good for you. Over time, you should work to cultivate a wardrobe that presents a professional appearance and shows off your personality.

Many of the best-dressed people can be recognized through their outfits alone as it represents an authentic extension of their own selves. And authenticity is the keyword here – when you love what you wear you won't just feel better, but you will project an aura of authentic comfort and confidence that people will be drawn to. Plus, being the best version of yourself is always the most important thing.

A word of warning to the more fashion eccentric among us: err on the side of business casual. Feel free to express yourself with whatever crazy patterns, loud colours and dramatic silhouettes that may please you, but consider keeping those for your personal life outside of work. You can be the agent who always shows up in flip flops and a tank top, but you will need to work a lot harder to sell yourself without that professional appearance. There is a balance to being true to yourself while also being the professional version of yourself.

Another thing to consider is making your look a part of your brand. If you express yourself through what you wear, feel free to make that a part of your personal branding. When possible, use photos of yourself that show your clothing. Remember, when you think of Superman, for example, you likely think about his signature outfit first rather than what his face looks like. Real estate professionals with a keen sense of style will stick in people's minds and this helps to strengthen your personal brand.

Pay attention to your peers

You might not be the most fashion-minded person and that's totally okay. One big thing to remember about fashion is that we dress to be seen so don't feel bad looking at other people to see what’s working for them.

When in doubt, look at other real estate agents or business professionals for ideas on how you can dress or how fashions are changing. Also, when in doubt, ask friends, family, or colleagues about your outfits. They can provide you with a second set of eyes and let you know what is working or what to change to nail that professional appearance.

Pay attention to seasonal styles

If you have one good look that really works for you, great! It may be tempting to wear it until it's worn out, but this can be a bad look. If you show up with the same outfit for every situation year-round, you may start to look like some sort of action figure of a realtor rather than a real person.

One of the best ways to up your outfits is to keep seasonal trends in mind. That means having different styles and colours that are more or less appropriate for the time of year. Sure, for a standard business casual look you can get away with classic light blues and greys year-round, but it can be fun to change it up. For the summer, you can try brighter colours and looser-fitting outfits. For winter and fall, it's all about warm layers and earthy tones.

Accessories

Your outfit doesn't just consist of clothes either. Keep in mind how your accessories can complete, or compete with, your look. Jewelry is fine to wear, but again, consider your setting and don't wear overly flashy jewelry like an expensive watch where it may seem out of place.

If you need to carry your things around with you, you may need a bag. You will look very out of place if you show up in a suit and wearing a backpack, not to mention it's going to wrinkle up your shirt. Go for something like a professional leather bag in a versatile colour.

Unless it’s a colder season, there is no real reason you should be wearing a hat. If it’s cold out, feel free to do what it takes to stay warm, but choose options that you can easily remove and stow away, revealing your professional look underneath.

Men's vs. women's looks for real estate agents

More than ever before, the world of fashion is blurring the line between fashion for men and women. Generally, a woman today can get away with the same fashion that used to be considered exclusively men's looks and still look fully professional. That being said, a lot of styles targeted to men are cut for men, so it may be harder to find clothing for your body type.

The bottom line

Fashion is a constantly developing field and has a lot of nuance in the different looks and purposes. Don't worry about nailing it the first try, but paying attention to your looks will allow you to nail those first impressions and to stand out as a real estate professional, which can really help your real estate career.

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