DOGThere have been several posts lately that seem to be equating professionalism in real estate with what you wear, or what you drive. The classic style over substance argument.

I actually agree that there should be some standards, but the degree of those standards is what is always in disagreement because dress and image is very personal.

When I worked in a corporate environment we had a difficult time putting a definition to the term "business casual." 

Last Thursday and Friday I had two settlements. One listing and one sale. With the different agents, settlement officers, buyers, sellers, loan officers and even an attorney...not a tie in sight. No dresses, hats or gloves for the women either.

What was in evidence was competence. Competence by everyone involved. Not unique, but always appreciated for a transaction of this magnitude.

For what it's worth, I prefer competence every time. I'm on the side of the substance issue.

Mostly, we're talking about Dockers and a collared shirt for the guys and pants and blouse combination for the women. One loan officer pushed the envelope a bit with jeans and a tee shirt but nobody cared.

There were no drama queens at either settlement. No having to negotiate something at the settlement table. Everybody knew their job and did it well, and everything was completed ahead of time. Nobody from those settlements is going to make the "Best Dressed List," but who really cares? They could have gone down as the two most boring settlements in history.

Give me boring and competent every time. If you want...wrap them up in a nice tie.


Richard Iarossi, REALTOR®
Long and Foster® Real Estate, Inc.
Crofton, MD 21114
410-451-6255 Office
443-995-9595 Cell

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 Richard Iarossi is a full time licensed REALTOR®, working in Crofton, MD. My coverage areas are: Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Howard, Calvert, Queen Anne, and Baltimore City and County. I specialize in residential real estate, working with both buyers and sellers. Use the registration free search on my website at If you’re not already working with a REALTOR®...I can help. Call me at 443-995-9595 (Cell) or 410-451-6255 (Office).

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Comment balloon 22 commentsRichard Iarossi • December 22 2008 07:59AM


lolol....I never wear a tie for my closings...Hugs...hope you are having a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Shawn Davis, Homes For Sale, Genesee County, Michigan (Home Crossings, P.C.) over 10 years ago

You know you hit the nail on the head, I couldn't have come up with a better way to put it, competence is what our clients really expect from us, isn't it?

Posted by Caren Wallace, Portland Caren Real Estate (Premier Property Group LLC) over 10 years ago


Here's my argument. The reason I wear a tie at closing is that it is a "legal procedure," plain and simple. However, a lot of the attorneys are not wearing ties anymore so who knows. you might have something there!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 10 years ago

I would be more apt to consider an agent based on their credentials as opposd to their car or wardrobe. 

Posted by Tom Giansante (The Title Company of Jersey) over 10 years ago

I have noticed the lessening of traditional business attire.  As long as one is able and competent I don't care if they wear beachwear.  I don't care if they arrive in a horsedrawn carriage.  Or a VW microbus.  Most of my clients hire me before they see me or my car so I know thats not a criteria with them either.  What I do love to see are those mundane boring closings.  It makes my clients think I wear the suit with the big red S on it.  :)

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) over 10 years ago

Hey, maybe we can just push for Daisy Duke shorts for women and wife beater t-shirts for men. 

It isn't just about professionalism, but about RESPECT and showing that respect.  I'm certainly not advocating Black Tie wear but certainly something above what you would go to a NASCAR race in.  It DOES say a lot about someone as to how they never get a second chance at a first impression.


Posted by Ron Tarvin, Broker, Katy, Houston, Cypress 77450,77494,77095 (Residential, Investment properties, rehab projects, property management, luxury homes, new construction!) over 10 years ago

Shawn, Good me to link to your picture.

Caren, Competence is what clients should demand.

Richard, Put me in front of a Judge and I'm all over the suit and tie dress code. Thinking back to the recent Presidential campaigns, most of the candidates were tieless over half the time. Besides, I never know whether its wide or narrow...just another choice.

Tom, That's the way it should be.

Gail, There's a lot of dressing based on generations too. These two closings had people in their twenties, thirties and all the way up to me...ugh, sixties. I was wearing an undershirt with the big red "S".

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago

Ron, I don't think I'm disrespecting anybody by wearing Dockers and a collared shirt, but you're entitled to your opinion.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago

I agree, our lifestyles have changed so much. You no longer need to be dressed like a newbie sweeper salesperson hawking $1000 machines.

Posted by Jim Dvorovy, REALTOR - Canton Ohio Real Estate (Cutler Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Your post made me smile.  I'm a built for comfort not for speed person and I am definitely for competence rather than style.  You won't see me show up to show a fixer upper in high heels and a designer suit either.  Clean, no holes, no stains and sensible is me to a T, and I don't drive a big, fancy, expensive car either.  Enjoy your holiday!!

Posted by June Piper-Brandon, Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time (Long & Foster Hampden) over 10 years ago

Jim, I agree, its mostly a societal norm now. Very few people seem to be put off by what you wear or what you least outwardly.

June, I think we all know when we cross a particular line when it comes to dress code. I'm just grateful that I don't have a camera on my PC when I'm working from home. I can't even see that line anymore.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago

I too came from corporate america, at a consulting firm that did not even allow pants for women!  When I got into Real estate in 2000, I was amazed to see how dressed down the realtors were.  Sure, america everywhere has become more casual, but there is NO WAY I will wear jeans to a closing.  I of course have pitched most of my corporate suits, and now generally wear slacks and a sweater set or something like that...anyhooo...glad to hear your closings went well.  Good for you!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) over 10 years ago

Kristin, Wore suits for decades in corporate America too. You don't have to be in a suit to look good in this profession. The clothes don't dictate the competence level, and to me, thats whats important.

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago

Congrats on your closings!  I agree customers want competence!  I tend to dress casual business but every now and then I like to wear a suit or jackets...It's a woman makes me feel great!  Happy Holidays to you and yours and may 2009 bring you health, happiness and lots of wealth! :)

Posted by Midori Miller, Online Marketing For Real Estate Professionals (Talk 2 Midori, LLC) over 10 years ago

wearing business casuaul is a lot less important than competence, but I still think that one can never be too overdressed . Though, you can be undersdressed - Congrats on the closings

Posted by James Wexler ( over 10 years ago

In our mountain town, only the bankers and missionaries wear ties. Jeans are commonplace.

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 10 years ago

Hi Richard:

I'm with's about competence, not the car, clothes or even jewelry...

By the way, LOVE the poodle!!!

Merry Christmas,

Toula Rosebrock Logo

Posted by Toula Rosebrock, Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township, (Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ) over 10 years ago

Business casual is fine by me but, I see a lot of people that really do not understand real business casual. If some Realtors or others in the business want to wear jeans, fine, some clients probobly really dont't care, but I'll bet most do! I do not even wear jeans to the office on week ends or after never know when you may run into someone. JMHO

Posted by David M. Childress, I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio! (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 10 years ago

LOVE the DOG PICS Double I!  I am all about competence!  I may not always look the best or so my family tells me, ugh, but I get the job done and well I might add.  If I didn't do it well, I wouldn't get the referrals.  I don't want to go to a closing and See daisy dukes and wife beaters BUT casual to dress casual is the norm here in Greenville SC.  SOME closing attorneys are the best dressed person in the room with a loosened tie and long sleeve shirt with cuffs turned up. Either way competency is MY Option!! 


Richard, I've never worn a tie to a settlement!  Here in DC it would be pretty unusual for the title attorney to show up in jeans and a tee, but it's more important that he do a totally smooth settlements than wear Armani or Hugo Boss!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I have never been to settlement without a tie or a suit and have never heard a complaint.  What I have heard and seen from the other side of the table is "I wish my agent was as professional as you!"  I will NEVER attend a settlement (unless it is absolutely out of my control) without a suit and tie.  There is a lot of money changing hands and it is someones largest investment that they may ever make and should be taken seriously...

Posted by Mike Klijanowicz, Associate Broker @ Cummings & Co. Realtors (Cummings & Co. Realtors) over 10 years ago

I think that what is in your head is more important than what is on your head.

That being said, I like hats!

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) over 10 years ago

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