by Lia Blanchard
Congratulations – you’ve just closed a deal and earned your commission. You want your clients to be ecstatic about the experience, to tell their family and friends about it with joy, and to think of you first if – more likely, when – the time comes to move again. In the current dubious housing sales environment, it’s more important than ever for real estate professionals to cultivate the relationships they have with their buyers.
An informal 2009 survey by Gifts by the Stars found that 61-63% of homebuyers would re-use or recommend their agent if they received a gift from them – yet only 25% actually do. (Participate in the current version of this survey here by June 15.)
The first step: choose your personal message
Of course your gift says “I appreciate your business,” but it should also have a personal touch. Realtors in particular spend a lot of time with their clients during the home buying process, and will have plenty of opportunity to pay attention and learn about their personal lives. Make note of their interests and personalities, and why they chose this particular home.
The second step: convey that message with the appropriate gift
A great closing gift conveys the message all by itself: sincere and professional thanks, with a warm, personal feel. Here are a few suggestions.
Congratulations on your first home!
- Photo of the buyers in or in front of their new home, presented in a frame or on a magnet or decorative ornament
Enjoy pursuing your hobby in your new home. Did the buyers choose this particular home for the huge workshop, the gourmet kitchen, or the dedicated garden space?
- Cookbook of regional recipes, or a cuisine the buyer enjoys
- Gift basket featuring gourmet food, tools for the gardener or handyman, or grilling spices
May your family enjoy many years here.
- Home décor personalized with the family name
- Address stamp personalized with the family’s name and new home address
Welcome to the area.
- Tickets to a local attraction or movie theatre
I wish you well in your moving experience.
- Gift cards for moving truck rental or home improvement store
- Gift baskets of snacks to munch while unpacking
Thank you for your service. Military homebuyers especially appreciate a good buying experience, and will likely to refer you to others – then call you when the time comes to move again.
- Small piece of art reflecting the area’s culture
Note: Some states have limits on the dollar value of any closing gift.
The secret: make it easy on yourself
Don’t stress about always choosing the perfect gift for each situation. Personalized items are often very easy to individually order (thank you, internet!). Consider building relationships with vendors and artists for bulk purchases. Or contact Art of Appreciation about the upper levels of the Artful Givers Club for volume discounts and branding items with your personal label.
One last note
Make it easy for your happy client to refer your services – it’s okay to include a few business cards with your gift, but don’t overdo it. The Gift by the Stars survey noted that promotional items with the agency’s logo were the least likely gifts to garner referrals.
Next: Father’s Day Around the World