Many of us know that buying a house isn’t exactly a casual purchase. It takes time, energy, and usually enough money to make even the most frugal shopper hyperventilate. As a real estate agent, it’s your job to help people get as painlessly as possible from window shopping (literally) to holding the keys of their dream home.
When everything is said and done, this is more than a job for most real estate agents. It’s the opportunity to help people start their lives in a home that could be with them for a lifetime. As the person who facilitates the sale of a property, you’ll have the opportunity to really build a relationship with your clients. Parting doesn’t have to be an awkward shuffling of paperwork and a few brief goodbyes. It can be a time when you build your client base using your people skills... and a tasteful closing gift.
The idea of giving a gift can be intimidating for a lot of reasons. Too much, and you risk looking a little too attached. Too little, and you end up looking like an unappreciative hack. This is why you have us. At EvaBot, we know the subtleties of gifting, and we’ve put together some simple guidelines to help you get the perfect closing gift every time.
Giving gifts won’t anger the powers that be
If you think that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) bars you from getting your client a closing gift, think again. Giving a gift after closing doesn’t violate any legal or formal etiquette. In fact, it’s perfectly legal and socially acceptable. You’re probably better off getting a real estate closing gift then you are ending the deal with a handshake and a business card. More people will call you if they’re reminded of your awesome housing market prowess every time they see their awesome closing gift than by a card that gets shoved underneath a layer of hard candies in a purse.
If you’re still concerned with violating the RESPA, we’ve compiled a list of some of the dos and don’ts associated with real estate gift giving:
- Wait until the closing is complete to give your clients a gift.
- Give the gift freely without expectations, and
- Give a gift that’s budget appropriate and tasteful.
- Offer your clients a gift in exchange for referrals or negotiation short cuts.
- Attempt to give clients cash gifts, gift cards, or gifts associated with your professional affiliates.
- Try to offer gifts partway through the purchase process in the hope of influencing the outcome, or
- Offer exorbitant gifts that are disproportionate to the situation.
It’s fairly simple. Any money that a real estate agent receives needs to be in direct response to goods and services offered via a contractual agreement. Agents also can’t attempt to force a referral using cash payments or other influential real estate gifts. A closing gift is given after the process is complete, and acts as a congratulatory act of goodwill. It’s legal, tasteful, and a great way to celebrate with your clients. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s take a look at some great closing gift ideas that won’t disappoint.
Gift ideas for clients after closing
The key to finding the perfect gift is in getting to know the recipient. You can’t slap something generic in front of someone and expect it to be what always he or she has always wanted (unless you get really lucky). These tips can help you choose something memorable and within an acceptable closing gift budget.
Consider a gift centered on the home
An antique or older home is almost guaranteed to have some amazing history. Consider coming up with some original piece of decor or even a compilation of the home’s history to create a custom closing gift for your client. It’s not just about slapping another bottle of wine or gift basket on their table and calling it even. Don’t be the real estate agent that gives the closing gift equivalent of a fruitcake.
You can’t go wrong with heartfelt and sentimental
Pay attention to your client’s preferences and personal beliefs. While it’s usually a good idea to avoid religious items (you never know when you’ll go wrong), there are plenty of nostalgic alternatives. Consider finding a local piece of handmade art that comes at a reasonable price. You won’t break the bank, and your clients will love their unique gift because it feels tied to their home.
Try out some cool Internet of Things gear
If you’ve never gotten to play with an Alexa or something else that turns your home into a tech lovers’ paradise, then you’re missing out. There are plenty of low-cost appliances and virtual assistant devices that can help your clients get the most out of their newly installed high-speed internet collection (providing they have one). The best way to know whether or not this would be appropriate is to get to know your client, what she or he likes, and what is already owned. Some might benefit from a year long subscription to Netflix, while others may prefer an automated vacuum. Tech can be tricky, but it can also be an amazing real estate closing gift when done right.
Subscription gift boxes? Yes please!
One of the hottest new trends is subscription gift boxes. There are companies that deliver everything from gourmet beef jerky to home decor products. Again, it’s a matter of getting to know your clients and choosing something that’s personal and entertaining. If they have children or pets, choosing the subscription box gets even easier. Just make sure that you pay for a specific amount of time and let them know when it runs out! The last thing you want to do is leave them holding an unexpected bill.
Don’t be the fruitcake agent—go with something personalized
The secret to a successful real estate closing gift is to be original, interesting, and personal, but not too personal. Sometimes getting a little help can stop you from being perceived in a way you’d rather avoid.
Being a good real estate agent doesn’t always translate into being a gift giving natural. Check out EvaBot to see how we can take the pressure off of you!