Realtor marketing covers a lot of things and I really believe that giving a buyers gift can be part of your marketing strategy, if it is done correctly!
Okay, I worked with a total of 3 buyers when I was a Realtor many moons ago so I was not focused on this aspect of real estate marketing, BUT I work with many agents on an ongoing basis who swear by giving a gift at closing. Okay, after being teased unmercifully about my “3 clients” I have a full disclosure. I was a listing agent, not a buyers agent and carried 50 listings at a time, but only worked with 3 buyers!
I think that if you are doing it as a way to increase referrals or to keep in ongoing communication with your past buyers, then it is okay.
On the other hand, I feel like giving great service and doing a tremendous job of finding them a house, getting them a solid deal and helping them close is gift enough. There is something to be said for the fact that our accountants and lawyers don’t give gifts. But then again they are never in their client’s homes or cars so maybe that relationship is not as “personal” as a Realtor/Client relationship.
What Realtors Say
I have a super cool Realtor marketing newsletter that I send bi-weekly and so I polled my Realtor peeps to see what they had to say and BOY did they come out with strong opinions one way or another. Some loved buyer gifts and some said no way, but I thought everyone had great feedback!
I have tried to break these up into interesting ideas and concepts for Realtor marketing purposes! Where appropriate I have given suggestions that I think will help you find amazing gifts to give your clients.
No Buyer Gifts or Strategic Gifts
Several of the agents who responded were of the opinion that it was not necessary to give buyer gifts at closing.
- I do not buy anything for my buyers. I believe my gift to them is my excellent customer service and high-level communication throughout the process. On the other hand, when Doreen (Deb’s assistant) works with buyers she always gives them a gift. Different folks, different strokes right? Deborah Ward, Come To Clearwater
- I give a gift to about 20% of buyers where I think I may get referral business from them or if I sold their home and also bought a home with them. Lea Plotkin www.ParklandPowerTeam.com
- I am both yay and nay! I usually take them to dinner or don’t do a buyer gift at all which may be a bad thing. David Deutsch, www.DavidJHomes.com
- I would be a no. When you look at other professionals like lawyers, doctors, etc. they don’t give you gifts for using their service and most of them have direct competition in their fields of work like Realtors do. Lena Meurling, www.LenaMeurling.com
- (and a super honest comment that some of us will really understand!) I suck at buying gifts for clients at closing. Linda Marotto, www.FloridaStyleLiving.com
- No, No, No, and what about the vendor? No again. Bill O’Mara, www.RealtyMarketingCoach.com
House Related Buyers Gifts
Okay, let’s call a spade a spade. I am a marketing girl and buyers gifts can be an amazing marketing tool! That said, I do think that there is a value to keeping the idea “house or home” related to keep them thinking about you and real estate in the same thought.
- I usually give my buyers a gift card to Home Depot. For sellers – a nice bottle of wine or champagne… unless they don’t drink! Marianne Windridge, www.GoldenBearRealty.com
- Yes..I do a small $30 gift of cleaning products and a membership to Shaklee. It’s a great reason to go see the clients on closing and check to make sure all is good with the house. Jenna Swinwood, www.JennaandCo.com
- YAH! I think at minimum you put a basket in the kitchen, some wine or beer in the fridge and you welcome them to their new home. Those are the things that are important and they remember. This is a big deal to them and those small touches are the things that tell them it’s a big deal for me to be a part of this with you. Middy Matthews, www.ArborMove.com
- I like to give tangible gifts that will stay out in the open and may be a topic of discussion. I give everyone an address stamp (as they now have a new address) on it is says “working with you was a pleasure, your referrals are a treasure”. Larry Arth, www.HowToBuyUSARealEstate.com
- New locks for doors that they can have done immediately due to hundreds using the same key for hundreds of showings. One more thing I always do – it’s old school – but the buyers always love it. I put together a “transaction book”, yes – still in a notebook with Tabs and itemized sheet of contents – a flash is still too easy to lose and I find they like looking through the book! Stephanie Jackson www.StephJacksonHomes4U.com
- I believe the closing gift should be based on what I know about my client. I do like giving Home Depot Gift Cards. However, the other thought is that the gift should be something with your information on it because 1.) you can write it off on your taxes and 2.) your client would have something to remember you by. Tim Martin, www.LowerBucksCountyRealEstate.com
- Here is what I do, I always buy my sellers or buyers a basic home warranty. It covers major mechanical items heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing. I also provide them with a handyman service that stays with the house for three years. This costs them $99, regularly $399. Here is the kicker for home warranties, houses that have home warranties placed on them sell for 2% more and up to 50% faster. I also include that information in my advertising. Gary Buswell
- It really depends for me. I like to keep it small and personal. The one I get the most is a personalized welcome mat. Clients love it and when visitors ask about it they say their Realtor gave it as a gift. It then becomes a conversation piece and lets their friends and family know that the I appreciated them in the process. Andrea T. Fowler, www.NewAvenueRealty.com
- Yes, I always try to get my buyers a gift relating to their home purchase. I find that having a print made with a message of either “Welcome Home” or “Our First Home” or something applicable with the longitude and latitude coordinates of their new address in a custom frame is always a gift that my buyers seem to appreciate. I also add my services of free interior redesign to help them with furniture placement and/or the choosing of new furniture for their new home! And for my sellers I always offer free home staging! Angela Lacey (proudly serving the Nashville area!) www.AngelaLacey.realtor
- Yay! I think a personalized return address label stamp with their new address & monogrammed initial is perfect! Not too expensive, attaches you to them emotionally everytime they use it to their new home at their Realtor, and is a well thought personalized touch! Morgan Boutwell
- I am a newer agent but on the transactions I have had closing I have bought buyer gifts. I did a home warranty along with a bottle of sparkling cider, a gift card for a pizza place, and a homebuyers book. For another couple I bought them a Starbucks gift card, a homebuyers book, and a gift card so they could buy pans for the induction stove in their new home. I try to personalize the items based upon what seems important to the buyers as I am working with them. I have also looked at getting personalized cutting boards and knives. Lyn Greve, www.Lyn-NewberryRealty.com
- I say yes, I think realtors should give buyers a gift when they purchase a home from you. It’s something that stays in their mind about how you treated them so they might pass your name on to their friends and family. I like pasta baskets or gardening things. Donna DeHart www.DonnaDeHart.EXITHOME.com
- Buyer Gifts…. Always! I give them a home tour pack with water bottle, pen, pad, and MLS printouts during first showing outing together. At closing I give them a basket with toilet paper, paper towels, and Windex in it so they have the bare essentials when they get into the home. Sometimes I pay for the home warranty or I give them a personal gift that will vary with their reason for buying…. sometimes it’s pizza gift certificate and engraved pizza wheel from Cutco (small purchase), others are custom welcome sign with their name on it with other food/drink items, I’ve done a “date night” package with restaurant gift cards for family with young children, and I’ve even hand painted a ceramic rabbit for a buyer that collected rabbit statuaries. The personal gift is always creative! Matty Green, www.SuncoastHomeSales.com
Okay, this is absolutely my favorite idea for a buyer’s gift. First off, your buyer has a new address so it is super helpful. Second off, it is real estate related as it goes along with the address.
Kelly from Hello World offered to make me a stamp but I am moving (HA) so I didn’t get a chance to get one yet, but I have heard from multiple people that her stamps and designs are amazing! (I first heard about her from on the All Up In Your Lady Business Podcast)
AND she has a Realtor Program. First off, you get a 15% discount as a Realtor and then you get every 15th stamp FREE… holey schmoley! Just email her kelly (at) helloworldpaperco.com and let her know you want to participate.
Check out these amazing address stamps
Personalized Promotional Buyer Gifts
One thing I do love are promotional items (things that are branded with your contact information). These can range from just a simple pen to elaborate and expensive gifts.
- I give my buyers Cutco Knives that are engraved with my name and phone number. They love them and I have had many referrals from friends who go to their homes and see them. Just the other day I went to visit a client from last year and she was cooking with my knife! She says she uses it all the time and thinks of me.
Liza King, www.LizaKing.com
- A gift is a perfect chance to cement yourself in your clients mind. At closing your daily interaction stops (you should continue to stay connected however). I give them something more personal in nature catered to their interest. coaster, picture frames, door knockers. Things that people may comment on and ask, “where did you get this?” The answer is, “oh, I got that from Larry my Realtor!” The gift that has gotten me most referrals is can coolies that read, “Stick with the man that covers your can.” It makes a fun conversation piece. Larry Arth, www.HowToBuyUSARealEstate.com
- I’ve been in sales with several homebuilders for the past 18 years. The builder always furnished a settlement gift for the buyer. Typically it was swag such as keychains, coffee mugs, picnic baskets and such with the builders logo. Steve Turner, www.TheSteveTurner.com
Promotional Pocket Knife
I feel like a lot of the gifts suggested are a little girlie and it is important to note that sometimes the Realtor is a man and sometimes the buyer is a man. Eric from the Stonebridge Collection sent me a knife and it is REALLY high quality for not all that much money. I feel like having a knife when you move in would be helpful!
Super Personalized Buyers Gifts
There are marketing gifts and then there are gifts from the heart. Here are some Realtors who are going way above the call of duty, but who are genuinely caring and kind.
- I have a client that is patiently waiting to close. It should have closed a month ago, but the title is a problem. This isn’t my buyer’s fault. He’s a big bike guy. I’m thinking of buying him a fat bike. One of the things they love about this house, it’s right next to a trail head…. so, yes, that would dig into my commission, but it’s memorable…. and they have been great clients. Middy Matthews, www.ArborMove.com
- I do give buyer gifts – it’s never a standard cookie cut gift though. As I build relationships with my clients I quickly come to know what would be an token of appreciation. A “first night ” move-in box, especially if they have little kids or a first time buyers /newlywed couple – first night meal basket of goodies for snacks and dinner. These are just a couple of the ones I repeat often. I then send a “welcome home” card with a gift card to home depot (most common here) for about $100.00, making the total $200 as a closing for each client. Stephanie Jackson, www.StephJacksonHomes4U.com
I reached out to Stephanie for her first night box list and it is super neat!
- I think great agents are great listeners — so I TRY to gather information about something important and meaningful about them or their dream of home during the process. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious – sometimes I have to do more digging and ask more questions (which is great relationship builder). I truly care and I start making mental notes from the first conversation that might help me zero in on something and unique to them. Here are a few examples to help give a better idea. One couple admired several decor styles and talked about how they couldn’t wait to ‘do that’ in their kitchen. In one particular house we saw a great looking double sided clock (vintage looking like from a train station). They went on about that clock for some time so that’s when I knew! I did a little research online and via my favorite Amazon Prime, I ordered and shipped to the new address. Another client mentioned that she was looking forward to having a cute patio area in her new townhouse. The first time it came up was in our first “Your 5 Must Have” conversation. She said one of her 5 must haves was a patio… which prompted my question — ‘why is that important to you?’ When she started talking about having a tiny space with herbs and flowers and a place to read….that’s when I knew. So a few days before closing I purchased a nice large basket and went to the garden decor section and added 3 cute stepping stones that said ‘Faith’ – ‘ Dream’- ‘Breathe’ and a box of cute patio lights to string across her fenced in area and one bright red carnation. Wrapped a teal bow on it and gave to her at close. She was so excited and then sent me pictures of her patio! A few things I love about doing this…I get to be creative and make it about them (not me). Also, I love following up with them on the day or two after it arrives. It’s a great opportunity to see how things are going and ask about referrals from friends. Lisa Creed, www.LoveWhereYouLivedFW.com
A Civilian’s Perspective
- While I am not a Realtor, I have been a buyer and seller of many homes. I have always appreciated when a Realtor has supplied us with a “house warming” gift. Some of the gifts that we have received that my wife and I appreciated have included 1) a welcome mat for the front porch, 2) a ceramic envelope with our name and new address on it, 3) a 5 quart pot filled with a box of spaghetti, a jar of meat sauce, a small colander, disposable plates/bowls/cups/utensils, a couple bottles of water and a small bottle of red wine for our “first” meal in the new house before the movers arrive. 4) A $200 gift certificate to Lowes. I know it always made a positive impression on us and it also made us notice when a Realtor did not provide something. If the rest of the buying experience was positive and it was topped off with a house warming gift, we were more inclined to use that realtor at the time of the sale and if we were staying in the same area, the purchase of our next house. Scott H. Zucker, www.AccretivePartnerships.com
More Realtor Gifts
- Of course! A realtor should always get a gift for her client whether she is working with the seller or the buyer. It should be something that’s personalized and says I appreciate your time, your trust, and your future referrals. Working in real estate, you become a friend, mentor, counselor… you’re like the family. At closing I give my clients a gift that’s personal to their needs, desires, and likes. This information I got to know overtime and through a client profile that I created on them. As a bonus, if you have it engraved with your information you can considerate advertising and write off the full amount. Why wouldn’t you give a gift? Lastly when I’ve been invited to housewarming parties, I then bring a housewarming gift as well. This care and consideration has resulted in many referral clients. Buy your gifts… Yay! Leah Christian
- Yes, I do give buyer gifts (or seller gifts) when there is a closing. I give a Scentsy warmer and two scents, one is usually Welcome Home. I also sell Scentsy and I am generally my best customer. Vicki Hillsman, www.BrowerRealEstate.com
- I’m a yay on Buyer gifts. I don’t think they have to be elaborate but I feel it’s a nice thank you/welcome to your new home gesture. I generally do: A gift card to a home improvement store (you always need something) with something personal I learned they like from working with them like a nice chocolate box, cookie assortment, bottle of wine, or welcome home sign. Melanie McClure, www.MelanieMcClure.com
- Since we are in different countries I am assuming you are talking about on settlement which is common practice in Australia. I like to give a goody bag filled with useful moving stuff such as toilet paper, coffee, cups, tea, tea towel, hammer or tape measure, long life milk and these sort of items that can be useful during moving into their new home. It is not common practice here to give the vendor a gift, however I like to give something to the vendor depending on who they are is what the gift is, for example if they were attached to the home, a photo in a frame blown up is always nice. If they had no attachment such as an investor then a bottle of something or gift voucher to fav store if they are not local. Nicole Wiffen
- Yes, I believe Realtors should give a Thank You gift to clients. It should be something special for them and different than the standard gift cards, potted plants, etc. It should be something that is not perishable and will be used or seen for years. My daughter’s Realtor gave her personalized mixing bowls for the kitchen. They say- Sarah’s Kitchen She has referred 3 additional people who all bought property from this Realtor. I’ve given a super fancy cork puller to wine enthusiasts, a charcoal Weber grill to clients to only had a gas grill and missed the ‘real charcoal’ flavor, an easel and two blank canvases to a painter, my Mother’s and Grandmother’s recipes to a home chef. Randy Erb, www.RandyErb.com
- I do get my buyers and sellers a gift. I’ve felt it self-serving in the hopes of generating referrals, though I have no idea if it has helped and I know it’s more important that I keep in touch than get them a gift. I spend around $150. I get them monogrammed bathrobes, and a self-inking return address stamp with my name on top. Jeff Landau, www.JeffLandauHomes.com
- I’m a giver – so I do give a gift to my buyers and Sellers. However, I refrain from giving some mindless generic gift so I always try to make the gift as personal to my client as possible based on what I know about their likes hobbies, wants and needs. Sharon Sprague, www.NCPrimeProperties.com
- To me, it feels like the right thing to do. And I almost always do, although I admit that when I have been really busy I have bought something and carried it around in my car for months and end up not giving it to them. When I work with a buyer or seller I usually spend hours with them on the phone and in person, and by the time they have made a decision feel like part of their family – I know all about their finances and their kids. For buyers: I sit through the 4 hour home inspection with them, I calm them down when they think a deal might not go through or at the end when they are nervous about moving. I help them find a local lawyer, an insurance agent, tell them where to get their hair done. It’s a really intense time for them – and you really end up going through the intensity with them. By the time they buy I am as excited as they are and it seems so appropriate to drop in on them once they have moved. If they are gardeners I take them plants, flowers or something for their garden, if I know they drink I take them a good bottle of wine, and since most people moving here are from the city and a bit nervous of how dark it is – sometimes I take them a good set of solar lights. Susan Link, www.susanlink.ca
- Yes, I put in a yellow hand towel our company colours with soap and pretty toilet paper in the bathroom before their arrival and give them flowers in a vase on arrival. Tina Subritzky, www.tinasubritzky.raywhite.co.nz
- I like giving cookies or other home made snacks as part of any marketing outreach like door knocking. It makes it less formal and warms them up so they aren’t so defensive right off the bat. I give house warming gifts after closing – usually a plant or decoration for the new house, but it’s hard with the tax deductible limit of $25 and the RESPA rules basically make it risky to give a gift and a reminder that we like referrals. Trish Baroody
- Yes! I give gifts from The Kitchen Store a little basket made up with a variety of things or I go to Classic Touch and purchase a piece of Crystal. I also give plaques thats a model of their home that says established in the year they purchase the homes. Freda Lawless, www.FredalHomes.com
Realtor Marketing Buyer’s Gifts Wrapup
Well there you have it! An overwhelming number of the Realtors who responded thought that giving a buyers gift was a great idea (about 5 to 1).
I am up in the air about it still. I like giving gifts anyways so I understand the concept, but am not sure that it should be mandatory. I think that doing a professional job and having great customer service should be step #1 and then if the Realtor wants to give a gift that could be a bonus.