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2010-07-02 16:23:53

Closing Gifts

One of the final steps of the home sale process is the purchase of client closing gift.  Choosing a unique, personalized, and useful "Thank You" for your client can increase referrals for your real estate practice and is an integral part of a marketing strategy.  With a wide range of varied costs and personalization, the sky is the limit.  

What do you buy your clients at closing?  We have gathered a ton of suggestions and feedback from our members below:
 

In our area of Florida, Bright House Networks the local cable provider allows Realtors to provide $100 discount certificates for free to buyers to use in setting up service in their new home. Buyers LOVE IT!!

 

I've done the champagne...but not the ToiletPaper (and other essentials)! I find my clients love having stories to tell and that is nice, thoughtful and funny. I know you posted this quite some time ago, but I'd be curious to hear if you have any other new, similar ideas! I often hit a stumbling block with my high end client closings.

 

I have given my clients a solid brass monogram door knocker and had it installed for them the day after settlement. They loved it ........at that point it was home.

 

http://www.americanpersonalizedproducts.com/ is great for a closing gift under $35.

They make a black rod iron key holder in the shape of a "home," then personalize it by putting the Buyer's name inside.

Great place to hang those new front door keys and your Buyer's love it!

 

In my area, there is a gourmet food store that offers your choice of wine with custom labels. For example, for a seller that has lived in home for a long time, I have the label say "Fond Memories of Their Address". The store has a book of options, but the gift is simple and under $30!

 

If I am the listing agent I give the video tour on CD with a home picture and my information on the surface as a closing gift for both buyer and seller whether I represent them or not - and it is practically free. As the listing agent I put together a book with pictures and info of the house and neighborhood, as well as local stuff, like history, schools, attractions, churches, restaurants etc., and of course my info, which I leave at the house for the buyer.

All my buyers receive a gift card from Lowe's which is discounted and will be sent directly to the new home address with my info. My sellers receive a gift card for a restaurant of their choice which they receive right after closing.

I'll keep the toilet paper idea in mind for moving day. I think it is absolutely hilarious. Also, water, juice or soda in a cheap cooler and cookies, crackers etc. might be a nice idea for moving day.

 

I like to give clients a self-inking stamp with their new address on it. This helps them as they are just moving in so they don't have to write it 100 times. Also, on the top of the stamper is my business card. The cost is $10 each. It is a nice gift that also helps with personal branding. Of course you will want your website on it as well. Additonally, I might include a gift card to Lowes or candles, just depends on the client.

The name of the company is Top of Mind Networks and they will send you a free sample with your own address. www.topofmind.com for more info.

 

I"ve had good success with providing lunch on the client's moving day. Generally have a local deli make up a few sandwiches, add some fresh baked cookies or cupcakes, chips, sometimes fruit and cold drinks. It is not fancy or costly but my clients seem to really appreciate it.

 

I absolutely love the idea of a stamp or cards already printed with the new home address. As a buyer a few years ago, I would have been elated to receive either as a gift!

I also like the idea of a photo album or book with information about local amenities and about the home. That would really give the buyers a feeling of "knowing" their house and new community.

Here's another idea: how about purchasing a painting or picture from a local artist? Often the art is less expensive, and it benefits the local community. Plus, if the artist's popularity ever increases, so does the value of the art!

The ideas of personalizing the gift to the buyer or seller are great. Often, things don't have to be expensive to be memorable and important. It's the little things in life that make it grand! :)

 

I like all the ideas of keeping it local especially if they are moving in from out of town. One thing that my buyers have really liked is a local gardening book. I live in Arizona and we have a lot of plants that are specific to our climate. Usually when they move in they have plants in their yard that they don't know how to take care of. I accompany the book with a gift card to a local gardening center near their new home. I have had a lot of great responses from these gifts and referrals from these clients.

 

I love to give edible flower arrangements. They are really pretty and will be remembered for a long time. Another idea is to bring dinner at moving day and offer to help move a few things. It doesn't have to be fancy dinner just find out what they like.

 

 If they are coming to their new home from out of state I always get essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, liquid hand soap, a canister of disinfectant wipes, always a nice bottle of wine and glasses and yes, sometimes I do get carried away. Most people are so happy to arrive at their new home and that welcome gift just seals the deal. If the clients are moving in the same town or community, then a night out to dinner or movie night is an ourstanding gift. Golf gift certificates as well.

 

I have had really good responses from giving gift certificates to fit the clients. If they are handy with their maintenance and home repairs, I use Lowes or Manards. If the Lady of the home is more dominant, I will use a popular decorating boutique.

 

I have given crocheted or knitted blankets as gifts. My clients have been extremely complimentary of the idea. There have also been a couple of Realtors that have received the same type of gift from their clients and have loved them.

 

I take the gift with me to the closing. The Buyers are always so surprised that someone thought of them on their special day. I especially like the "Gift Basket" that I put together myself. I try to put together items that I think the homeowner would like to have. These ideas can come from the times that I have shown them a home and they have commented on some of the decorations, etc. I always include a fire extinguisher. It is the one thing that is needed in every home, yet it is the one thing that people often forget about having until it is needed. Don't forget to include a gift for the children if there are any. I then mark the calendar for the anniversary of the closing and always show up with a special "remember me" gift for them on that date. People are really impressed if you take the time to remember them.

 

I love the idea of a personalized gift! I love to see my initials or my last name on my "things". I have seen where you can order a front doormat, blankets, picture frames and cutting boards. I think those are all great ideas! But there are some buyers that need something that will be helpful... first time home buyers and some not first time home buyers (the ones that are doing everything they can to just get in their new house) need "things" for their home. If they are buying a foreclosure or a home that needs to be updated, I think a gift card to Home Depot would be great! Some buyers might like to have a gift card to Walmart or Target, where they can buy groceries, cleaning supplies, towels, blankets, pictures, etc...

I know that a gift card is not a very personal gift but sometimes it's what a buyer might really "need". I think by the time you are closing with a buyer you know their situation and which kind of gift is best for them. :)

 

Lately I have found myself working with a lot of first time home buyers. Many of these folks are going to be confronted with yard work for the first time! Yard rakes, hoes, sprinkler can, hose and hose reel have been VERY popular. Often times, the simplist of gifts are the most appreciated. Don't forget extra hose washers and a hand nozzle!

 

For buyers, I have a closing gift right AT $50 - it's a monogrammed welcome mat. They come in many different colors, and my clients love them! I have not come up with anything for sellers that are moving out of my area, though...

 

I have subscribed to the Lowe's program, and it doesn't cost you anything, so it is a great "bonus" in addition to whatever else you may do. I think Lowe's gift cards, are wonderful gifts. Even if the buyer is not a do it yourselfer, they have plants, books, appliances, etc. They can always find something they can buy.

 

I had some clients who absolutely loved their two little dogs. So I took a picture of the dogs and had it made into stamps. My clients were thrilled! You could also use a picture of the new home on the stamps--useful for sending change of address mail (people still do use snail mail!)

 

I use an online service to send cards and gifts to my clients, not just for settlement, but whenever there is an occasion! I send brownies, books or relevant gift cards. Let me know if you want more information about how to do that.

 

Client closing gift should be tailored to the client. If you know they are going to be putting up ceiling fans or window coverings, give them a gift card for a local home store. Another good gift, if needed, is a gift certificate to a carpet cleaning service, or a couple of hours for a maid cleaning service. If the home is in great condition, give the clients a map of the city highlighted with the locations of local restaurants along with gift cards to those restaurants.

 

Sellers moving out of the area are hard to buy for. Often the moving van and the cars are loaded to the max and they are ready to hit the road after closing. One of my sellers was very sad to be leaving their home of many years. They had added a beautiful screened porch and had beautiful plantings throughout the backyard. I printed 4 of my photos of their home and yard and framed them in a collage frame. They loved it and thanked me with tears in their eyes. The key is getting to know your clients and really listening to them. Gift cards can be good for relocating sellers too. They don't take up space during the move, and sellers will have things they want to buy for their new home too.

 

I recently heard of a carpet cleaning service that will give a special rate if they can complete the work while the house is vacant. They can arrange to have the whole house carpet cleaned between closing and when my buyer clients move in. It's more than $50, but generally less than $300.

 

That was a great idea on the gift giving. I have been a member of By Referral Only since October and am still trying to sort through all the information. Thanks for the sharing.

 

The best closing gift I have found is an afgan throw embroyderd with 3 lines of text. They come with a gift box, tissue paper, gold label and the quality is wonderful. I get them at http://www.pg4u.com/afghans.htm. Personal Gifts and apparel. My customers love them, keep them out; fight over them and the best is they are under $25.00. I order ten at a time to have them on hand. Great company, great service, great product.

 

The last 2 times I tried to use Lowe's, I was on the phone a very long time and they said the system was down. My clients and I love the services and discount card.

 

I've given gift cards from Lowe's, they will always need something from there for their new home. I once gave a buyer a coconut tree for his garden, he was very happy as he was not from Florida.

Another thing that I did was to have a house warming party at the buyer's home, nothing exotic, but everyone appreciated it and I got a lot of referrals!!

 

I choose the closing gift depending on the client: Single or Married, kids or no kids, buyer or seller, age, occupation etc. In the past I have given movie tickets, comedy tickets or a combination of both. Also, a gift card from one of the local restaurants is always good because people always like to eat. A gift card from Lowes, Home Depot or any other store where they can buy "stuff" they need for their new house.

 

For my first time buyers I like to give a little "tool box." There are inexpensive ones at Target with all the basic things including automatic screwdrivers, levels, tape measures, etc. I also like to show up on moving day if I can with a bag of goodies like bottle water, snacks, tp, Clorox wipes, room freshener, etc.

 

For gifts to clients, I have often used the ceramic envelope that is personalized with my name and number in the return address line and their address for their new home. The stamp is usually a house or Heart stamp. The envelope could hold bills or mail or whatever else the homeowner puts in it. This way if the clients after closing needs me, my telephone number is on the envelope. Often times my clients call for a referral for a tradesman or hair stylist etc., and I refer only those that I have personally used myself.

In recent years I have taken clients out to their favorite restaurants - that has been popular. One of my hobbies is chocolate truffling and baking, so my clients also get a box of chocolate truffles and/or my mandelbrot, or cookies etc. None of my clients go hungry with me!

I also have had personalized champagne bottles (from a company in california) given personally to my clients. In the past, I would use Worlds Chocolate to send out chocolate almonds in a round tin around the winter holidays and they would personalize my name and company on the label and send it out for me. My clients always appreciated that winter gift.

Some realtors have bought brass door knockers and they were engraved with the homeowner's name.

My clients appreciated that I was there to help them during the process of finding a home, going thru the mortgage process and after closing. They knew that I was giving my 110% for them all the time.

 

We have a wonderful nursery that matches the broker's gift up to $100 (a $200 certificate). They have indoor plants and are open year round. I give them at every closing (even commercial) and everyone seems to like it. It's a great promotion for the nursery - we do have to submit a closing statement with the check for the certificate.


 

 

A very useful and unique closing gift to a buyer is a gift certificate to a locksmith to re-key the home.

 

Personalizing the closing gift is always best, but it is also the most time consuming. I try to take notice of something or think of something the client said during our time together. However, I'm juggling the thought of getting away from personalizing. If something easily comes to mind then I'll still go with it, otherwise I'm trying too hard, it's taking to long, and it causes my head to hurt.

I do have a contact though who will hand paint any home on a Christmas ornament/bulb...for $20...delivered. Can you say "DEAL". I choose this gift when there is a lot of emotional attachment to the home...not for flippers or rentals. The artist is extremely talented, and I've had people actually cry when they open the box and see it's their home. Several customers keep the bulb displayed in their home year round. Talk about a lasting memory. My name and brokerage is subtly painted on the back. The problem is, if the closings in April, and I don't give them this gift until Dec, that whole time they might think I didn't get them anything at all. The artist is also getting up there in years and slowly retiring :-(

A gift certificates to a local hardware store is always a good idea, but very temporary. Others say you should give something that will last throughout the years and remind them of you and what you do. And some just send a card and say thank you.


 

 

I had a couple who bought a home on 5 wooded acres. While at the property we realized mosquitoes would be quite terrible this year due to lots of snow and rain. For their closing gift I bought them each an OFF clip-on with refills (plus their 5 kids) -- we had such a laugh when all the paperwork was signed.

For another couple just starting out I bought a frame that said "Home is where your story starts" - it was only $20 but they LOVED it!

I think gearing your gift to what you've learned about the client is the best way to show you really care about them.


Thanks everyone for sharing your creative ideas!

 

A closing gift idea could be to find ONE thing that expresses you and your interest of others. It could become your "signature".

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