- Avoid branding your gifts. It can come off as an advertising ploy rather than a sincere gesture.
- Think outside of the gift box with commissioned art pieces or donations to local charities.
- Sometimes it's as simple as saying, "Cheers!"
You and your client have finally made it — the weekends of open houses, the mounds of paperwork and numerous inspections and negotiations have led to this moment, when you can finally exclaim that this house is “SOLD!”
What better way to cap off the experience than to give your sellers something that will keep this milestone, and you, at the forefront of their mind.
Here are a 7 memorable gift ideas that say a lot more than “thank you for your business,” courtesy of the creative group members of Lab Coat Agents:
1. Personalized household items
Consider giving your seller a set of personalized knives, wine glasses or other decorative items such as blankets and pillows. Many agents raved about Cutco knives that range from about $75 to $100 for a set of two.
Although giving knives may seem like an odd idea, they can come in handy for your seller as they prepare to move into another home. Mary Ginter Matero says: “I got a call after closing that the gift was a lifesaver. The family had a POD delivered and all of their knives and scissors were packed inside it. It had a heavy duty zip tie along with their lock. It helped them right away.”
The second-most-popular gift is a set of wine glasses or bottles. Try personalizing the items with a monogram or a design that’s related to your hometown or state, such as the outline of the state with the word “home” in the middle.
You have the option of using your logo, but as Mickie Shea points out, the gift can come off as an “advertising ploy” rather than a sincere gesture.
2. Housewarming items
Jolene Yenik Cingiser prefers to think of closing gifts as housewarming gifts. She says: “I’m not thanking them for using me. I am saying, ‘Welcome to your new home.'”
Many agents seem to share her viewpoint, as they love to give customized wreaths and doormats or a set of “Just Moved” cards sellers can use to notify family and friends of their new address. If you want to take it a step further, Sabrina Osborn Reesor suggests even sponsoring a catered housewarming party.
3. Commissioned art or photo albums
Although your sellers were clearly ready to get rid of their home, it doesn’t mean they won’t miss the space where they lived and created great memories. To help them keep a piece of their former home, commission a painting or pencil sketch by a local artist.
The paintings, which can be up to $100, are an unexpected gesture that will keep you on your client’s mind. Sean Broady, who frequently gifts sketches, says: “But the sketch really does wow them. Don’t worry about branding it. They see the picture in their home every day and remember you immediately.”
For those who don’t have the budget or the patience (art pieces can take up to 30 days to receive) for a commissioned piece, consider tapping into your inner Martha Stewart and make a photo album via ShutterFly. Many agents shell out a pretty penny for professional photos, and there’s no need to let them go to waste after the closing. Place the best photos into the album, and finish the book off with a special message from you.
4. Donate to charity
Some agents are taking the adage “’tis better to give than to receive” to heart and opting to add a charitable element to the closing process.
For each home sold, agents are making donations on their seller’s behalf. Gayle Zientek donates a bike to Toys for Tots after each closing, and gives the seller a gift basket that includes a picture of the child and his or her new bike. In addition to doing something great for your community, agents see it as a sincere way to build company identity and culture.
5. Monthly subscription
Instead of giving a one-time gift, consider using a subscription service. James Haydon likes to use quarterly.co, which is a service that will send a gift box curated by celebrities such as Bill Nye, Timothy Ferriss and Pharrell Williams. The boxes range from $50 to $100, so if you’d like something a little more budget friendly, Kathleen Troulinos suggests gifting your seller a yearly subscription to their favorite magazines.
6. Gift cards
The jury is still out on this idea, but some agents think gift cards can go from tacky to thoughtful with a little extra planning. Jeffrey B. Thompson sends out gift cards on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. He says: “I send my clients birthday cards with Starbucks gift cards, and anniversary cards with a gift card to their favorite restaurants, and even ice cream cards for their kids b-days.”
7. Champagne toast
Some agents prefer to simply celebrate a closing with a bottle of champagne for the seller and buyer. “I do many things for clients while the home is listed, so I don’t often do closing gifts for sellers,” Mary Steele Allen says. “Most of the time I do provide champagne to toast the settlement.”
No matter what you choose to give, what seems to be unanimous is that the gift should be personalized with the seller — not your bottom line — in mind. Your exceptional service and thoughtful giving will do the trick just fine.
What would you add to the list? Share it in the comments below!