Finding the perfect real estate closing gifts for every buyer and seller client you work with isn’t easy. That said, if you get it just right, you will not only have a referral source for the next few months, but you could create an evangelist of your services for life.
The tricky part isn’t figuring out what your client wants (we include that at the end of the article). It’s finding gifts that are personal but not too personal, have meaning but not too much meaning, and remind your clients not only that you care, but that you’re THE local expert they can rely on for decades to come.
Here are our picks for the best (and worst) real estate closing gifts:
As someone who lives in a turn of the century industrial space, I can relate to why so many of us put up with drafty windows, dodgy electrical systems, and plumbing from the Stone Age.
For most of us, our love of historic homes is more of an addiction than a preference.
If you’re listing an historic home, then offering your buyers a custom researched and designed house history is like giving a junky a gram of heroin. They don’t just want it, they NEED it.
Painstakingly researched and professionally designed by companies like Brownstone Detectives in Manhattan and Brooklyn and Once Upon a Home in New Orleans, house histories are the one gift your buyer will not only keep, but treasure.
Speaking of treasure, house histories are not exactly what you would call cheap. Since they are so labor intensive to make, they start at around $750 and climb all the way to $5,000 depending on how far back you want the history to go and the production of the book or poster.
While that might be a bit too rich for many real estate agents looking for closing gifts, you can always have the book created as a marketing piece to help sell the home and chalk it up as a marketing expense!
What gives a lucky rabbit’s foot its sentimental value? The answer, of course, is the wishes and dreams of the person who owns it.
Wishing Houses, handcrafted by Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Brauna Rosen, allows you to send your client a gift that already has sentimental value.
Here’s how it works:
Your client gets an adorable cast pewter Wishing House along with a handwritten wish from you. They then put the Wishing House in their own home and then send a Wishing House back to you, or send a new Wishing House on to a friend or loved one who needs some moral support.
Best of all, at only $24 per Wishing House and wish shipped, they’re affordable enough to send out to all your clients during the holidays as a heartfelt personal keepsake.
Let’s face it—today’s pampered pooches live better than we did as kids! Well, maybe not, but pets have slowly become a focal point in many people’s lives and for good reason. Taking care of a pet offers health benefits for owners, not to mention possibly saving a life for the furry little rascals.
If your client is a certified dog mommy or daddy, then they’ll absolutely love the unique and fun items they’ll get from the Shaggy Swag gift box. Instead of boring old bones, their little fur monsters get high-quality toys, treats, and essentials.
The best part of these subscriptions is that even if your client deletes your phone number right after closing, you get to feel good about keeping a little four-legged friend happy for an entire year. 😊
If there’s one home decorating area where even a lot of design snobs are at a loss, it’s landscaping. As a result, many homeowners just skip it, not realizing just how dramatic of an effect a well-designed yard can have on their home.
That’s why an hour or so consultation with a professional landscape designer can be a great closing gift idea for newer homeowners. It’s something they might not think about that can have a huge impact in how their home looks and feels.
While an ordinary vacuum is a downright insulting gift for most people (think of the message you’re sending!), a robotic vacuum will make your tech geek clients grin like little kids at Christmas.
The only problem, of course, is that these things were priced like unobtanium up until now. Today, you can get a well-reviewed robotic vacuum that syncs with Amazon’s Alexa, has an app, and even charges itself when the battery runs out, all for around $230.
If your client is more of a brand snob, you can upgrade them to the original iRobot Roomba for a little under $300. Still a great bargain for a gift that ticks both the useful and neato boxes that most gifts can’t.
6. Anything From Hermès
Here’s a great suggestion from Compass Manhattan luxury team leader Philip Scheinfeld. Hermès is just one of those brands that will impress (or at least satisfy) even the pickiest and wealthiest clients. Beautiful and unique enough to keep out on a coffee table or console, a gift from Hermès is a surefire way to stay top of mind. Expensive, but a big return on investment (ROI) for your closing gift budget.
“I usually go with something elegant like a Hermès ashtray, which is a great coffee table item. If it is a higher end deal, I sometimes go with an Hermes blanket. Those are typically my go-to gifts. I also take my clients out to a nice dinner as well to celebrate once they move in.”
In 2020, even doorbells are smart. The Nest Hello Smart is one of the best. Buy this as a real estate closing gift for your new homeowner and they will be able to see who’s at the door from their phone and never miss a package or visitor again.
Even better, like Nest’s namesake thermostat, it’s well-designed enough to complement pretty much any exterior decor.
8. A Small (or Large) Gift From Tiffany
Another brand that will impress pretty much any client is Tiffany. While not exactly cheap, you can (and should) buy something special for your client for pretty much any budget. Agent Alan Levy of Warburg Realty in Manhattan likes gifting the Tiffany crystal ice bucket, which is a budget-friendly $175. Of course, the sky’s the limit here, so if you close a giant deal, you can increase your spend accordingly with even better results.
“Who doesn’t like a lovely blue box from Tiffany? I usually send one of two items from Tiffany. 1. The crystal ice bucket. Fits within all decor. $175 2. A Tiffany key chain. Any type that you think will fit your client. Price varies depending on your choice.”
EvaBot is a cool new artificial intelligence (AI) service that contacts your client, then asks them a series of questions that determine what kind of gift will suit them best. The benefit here is that people might clam up when you ask, but will gladly spill the beans to EvaBot!
Want to learn more? Check out EvaBot here.
10. Décor, Sentimental Gifts, or Local Art
Still stuck? Here are a few great gift ideas from luxury Manhattan real estate agent Anna Shagalov to get your creative juices flowing:
“Décor: I once gave a developer a massive shell-covered chandelier for his double-height living room that he was renovating in SoHo.
“Sentimental gifts: I put together a huge shadow box of apartment photos and artifacts for clients who were selling their loft to move to Michigan for a job relocation that they were gutted about.
“Local art: I’ve provided a session with a local graffiti artist to design a wall in a client’s new home.
“The old faithfuls: And, of course, the basic bottles of champagne, ABC Carpet and Home gift cards, high design (Hermès, Chanel, and so forth) key chains, throws, Diptyque candles, and so on.”
11. A Fully Planned & Paid for Evening Out
While buying your clients an experience rather than an object is always recommended, sometimes your gift of a night out can be more of a chore than welcome respite from moving. Think about it. If they have kids, they need to hire a sitter, if they want to drink they need to order an Uber, and so on and so forth.
If you really want to impress your former clients, set up a dinner at a local restaurant and make sure you cover ALL the annoying details that make nights out an obligation rather than a treat. You should, at the very least, make a reservation and tell the restaurant to expect them, send the restaurant a custom cake or bottle of wine, arrange for a sitter, and most importantly, arrange for an Uber XL to take them to and from dinner in style.
Trust me, your clients will be singing your praises for years if you get this right!
12. A Membership to a Local Museum or Gym
If you’re leaning toward getting them an experience, then why not consider a membership to a local museum or gym? Of course, you’ll need to take the time to know your clients, but you should be doing that already. Agent Marilyn Blume of Warburg Realty in Manhattan tries to buy her clients experiences like museum memberships instead of traditional gifts:
“As buying a home is stressful, giving an experiential gift is a way to help them relax and maybe introduce them to something new. While working with clients, I use this time to learn more about them (hobbies, values, interests) to show them properties that will be the best fit. For example, if someone loves art, then I can give them a membership to a nearby museum such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If they enjoy physical fitness, then maybe a membership to a nearby gym or even Classpass so they can try a bunch of different places.”
13. A Gift Certificate to a Local Nursery
While most people like house plants and small trees, people who love them are generally pretty particular. Some plant lovers collect succulents while others prefer hanging plants or perennials. That makes picking out a nice plant as a closing gift a tricky proposition. If you want to make sure your plant-loving client is happy, a gift certificate is the way to go.
Like the other closing gift ideas on this list that come from local business owners, make sure to form a relationship with the owner before buying the gift certificate. If they’re greeted warmly by a store owner who speaks well of you, you come across as a well-connected local rather than just someone they completed a transaction with.
14. A Customized Gift for Children
Of course, if you do develop a more personal relationship with your client, then getting them something that they’ll personally resonate with might make sense. Isaac Rosenberg at Compass tries to get his clients gifts they’ll remember.
“I love getting my clients a gift that they will remember forever. Preferably something they can use and keep around the house for a long time. My favorite gift I’ve gotten for a client moving to the U.S. for the first time was a toy train with their child’s name on it (at the time their only child). It’s not about how much it costs, but the thought and the appreciation for what’s special to the specific client.”
15. A Local Cooking Class
The perfect closing gift for your foodie clients, a gift certificate to a unique local cooking class can be a fun gift for anyone, really. Even better, if you work in a major city, you can find classes at all levels of experience and intensity.
For example, a bachelor first-time homeowner might genuinely appreciate a cookery 101 course while a die-hard foodie might get a lot out of a butchery or advanced knife skills class.
Again, knowing your client’s interests is key to great closing gift giving!
16. A Celebratory Dinner
Greenwich Village Manhattan agent Elise Ehrlich prefers taking her clients out to a fancy dinner complete with wine (or champagne) and flowers for a true celebration.
“My favorite closing gift is a dinner to a fabulous local restaurant. When at all possible, I prefer to accompany the buyers or sellers to celebrate the closing and thank them for their trust. I make the reservation, arrange for great wine or champagne, flowers—truly a great night for all.
“I believe that material gifts are so personal, and so often they are just returned. Real estate is about relationships, so a dinner for the clients with or without me always makes people happy.”
While a custom house portrait makes a generally pretty safe (and great) closing gift, why not go the extra mile and include the happy couple and their pet? This way, you can turn something that’s fairly personal into something they may even cherish for decades.
The trick is to find a talented artist who can really capture the spirit of your clients and their new home. Some artistic license (and some Facebook snooping) will ensure your closing gift is heartfelt and truly personalized.
18. A Decorative Fruit Bowl, Coffee Table Book, or Engraved Keychain
Since your goal here is to be remembered, you might also want to get them something they’ll keep and use for a long time. That’s why Broker Becki Danchik of Warburg Realty Manhattan likes to give decorative fruit bowls, coffee table books, or engraved keychains.
“I like to give my clients a gift that is tangible, something they can use for a long time, such as a decorative fruit bowl, a coffee table book, or a key chain with their initials engraved into it. A gift that might remind them of me and their homebuying experience is more appreciated than something that has an expiration date, such as a gift card, tickets to a show, or wine. If their friends or family ask them where they got the cool salt and pepper shakers they can say, ‘my real estate agent gave them to me.’ It leaves a long-lasting impression.”
19. Offer 7-Star Service in a 3-Star Industry
Jay O’Brien, aka the AntiRealtor, came up with a strategy that not only allowed him to NEVER have to prospect for leads again (!!), but also win Inman’s coveted Most Innovative Real Estate Agent of the year award for 2018.
O’Brien and his new company Client Giant offer their clients service that is truly memorable and creates not only referrals, but evangelists for life. Here’s what their closing and closing gift process looks like:
- Bottle of wine or gift basket is delivered to the client’s current residence with handwritten note at contingency removal—this is to congratulate client that the hard part is over and they can now relax.
- Forwarding of address is handled by us.
- Transfer of utilities is handled by us.
- Electronic file with all documents signed during the transaction are sent via Dropbox.
- Handyman shows up on moving day as a surprise to the client and is available for two hours to help with just about anything.
- Gardener arrives at home a few days after move-in date and mows and hedges the lawn.
- One week after closing, mobile car wash goes out to client(s) home or office and details car after going through the move (gratuity included).
- Four weeks after closing, 5-star restaurant calls the client to congratulate them and says I will be sending the clients to dinner on a night of their choice, and that transportation is provided (this information is communicated back to my assistant and Uber is scheduled to and from the establishment).
Best of all, Client Giant’s services start at only $9.99 per client, per month, and your money is refunded if your deal doesn’t close.
20. A Gift That Disappears Quickly…
Another strategy Manhattan Broker Sheila Trichter of Warburg Realty uses are not gifts that last forever, but instead gifts that disappear quickly. The rationale here is that most people (especially the Manhattan 1%!) have enough stuff and would be more likely to enjoy an experience. After all, a gift they don’t like gets shoved into a closet and becomes a burden rather than something special.
“My general strategy is to give a gift that disappears quickly. Most people have enough stuff, so I like to give gifts that they can enjoy and not need to keep. In that vein, I often give a case of wine or good champagne. A wonderful food basket is generally appreciated, as are theater tickets and gift cards to great restaurants. In most cases, I take my clients to a wonderful closing dinner.”
21. A Well-curated Case of Wine
While wine of the month clubs are a dime a dozen these days, they tend to be a little bit overpriced, and getting a FedEx box with wine once a month is pretty impersonal. Instead, work with a local wine shop to curate a sampling of wine for many different occasions.
If you work with the right shop, they will happily provide you with in-depth descriptions of the origin, tasting notes, and pairing for each bottle they sell.
Once again, the point here is not to prove your oenophile bonafides, but to show your client that you’re a local expert who is a fixture in the local community. The owner of the wine store will love you and so will your client. What more could you ask for?
22. A Local Experience They’ll Never Forget
If your clients are a bit on the daring side, why not treat them to a heart-racing local experience they’ll never forget? Depending on where you work, you might be able to get them skydiving lessons, horse riding lessons, parasailing lessons, or something even more unique.
23. A Gift Card to a Local Coffee Shop or Tab at a Local Pub
A gift card to a well-reviewed local coffee shop or bar can be a great way to give your buyers a nudge into becoming locals. First, if you have a relationship with the owners, you can make sure they are warmly welcomed, which anyone brand-new to a neighborhood will appreciate. Second, you give them an easy way to start a routine and meet new friends in the neighborhood.
Just make sure to get to know your clients well before buying them something like this. A teetotaler will not take kindly to getting a tab at a bar as a closing gift.
24. A Gift Certificate to a Local Antique Store
If your clients are moving into a vintage home, then a gift certificate to a local antique shop is a no-brainer. Even if they don’t find that perfect piece right away, they’ll likely form a relationship with the owners that will ensure pleasant browsing for years to come.
This is a win/win in anyone’s book. You get your local shop owner a potential lifetime customer, and you show your client that you really understand what they really value.
25. Something to Make a Transplant Feel Welcome
Let’s face it—moving to a new city across the country or even around the world can be intimidating. You don’t know anyone and feeling truly at home isn’t easy for a lot of people. If you’re dealing with transplant clients, one of the best closing gifts you can get them is a local experience that helps them feel at home.
For example, if your client just moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, then get them surfing lessons. If they moved from India to Cape Cod, then a day of whale watching will help your client get excited about the unique spirit of their new home.
Just remember that closing gifts like this don’t have to be super serious. They can be lighthearted or even corny. The idea is to provide a unique local experience that will turn your clients into instant evangelists for your services!
26. A Gift Certificate to a Local Florist
If your client loves fresh flowers, then a gift certificate to a local florist can make a great closing gift. As a rule of thumb, go for a florist that’s a little more high-end than your clients may normally buy from. This way, your gift will be seen as a treat rather than something they might have bought on their own anyway.
27. A Consultation With a Local (or Online) Interior Designer
If there is one luxury that even relatively wealthy people skip out on, it’s hiring an interior designer. After all, it just seems so decadent. Of course, interior designers work in all flavors and at most price points. They can also actually save you money, because they can arrange or rearrange furniture you may already own to work better.
In many ways, that makes an interior designer the perfect closing gift. It’s something useful, decadent, and something most people wouldn’t dream of hiring themselves.
If you want to go local, then Yelp would be a good place to start looking. Or, you can prebook time with an online interior design consultant using a service like Havenly.
28. An Apple iPad
While generally viewed as important oxygen itself for many real estate agents, there are still a lot of people out there who see iPads and tablets in general as a luxury item. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t want one—far from it. It just means that even extremely successful people hold off on what they consider personal luxuries.
Lucky for real estate agents trying to buy closing gifts for their clients, though, a high-end tablet can be a great gift. It’s useful, fun, luxurious, and something many people just won’t buy for themselves.
If you’re leaning towards a tech gift like an iPad, drop some hints during your showing to see if they already have one and gauge their interest in owning one. If they don’t have one and think they’re the bee’s knees, then you have yourself a pretty sweet closing gift.
29. A Luxury Key Ring or Key Chain
Here’s another gift where getting to know the person you’re buying for is crucial. For the right kind of buyer, presenting their new house keys on a luxury key ring, like this example from Tiffany & Co., will make a lasting impression.
Yes, they’re expensive for such a small and inconsequential item, but they help give your buyer a sense of occasion at the closing table. Just make sure that if you do decide to spend a few hundred bucks on a key ring, you know that your buyer knows what it is and has a ballpark idea of what it costs. Otherwise, they might not even notice or think they just lucked out and got a shiny key chain!
The WORST Closing Gifts for Buyers & Sellers 2020
Now that we’ve gone through some thoughtful and memorable closing gift ideas that have the best chance of turning clients into lifetime evangelists, let’s look at some of the gifts that send the opposite message, or maybe worse, no message at all. 😕
1. A Bottle of Wine (or Anything) With Your Face on It
Here’s a little secret about wine. Study after study has shown that even so-called “experts” can barely taste the difference between expensive wine and two-buck chuck. That means that branding and presentation play a huge role in how people perceive the quality of wine.
How do people perceive the quality of “Jane Realtor: Congrats on Your Move!” wine with a poorly designed label with your headshot on it? Unless you’re personally well-renowned for running a winery, chances are lower than supermarket wine.
That is if they ever even drink it. Seriously. Do you think they’re going to break open free wine with your picture on it for dinner with friends? Can you imagine a scenario where you do that without feeling cheap or laughing?
Worse, this is the most obvious and desperate-looking strategy to stay top of mind on the planet. Was your deal so dull and uneventful that you think your client is actually going to forget your name?!
2. Kitchen Gadgets: Wine Openers, Cutting Boards, Knives & So On
As I’m writing this, I can think of at least a dozen dubious kitchen gadgets, cheapo knives, and extra-useless kitchen stuff collecting dust in my kitchen cabinets. I have never—and will never—use any of this stuff except maybe as trade goods after the zombie apocalypse, but I just can’t throw it out.
So there it sits. Ignored. Sadly collecting dust.
I hate to break it to you, but if you think your kitchen gadget or branded knives closing gifts are going to suffer a different fate, you’re sadly mistaken.
3. A Home Depot or Lowe’s Gift Certificate
While a home center gift certificate isn’t the worst gift you could give someone, it does subtly signal that you’ve kind of given up. This is the equivalent of your uncle giving you a $100 for Christmas as a kid. Awesome, but your parents got you that thing you REALLY wanted.
4. Furniture or Anything BIG
Just stop and think about this one for a minute. What are the odds of you picking out something your clients will both love, and not already have? Yeah sure, that end table is REALLY adorable, but what if your client thinks it’s cloying and cheesy? The same goes for pillows, ottomans, lamps, or anything else that won’t get hung on a wall.
How to Figure Out What Gift Will Increase the Odds of Your Client Becoming Your Evangelist
A 5-star Zillow review is great and all, but your goal as an agent is to build a referral network that will eventually eclipse your lead generation efforts. That means you need to really get to know your clients.
Not easy of course, but very worthwhile and can even be fun. Here’s how to strategically figure out the best closing gift for your buyer or seller client.
1. Stalk Their Social Media Accounts (or Have Your Virtual Assistant Do It)
Okay, I know. You feel a little creepy snooping around on your client’s social media to figure out what gift they will respond to best. Don’t! First of all, it’s 2020 and everyone from grandmas to school teachers check people out on social media. Second, you client will be much happier if you get them something they actually want!
2. Have the Gift in Mind, Then Ask Strategic Questions to See If It Will Fit
Getting to know your clients personally is great and all, but remember the goal here is to figure out how well they will respond to a specific gift. For example, you might get your client talking about how nervous they are to move to your city. That means a gift of a unique local experience might be ideal to help them get acclimated and become part of the local community.
From there you can drill down further and see what their hobbies and interests are to get even more specific with your gift. If you’re thinking of buying them a skydiving package, then it would help to know that they’re afraid of heights!
Our Take on Great Real Estate Closing Gifts
Great closing gifts are personal, thoughtful, and remind you client that you are the local real estate expert they can rely on for years to come. Choose carefully by getting to know your clients well, and you might help create an evangelist for life!