6 Clever Closing Gifts

Instead of the usual gift cards or house plants, give something more unique. Here are some fresh ideas.

March 1, 2007

REALTORS® spend more than $510 million each year on business or closing gifts for their clients, according to the latest REALTOR® Magazine Reader Profile Study (MRI Custom Division), conducted in 2005. But although you’re long on generosity, it’s tough to come up with new ideas all the time.

Top gifts from practitioners are gift cards (59.5 percent), flowers or plants (37.2 percent), or gift baskets (36.7 percent). Set yourself apart and build referrals with these clever closing gifts:

1. A night out

Who wouldn’t love a dinner out at a favorite restaurant? But make it memorable by not only picking up the tab but also going all out. Make the reservation for your clients, arrange a limo or a sitter, and then have the restaurant send over a personal thank-you note from you.

2. A proud shareholder

For a whimsical but practical gift that your clients will proudly display in their new home, consider giving a single share of stock in a public company that would appeal to your clients’ unique sense of taste. A San Francisco–based company called OneShare allows you to send a framed stock certificate for an actual share of stock from any one of 130 public companies. Among the most popular are Disney, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Harley-Davidson, Wal-Mart, General Motors, Tiffany & Co., and Microsoft. Especially popular among real estate practitioners are stocks from Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Starbucks. The cost is $39, plus the price of the stock as listed on the stock exchange on the date of purchase. The stock certificate comes in a complimentary hard-matte paper frame, or you can upgrade to wood or brushed metal frames for $34 to $64. The frame also has a space for an optional custom message from you for a small extra charge.

3. A new address

Help your clients get used to their new address by providing a customized address stamp after the closing. Arroyo Grande, Calif.-based VRS Marking allows you to customize the self-inking address stamps with your photo, name, and contact information on the side. Every time your clients use the address stamp, they’ll think of you. Prepay for the stamps and order them with each client’s information as you need them. Pricing ranges from $22.95 per stamp for a package of five different addresses to $13.90 per stamp for orders of 100 or more. Additional charges apply, including shipping and, for orders of fewer than 50, a one-time artwork fee to set up your custom logo. Once you create your account with the company, you can order individual address stamps for each closing, and the company will send them in a complimentary gift box directly to your clients. Or you can deliver them personally.

4. A new experience

What do you get for the clients who have everything? How

about an experience they’ll be talking about for years to come? Boulder, Colo.–based Cloud 9 Living allows you to choose from the truly adventurous — a fly-fishing trip, a bull-riding school, a summer surf camp, indoor skydiving, or driving a race car—to the more cerebral (private guitar lessons, a romantic dinner for two cooked in clients’ home by an executive chef, or a private Pilates class). There are 1,200 experiences to choose from, which are offered primarily in 15 major metropolitan cities, but the company expects to double the number of destinations in 2007.

Not sure which experience to give as a gift? The company allows you to choose from nine color-coded gift cards at different price levels, and your clients can choose their own experience. The company will send your clients a gift pack that includes an “experience certificate” personalized with your own special message, as well as a DVD and brochure with all the details about the experiences they can redeem within a year of receipt. Prices start as low as $70, but many are several hundred dollars or more.

5. A sweet something

Mrs. Fields offers more than a dozen different “housewarming/REALTOR®” gifts for practitioners to give clients. The “New House Gift” is worth adding to your closing gifts repertoire because the cookies, brownies, and other baked treats come in a box shaped like a house. Customize the front door of the house with your clients’ names or your company logo. House boxes are priced at either $29.99 or $75.99.

6. A card that gives back

Lowe’s, a REALTOR Benefits Program partner, provides free “New Homeowner” cards that you can personalize with your photo and contact information. The card, which comes with a personalized letter, offers your clients a 10 percent savings coupon from Lowe’s, an exclusive rebate offer, and tips for moving into a new home.

Update: The Lowe’s Program for REALTORS® is no longer available through the REALTOR Benefits® Program. For questions, please call NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Help Line at 800-627-5233.