As the Thanksgiving and winter holidays approach, REALTORS® may be inclined to send gifts or notes of appreciation to clients, colleagues and those within their professional network. The holidays are a common time for companies and professionals to step back and show gratitude for those who have provided support for their business. This season say ‘thank you’ in creative ways to show your gratitude for colleagues, clients and anyone in your professional network.
Before you start purchasing gift cards or fruit baskets, though, there are a few things to consider when showing gratitude for support. For example, financial gifts for referrals might veer into sketchy legal territory. However, closing gifts for clients are commonplace in the industry, and thank you notes are always a kind gesture.
If you’re concerned that a gift idea might cross any ethical or legal lines, talk to your broker. Looking for creative closing gifts or other ways to show gratitude? Try these ideas:
Closing Gifts for Clients
Closing gifts from REALTORS are a nice way to welcome a buyer into their new home. Closing on a home—buying a new home—is a huge financial investment, but it’s also the beginning of a new life. For this reason, REALTORS traditionally give their clients a ‘welcome home’ gift to celebrate.
Looking for something out of the ordinary to gift to new homeowners? Here are 10 unique options:
A Monogrammed Welcome Mat
Every front door needs a welcome mat! And is there a more perfect ‘welcome home’ gift than a mat that welcomes guests? Monogram the mat for a personalized touch. If you know your client’s interests—maybe their favorite sports team—you can include a logo, too.
While adding their last name might seem like a nice idea, some homeowners might not want their last name decorating the front door for privacy reasons. Stick to a monogram for that personalized family touch.
A Creative Mailbox
Unless the mailbox is wrapped and secured in brick, gifting a new mailbox could be a creative and fun way to welcome a family to their new home. Again, REALTORS can opt for a new mailbox with a personal touch. You might even have something custom designed for the homeowners. Mailboxes can be designed to look like animals, barns, homes or something else entirely!
Rendering/Watercolor of the Home
A watercolor painting of the home matted in a nice frame also is a meaningful and creative ‘welcome home’ gift. This is a great option if the home was custom built or if the architectural design is especially unique. You could also have the blueprints framed for a more abstract wall décor idea.
Personalized Gift Basket
Were your clients big movie buffs? Maybe they love crafts? Create a personalized gift basket tailored to their hobbies or interests. Get creative, and set a budget!
Something for the Garden
For the clients who love gardening, gift a plant or items for their garden like a personalized flag. For clients with kids who love gardening, there may be kits that let clients press their child’s handprints on stones or tiles that can be placed in the garden.
Gardening tools or accessories also could make great gifts. You might even present these in a gift basket.
A Photo Album
To preserve memories in their new home, a photo album may make a great thank you gift. You can have the family’s name or monogram added to the front of the album.
A Smart Gift
Have a larger budget? The Close recommends The Nest Hello Smart Doorbell. This lets clients see who’s at their door. You also could consider a smart device that connects to the home like an Amazon Echo.
Something Luxe…but Still on Budget
The Close also recommends a Tiffany & Co. key ring. You can have the key ring engraved for a personalized touch. This is an elegant gift for all clients.
For the homeowners who love to read and who may have a massive amount of books to display, opt for interesting bookends. Choose antique sculptural options or simple silver bookends that can be monogrammed. Carved stone or geode bookends also add a decorative but rustic touch to a room.
A Gift of Time
Give new homeowners a gift of time; a wall clock is a classic decorative element that can be put to good use! Some clocks are made to sit on a fireplace mantle, others can hang in the kitchen. A cuckoo clock is a bit quirky and kitschy and is a great conversation piece.
Gifts or Thank You Tokens to Those in Your Business Network
While closing gifts for clients are often considered a standard in the industry, what about gifts for those in your business network to show appreciation? This is where you might need to reach out to your broker for ideas on what gifts would be appropriate.
Thank you notes or holiday cards, though, may be a nice way to reach out and say thanks! When writing notes of appreciation, choose your stationary carefully. When the note is the gift, the stationary should shine. Choose cardstock that’s thick and paper that is substantial. This isn’t the time to pull out lined yellow sheets from your business notebook.
Ideally, your stationary should be personalized—monograms are a classic style. Stationary with your picture might seem like a great marketing statement, but, for a thank you note, this might not be the best look. Stick to sleek and professional cards and stationary. A matching envelope also is a nice finishing touch.
Notes of thanks should be professional with a personal touch. Try not to make thank you notes or gratitude cards come across as generically written with the same message to everyone. Write something personal to each person in your network.
What about Holiday Gifts Like Cookies & Candy?
The holidays are a time for sweets and treats. While baking up some pies or cookies or sending a cookie gift basket may seem like a great thank you for clients, there could be issues related to diet or food allergies. Unless you really know the tastes of someone, gifts of food might not be the best idea.
When Saying Thanks Becomes…Complicated
Disclosures are so important in this industry, and certain gifts could be construed as putting someone in a compromising position. This doesn’t mean that every gift to a colleague or associate is a bad idea, but it does mean you need to do your homework about what gifts are acceptable…and which ones are not acceptable. Talk to your broker or reach out to the local Board of REALTORS if there is a question about the appropriate nature of gifts.
You also could be the recipient of a holiday gift or gift card that makes you hesitant. Your broker or local BoR can help you better understand what you can accept and what you cannot…and also what gifts and relationships you might need to disclose to clients.
When in doubt about thank you gifts to associates or those in your network, opt for a nice note of thanks. Sometimes kind words are the most meaningful gift of the season!