The papers are signed and the keys are exchanged. You’re done! Time to celebrate! Hold on! Not quite yet. Personally I feel giving a gift to your client at closing isn’t just customary; it’s a token of your appreciation for their business and a way to potentially generate future referrals. I have gathered together some of the best ideas for a variety of clients and since times are still tough everything is $50 or less!
For the Pet Lover: If their dogs are apart of the family, consider the Pampered Pooch Collection from “Kiehl’s” ($44 www.kiehls.com) the set includes cleansing spritz, conditioning rinse and grooming shampoo. Crate & Barrel’s Cat Treat Jar ($14.95, www.creatandbarrel.com) is dishwasher safe, yet stylish enough for the kitchen counter. Or keep it simple by assembling a gift basket of toys and treats from the local pet store. Consider using a pet toy storage box ($34.97 www.walmart.com) add the basket for extra functionality.
For the Outdoor Enthusiasts: For backpackers, the Coleman PowerPack 1-Burner Stove ($36.88 www.walmart.com) offers a portable, lightweight means to heat food and beverages on the go. For runners, cyclists and rollerbladers, the Nike + iPod Sport Kit ($29 www.apple.com) will give real-time feedback during workouts and lets users track their progress on their computer. Any active person would be pleased with the HydraCoach ($30 www.hydracoach.com), which is the first “smart” water bottle; it automatically calculates and monitors fluid consumption.
For the Green Thumbs: Fill a colorful, multi-use Tubtrug ($11.95 www.gardentoolcompany.com) with garden gloves, breakfast tea, scented hand cream and cleansing cloths for a DIY garden gift basket. The Stack and Grow Garden Planter ($39.95 www.wheatgrasskits.com) is an attractive and versatile container that can hold up to 20 plants and can be rolled inside the house or out, depending on the weather. A self-water planter ($18.95 www.amazon.com) can take the guesswork out of maintenance, which is always good, considering new homeowners will be spending most of their time unpacking, not worrying whether the plants were watered.
For the Relocaters: If the homeowners are completely new to the area, it will take them some time to learn the ins and outs of their neighborhood. Get them up to spend by purchasing a one-year subscription to the community newspaper. It will give them insight to the town’s politics, events, schools, and stakeholders. If you’re feeling creative, make postcards from a photo of their new house (starting at $7.99 for 10 www.vistaprint.com) so they can mail their new information to friends and family.
For the First-timers: This is probably the easiest category of homeowners to buy for because this is the first time they own a home. How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home ($17.95 www.amazon.com) will help newbie’s conquer basic repairs and DIY projects with ease. A quality step stool ($14.99 www.target.com) and a cordless screwdriver ($29.95 www.sears.com) are something all homes should be equipped with.
For the Food Lovers: Grill masters will enjoy the Travel Chef BBQ Set ($45 http://www.uncommongoods.com) which includes a vinyl-backed apron equipped with a spatula, basting brush, fork, heavy duty oven mitt and stainless steel tongs. At the Dean & Deluca website (www.deandeluca.com) you can build your own gift basket a la carte or choose ready-made baskets, like the Dean & Deluca Chocolate Mix ($34).
I Don’t Have a Client like Any of Those: If your client doesn’t seem to fit any of those previous categories or if you just want to stick with a gift that has broad appeal, don’t fret you still have plenty of options. Load up a gas gift card, preferably one that can be used for snacks, car washes and other goodies in addition to fuel. A digital photo frame ($49.99 www.amazon.com) is a thoughtful addition to any living room. To add a personal touch, load it with a picture of the homeowners in front of their new home! Also sign up for Groupon, Living Social and Screaming Daily Deals to get cheap discounts on a variety of services and activities – for example restaurants, dry cleaning, spas, dance lessons and more.
While finding the right gift for your client may take a bit of time, it’s a great opportunity to show them that you value your relationship and hopefully in the future they will call you again or recommend you to a friend.
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI
Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900