How can you tell if a real estate agent is really listening to you? Ask them about the gifts they’ve given to their previous clients. If you’re a first time home buyer, gifts can tell you everything you need to know about the quality of an agent.
If you’ve mentioned multiple times during open house that you love cheese, which gift are you more likely to cherish and remember: a cheeseboard and a year’s subscription to your city’s Cheese of the Month club, or an Amazon gift card of the same value?
Gifts from agents are often thought of as just a nicety, but they’re far from it. Here’s why gifts matter, and what sort of gifts add that extra touch…
Gifts Hint at the Relationships Agents Form with Their Clients
The home buying process is stressful - especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
When you’re first looking, you might be tempted to work with a larger real estate agency with name recognition. That’s fine, as long as you’re not just a number to them.
If an agent is closing on 60, 80, or 100 homes a year, they’re likely outsourcing their business, or working with a team of people. If you’re constantly meeting new agents every time you’re going on an open house tour, you won’t get to build a strong connection with them.
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. Your bond with your agent should go deeper than your typical employee/client relationship - and much deeper than a single afternoon of touring open houses.
If an agent has a history of giving generic gifts, it may be because they don’t form strong relationships with their clients.
Why Are Real Estate / Client Relationships Important?
The best agents out there spend more time listening and observing than offering advice. They remember your initial likes and dislikes, and take note of your tastes. They notice when you get stars in your eyes at the sight of an open kitchen and when you scoff at a Julia balcony. When you say that you want a home located near the freeway or a place large enough to entertain in, they keep that in mind.
Every interaction you have with your agent - every wish you airily mention, and every time the quieter spouse suddenly has something to say - gets taken into account.
These interactions help your agent determine what qualities in a home you like and dislike, even if you don’t know it yourself!
They Go to Bat for You
When you have a strong bond with your agent, you have someone who will listen to your frustrations, empathize with your concerns, and celebrate with you when you find your dream home.
You also have someone who’s willing to fight for you to get the best deals.
Real estate agents (the good ones, at least) became real estate agents because:
When an agent knows you well and has your best interests at heart, they know what they can and should negotiate for. More often than not (in our case at least) you will get a better deal.
Also, high-quality agents aren’t just looking to help you buy your first home. They’re hoping to help you close on your next home and the one after that. They’re also there to assist your family and friends when they buy their dream homes.
Alright, enough with the sappy stuff. Let’s get to the gifts!
Best First Time Home Buyer Gifts
First time home buyer gifts (and gifts in general) are tailored to each individual, so these gifts are seldom the same. However, there are a few common items/themes that make for popular gifts to open while we’re drinking celebratory champagne, including:
In our opinion, the best closing gifts are practical, personal, and/or local.
Buyers need gifts they’re actually going to use. If you inspect every open house’s backyard to see if it’s large enough for a garden, you’ll probably like getting a gardener’s starter kit and a Home Depot gift card. If you’ve fallen in love with the massive tub in the master bath, you’ll likely appreciate a bath gift basket.
Conversely, if you’re buying a home to fix and flip while still living in your original home, then a gift certificate for a moving company should make you wonder if your agent’s been paying attention. If you’re lactose intolerant, you probably won’t like that Cheese of the Month club membership either.
Personal gifts indicate your agent put extra thought into their purchase, rather than buying a last-minute gift basket near the register Bath and Body Works.
If you’re a chef, you’ll probably like a cutting board with their name on it. If you’re a board game lover, you’ll appreciate getting a game that you and your agent have talked about, but you don’t already have. As a cocktail enthusiast, you’ll love a set of personalized wine glasses and a bottle of your favorite liquor.
Adding the personal touch shows your agent is paying attention. It also leaves you with a lasting impression.
Local gifts support small businesses and welcome the home buyers to the neighborhood.
Wine enthusiasts will love a bottle of their favorite varietal and a gift certificate to the local winery that created it. A gift card to the restaurant you and your agent went to after finding the home you later closed also adds a sentimental touch.
Handmade gift baskets full of products from local businesses also indicate that your agent has put significant thought into your present.
Final Note on First Time Home Buyer Gifts
The best gifts are the ones that come from the heart. If you come across an agent who showers their clients with gifts that are thoughtful and memorable, odds are they’re the type of people who will give it their all and get you the best deal they can.
By Anthony Greer
Anthony Greer specializes in content writing and brand messaging development for service-based businesses. www.anthony-greer.com