The Pros and Cons of Real Estate Closing Gifts

    “I think I’ll send my new patient a $50 Macy’s gift certificate to thank her for allowing me to perform her annual physical,” said no doctor, ever. Come to think of it, my hairdresser, accountant, and lawyer have never gifted me either.

    Yet real estate agents, somewhere along the line, came up with this notion that they absolutely must provide a closing gift to their clients. 

    Obviously, the agent who first gifted a client must’ve found the practice successful because it was quickly copied and has now become standard practice.

    Does giving a gift to a client make you memorable? If that were the case, more service industries would take up the practice, don’t you think? I don’t know about you, but I return to my hair stylist every month because I love the way she cuts my hair.

    My accountant saves me money on my taxes. So, is it the gift that makes them remember you, or was it your performance?

    Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of giving closing gifts, to real estate clients.


    I’m not a tax expert or an accountant, but the IRS says agents can deduct up to $25 for each person they gift during the year. No, that’s not a whole lot of money and if you make the big bucks, you’ll need to buy a whole lot of gifts throughout the year to even put a dent in your tax bill.

    If you feel you must give a gift, consider handing your clients the keys to their new home on a quality (meaning, not plastic) keychain. With your branding on it, you’ll be able to deduct it as a marketing expense and possibly get a larger deduction. Talk to your tax professional.

    A swanky annual client appreciation event, on the other hand, will give you a bigger tax deduction as well as put you right back there at the top of their mind.

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    Since referrals are the lifeblood of a successful real estate practice, and keeping them coming in requires remaining top-of-mind with former clients, it would have to be a major gift to make you memorable throughout the years.

    What will make you memorable is frequent contact throughout the year — the birthday cards, the client appreciation events, and the ongoing direct mail campaigns.

    Here’s something else to consider: you are a buyer’s agent. You have been at your client’s beck and call, spending weeks or even months driving your clients to house after house before they finally found one they wanted. 

    You submitted the offer, you coordinated your client’s end of the transaction, and you smoothly paved the way to a successful close. All parties are satisfied with the outcome. In return, you are paid a percentage of the sales price of the home.

    You did your job and you got paid. Shake hands, as business people do, thank them for their business, and move on to your next client. 

    The subject of closing gifts, as you know, is a point of contention among agents. How about you?  Do you gift?

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    Lisa is an accomplished marketer with years of expertise in direct response marketing, digital marketing, data analytics and business development working with both B2C and B2B.