What to do....Closing gift etiquette

Asked by Cathy, Montclair, CA Fri Jul 25, 2014

I'm a new realtor and have closed 4 deals since last year. I always give a small gift basket as a thank you closing gift. I did same for last closing but buyer calls me and says that I made a good commission and she wants a washer/dryer or a bbq? This is a 350k home with a 2% commission folks. Kind of nervous not sure what to do. Can you please share some of your ideas and opinions? Thank you in advance.

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Brian Kurtz, Agent, Dearborn, MI
Sun Aug 3, 2014
I would say something very paranoid to them to the tune of....

"Wait a minute! Are you a government agent? Are you trying to see if I would break the law by giving you such a gift when you know that it's in violation of federal guidelines? Look, I'm going to turn on my call recorder and I want you to ask me again the very thing you just asked so I can get it on tape, okay? Alright, I'm ready and recording...you go ahead and talk."
Web Reference:  http://briankurtz.com/
3 votes
Ha ha this is an awesome response! ........ so gonna use this!
Flag Fri Aug 15, 2014
Catherine Po…, Agent, Absecon, NJ
Fri Jul 25, 2014
Wow people really have a lot of nerve don't they??? Don't worry about it. You work hard for your commission and you deserve to make the percentage you make. If they don't appreciate the closing gift you buy them then move on....Sometimes people just don't get it....Shaking my head.......It's unfortunate.
1 vote
Bonnie Berry…, Agent, Cheyenne, WY
Fri Jul 25, 2014
Unfortunately the buyer didn't understand how gracious you were to supply a lovely gift basket at closing. Closing gifts, in my opinion, are optional anyway. I would politely tell her that the gift basket is your customary special gift to each of your clients and you cannot purchase appliances, etc. Maybe next time you should give a gift card to a local home improvement store so it can go towards a larger purchase they might need, or paint, etc.
1 vote
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Fri Jul 25, 2014
That strikes me as some nerve on the part of your buyer! Unless something large like that was pre-negotiated, you don't owe her anything!!!

I usually try to customize my gifts to something my clients need...but have never had anyone demand something from me.

If your buyer did that to me, I wouldn't give her anything!!! That's just over the top!
1 vote
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Mon Aug 4, 2014
Well, explain that you are sure she wouldn't want you to break the law, and gifts of that size are NOT allowed BY LAW.

Say that sweetly.

Wish her well..... wish her many years of good health and happiness in her new home, and tell her you hope she enjoys the goodies in your gift basket.

Then, say goodbye and hang up!
0 votes
Sharon Felton, Agent, Nashville, TN
Mon Aug 4, 2014
Wow. Just wow. I would cheerfully explain to her that Realtors must follow our Code of Ethics and that there are also state laws that regulate the size of closing gifts. Give her a gift card (your choice as to amount) and wish her the best. You **might** also advise her that with her excellent negotiation skills, you're sure she won't have any problem negotiating an excellent price on a washer/dryer set at Lowes/HomeDepot/HHGregg (your local appliance superstore). Best of luck to you.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Englewood, CO
Sat Jul 26, 2014
Wow, please never cease to amaze do they? It clearly varies from state to state, but here in CO if I do a "big" gift, it's typically a home warranty. It's some good peace of mind. And god knows you wouldn't want them coming back to you to fix the broken washer 2 years down the road!
0 votes
Connie Mitch…, Agent, South Padre Island, TX
Sat Jul 26, 2014
Texas law only allows up to $50 in client gifts. Thankful to the Lord above I send 10% of my commissions to where He leads me. For a fussy client I would offer them the opportunity of a suggested charity for that 10%......... certainly not THEIR washer/dryer, but maybe one for a needy family :)
0 votes
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Fri Jul 25, 2014
How about giving a $100 donation in your client's name to their favorite charity? That might humble them a little and it's also a good long-term policy to keep you out of these situations in the future.
0 votes
Prevention is a GOOD policy
Flag Mon Aug 4, 2014
Terry McCarl…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Fri Jul 25, 2014
Others have given you good advice. We aren't allowed to give large gifts such as a washer and dryer etc...I'm still shaking my head at the rudeness of your buyer. You were paid to do a job and you got it done and for that your buyer should thank you!!!
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Fri Jul 25, 2014
All exceed the limits for which you MUST adhere to avoid a Dept of Justice violation.
State laws and your own REALTOR association will also have restrictions.
There just might be a RESPA thing to consider.

The moral to the story is you revealed your weakness buy forfeiting your compensation. Now that you are on your heels, they know they can squeeze more out of you. You invited this behavior.

You need to tell them to pound sand, but in the smiley, real estate agent sort of way.
Next you need to get a grip on the consequences of the 'good deed' you think you are doing.
They never go unpunished.
0 votes
Pat & Steve…, Agent, Westlake, OH
Fri Jul 25, 2014
In OH, we cannot give a large gift, as it would be viewed by regulators as illegal as a kick back or sharing your commission. Check out your State Regulations. You probably have a similar regulation in your state. Then, send the regulation to her.
0 votes
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