Real estate is a business of relationships. Whether we consult one another, recommend industry professionals like mortgage brokers and home inspectors, or receive referrals from previous happy clients, we’re bound to create a strong rapport with the people in our professional lives. In this article, I’d like to focus on a specific moment in my relationship with my client, and share a little tip that has left a memorable mark every time.
BBQ Set, Anyone?
As someone who buys, rents and sells properties myself, I have been on the buyer side multiple times in the past few years. At closing, I have gotten everything from a congratulations text message (the agent didn’t come to my closing), a smile, a firm hand shake and a BBQ tool set as a closing gift. Had we ever talked about meat or barbecue during the transaction? Not once. I could have been a vegetarian, for that matter. It was just something that his office was providing their agents with to hand over to clients. Branded with the agency name, of course.
Although I appreciated the gesture, I didn’t think the gift was smart. Sure, the image of a happy family in a new home BBQ-ing happily ever after is a possible one, but is a BBQ tool set the best way to compliment a new home owner’s latest milestone? I think one can do better.
Knives and tool sets have been the – forgive me – standard gift sets for a long time. You know it when a knife set sales person sponsors your agency’s next monthly business meeting …
Choose to Be Different
So instead of copying closing gifts (like you are copying your agency’s monthly newsletter and sending it out branded as your own), why not aim for distinction? After all, it is your distinct approach, knowledge and character that made your clients choose you to represent them.
If you have spent considerable time with your clients, and you know them well, please do go ahead and brainstorm ideas on how you can impress each client specifically based on what you know about them. By all means, this is the right way to go.
If, however, your knowledge about them (or your time to come up with something amazing) is limited, let me suggest one type of gift that fits any and all clients equally – whether they are meat lovers or strict vegan: Nest Thermostat.
Let me explain: the Nest Thermostat is the next generation of temperature management for any space. It doesn’t just regulate temperature and presents it in a neat design, it also learns from your habits (for example, automatically lowering your set temperature to three degrees lower at bedtime every evening), it recognizes when you’re away and sets the temperature higher than your typical setting to save energy and allows you can regulate your home’s temperature on the go via the cell phone app.
Lastly, you will have access to your energy use, which creates statistics and tells you how much or how little you have been using your AC, compared to other Nest users in your area.
Why Nest is a Smart Closing Gift
At the very latest, point #3 should have you convinced that Nest is the perfect closing gift …
#1: You know the home they are buying, so you know the thermostat that comes with it. You are complementing their purchase with a state-of-the-art feature. On the contrary, you’d have to ask whether they already own a knife set, or a BBQ tool set.
If the house is already equipped with Nest, don’t despair. There are many other Smart Home tech gadgets that help a home owner control their lighting, security system, door locks, garage doors etc.
#2: It will help them save energy and money. Especially here in Miami, summers can be brutally hot and energy bills soar in the months from May to September. By automatically changing settings on your thermostat while you are away, you can save a considerable amount. Since I personally switched to Nest, my FPL bill is half what it used to be. No matter the price point of the house – who wouldn’t want to save money on their energy bill?
#3: Friends and family will notice it. Nest is in ‘sleep’ mode most of the time, which means its display is dark. But once someone approaches it, it automatically alluminates and displays the temperature setting. Wow! The next thing your client will say is, “this is our Nest thermostat, it learns from our habits and has saved us a ton of money so far. Our real estate agent got it for us when we bought the house”.
#4: You’re giving the house they bought an instant upgrade. Smart home technology has proven to improve the perception of a house not only for the owners themselves, but anyone who visits and gets a glimpse of the technology in action. People are fascinated by it, and this makes the home owner proud.
Too Little or Too Much
So how much does Nest cost? I bought mine for $249 at The Home Depot in May 2016. Installation is easy and fast, since Nest provides a step by step guide to help you replace old with new. The phone app is free for both Android and iPhone.
You may wonder – is this gift too pricey or too cheap for my clients? It depends on the price point of the house, and how much you’d like to invest in the relationship with your client. Should you feel it is too little, you can always pair the Nest Thermostat with other smart home features that make sense for this particular home owner.
What do you give your buyer clients as closing gift? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.