Sure, there a few examples of good gifts, like the gift of 70% cash back by buyer's agents who recognize the truth about who actually pays commissions on real estate transactions. But for the most part, gifts realtors give to their clients are given for one of two reasons: marketing or, because if they don't, they'll appear cheap.
I remember the first time I heard about a realtor gift. A friend bought his first place. He spent about $300,000 if I recall correctly. His realtor, a young guy like himself, after earning somewhere around $6,000 for the time he spent on his client (I'm not sure how much, but I'd bet it was fairly considerable) before deductions etc, showed up at the closing with a brand new beer fridge for the garage, full of premium beer. It was the perfect gift for this single guy friend and it had our social circle talking. Good marketing, eh?
Another couple we know gets a gift annually from their realtor, who they used once way back in 2003, and will never use again, mostly because of this gift: a custom-labelled 375ml bottle of U-Brew
Until recently, we'd never received a gift. I don't begrudge the realtor we used for the commission they received. We made a choice to use a full commission buyer's agent and they made the full commission while spending less than 20 hours on us in total. Sure it pisses me off to no end knowing they "earned" more than $300 per hour while literally doing little more than scheduling viewing appointments and unlocking doors. But that was the rule of the game when we engaged their services and we entered into it knowingly. As they say: don't hate the player, hate the game.
Sure we tried to find a cash-back agent to save some bucks. We weren't successful, obviously, nor were we patient enough to wait until we could find an agent with a cash back structure we felt was realistic (you'd be amazed at how many agents advertising cash back deals have more fine print than legal documents and end up at full commission in the end) Anyway, back to the gift.
There's not much point in going into too much detail. The gift basket was crap. It was cheap. It was full of junk food and the one item that had any household usability was so engraved with marketing that we gave it away to Sally Ann. Even more, our agent called us that morning to ask what kind of wine we prefer: red or white? Here's the thing: when you only spend $10 on a bottle of gift wine you're going to save face by buying both, calling before hand to ask just draws attention to the cheapness of the gift.
I'd love to hear from the realtors who frequent this blog: Why do you give gifts? What do you give? Are your gifts personalized with your name and contact info permanently etched into glass or metal? If so, do you think your clients appreciate this?
I'd love to hear from other readers too: Do you appreciate the gifts? Anything positively memorable? Do you pass any on as gag gifts for the jokes they originally were? What gifts do you want to get? Should realtors just stop gifting altogether?