Am I supposed to give my realtor a gift?
April 30, 2014 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the process of buying a townhouse (close in a few days). A friend who referred my realtor to me mentioned in passing that she gave my realtor a bottle of wine at closing as a thank you gift. Is this a thing?

I should note that I haven't really been happy with the realtor in question and will be glad when this is all over. But I don't want to be rude/ungrateful. Is a gift expected? If I get wine, what price range is reasonable? $15-20?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total)
This might be a local custom? If so it's one I've never heard of. In fact I've heard of the opposite - realtors giving housewarming gifts to their (now-former) clients.
posted by muddgirl at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2014 [9 favorites]

Our realtor gave us a bottle of wine. The gift our realtor got was the big frickin' commission cheque. In short, no.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2014 [61 favorites]

No, and if you haven't been happy with the realtor in question, especially no.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:36 PM on April 30, 2014 [4 favorites]

No, it's definitely not a thing. Most often in our area, the Realtor gives their client a housewarming gift because they've just made a ton of money off the buyer/seller.
posted by kate blank at 12:38 PM on April 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

I agree with fimbulvetr--you should be getting a gift from your realtor, not vice versa.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:38 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

It never hurts to appreciative, regardless of the setting. If you were delighted with their exceptional service, sure, give them a bottle of wine. And feel free to give your plumber a ham, and your periodontist a pair of earrings.

But you're under no obligation to do so, particularly when you (or the seller, really) are already paying them (probably more than their worth), and you're not overly happy with the service you've gotten.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:39 PM on April 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

No. It's more typical for your realtor to give YOU a gift.

I wouldn't worry about it, she got her commission.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:40 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

My realtor gave me a bottle of champagne at closing, and I referred him to friends who were buying. Oddly enough, the same realtor handled my now-husband's home buying and did not give him a housewarming bottle. My parents bought and sold the family home every four years my entire life, and gifts never changed hands. I don't think it's common and I can't imagine why it would be customary or even expected that you give your realtor a gift.

I've had clients (I'm an attorney) give me gifts at the close of business and I hate it. Fruit basket for the office at the holidays or donuts for the office the day after trials, I'm okay with, but individual gifts from a client always made me uncomfortable.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:47 PM on April 30, 2014

Heck no, my goodness, the world is teeming with a surplus of real estate agents all desperate for your business. Gifts, if any, flow in the opposite direction.
posted by HotToddy at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was in the same position you are in February. We just bought our first townhouse.
I also was not happy with the realtor at all for a plethora of reasons.

I started to dread seeing my realtor and like you, I couldn't wait for the whole process to be over. God he was so patronising. SO patronising and actually gross.

It never crossed my mind to buy him a gift funnily enough!
posted by JenThePro at 1:28 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

No. Typically, the seller RECEIVES a gift from their Realtor at closing (since the seller is the person who pays the commission fee to their Realtor, who in turn splits that commission with the Buyer's Realtor). If you really really REALLY liked your Realtor, MAYBE give them a gift, but I don't think so.

I'd argue that you probably don't know your Realtor well enough to select an appropriate gift. Wine? Maybe he or she doesn't drink. Probably the best gift you can give your Realtor is to send referral business his or her way if you were happy with the assistance you got in selecting a home and during the purchasing process.

If you're selling your home, different story. I have no basis for comparison, as I really didn't like the Realtor I sold my house with, and was happy to not have to deal with her ever again after the closing.
posted by tckma at 1:28 PM on April 30, 2014

I just read this again and noted that you weren't happy with your Realtor. In that case, definitely do not get him or her a gift, and refer your friends away from him or her.
posted by tckma at 1:29 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing all this. We got a $50 Home Depot gift card from our agent! Kinda funny to be thrilled about that after basically paying her $5000, but hey.
posted by peep at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Our realtor gave us a gift too when we closed on our townhouse. Your gift is the commission check he/she will be getting. Don't worry about it.
posted by elvissa at 1:42 PM on April 30, 2014

NO. The realtor should thank you for being vastly overpaid for their work.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 1:54 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a former realtor. I gave my clients gifts.

I had only client give me a gift. I became fond of their pet rabbits during our search for their home. After the close, they gave me a picture of the bunnies and a bottle of Rabbit Ridge wine.

Giving your realtor a gift is not the norm. I can see doing it if someone went above and beyond, otherwise no.
posted by shoesietart at 2:07 PM on April 30, 2014

I gave my mortgage broker a bottle of wine at the close, mostly because I put him through hell and I know his company was going to get the bulk of the commission and not him personally. But the real-estate broker? Nope.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:08 PM on April 30, 2014

My real estate broker was awesome, so I got her a gift. She also for me a gift. That being said head she not been awesome I would feel NO obligation to give her a gift.
posted by pyro979 at 2:56 PM on April 30, 2014

Mom's a realtor. No gift is necessary. In fact, she usually purchases a one-off housecleaning service for right before move-in for her clients.
posted by kimberussell at 3:50 PM on April 30, 2014

I gave my own Realtor a gift, but that's because he was also my father (AND he only took about half the normal commission). Otherwise, no you do NOT need to give them a gift or any kind of tip: they're getting a commission, they've been well-paid for their work.
posted by easily confused at 3:59 PM on April 30, 2014

We received a bottle of champagne and a 100 dollar gift card to The Wood Tavern in Oakland.

You get all the things! If your realtor was awesome be sure to spread the word to friends in your area who are looking to buy.
posted by waitangi at 4:16 PM on April 30, 2014

I should note that I haven't really been happy with the realtor in question and will be glad when this is all over.

Then why would you get them a gift? They're making a mountain of cash off of the transaction already. No gift required.

Data point: in Sydney, the realtors give the new homeowner the wine.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:45 PM on April 30, 2014

I too thought The Thing was the other way around. The realtor making the money gives the gift.
posted by Flood at 6:12 PM on April 30, 2014

Uhh my realtor gave me a gift and a very nice one at that ($200 gift card). My gift to her was my business and a positive recommendation on linked in.
posted by whoaali at 8:33 PM on April 30, 2014

Yes, we also got a bottle of champagne and a gift card from our realtor, not the other way around.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:02 PM on April 30, 2014

The realtor is making a huge sum of money off you and they didn't even perform to your satisfaction - why on earth would you give them a gift?
posted by winna at 3:59 AM on May 1, 2014

My realtor gave me a fruit arrangement. His business card says "Your best thanks is a refferral" or something like that.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:31 AM on May 1, 2014

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