Sweetening the Deal: Show Your Real Estate Clients You Care
It’s easy to think of selling a house as a one-time thing — after all, people don’t buy houses all that often. But you’d be surprised how valuable it is to make a lasting impression on a real estate client.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median age of repeat home buyers is only 55, so it’s more than likely that your first time clients will be buying again in a decade or two, and it can’t hurt for them to keep you in mind. When they do, they’ll be working with a higher budget — the median income of repeat buyers is $100,000, rather than the $75,000 that first time buyers have to work with.
And that’s not to mention the value of referrals. 74% of buyers said they would recommend their agent to others or use their agent again, so one happy client could easily bring in a few new ones.
So what’s the best way to make sure your real estate clients move into their new house satisfied? Of course, the house itself is priority number one. But there are a few other steps that you can take to sweeten the deal and leave a smile on your clients’ face.
Make Their Moving Day Easier
The best part of buying a new home is getting to live somewhere new — the worst part is having to actually move all your stuff. With all the chaos around moving day, the last thing that your new clients want to do is dig out pots and pans to make dinner that night.
Consider a sort of moving day care package — complete digital and paper copies of all the documents they need, keys to the new locks (which, hopefully, you’ve already had changed), and a pizza.
It doesn’t even have to be a pizza, if that’s not something you think your clients would want. These days, there are so many food delivery services, like Grubhub and DoorDash, that a simple gift certificate will go a long way toward building some goodwill.
Another much-appreciated gift is basic household supplies. When your clients first move in, they might not remember which box contains things like paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, hand soap, cups and plates, and so on. Leave a package of plastic cups, plates, and cutlery, along with some basic household supplies, so they don’t feel pressure to unpack so quickly.
Ease the Burden of Cleaning
When a client moves out of their old house, they’ll also need to clean the place up before they list it or hand the keys back to their landlord. You can smooth that transition by hiring a cleaning crew to thoroughly deep-clean the place after they’ve moved all their stuff out.
Steam cleaning the carpets, washing exterior windows that are hard to reach, whitening grout in worn-out bathrooms, and so on are all tough tasks that no one looks forward to, so bringing in a professional will greatly ease the move.
Help Them Get Used to Their New Neighborhood
If your clients are moving to a new area that they’re not familiar with, help them get accustomed to their new surroundings with a membership to a local area. For a relatively small cost, you can sign them up to local museums, zoos, state parks, or amusements that will help get them out on the town and happier with their new location.
Other options include “of the month” clubs, like wine, steak, or cheeses, memberships to local gyms (use your best judgement, as you don’t want to give the impression that you’re telling them to lose weight), or a few rounds of golf at a club nearby.
Hook Them Up with Discounts on Decorating
Once a client is moved into their new house, the next step is transforming it into a home. They’ll obviously be bringing some decor with them from their old place, but they’ll probably also be looking to mix things up and purchase a few new things as well.
Help them out by connecting them with local shops, vendors, and artisans that can advise them on what would look best in the space. You can make connections with local craftsmen skilled in cabinetry, tile work, decorative painting, or interior decoration by promising to refer your new clients to them in exchange for discounts on their services.
At Sloane’s Carpet Secret, for example, we offer our real estate partners a 10% discount on their clients’ new carpets, in addition to the 50-75% discounts we already offer on name-brand carpets through our Grade A irregulars.
Keep in Touch
Most of all, don’t fall out of touch with your clients! Send them cards and small gifts on their birthdays, major holidays, and the anniversary of their move. If you feel like playing the long game, take a professional-quality photo of the house on the day they buy it, then have it printed on a canvas or framed five or ten years later, when the trees have grown up and the front yard is filled with toys.
Don’t be afraid to meet up with your clients in person. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with them, or invite them to your office christmas parties. If you have kids the same age, book a playdate at a park together. If you’re both into running, invite them to go for a run with you. Remember, don’t make it about business — if they think you’re only calling them to pitch, they’ll start to ignore you.
The important thing to remember is that real estate is a slow business — once you sell a house to someone, it may be years or even decades before you see additional business from the connections you make. That’s why it’s so important to make meaningful connections that last, growing a strong network that will support your business for years to come.