View Full Version : Etiquette question

March 11th, 2016, 09:49 AM
I'll start my question by prefacing with that I think there are vast differences in etiquette and cultural expectations from region to region. What is expected in one place might be completely awkward or unnecessary in another. I don't think there is any one answer which is absolutely correct, I just wondered what others experiences with this have been.

My wife and I are less than a week from closing on our house. Having never bought a house before, all I know is that I'm now several hundred thousand dollars in debt and I'm going to have a bunch of papers to sign.

My question is: Is it common to give gifts at closing if you are the buyer? We have a mortgage guy, a realtor, and the selling family who have all been quite pleasant to work with.

I was thinking maybe making wine bags similar to THESE (http://www.modabakeshop.com/2011/02/charming-wine-gift-bags.html) and embroidering them with this:
(excuse the grid lines, only the words embroider)

I know the realtor drinks wine, I believe the mortgage guy does as well. I don't know much about the sellers but I do know they have two small children which I can say from personal experience is sometimes a reason one might need a drink.

What do you think? Would you make gifts? Is alcohol and sewn stuff appropriate?

March 11th, 2016, 09:56 AM
I personally have never heard of giving gifts to the mortgage person, realtor, or the sellers upon closing. But that doesn't mean if you want to do it, that it would be wrong. Giving from the heart is always a good thing. What you have in mind sounds lovely.

March 11th, 2016, 10:07 AM
Kindness is never wrong or bad etiquette. Giving is from the heart.
I personally am not a wine drinker and have received several over the years, I have to re-gift.
But I would find use for the wine bag elsewhere..I would like one.

March 11th, 2016, 10:10 AM
My son recently closed on his first home and didn't give gifts, but he's not the type of guy to even think about it! He did receive a gift from his realtor though.

I think it's a nice gesture, I'm sure they've worked hard for you and it's a great way to say thank you.

And congrats on your new home!

Jean Sewing Machine
March 11th, 2016, 10:14 AM
I love your idea! I'm going to close on a house soon as the seller, but my realtor sure has gone the extra mile to help me, and my buyer has been good for not asking for the moon. I would like to give her a welcome gift. Where did you get this design or did you design it yourself? I just placed an embroidery order less than an hour ago wondered if a vendor was selling this design!

Never wrong to thank people you feel helped you with a personal gift!

Sandy Navas
March 11th, 2016, 10:25 AM
Totally agree with all the comments above. Never done it, but why not?

Sylvia H
March 11th, 2016, 10:25 AM
This is a lovely idea, and how great to have the bags embroidered. I think it is a very UNcommon practice for the buyer to give gifts. Everyone will be wonderfully surprised. When I bought my home, the realtor gave me a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

March 11th, 2016, 10:27 AM
I love your idea! I'm going to close on a house soon as the seller, but my realtor sure has gone the extra mile to help me, and my buyer has been good for not asking for the moon. I would like to give her a welcome gift. Where did you get this design or did you design it yourself? I just placed an embroidery order less than an hour ago wondered if a vendor was selling this design!

Never wrong to thank people you feel helped you with a personal gift!

I made the design in SewWhatPro. If you can tell me what embroidery format you want and PM me an email address I can send you a copy of this one.

March 11th, 2016, 10:44 AM
We have purchased 3 different homes. Yes, we did give our relator a small gift. All three times when we purchased the realtor gave us a very nice brass door knocker for the front door. I didn't know about giving anything the first time....a friend of mine whose mom was a realtor told me that it isn't customary, but a nice thing to do. The first time, I gave the relator a couple dozen homemade cookies & some vanilla candles. Then after we purchased the 2nd home, I was sewing by then, and I gave her some pot holders & an apron. ( I actually found out what wallpaper she had in her kitchen and purchased some fabric to match and made her an apron.
The 3rd realtor my sister had just purchased her first embroidery machine sewing machine ( a PFAFF ) and I asked her to monogram a set of Bath Towels.

Depending on what you want to spend.....I would make something. Maybe some of those cloth baskets OR the cloth Bowels. Because you have an embroidery machine, you might make something along that line.

Here's a few videos on how to make the baskets.....
From the Crafty Gemini

OR Maybe some Totes !
Here's the easy tote Jenny has a video on here at MSQC

OR last but not least.....a nice Table Runner ....( I would make it in neutral colors ..)

OR ....my favorite thing to make for a gift ? A set of Monogrammed Pillowcases !

There's also these bowls made from fabric ......that are pretty easy too.

The reason why I didn't give wine was that I didn't know if she drank...and basically I think it's something that a lot of people do, and I wanted to do something different. I know my parents used to get a lot of wine for gifts when they owned small businesses....so much so that it was kind of funny due to the fact that neither my dad or mom drank ! ( in fact neither do my sisters & I )

I think the Bowls or Table Runner would be the best bet. OF course being a relator, the totes would probably really come in handy, and they are really easy to make !

Anything you do, will certainly be appreciated I am sure. I know each of the relators I gave gifts to were pleasantly surprised.

Another thing I do after we get moved into the new home, I send the realtor a very nice thank you note in the mail. Believe me, when we purchased the last house the relator we used for the 2nd home was retiring( we went back to her due to the fact that she did such a great job with us when we purchased our 2nd home ) went out of her way to get me set up with a colleague of hers

Cathy F
March 11th, 2016, 10:44 AM
Ryan, if your realtor has gone the extra mile I'd give them a bottle of wine, I think that's a nice gesture, as for the seller I've had friends who've sold there house and have left a bottle or wine for the new homeowner in the house with a note welcoming them to their new home.

As for the mortgage guy I have no idea!

March 11th, 2016, 10:55 AM
Good question...

I'm from the Cincinnati area, and have never heard of giving gifts to anyone involved with the sake/closure if a house... I know that when we bought this house the idea never came to mind...

Having said all that, if you are close to your realtor, and want to give him/her a gift privately, I don't see a problem... Especially if he/she has gone done a great job fir you...

You are definitely under NO obligation to gift anyone anything.... No one will feel neglected, or slighted... It's a business deal fir these people...

Congratulations on your new home... I know it will be filled with love and happiness.... Lots of laughter, a few tears, many, many memories.... God bless...

Jean Sewing Machine
March 11th, 2016, 10:58 AM
I made the design in SewWhatPro. If you can tell me what embroidery format you want and PM me an email address I can send you a copy of this one.
Ryan is SewWhat Pro a free or purchased program? I have the free version, plus my Janome ( JEF) machine came with some software, not sure if digitizing is possible. I can edit and resize with it. I have only basic knowledge of using it, haven't delved into conquering the learning curve yet!

March 11th, 2016, 11:05 AM
Ryan, whatever you decide to do.....please make sure to post photos of what you have made !

March 11th, 2016, 11:10 AM
I too think it's very unusual, but often the unusual is so surprising it really makes a big impression, so do what is in your heart. Having bought and sold 3 different houses over the years, I never did it or heard of it. But I think a small homemade gift is always charming and appreciated. However, I would remind you that legally your realtor may be personable but most definitely works for the seller of the house and legally has that person's best interest in mind, not yours.

Snip Snip
March 11th, 2016, 11:18 AM
Having been a real estate agent in a past life, I will say that everyone but you will walk away from that closing with money in their pocket.
If you have time on your hands and want to do this, it is a nice gesture, but pretty unusual. More generally, your agent will give you a small gift.

March 11th, 2016, 11:21 AM
I personally give a lot of gifts, but did not when we bought our house. I think it's a fab idea and very thoughtful of you. Congratulations on your house purchase.

March 11th, 2016, 11:32 AM
My dear friends that bought a house here in our community made a quilt for their realtor... She was thrilled,, here in NE it is quite common to show appreciation for professionals that go above and beyond! I must say though that my Doc (the sweetest gal on the planet and full of compassion),,,, did chastise me for making her a scarf and a sweater for her new baby....She says my way of thanking her must be to stay in "good health"... :))))

March 11th, 2016, 11:39 AM
Ryan is SewWhat Pro a free or purchased program? I have the free version, plus my Janome ( JEF) machine came with some software, not sure if digitizing is possible. I can edit and resize with it. I have only basic knowledge of using it, haven't delved into conquering the learning curve yet!

SWP has a free 30 day trial then it is $65 for the full version. It isn't quite as polished as other embroidery programs but at $100 less than the next closest software (embrilliance) it is pretty good. It isn't a full digitizing program but allows merging, resizing, and some other neat tricks. There are some good YouTube videos showing what it is capable of.

March 11th, 2016, 11:40 AM
My daughter is a realtor (and broker) and she has said a small gift is always appreciated but not expected. Most people have no idea the amount of work a good realtor does. Be you buyer or seller, your realtor does not have an 8 to 5 , M - F job.
Just remember, a realtor can put many hours towards a "deal" and then it "falls through" and they start all over again (no payment here) for You.

March 11th, 2016, 11:49 AM
We only bought one house way back in 1960. It was in a new housing development so the mortgage and closing were cut and dried without any relationship to the sellers or agents. A few years ago my son bought a house in MA and he said the agent gave him a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Wouldn't that saying look great in a small wall hanging or framed? Something they could hang in their office. Whatever you decide Good Wishes for Happiness in your new Home.

March 11th, 2016, 12:01 PM
I was a realtor for 20 years. It is customary for the realtor to give the buyer a gift. On one occasion, when I had shown my client properties every Tuesday for 6 months and sold their home, they presented me with a bonus of 10- 100 dollar bills in a thank you card. They said I had gone above and beyond my duty.
Your mortgage broker is being paid very well and unless you were difficult and couldn't have gotten a loan anywhere else, a gift is not expected.
If you are inclined and feel like you will be seeing these people around town as part of the community, the gesture of a small gift might be nice. A donation in their name ... might be appropriate.
My daughter bought a lovely home on a lake built by a timber/lumber barron in the 50's and they gave her the framed renderings of the house when she moved in. That was a nice thought.
That being said...if you want to gift anyone...(who doesn't like a present)...it can't hurt.

March 11th, 2016, 12:05 PM
Ryan I worked in the real estate industry for my career, as a receptionist all the way to office admin. I can't remember a time when a buyer gave gifts at closing. Remember, it's the seller who pays everyone, and all involved are making money (and a lot of it).

If I were working with a friend as my agent or lender I may be inclined to do something for them, but it would probably be in the form of a gift certificate for dinner.

I have seen agents give closing gifts to their clients.

March 11th, 2016, 01:57 PM
I live in Colorado. My buyer gave me flowers and I gave my realtor a hand-made table runner at closing.

March 11th, 2016, 02:46 PM
My sister was a realtor for several years and she always gave her clients gifts. I know this because I was the one making them! Back then I painted and would make inkings of a house resembling theirs done in the color of their house w/their last name somewhere in the design. I made little wood houses for other realtors that had a heart that you could slide in and out and on the heart it said 'a house becomes a home with love inside'. On the back of the heart was their last name and the year purchased.

Nobody can stop you from giving a gift. If you want to do that, do it!!! It does not matter what others think.

March 11th, 2016, 03:01 PM
I have bought/sold three houses. Did not give gifts to realtor but left new h.o. bottle of wine in the fridge. Our current house the realtor have us a gift at closing, a book on DIY household repairs. I would gift a bottle of wine and a box of chocolate to the realtor but not the mortgage lender. I would not go to all the fuss of making or sewing anything. And congrats on your new home!

Claire Hallman
March 11th, 2016, 04:24 PM
We are in the process of selling our 5th house and buying number 6. We have received a gift from one or two agents along the way but never given anyone a gift.
You are paying out lots of money to them all.
This time I am going to give our agents a quilt when both deals work out. The lender and the seller will not get a gift other than my money:icon_heh:.

March 11th, 2016, 04:32 PM
Our mortgage broker was the only one that knew what in the H€[[ she was doing when we bought this place. Without her, we would have never been able to figure out what the problem was.
When the bank forclosed, someone took all of the appliances. You can't get an FHA loan without a hot water heater, furnace, stove, and fridge. We had to buy the stove and fridge and have them delivers to a home we didn't own. There were going to be charges for 5, yes 5, inspection visits since the agents could never manage to get here to let the inspector in or leave a key. Thankfully the MB told us how to handle all of that, and insisted that the agents take the cost of the extra inspections out of their profits. She got a gift!

If you don't know about the young family and wine, could you make a tote a bag with a jar of spaghetti sauce, noodles, a baguette, and some sparkling cider? I really like the sentiment you came up with.

March 11th, 2016, 04:40 PM
I love your idea and wonder why more people aren't so thoughtful. I know when I bought my house I was very grateful for everyone's help because I didn't have a clue. I like the idea of the spaghetti since you don't know if they drink. Or maybe a bottle of non-alcoholic bubbling grape juice. Congrats on your new digs.

March 11th, 2016, 04:55 PM
I have never heard of doing this! I bought & sold a house in WA & ID, but never did anyone say anything about gifts. We've lived in our current house in CO for 38 yrs., so have no recent experiences. Realtors already take so much of our money, I can't really see giving them anything else unless it was an unusual situation. But follow your heart & do what seems best to you & your situation.

March 11th, 2016, 06:31 PM
I have never heard of doing that either.

March 11th, 2016, 07:38 PM
jjkaiser.....I left the new owners of our homes we sold some new dish towels ....etc. ( something small along that line ) The 3 rd ( and last home, I made a casserole, salad and jello & cookies because the new couple that purchased our home had 5 kids under 6 yrs old ( 2 sets of twins and an younger sister ) .....I got a very nice thank you note for that meal a few weeks later....

The gal who purchased our 2nd home wasn't very nice. About a week after the sale of the house, she called to complain about the taste of the water in the kitchen. I asked her to wait on the phone for a couple of minutes and then I went to the folder I had made for the people who toured the house ( there were 15 tours to the house.
Each time the house was shown, I left a Pitcher of Ice water with 6 glasses on a tray on the kitchen table. When we came back home, I jotted down if the water had been used....along with the date of the showing and which realtor showed it ( I saved the business cards that were left. ) I think most of the people who looked at that house were from the realtor company that listed the house...it's been quite awhile ago ( 23 yrs ) ....so my memory is a little foggy.
The lady that complained about the water taste was the only one ( she and her DH ) who didn't try the water. The gal was really unhappy .......
( the water softener was hooked up to the kitchen sink )......

March 11th, 2016, 09:14 PM
I am surely on the other side of the fence. While I support doing what you feel is right for you to do, there are no rules that I know of. But knowing how much they make on the sale, heck no there will be no gift from me. I do not expect a gift from anyone either.

I have nothing against them making lots of money, they do the work and thats the payoff. I could choose to do that work too. It cannot be a super easy job. But if I just spent all my money trying to get in a house, so I am not spending ant money on the people who already made plenty of money off of me.

Just my thought really. If you want to gift, so you should.

March 12th, 2016, 12:38 AM
While I don't think it's required or expected, I also believe that you can never err by doing a kindness for someone else. If you're unsure if one of the families would drink wine, perhaps a sparkling cider or grape juice would be nice, and if they have children, then the children can also participate in the new house celebration with that beverage (I assume they are moving somewhere else). You're building good will and there's never anything wrong with that. Congratulations on your new home!

March 12th, 2016, 01:50 AM
I've never heard of the custom (you are, after all, giving each of these folks a good deal of money; also I'm from New England :icon_rolleyes: ), but I think it's a lovely idea, and that the gesture would be much appreciated.

Also, leave it to you and Tabatha, Ryan, to be so thoughtful and generous. So glad for your family - may you all be blessed with many happy years in your new home.

March 12th, 2016, 02:08 AM
Congratulations on your new home!
In the last 3 years we have sold 2 homes and bought 2 homes.
One agent made a lot of money and took us out to a nice dinner.
The other agent gave us a $150 gift certificate to a steakhouse.
We in return gave her certain type of vase that she collects.
I didn't give anything to the mortgage brokers or sellers or buyers.
If you really want to give gifts I think it is a very nice gesture.
Kindness is a wonderful trait to have.

March 12th, 2016, 08:21 AM
First, congrats on your future home! (Hope is has a dedicated sewing space for you:-) )

Here it seems customary for the realtor to give the buyer a gift (after all, they make a big commission off of you). I have never heard of giving your mortgage person or seller a gift, but I would think it would be a nice gesture - especially for the mortgage broker - those people are put through the wringer some times.

March 12th, 2016, 09:34 AM
If I would of thought of it I would of gave our seller a gift. We did seller financing and they lowered the down payment. They invited us to their house for coffee and banana bread. She gave me some plant cuttings from her yard. They were a lovely elderly couple that actually owned the whole street at one time for banana farming. We had actually bought a banana farm. lol One of the hurricanes took it all down. :(

March 13th, 2016, 08:17 AM
I think that would be a fantastic idea! I wish I would of thought of that when we closed on our house last year.

March 13th, 2016, 09:54 AM
I'm a Mortgage Loan Officer and I normally see the agents giving gifts to the seller and buyer. It is a very rare occasion when when I receive a gift after a closing. What I do receive more frequently is a very nice thank you note from my buyer. Honestly , that means a lot when you have fought your way to make the transaction happen.