Profile picture for bobosmom

Are closing gifts from the agent to the home buyer standard practice?

Maybe it just isn't local custom, but I never heard of it NOT happening, and our agent was very dissappointing on many levels.  I was prepared to forgive and forget, but then we got no thank-you gift, card, or even phone call or post-it on the front door NOTHING. 
This guy gave us information about his self, services, properties and transactions that was completely contradictory and often totally wrong.  He also drove us to a showing while so drunk and impaired he became lost in his own town.
This was an easy cash sale--WE found the house, did the county tax, GIS, sales and other searches on the property.  I would have appreciated the thanks for the sale that we did NOT pull out of his hands.  What do you think?
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January 05 2010 - Lake Havasu City
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Best Answer
You should report him to his broker.  This kind of behavior should not be tolerated in this or any industry. Regardless of the lack of closing gift (customary an just good business practice), his other actions should be addressed... and by the way guys, read the question, they are asking about agent to client gifts not the other way around. Agents should never expect a gift from their clients other than a good referral (if they've done their job).
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January 06 2010
All agents are not created equal. Those of us who appreciate referrals give good service so you can think of us when your friends or family are looking for an agent.
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January 08 2010
Before we hang this agent in effigy . . . this story doesn't make any sense, and the outrage may be misplaced.

Look. If the agent did everything that Mom said they did, and she'd still be "more than satisfied if he just gave me a card . . . "

I'm not buying in.
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January 08 2010
Profile picture for hpvanc
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves.  I agree that this agent should not have a license and that there should be a better way of dealing with and punishing agents like this.  However, if people are just going to go on websites and complain about agents instead of going to the state board there will always be agents like this out there.  We need to emphases that there are proper channels to deal with agents like this so that we can get rid of them instead of praising consumers for posting stuff like this.  We need to stop praising people for being victims and teach them to stand up for themselves and encourage them to assist us in cleaning up our profession."

They need to do both, if they don't make information like this public, the current process allows your industry to kept it swept under the rug.  Also by posting it in general without naming the actual agent has a two fold advantage, it does not expose the poster to an accusation of liable, and it encourages good agents to try to do more about it.  In many cases their would be a third advantage (not in this case since the primary complaint is drunk driving), it lets the public know to be on the lookout for the "creative" bad behavior.
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January 08 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
I'm sorry to say that the proper channels that exist to hold this type of agent accountable are often not very good at weeding out or punishing bad agents. The arbitration process is long, often unsatisfying for the client and very protective of the bad agent. Often the bad agent gets a slap on the wrist, the client gets a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars max and the bad agent goes on their way.

I definitely agree with people not being encouraged to be victims, but when the process for dealing with bad agents is faulty why would anyone put themselves through more abuse in the complaint process itself. I do understand why realtors feel that they cannot speak up against bad agents, but expecting clients to take the lumps alone for calling the bad apples out in the profession seems a bit unfair. Truthfully, even if a client complains and other agents are aware of the bad dealing, they will not stand on the side of the client in front of the board to say "yes, this agent was unprofessional." I wish the RE boards were more responsive and sympathetic to clients. Generally, when someone goes to the trouble of filing a board complaint they feel like they have good cause. Most people who have problems with their agent never file a complaint because it is simply not worth it. Maybe agents who see bad behavior by fellow professionals should be allowed to complain anonymously. I don't know. It is a problem, but I am unsure how to fix it. 
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January 08 2010

Let's not get ahead of ourselves.  I agree that this agent should not have a license and that there should be a better way of dealing with and punishing agents like this.  However, if people are just going to go on websites and complain about agents instead of going to the state board there will always be agents like this out there.  We need to emphases that there are proper channels to deal with agents like this so that we can get rid of them instead of praising consumers for posting stuff like this.  We need to stop praising people for being victims and teach them to stand up for themselves and encourage them to assist us in cleaning up our profession.

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January 08 2010
Buyers and sellers need to let people know about the good and the bad Realtors. That's the only way the good ones will win out. We all know who the bad ones are in the industry, but our hands are tied as far as letting people know. If I was to tell a potential client that Realtor X was a drunk who disregarded his clients' needs/wants, I would look cheap and salepersony (not a real word I know.) But the same thing coming from a former client of Realtor X is huge.
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January 08 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
This only mistake this client made was not dumping the agent at the first offense of unprofessional behavior, making a complaint to the board or holding all this agent's commission money in escrow when things were farther along pending the resolution of the complaint. The clients were too nice in this case. That is their only mistake. What is their agent's excuse?

Bad agents like this give good agents hard working a bad name. Shrugging it off and blaming the client is wrong. This agent makes every agent look bad when he hangs out his professional license. I wish that there was a better way in the industry to remove these bad apples for the sake of the good agents and clients alike.
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January 08 2010

I am not excusing the behavior of the agent, but I feel that people need to remember that every decision you make has consequences. As Americans we are too quick to place the blame on someone else.  Let's all just remember that we are big boys and girls and are capable of deciding what is good for us and what is not.

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January 08 2010
I usually receive gifts from my clients. One even gave me a gigantic bottle of some sort of Citrus Flavored Vodka. I don't even drink liquor. Maybe they thought I should. I am often painfully sobering during my professional representation.

What if a REA has 3-8 years of post Baccalaureate education? Can they then compare themselves to Lawyers, Doctors, and other professionals with advanced degrees? What if a REA has a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development? Just checking with the pundits.
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January 08 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
People don't generally beat on "realtors for comparing themselves to other service professionals" they beat on Realtors for comparing themselves to professions that require between 3-8 years of post Baccalaureate education. This client obviously had a bad experience with their agent. From the description, the agent was not professional and took advantage of their professional position. Blaming the client for choosing this agent is futile. Hiring a good agent can be hard sometimes. This complaint is not really about the gift. It is about the complete lack of professionalism and respect that the agent showed for his client beginning to end. The gift is really just the last slap he gave this client on the way out the door with the commission check in his hand. I can understand why bobosmom is upset. I would be upset too.
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January 08 2010

I am wondering why the gift is so important.  What kind of gifts have you received in the past that made you get into a car with someone that you felt was intoxicated.  If they seemed to as incompetent as you say they were why did you do business with them.  There had to be another agent in the town that would have given you a higher level of service.  Let's remember that when we do business with people who aren't competent we are going to have problems. I see all these post about people beating on realtors for comparing themselves to other service professionals.  Let's consider this, if you could have your car repaired at a respected shop or some drunk guys backyard, and were going to pay the same amount which one would you choose? Let's all remember that our choices have consequences.

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January 08 2010
Profile picture for bobosmom
and the point is then that it NOT common practice in any other profession for the professional providing the service to then also thank the reciever of the service....  it is irrelevant to compare that or an other gifting relationship.

Normal professional standards of behavior and common practice in the RE profession is the standard to which I was measuring the man... broadening the scope to include other professions does not excuse it is just an easy way to ridicule the question and an easy out.  It is the members of the profession thrmselves that set their own common practices.  SO NO-- I would not expect a gift from my MD or my plumber, that is silly. 
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January 07 2010
Profile picture for bobosmom
Thanks for the lively discussion. 
Yes, I should have reported him and terminated.  I was being tolerant and generous and hoping he'd pull it together.  I'm not one to turn people in to any authority- I rather rely on Karma. 

I was hoping he'd not just disappear after showing the house-- we never saw him again, there was no table close.  He told us there were none allowed by law in this state (AZ) a lie??

He never called to notify the close has completed. 

I guess my eventual overattention on the gift was last hold out hope that I had not been wholely ignored, dismissed disrespected, etc after giving the man the business ( and accompanying check he got for it ) when he clearly did not earn or deserve it. 

I woulld have been happy with a gift, thrilled with a walk through and photo, thankful if he had delivered the keys to us ... 
AND MORE THAN SATISFIED WITH A CARD.  

n.b.: people sure do jump to conclusions about greed and superficiality! As for me, it is not about the giftbasket--it was his lost opportunity to redeem himself and my wanting to confirm how common the practice was.

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January 07 2010
I'm getting our OP doesn't feel that she received value from her agent, that there's an imbalance there, and the agent should feel grateful that s/he was included in the sale.

That may be.

I must tell you that I do not receive thank you gifts from a wide spectrum of people who provide valuable services to me, from my appliance repair specialist to my architect and interior designer through all of the professions you don't feel real estate agents should compare themselves to my art and antiquities dealer.

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January 07 2010
Profile picture for Bette Defarm
"Why do REAs continually try and align themseleves with professions that require ubber education???? "   WTF


I think they have no idea how profoundly foolish it sounds, nor how infuriating it is to those they are aligning themselves with.
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January 07 2010
Profile picture for frisky1
The only appropriate closing gift is a mop and bucket to clean up all the water you'll be drowning under. Oh, and swimmies for the kids.
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January 07 2010
Profile picture for Lady Chattel
Why do REAs continually try and align themseleves with professions that require ubber education????    WTF


Actually, I get a nice card from my dr every year wishing me a Happy Birthday and to come in for my annual exam ;-)    
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January 07 2010
Did your lawyer, doctor, acountant etc. give you gifts?  
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January 07 2010
Profile picture for Lady Chattel
My one agent gave me back 1% under the table, he didn't want other agents to know he was doing that......
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January 07 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
Oooh... I like the idea of a small rebate back. You know all the best people WP :)
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January 07 2010
The buyer agent credits back to the buyer is common practice in Asian communities, usually from .5% to 1% of purchase price.
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January 06 2010
Profile picture for Lady Chattel
I got great service at Nordstrom, dropped a hefty sum and needed some items tailored and sent to my home........got a lovely thank you card from the lovely sales person who assisted me and a gift card for their cafe.......I spent the money, I didn't expect anything, but it was that little bit of gratitude and high level of service that keeps me a loyal Nordies customer.

Providing someone with a thoughtful housewarming gift is a nice touch, it sorts of sets you apart from the agent that takes his check at the closing table and leaves before the whole deal is over cause, well he says he doesn't need to be there anymore, his side is done and then you never hear from him again......you already know he did maybe 5 hrs of woek and he gets $12K (after the broker cut) of my equity and nary a F - U........that's all I am saying.
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January 06 2010
Would you have felt differently if the agent had exceeded your expectations and expressed real gratitude at closing?
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January 06 2010
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Hey Todd:  We read the question.   Agents shouldn't be obliged to give their employer a gift.  Some do, but sometimes it is indeed the other way around.   
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January 06 2010
Profile picture for hpvanc
Good grief, what a sense of entitlements, no wonder transactions of all kinds, not just real estate are so overpriced in the US. 

The transaction itself is a cost not a value, but in the US that is where we try to make our money, and is our biggest competitive disadvantage.
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January 06 2010
Profile picture for sunnyview
If they did a good job for you, the most important thank you gift you can give to your agent is the personal referral of a nice new client. A thank you card and thoughtful gift is always nice, but a new client is a premium gift.
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January 06 2010
I think that more home buyers should give their agents thank-you gifts for their services, but not every agent deserves one.

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January 05 2010
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Have you said thank you to your employer and given him/her a gift recently?   
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January 05 2010
I answered this question earlier, but in hindsight I believe that the best gift an agent can give her buyer is her knowledge of the business and her understanding of the buyers situation, that is priceless.  My trademark gift is a Home Record Book with the picture of their home, so the buyers can keep track of their investment, but oftentimes I have also received gifts from satisfied buyers. 
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January 05 2010
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Are closing gifts from the agent to the home buyer standard practice?
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