Investors who have decided to buy a multifamily “plex” rather than a single-family home are taking a bold new step in real estate ownership. A bottle of wine or a nice doormat as a closing gift is not really adequate to commemorate that step, especially if you as the buyer’s agent know that your client plans to build a portfolio of rental properties. Realtors who specialize in residential multifamily often select nontraditional -- but actually useful -- closing gifts for these valuable clients. Here are some ideas.
Sturdy outdoor trash cans
You can never have too many, according to one owner-landlord who’s also a successful real estate agent. And when she says “sturdy,” she means industrial-grade.
As an owner-landlord, an endless flow of unexpected issues will come one’s way, and even those with a great network of contractors and handymen often end up taking on some unexpected tasks. Hence, a basic toolbox is a must for those tasks around the property that are too small to require a professional but too inconvenient for tenants to deal with.
Clearing paths after a winter storm also could fall on the shoulders of a resident owner -- and those new to the game might not realize this until after the first storm. A snowblower, while certainly not as elegant as a bottle of bubbly, is a gift that can truly show clients you’re more than a fair-weather business partner. Price range: $100-$1,500.
These are a legal requirement, and yet many fixer-upper properties won’t have functioning smoke detectors -- let alone the newer models compatible with smart home systems. Given that they’re supposed to be in every sleeping area and on every story, it’s easy for an inexperienced owner-landlord to miss a few -- which is why one keen-eyed Realtor makes a point of gifting the required number to his “plex” buyers.
Garden center gift certificate
For regular residential clients, a gift card to a home improvement store is always appreciated. For a multifamily landlord, home improvements are among the first considerations in deciding whether to purchase the property -- but landscaping and lawns are often not considered. Give your client a nudge with a gift card that may not cover a full landscaping project, but at least can pay for a nice square of sod lawn to catch potential renters’ eyes from the street.
A set of address plaques
Ornamental address signs are among the most popular residential closing gifts, but if you think about it, it’s the “plex” owner-landlords who tend to need them more, because they need to have units easily distinguishable for potential renters, delivery people, service people, and so on. Many of these properties have one main address and then a single-digit or letter differentiator, which causes all kinds of confusion. Elegant, easy-to-read address plaques for each unit are an easy solution that leaves your buyer with one less problem to solve.
Obviously, make sure the property still has old-school doorbells. It’s shocking how many older small buildings don’t, though. For tech-friendly landlord-owners, a gift of smart doorbell cameras for every unit is a big gesture, since it will show potential tenants the property is somewhat up-to-date on security.
A book on rental property investing
If owning rental properties is your client’s long-term career goal, they’re probably always up to soak in more information about how to succeed as a landlord. Help them get the best info with a great book on rental property investing -- if you don’t have a favorite, check out this list of Millionacres recommendations.
The bottom line
Some of these multifamily closing gifts are a bit more expensive than the typical single-family closing gestures, but they’re not all -- and they don’t have to be. The main thing is to think: What will help this client be a more successful landlord/investor? A small, deductible expense in the service of that is in both of your best interests.