Gift-giving is at once the most exciting and the most stress-inducing part of the holiday season. You’re always behind on buying them and, in 2020, face even more challenges as store closures loom and a pandemic shifts the norms of who you usually shop for. Do you have to get a gift for that client you’ve only met online? Should you?
When it comes to agents and their clients, gift guides often verge on the extremely obvious — coffee mugs, placemats and tech that anyone in the industry is already likely to have. This year, step away from clichés with a personalized hometown puzzle or a scanner that matches any color you see with a paint sample. A sanitizing phone charger or online design class also fit the theme for the mess of a year that was 2020.
To help you get through the present-giving season, Inman has put together a list of the best and most unique gift ideas for all types of agents, homebuyers and other people in a real estate professional’s life.
For the agent with nostalgia and year-end fatigue
A Wishing House
Handmade by Brooklyn jewelry designer Brauna Rosen, a Wishing House is a miniature metal home that comes with a tiny box and a personalized note. At $28 each, the home figurine is a super-thoughtful gift for anyone who has recently had a major homebuying milestone as well as those who, like real estate agents, have made selling homes their living.
A hanging frame like this one from Anthropologie is a modern, stylish way to display photos or other significant moments from the year in one’s home. Gift several at once so your giftee can create a wall display — alternate pictures with anything from closing papers to old maps, photos or drawings.
A great gift for both agents and anyone who has recently had to make a move, Sundance puzzle company creates custom puzzles of any address that you choose. The Hometown Puzzle ($44) is a 400-piece map puzzle that creates an image covering four miles north/south and six miles east/west of a given address.
Digital Picture Frame
A digital picture frame is a great way to display all the memories from throughout the year in a single space. With a simple black border, the Skylight Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame looks like a traditional frame but has a touchscreen display that showcases photos you upload or sync to the device. Works for grandparents’ homes and staged showings alike.
The end of the year is, for agents, a time to take stock of work completed, business brought in and goals that you want to accomplish in the coming year (chances are, it’s upping your video and social media game!). A stylish planner can make doing so much more fun — whether a custom paper one or a pen-to-digital planner that automatically syncs all your written notes into a cloud.
For the agent always trying to up their game
An Interior Design Class
Real estate agents often have to learn the basics of interior design on the job after realizing that something in the house looks off. Offer the agent in your life one or several online design class at a top design school or architecture firm. Popular include options specific concepts like minimalism or a deep dive into lighting and staging.
A Giant Dry-Erase Board
When laying out game plans and mapping for the future, it helps to have a board. The Audio-Visual Direct Glass Dry-Erase Board is a good choice to have both at the office and in the home — the nonporous surface allows for easy erasing while the large board is good for drawing out big-picture ideas.
Year after year, agents put “getting better at video” among their career goals and resolutions — it takes some learning but can bring in big results when it comes to clicks and clients. While a top-notch camera certainly helps, it’s often the accessories that end up making the difference between “shot on my iPhone” and a professional-looking video. Depending on budget, anything from a tripod to an attachable microphone makes for great giving.
Design and Architecture Reading
If you loved the popular 99% Invisible podcast about the everyday aspects of design that go unnoticed, creators Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt have come out with a coffee table book (currently down to $21.99 from $30) on some of the most popular episodes. A perfect book not just for a staged coffee table but also for learning everything from why street signs have their shapes to why American money doesn’t get regular redesigns like other currencies.
Inman Membership And Connect Deals
There is no better way to up your real estate game than an Inman membership or ticket to one of our upcoming virtual events. Give somebody in your real estate circles an annual membership (currently 50 percent off!) or access to one of our eight upcoming virtual Inman Connect events (available as a single pass for the January mega-conference or as an all-access pass bundle) in 2021.
For the first-year agent
Fancy Tea Kettle
While fancy coffee makers remain a popular gift option year after year, a tea kettle is also worthy of love — particularly for a fist-year agent with no time for Starbucks. The Fellow Stagg EKG+ Bluetooth Connected Electric Pour-Over Kettle ($199) lets you regulate the water temperature (a true tea lover will know why that matters) while also looking sleek on any kitchen counter.
A Quality Camera
Any real estate career will start off better if you have a good camera on hand. It might feel like a particularly generous gift but cameras like the Nikon D3500 or the GoPro Hero 7 often have discounts and offer an affordable-yet-sturdy starter option for that first-time agent looking to beat competition through strong listings.
A light and portable diffuser is a particularly useful thing to have when you’re at a showing and want to quickly make the home to smell like anything from the Rocky Mountains to freshly baked cookies. Get this Vitruvi version for the first-year agent in your life and watch it become a favorite both at home and on-the-job.
A Trendy Umbrella
In your first years of real estate, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time running from showing to showing — a strong umbrella is a non-obvious must in many parts of the country. The Blunt line of umbrellas is a sleek and portable option that makes a nice gift for any first-time agent or anybody else on your shopping list.
Self-Sanitizing Water Bottle
A first-year agent should stay hydrated. To further the 2020 theme, the Larq Movement Self Sanitizing Water Bottle uses special UV-C LED lights to sterilize its inside every time you open the cap and take a swig. It is, at $78, pricey for a water bottle but is a particularly useful gift in a pandemic.
For the agent lusting over all the latest tech
Ultra-Thin Power Bank
While most agents have by now learned the value of a power bank, many of the ones on the market are bulky, heavy and the last thing you would call stylish. This year, get the agent in your life the TNTOR Ultra Thin Power Bank Wallet Charger for iPhone and Android ($18). It fits in a wallet but still provides up enough power to fully charge one laptop or two iPhones.
Color Matching Scanner
Did you know that there is a device that can match any color you see in the real world (or at somebody’s house) with an exact paint swatch? The Nix Mini 2 Color Sensor ($100) is a handheld color matching scanner that does just that. Wireless and portable, it is a great gift for agents always thinking of renovations and home improvement.
Tech-forward agents usually already have all the obvious gadgets — the iPad, the Echo products and the smart home tech. For a bit of fun, get somebody in your life this electronic word clock from Sharper Image. Instead of the usual clock face, the black board displays the time in white block letters and changes in increments of five minutes.
Solar Phone Charging Panel
Another way to charge your phone when no outlet is nearby is through a solar panel like the Grouphug Window Solar Charger. It charges from the energy of the sun and can give your device up to 10 hours of battery life. The panel is currently on sale, from the original $149 to $134, and comes with various discount codes if you want to get several gifts at once.
Sanitizing Charging Station
Like the water bottle above, the Oblio Wireless Charging Station douses your cell phone with UV lights to kill bacteria. The trick is that this is done while the phone is inside the charging cylinder, ensuring that the device is clean and with a full battery by the time you pick it up to use again.
For the agent who needs to be reminded about self-care
Fancy candles are as much of a treat for the eyes at an open house as they are a way to decompress after a long day at work. With both artisanal scent blends and stylish packaging, candle brands like Voluspa and Diptyque are the kind of pricey treat that one would normally not get oneself but make a perfect luxe gift for an agent in your life.
Hammock Or Swing Chair
With most of us working from home, it is a good time to try out new work positions and spaces. A new hammock or indoor swing chair is a great way to get yourself (or another agent in your life!) off the couch and into a different part of the house — useful for back health and generally not staying sedentary.
We all talk about needing a massage to finish off a long day of work but how many actually have an on-hand foot bath with built-in jets at the ready? The HoMedics Shower Bliss Foot Spa is currently on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond and will help any overly stressed agent. It’s 2020 so you may end up answering client emails while your feet are soaking in the home spa.
2020 was the year in which many of us rediscovered reading for pleasure. Wendy Goodman’s May I Come In: Discovering The World In Other People’s Houses is a beautiful and educational book showcasing what other homeowners have done to amp up their homes. It makes for a great real estate-related coffee table book and an overall read for anyone interested in design.
Wine Club Subscription
A subscription to a wine club can be a very thoughtful gift in many ways. Arriving in a curated box once a month, several fancy bottles are a useful thing to have both on a Saturday night in quarantine and when struggling with last-minute gift ideas for a client. Go as fancy (Williams Sonoma Wine Club for $90 a month) or economical (Winc for $39 a month) as you please.
Email Veronika Bondarenko
Justin Malonson is the Founder of LyfeLoop a 16+ year tech innovator, investigative media researcher and host of the Freedom Not Control Podcast live on Voice America. Justin is a highly sought-after tech entrepreneur, industry speaker and winner of the coveted Business Achievement Awards “Top Digital Marketer” award. With 16+ years of demanding experience, Justin has worked with over 3,000 businesses including amazing clients such as Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Sotheby’s International Realty, Duke University, White House Black Market,Tiffin Motorhomes, Bass Pro Shops and Beazer Homes USA.