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By Stephanie Andre

RISMEDIA, Dec. 13, 2008-A member of Lowe’s Program for REALTORS® close to four years, Karen Arbutine has seen her business through the best market, and now, perhaps the worst.

Despite the challenges she and her colleagues face today, Arbutine says her affiliation with the program is more important today than ever.

“My customers really appreciate the gift cards I provide [through the Lowe’s Program for Realtors] as a closing gift,” explains Arbutine, a Realtor with RE/MAX Central Realty in Lake Mary, Florida. “In times like this, such a huge, overwhelming ‘thank you’ reminds you of why we do what we do.”

The Lowe’s Program for Realtors includes free, customized direct mail pieces with 10% off coupons, 5% off discounts on gift cards-which make great closing gifts, helpful tips, e-mails and videos from HGTV, and the program’s newest offering-Inside Out, which offers Realtors the ability to automatically send their entire client base a personalized, monthly e-newsletter with information on buying, selling and moving tips.

“More and more, I’m also seeing people who want to do renovations on their new homes, and every little bit counts,” she adds. “Giving them a gift card they can use toward that project is very much appreciated. People are just so grateful.”

Indeed, Arbutine says the 5% discount she gets by purchasing the gift cards through the Program for Realtors is helpful not just for her clients, but for herself as well.

“I’ll sometimes use them myself,” she says.

Besides purchasing gift cards, Arbutine also uses the Program for Realtors’ direct mail marketing, which includes discount coupons at Lowe’s stores.

“Whenever I list someone’s house, I send direct mail through the Lowe’s program,” she explains. “I like giving people the Lowe’s coupons. I’ve even been told by people that once they go to the store with the coupons, they decide not to go back to Lowe’s competitors.”

In fact, Arbutine says women often tell her that they enjoy their shopping experience at Lowe’s much more than at other home improvement stores. “A lot of the women say that Lowe’s is brighter and more designed for women,” she explains. “They comment that it looks less like a ‘warehouse.’ Once I heard that, I went back in and noticed the same thing-it’s much more consumer-friendly to me.”

The Lowe’s Program for Realtors is free for REALTORS® and offers personal marketing tools from Lowe’s and the National Association of REALTORS®.

For more information, please visit