Property Viewing Etiquette: Some Do’s & Don’ts for House Hunters

by hookedonhouses on May 18, 2012

If you’ve ever tried to sell a house, then you’ve probably had some issues with the potential buyers who walked through it. Maybe you found mud tracked on your carpet, back doors left unlocked, or things moved around (or missing). Some sellers resort to posting signs like “Remove Your Shoes” and “Turn Lights Off Before You Leave.”

But one For Sale by Owner couple went a step further when they put their house on the market–they created a hand-out of “Property Viewing Etiquette” for everyone who requested a showing. Their list of do’s and don’ts included:

  • Be on time for the viewing.
  • Leave the children and babies at home (“this is not a playground”).
  • Don’t criticize things you don’t like about our house in front of us.
  • Don’t waste our time if you’re not a serious buyer.
  • Tell us what you like about the house and thank us for showing you around–it may make a difference in how negotiations go later on.

You can see the entire list at About Property. When I mentioned it on my Facebook page, it sparked an interesting discussion about “viewing etiquette.”

Cheryl wrote, “It took us a while to sell our home and I would add:

  1. Please do not use my bathroom and then not flush.
  2. The Christmas gifts under the tree are for my family and not a gift for you for visiting.
  3. Please return the blow dryer, colander and potted plant you have taken.
  4. Please ask your kids not to go into our drawers and leave our clothes on the floor!”

Yeah, that’s pretty bad. You wonder what the real estate agents were doing while their clients were raiding Cheryl’s rooms?

Natalie added, “It’s weird to come home and find ‘seat’ marks on the bed and used hand towels in the washroom.”

Not everyone was a fan of the couple’s rules, though. Some felt that in this housing market, you shouldn’t do anything that might put potential buyers off.

Kristin wrote, “I suspect these sellers also make you remove your shoes upon entering their house…which I find disgusting.” Joyce agreed: “One seller made my husband take his shoes off and almost didn’t let him in the house because his clothes were a little dusty. We were insulted.”

Making This Home featured one of the friendliest “Remove Your Shoes” signs I’ve seen:

Does it offend you when homeowners expect you to leave yours at the door? I just do it automatically, whether there’s a sign or not. (One of my pet peeves is when people climb into tubs on shows like House Hunters, shoes and all.)

What do’s and don’ts would you like to tell anyone looking at your house? As a house hunter, would a list of rules put you off?

P.S. It could actually be way worse than any of these scenarios. After I showed you photos of this strange house, I learned that the real estate agent got caught doing all kinds of things in it while his clients were out of town. Yikes.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) May 18, 2012 at 7:40 am

The realtor should be telling their clients those things. We had a house on the market during the holidays one time and had our Christmas tree up. After one showing, we came home to a broken Christmas ornament and $5 on the kitchen counter. I could have cried – the ornament wasn’t particularly valuable but it was very sentimental to us. It had been my husband’s grandmother’s so it was old and irreplaceable. The people who were looking at the house let their child play with it.

Pamela May 18, 2012 at 7:59 am

Oh the horror stories ad yes makes ya think what in the world the Realtor and shoppers are thinking! We have sold twice and both had been nerve racking. Since I am a SAHM I always made a point to hang out down the street to see just who was going in and out of our home and how long they spent in it. In our last sale the couple actually took things off of our walls to see how they were hung. One of the hooks in the kitchen they broke and I was living because there was no Im sorry note or anything. Just left it laying on the counter. They ended up being the buyers but it still made me mad. I would never do that! After every showing we always go around and check to make sure that all the windows remained closed and locked for safety reasons. Great post!

Rebecca May 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

Wow, Cheryl and Kathy, that’s pretty awful!

Angfreda May 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

The thing about those rules… well for one ‘thank us for showing you our house’… uh, why is the owner there? And why should I thank you, it’s for sale and if I am buying, you should thank me! [kidding, a little]
And the thing about leave the kids at home.. I would love to, believe me. But we do not have family nearby and I can not afford $100 to get a sitter for several hours every weekend. On the other hand, my kid WILL NOT touch your stuff, and neither will I. I understand there are other parents who are less respectful, so I really do not know what the answer is there.
I was asked to remove my shoes at one house, but it was so I could experience the radiant floors- awesome! Where I am from it’s du rigeur to remove your shoes upon entering someones home [and no I am not from Japan, but way upstate NY] so to me it’s not a biggie.
Finally, re criticism- well again first of all why are you there? But secondly… that’s what the tour is for, to look at the house you have for sale and for me to think, and discuss with my partner what we like or do not like about the house… if you can not take it, go to the library while your house is ‘open’.

belledame May 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm

weren’t they selling the themselves, sans broker?

Rachel May 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

As for someone complaining about stepping into the shower…. I’m tall. Taller than most women. We lived in an apartment for 3 years where I had to bend my head way back to take a shower. We’re home shopping right now and I have to tell you, I’m going to step into your shower and see how high the shower head is because if it’s to short that’s a deal breaker. I agree with checking your shoes etc. but I’m not stepping in your shower barefoot either. I always try to dress nicely when we’re out looking at houses and am respectful of their things. We never touch other people’s things but we do open closet doors.

meghann May 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

I would never remove my shoes in someone’s home for the same reason I don’t walk around barefoot in a hotel room. Who the heck knows what kind of nasty urchins are lurking in someone’s carpet? So no, I wear my shoes. (And will not walk barefoot until I get the carpets cleaned!). I think it’s tacky to walk around in barefeet anyway, unless invited to do so. No one wants to see your toe-jam. Ick.

Diane May 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

I agree!!

Danielle May 18, 2012 at 9:53 am

I disagree, also.

I’d like to see you get past my mother in my parent’s pristine white carpeted house with your outdoor shoes on. She’d take you out at your knees with her cane.

Pamela May 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

This is why I buy slip on booties and leave at the front door for all showings. They are made of a paper material and elastic so they slide over any shoe and most contractors/realtors use them nowadays. I purchase them at Lowes or Home Depot. To insinuate that the carpet may be unseemly is a silly justification since I know I use public bathrooms (do you think those wet spots around toilet are raindrops?), walk on grass that has been sprayed with pesticides and skipped over a few animal accidents that maybe others have stepped on. You can do what you want in your own home, but respect the space of others. It’s not yours until the key is handed over at the closing table.

Lindab May 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Right on!

Jessica May 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

Haha! That made me laugh. Hilarious…
I never looked at houses with dirty carpet. ;-)

Rita May 18, 2012 at 11:37 am

@Meghann, are you kidding? Many people have their homes recarpeted before selling. The last thing I want is your muddy, salt-encrusted shoes (I live in snow country) on those new carpets. If you are that paranoid about other people’s houses then do what my husband does in those hotels you don’t want to touch. WEAR SOCKS!
We always take off shoes in our own home and in others, we have designated “house shoes” for home, and I usually wear socks if I don’t want others to see my feet.

Kim May 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Whenever I go over to someone’s house, I always wear socks on my feet. That way if I’m asked to take off my shoes, my feet are covered.

2inz4me May 18, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Ever hear of socks? I hope never to have to go through the sale process again… At least for a long time for a lot of the reasons mentioned above. I think it’s over the top rude to refuse to take your shoes off if the owner requests it, and over the top rude to rifle through areas. I can see opening a closet or a cupboard, but leave it the way you found it! Agents should really be going through and putting lights and windows back in order after the showing, in my opinion!

Lisa T. May 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

People that request you to take their shoes off at the door have cleaner floors because of it. Hence, your excuse of not wanting to walk on it because you think it is too dirty for you to put your tootsies on is baseless. I think the comment about your toe jam is something to consider, however.

gigi10 June 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Disagree. Most homes DO HAVE NEW CARPETING. And if you think it’s full of nasty, gross things lurking in the carpet…..all the more reason for ppl to start taking off their shoes off. Wear some or take some socks, for goodness sakes! Sheesh People. I have never seen so many people that think it’s weird or gross to take off shoes before entering someone elses home. It’s actually the opposite in most cultures. Just do as the home owners do, if you see them with no shoes on…that’s a BIG clue for you that you should DO THE SAME.

Liz August 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

There are these things called socks….

Danielle May 18, 2012 at 8:22 am

I think it’s sad that people even need to list these rules of etiquette. Should it not go without saying that you treat a sellers home as you would want your treated? Also, who are these people that feel entitled to a parting gift when they view your home?

I don’t think a list would bother me. It’s still the seller’s home and if they have a shoes off preference, what’s the big deal about respecting that?

The only personal violation I committed when we were looking at houses was opening closets. Closet space is important to me though and I certainly didn’t touch anything.

Brenda May 18, 2012 at 8:35 am

I am one of those people that think taking shoes off should be optional, it’s rude to mandate such a thing. To me it is like asking someone to undress and we wouldn’t do that! I think that people may be looking at how things are hung to make sure you are not covering up huge holes, etc. in the walls. I remember many years ago I was viewing a home selling program and to hide a rusty bottom in a tub, the host suggested filling the tub with a nice bubble bath so that potential buyers would not see the rust!!!

Katie May 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

I am looking at houses now and I would be happy to see a sign telling me what to do and what not to do. I think it would show that the owners care for the house and were taking good care of it. I would feel more comfortable about possibly putting an ofer on one. The house I did offer on had the booties by the door. I have a low price range so most of the houses I go to are foreclosures and are hot messes.

I would take shoes off at every house I go into unless it was one of those nasty forecloasures. I find it rude to walk through people’s house with your shoes cause you are dragging the crap that in on the bottom of your shoes through their houses. If you have a problem with bare feet bring slippers, shoe covers, thick socks or something.

I also dont think it is rude to open closets, you need to see how much space you are working with. Minimal storage is a deal breaker. I dont have children but I would be ok with taking them as long as they stayed by my side. I could see why people wouldnt want them in their house though, it really depends on how respectful the children are.

Cindy May 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

More like, how good the PARENTS are! Like manners, parenting varies. Junior may be way more important than your Christmas ornament. I always hate seeing people flop down on furniture on house shows. Even saw a big guy throw down on a bed the other day. What gives folks the nerve to do that?

Aryn May 18, 2012 at 8:45 am

I think most of this comes down to the realtor doing his or her job! You’re not supposed to open the front door and say “roam free, I’ll be in the kitchen.” The realtor should be with the potential buyers at all times. Everything is logged, and the agent representing the sellers will know exactly who was in your home, so if something is missing or not the way you left it, you have the names of who to contact for reimbursement or complaint.

I guess the shoe thing is debatable. Every home has a “showing instructions” section, maybe you could ask your realtor to include “Please wear/bring socks – shoes are not allowed in the home.”

beverly May 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

As a former real estate broker, I chose to list our home when we were moving out of state in order to attract more potential buyers. I agree with the homeowners who were upset and so was I when I parked a block away in order to return home as soon as the showing was over – but can you imagine my horror as I sat there and watched 2 pre-schoolers pick ALL the tulips and throw them in the air as the parents and Realtor watched? Our living room had carpet installed within a parquet border and looked like an area rug which was defined in the description. Rather than a gentle curious tug, the carpet was ripped up at least a foot. I vowed never to let that Realtor show my home again. Fortunately, the home sold a week later – full price, minus the tuplips and with re-attached carpet. My admonition is this: Realtors, do your job! Buyers, behave yourselves and keep and eye on your children; this may not be the home for you, but it still belongs to the buyers!

Diane Williams May 18, 2012 at 8:58 am

I don’t understand why some potential buyers are so disrespectful of others’ property. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to remove their shoes. I assume most people are wearing socks or stockings, so what’s the problem? And I agree about not stepping into tubs and showers with your shoes on. Good grief! It’s all right to check those out for height problems, etc. but please take off the shoes.

Sandy May 18, 2012 at 8:58 am

We do not wear shoes in our house and I hate the thought of what tracks in on shoes. I like the idea of providing booties and the polite sign at the door. One professional who we used to see in her home had a very nice sign with a child’s rain boot on a boot tray that got the message across in a very pleasant way. I would not be offended to remove my shoes.

laney May 18, 2012 at 9:06 am

…i would NEVER ask my friends or family to remove their shoes…however…i am not offended in the least if that is asked of me…about selling a home…a gentle reminder that “this home might be yours one day…so love it with us by taking care when you visit”…would certainly be ok…when selling our house…if my baby were asleep…i would not leave…we stayed on the back porch…and their was a tiny heart shaped handwritten note on the baby’s door…”shhh…our baby is sleeping”…i assumed that anyone truly interested in buying would be willing to come back and see the extra bedroom minus the baby…homes are homes…and they should be respected…

Rebecca C. May 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

I really don’t mind taking my shoes off when viewing a home. When we sold our house recently, I didn’t have this rule and everything was fine (I did have the shut the door behind you rule). I did have a realtor that was on top of everything, especially during the open house. It could have potentially been a disaster (there were so many people in our house she had to stop people at the door to let others out), but she was a professional and had help managing the open house.

I put everything away or packed everything away that could have been a problem. I have heard of things being missing, such as towels, soaps, jewelry, even silverware and dishes. Crazy people out there. Realtors did constantly leave the back door unlocked because they couldn’t figure out how to lock it. That was my only pet peeve.

Kathy May 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

If you don’t want shoes worn in your house, provide shoe covers at the door. They are made of paper and are worn in operating rooms and some airports provide them to walk through security (to cover your bare feet). When shopping for houses I looked at a house that had new hardwood floors and there was a basket of these covers and a small sign asking to slip a cover over your shoes and a wastebasket to leave them.
As for closets, make sure they are clean and well organized, of course a buyer is going to look in the closets. Storage is a huge issue when purchasing a home.

Aria May 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

A list of requests would not put me off in any way, for I can sympathize, I’ve been there before, showing our own home, and it was awful. I think that those that feel that such requests are off-putting have never truly experienced some of the bad and downright rudeness that goes on when showing their own home without a realtor.

Living in the Pacific NW where it rains all the time, shoes are wet. We gave buyers two options when it came to shoes: they could either remove their shoes, or they could slip on brand new shoe booties over their shoes (the kind painters or nurses use). It protected the brand new light colored carpet, kept our home clean, and helped my allergies.

In showing our home we have had:
Children jumping on our beds.
Adults and children sorting through every drawer and closet in the house (not just looking).
Adults going through our refrigerator commenting on our food.
Children going through our refrigerator asking for or attempting to take food.
Adults moving our large pieces of furniture around wanting to see the room with nothing in it.
Children running through the neighbors yard and flower garden while their parents are in our home.
Adults and children requesting to use the master bath instead of the guest bath.
Adults wanting to see the washer and dryer work by washing/drying some of their clothes.
And the list could go on.

No, I’m fine with sellers having requests. I’ve been there.

2inz4me May 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

OMG! I am going to have a nightmare about that list! haha! Were the fridge and w/d included in the purchase price? And the food? Haha…..people are rude!

Rob May 18, 2012 at 9:33 am

I will respect your home and it’s contents. I would never open drawers to your furnishings or touch your items. I will point out potential improvements to my partner to fit our lifestyle and taste. I would never insult your taste, but I will not wait to discuss it with my partner. I will keep my clean shoes on while viewing the home. This is a deal breaker and I’ve refused to view homes that an owner insisted on this. I will open your closets and cabinets to ensure our items will fit nicely. You are not taking these with you and I must ensure they will work for my family. My partner will step into the shower as he’s 6’3″ to ensure he is going to be comfortable showering. We will not use your bathroom as we will make sure we’ve gone before leaving our house. We are going to walk around outside, but careful to not get our shoes muddy or trample any of your landscaping, so please don’t water an hour before your open house.

Western Warmth May 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hmm, maybe it’s a regional thing. My hubby worked in Real Estate in San Antonio, Texas. We had one of our homes for sale and it showed over 100 times. I left during the showings every.single.time. per my husband’s instructions in order to make potential buyers more comfortable. Nobody touched a thing and the home always looked exactly as I had left it, even though we didn’t know any of the buyers or their agents. In fact, in my husband’s 4 (busy!) years in real estate I never heard stories such as this. Maybe we all just need some basic “southern manners” lessons :). I no longer live in the south, but I think they were great at that.

Tracy May 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

This I relate to more than any other comment! I am in Canada and have sold 3 homes and looked after a million dollar estate that was listed and the owner had moved to Europe. I have prepared for a lot of showings! We have no set rules, all the realtors were fabulous & respectful. These stories are outrageous and frankly shameful.

Farmeress May 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

I was happy to get to Beverly’s comment for I feel strongly all the mentioned issue’s in previous posts in large part, are the fault of the agent. A little common sense in judging the responsibility of their clients courtesy levels would make all the difference. Before the viewings begin while all things are neutral, a diplomatic agent can offer “suggestins” for viewing if needed. We have bought and sold multiple properties as an oft transferred family. We have had amazing good luck with almost all the agents we worked with. I do not understand how a looker can flops down on someone’s bed (HGTV) while the agent stands idly & silently by? Unless you are buying the furniture too it is both disrespectful and a trespass. You are viewing rooms,structure, condition etc. The showers and tubs if they are of concern…AND you are seriousLY interested in the house…of course try them. I have a bum foot and barefoot walking is painful. Surgical booties (looks like shower cap-put on over shoes) used on fundraising house tours would be an asset carried by the agent. A suggestion of the restroom before office departure and a stop as necessary, could spare the fussy homeowner soiling of clean towels. Toys & articles perceived to be toys should not be moved or strewn about the house by viewer’s children. If the agent wants to be the family’s lister for home sales in the future, pleasantly requesting respect for the current viewed property will only raise their value to the client. You would hope the viewers would practice reponsibler house shopping and the seller would make the experience of viewing their home welcoming as well. A few pre-cautions for both, might make negotiations at time of offer go more smoothly as well.

Janet May 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

I worked in new home sales for years. We would have multiple homes open at a time, 3-5 homes, 9 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have seen it all, anything that wasn’t glued or bolted down went missing sooner or later. People coming in with trench coats on in southern California, really? Tote bags that were obviously empty…People sitting down and eating the “prop” food, messy beds (god only knows?). The general public are pigs, and you would be doing yourself a dis-service not to post some rules. People who request you take your shoes off before entering their home are people who are obviously concerned about cleanliness, I wouldn’t worry about what is on their floor. I welcome the do’s and don’ts! ;)

Elizabeth May 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

This is ridiculous. The minute you put your house on the market you shouldn’t think of it as your house anymore. Of course people shouldn’t be rude but I find commandments from the homeowner extremely off putting. We looked at one house that had a tenant who had questionable taste, poor cleaning habits and a cat. On her door was a sign that said to take your shoes off. It was totally inappropriate and frankly I immediately crossed the house off the list. I went through seven months with almost daily showings to sell our house. I never turned down a showing even with three small kids at home. I never experienced such rudeness and never imparted my household rules on visitors as if they were a bunch of naughty children. Since our house sold I have been looking at properties from the other side and if someone told me I couldn’t bring my children to see a house I wouldn’t even go see it. For crying out lud, my children are going to live in the house and you, former owner, are not!

ShabbyChick May 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Disagree. It’s still my home as long as I’m the one paying the mortgage. You may have the cleanest shoes, the finest manners and utmost consideration. You may have the most respectful and well-behaved children in the world. But there are many more who are not and do not. Someone who is so considerate and well mannered would not be offended in the slightest by a list of well mannered and considerate requests.

Elizabeth May 20, 2012 at 5:09 am

That’s actually not true. I don’t think these requests are considerate or well mannered. The fact is if you want to sell your home you need to make allowances. This is a buyers market where properties sit months or even years. By imposing rules based on your personal preferences or emotional attachment to the house it tells buyers you are not serious about selling. As a contientous person with well behaved children I absolutely take offense when treated as the lowest common denominator. Do you like being treated like you don’t have enough class to wipe your feet before entering a home? Or as if you are going to steal something? Or that your children are thought so little of that they shouldn’t even be allowed to view their potential new home? I don’t.
I am not saying you should allow people to steal your things and jump on your bed but having strangers rummaging through your house can feel like a personal violation and it’s not. Its what you subject yourself to when you sell your house.
I will tell you what happens to those ‘rules’ when the realtors show the house. They state the rules, everyone rolls their eyes, a cursory tour is made and then the buyers’ realtor says “good luck (you are going to need it)” then the sellers agent sighs defeatedly and the house doesn’t get sold.

ShabbyChick May 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

I was raised to oblige to such requests as taking my shoes off when a guest in someone else’s home, it’s not about not having “class” to wipe one’s feet. It’s about manners and respect.

suze November 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I stayed in the house we were renting while people viewed it for possible sale/rent. We have a dog and our renters insurance was not going to cover us for theft of our personal items by strangers passing through.Appointments were made and I sat in the kitchen. Much to my amazement about 60% of the potential buyers came into the house and wandered at will while their realtor stayed outside texting/smoking/ sitting in their car. There weren’t any huge infringements, but the few personal items left out were moved about, lights and fans were turned on and our back yard gate was left open many times.
We own a house now and are dreading the day we have to put it up for sale.

Jaybird July 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Although the house may not be considered “mine” once I have put it on the market to sell, the contents of the house are still mine – ie. furniture, clothing, wall hangings etc. I’ve had buyers put their rain-soaked umbrellas on my wood coffe table and ruin the finish!
Also, the electric bill is still mine to pay so I would appreciate if buyers would shut the front and back door while the air is running in July heat. No joke, I’ve had several buyers and their agents enter th home while leaving the front door wide open. I live in a city and am selling a rowhome so I sit with my neighbor across the dtreet on her front porch while my house shows and actually see this happening. What’s worse is I often return home after they have left to find the back door wide open as well. Need I mention again that I live in the city and open doors on unattended houses are an open invitation to be robbed!
I’ve also had buyers try to pull up the wall to wall carpeting in my bedrooms to see what’s underneath.
Although the house will not longer be mine upon sale, until it sells I do need to keep it in the best possible condition for showing. Having buyers pulling up carpeting,, damaging furniture and hardwood surfaces, tracking mud across floors, or otherwise distressing or damaging the property, is a detractor for the next buyer viewing.

I can also add that keeping appointment times is critical. I had a showing scheduled for a Friday evening 2 weeks ago. The buyers and their agent showed up at 10am on Sunday morning and let themselves in with the keys… while I was in the shower!! Imagine my shock and horror to exit the bathroom in a towel to find strangers wandering around the hallway outside!!!!!

Now my house shows by appointment only and I let them in the house and return immediately as they are leaving.

Brenda May 18, 2012 at 10:22 am

Realtors should be liable for theft/damage when houses are shown. I don’t know why, but while the prospective buyers are let loose I somehow picture the Realtor somewhere else on their cell phone!

Claudia May 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

My number one pet peeve would be….DO NOT GET ON THE BED when you are visiting a house for sale. You see this all the time on house hunting shows.

Elizabeth May 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

As an aside I can’t imagine any reputable realtor would allow these things (jumping on beds etc) to happen during a showing. As mentioned above it is absolutely reasonable for a potential buyer to open ALL closets and built in cabinetry and also to see if they will fit in showers etc. If you have splashed your walls with your very specific to you tastes you should put your big kid pants on and be ready to deal with the comments, and why would you care? Best case scenario, it’s not your house any more. And frankly you shouldn’t be there anyway. It makes potential buyers uncomfortable. People are there to see the house, not the owner and they want to imagine themselves living there, not you.

Bridget May 19, 2012 at 2:41 am

I respectfully disagree with it not being the Sellers house just because it’s on the market. I think until the house is sold it is the Seller paying the mortgage and etc.

Elizabeth May 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I agree, I meant that they shouldn’t think of it as their home. And best case scenario it soon won’t be. When you put your house on the market it becomes a commodity. It is time for you to detach yourself from it emotionally. It is still their property and as such people should respect it. But that doesn’t mean they have to thank them, admire their taste and follow their ‘rules’
I would never take my shoes off at a restaurant a church or a school and I am not about to take my shoes off at an open house.

Gigi10 June 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Elizabeth,your comments are absoultely amusing because I haven’t hear from such a classless lady in a long time. First of all, many would agree that even if your home is on the market, it certainly STILL IS YOUR HOME. You’re still paying the mortgage, right? So the house may not sell at all but it’s still yours. It’s not a commodity once it’s on the market. Does that mean that anyone who chooses to look at your house can stop by at any hour of the day, unnanounced? I would hope not! Furthermore, just because you wouldn’t take your shoes off at a restraunt or church….doesn’t mean you don’t do so at home or someone elses home. Home’s are usually carpeted, restraunts and church…NOT. Unless it’s the cheap kind. Besides, The chinese people do it for reasons that most don’t, its considered to bring bad energy into the home if you wear your shoes in the house. But my main concern is tracking in pesticides, animal feces, pollen, mold spores…etc. It’s just common knowledge that taking your shoes off before entering a home is the healthiest thing you can do for you or your family. I highly encourage you, Elizabeth, to reconsider doing this, for your health may be at risk as well as your future and cuurent relationships, because I just consider what you do rude. You would never be allowed in my home if you flat out refused to remove your shoes, especially if everyone else was doing it. That’s just poor upbringing to refuse to do so.

Jeanine Poole September 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

You sound like a self entitled snob, stop. Buyers market or not, my house, my rules. Don’t EVEN pretend the buyers’ realtor automatically practices common sense. 12 showings, 3 times front door left unlocked. Don’t minimize my experience because yours is different.

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet May 18, 2012 at 10:46 am

I don’t see anything wrong with etiquette rules. At the end of the day, it’s still their home. You wouldn’t behave that way at a friend’s house, so why do it at a stranger’s? My husband and I are currently buying a home, and of the (dozens) of homes we went through, we tried to be as respectful as we would have wanted any stranger traipsing through our own house to be.

Susan May 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

It’s sad to think that one must create a list of “don’ts”. I believe that when one enters a home it is just polite and kind to be respectful. Sadly, civility is not as common as it should be. Have a great weekend!

Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Candy May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

I currently have my house listed and we live in an area with very wet winters. Spring and Fall are pretty bad as well. I expect you to remove wet or dirty foot wear, but not
clean dry summer shoes. And please don’t walk arround my house in your bear feet – wear socks please. I don’t mind if you stand in the shower but without your shoes. Don’t lay in the tub either for the same reason – you may be wearing something like the rivets on your jeans that would scratch. I don’t mind you looking in the closets – in fact I would point them out to you, but leave the drawers alone – they are comming with me. If you lay, sit or roll on my bed, I may end the showing right then and there – I cannot imagine anything more rude. I see people do this all the time on TV and I always wonder what is wrong with them

Linda @ MyCraftyHomeLife May 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

I have been on many home tours where they supply booties to go over your shoes. Nobody complains.

Janet May 18, 2012 at 11:27 am

This is the best resolution to the shoes/no shoes debate, a very simple solution.

Mary May 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

I have friends where both the husband and wife are over 6 feet tall. When they bought their house, they had to move the shower head up a foot. I completely understand standing in the tub. I also understand opening closets and cabinets (but not dressers, etc!) I also expect someone to turn on the shower to check the water pressure (big deal for me).

All of these stories however, make me even happier that our first house sold in 24 hours and our second sold two year years ago in six days.

Janet May 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

Love on the shows when people flop on the beds and furniture. What are they thinking? Unless they are buying the furnishings why are they trying them out.
Several seasons back I believe it was Sabrina Soto on a HGTV show who created a bed out of boxes. It had a spread and pillows and was there to show prospective buyers how furniture fit in the space. I would love to see a flopper land on this!

Linda@Restyled Home May 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I’m Canadian, so you won’t catch guests coming into our homes without removing their shoes. It’s just considered good manners here. Why someone would think it is disgusting to be asked to remove the shoes that have likely stepped in spit on the sidewalk, mud, grit, andpicked up “remnants” from passing dogs before they walk over someone’s clean carpet that their children play on is what I find unpleasant. I think it should be up to the realtors to ensure their clients behave in a dignified way when viewing someone else’s home. Isn’t that their job to accompany them as they move from room to room?

Lisa T. May 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I’m from North Carolina. We were raised to remove our shoes. All our friends and family remove shoes when entering a home. It’s not very wet or muddy here. It’s just more sanitary.

Katherine May 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

I am Canadian as well. Who on Earth would wear OUTDOOR shoes indoors. Someone stated above “clean, dry” outdoor shoes. There is no such thing as a clean outdoor shoe. The fact that anyone would walk around the house in outdoor shoes is disgusting. Yes, my kids, husband and even myself will walk into the house with shoes on..to grab the phone, turn off the light etc. but I instantly regard the walked on floor as DIRTY and it will be washed as soon as I get the chance.

Rochelle May 31, 2012 at 10:22 am

It’s definately a Canadian thing to take off your shoes at the door. I couldn’t imagine tracking in all the nastles that are on outdoor shoes. It skeeves me out when I watch tv and see people wearing their shoes on beds, sitting on th ecouch, etc. Besides, it just seems uncomfortable. I love kicking off my shoes as I walk in the door!

Laura May 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm

While I would never dream of behaving rudely in someone else’s house, I know there are plenty of people who have no such qualms. If my house was on the market, I would have stored anything I was worried about before the showings began. I have to say though, the whole taking off your shoes thing does annoy me. Maybe if you’ve walked through slush to get in or something ,but otherwise, how about just wiping your feet? We’ve all become too germaphobic if you ask me.

laney May 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

…i think…perhaps laura is right…we have become too germaphobic…i have an asian friend who always removed her shoes when coming into our home…but she told me it was not an act of concern about cleanliness…it was a custom…when one removed their shoes and left them at the entrance…it was symbolic of “leaving the world…and all its problem
s at the doorway” upon entering the shelter of home…

Amanda @ House Revivals May 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm

This seems to be a topic where people have strong opinions. Concerning the issue of removing shoes, when our house was on the market we placed a basket of shoe covers by the front door. We did not require that the covers be used — just placed the basket there as a gentle suggestion. My concern was that a person who was mobility impaired might have difficulty removing shoes or putting on a shoe cover. Since my main concern was that my buyers feel at home, I did not want to seem ungracious by requiring shoe removal or covering.

Concerning personal belongings, we packed away almost everything, and kept our valuables in a safe deposit box. We only had items in the home that we needed and that we used to stage the home. We wanted our potential buyers to really *see* the home, and to be able to *see* themselves living there, so we did not leave “personal” items about. We never had any issues with items being broken or moved, but even if an accident had occurred, we would have shrugged it off, since everything that was special to us was packed away. A broken doodad is a pretty good trade-off for a”sold” home. By the way, our house went under contract in one week, with other buyers waiting in the wings. The house sold for top dollar at the bottom of the recession.

As far as asking a buyer not to comment on the home while the owner is present, I would ask WHY are the owners present!!!? The last thing you want, as a serious seller, is for potential buyers to see the home as “yours”. If you are not a serious seller, by all means hang around during a showing, but be prepared for serious shoppers to have serious conversations about your home in your presence. We have shopped for three different homes in the last three years, and whenever an owner insisted on being present during a showing, we felt very uncomfortable, and did not feel like we could candidly discuss the home. Those candid discussions are important in the decision making process. We walked away from those homes without considering them — there were plenty of other houses to choose from. Ironically, I felt like sellers who insisted on being present during a showing were wasting *my* time, as they were obviously not ready to let go of their homes. In other words, they were not serious sellers.

If visitors or their children misbehave in your home, you can file a complaint against their real estate agent. Every agent I have worked with has been very conscientious about leaving the home exactly as we found it. Personally, I would choose not to be offended if someone sat on my bed. That would indicate that they tarried a little longer in that space, and were probably trying to envision how they would use the room. That’s a good thing, since the point of listing your home is to sell your home.

Of course, any viewer should be welcome to use the bathroom. They are, after all, invited guests. If you don’t want them using your pretty towels, then put out some paper hand towels. It’s an easy and gracious solution. Viewers will also look in your cupboards and appliances, open all your drawers, and poke around in your closets. Buying a home is a huge purchase, and they have a responsibility to be diligent buyers. Make it easy for your buyers by packing most of your stuff away.

It seems that so many of the things that offend sellers can be avoided by properly preparing the home. I would also never forget that viewers are guests. I would feel honored that they were considering choosing my home. Yes, listing your home can make you feel “exposed”, so grow a thick skin and choose not to be offended when they voice an opinion or offer feedback. Feedback is valuable, and can help you make changes that might just net you more money or a quicker sale.

Laura May 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

All well said!

Lisa T. May 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Agreed!

Elizabeth May 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Agreed!

Dawn May 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Well said! When we’ve sold our previous homes, my husband and I were looking at our home as now an investment property. The goal was to make the house as ‘sellable’ as possible and worth every penny we were asking for and so we spent money repairing everything. We had a home inspector come through first to id anything that was an issue so we could fix it before the house went on the market (better to get in front of these issues so the buyer doesn’t see a laundry list of issues and then wants to start lowering their price!) We packed a large majority of our stuff to ensure that house look uncluttered and spacious and put everything that was valuable in our home safe or packed away.
We always required advanced notice when a Realtor was bringing prospective buyers in so we could spruce up, turn all lights on, music, etc. We either left the house or when we couldn’t we stayed outside so the folks felt more comfortable.
Bottom line: I’m trying to sell my house for maximum profit so I’m more than willing to accommodate folks to a point.
My biggest expectation is that the Realtors keep an eye on their clients. My sorrow is that our generation and the previous may have dropped the ball on instilling proper manners into our children so that this type of behavior is so prevalent.

Miss E May 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Oh my lord! This is so crazy!!! My boyfriend and I are house hunting now and we have definitely run across some interesting things. I really appreciated a house that we saw yesterday though: There was a note attached to the back door stating that there was a dog in the yard. The note also explained that the dog would bark at strangers, but was friendly and does not bite. I appreciated the in-depth explaination so I felt comfortable exploring the yard since I needed to inspect it for my own dogs’ use.

Closets. I’m looking. I’m not looking at YOUR stuff. I’m looking to see how MY stuff would fit. If you don’t get it then you’re really NOT THAT INTERESTED in selling your house.

Shoes- not coming off. Sorry. Maybe on a new build? I’ve been invited to a friend of a friends’ house after being in the sun all day and running around. The LAST thing I wanted to do was have everyone take off their feet so we could eat pizza on their couch (also feet were put on the coffee table next to pizza boxes??? Why is this ok and shoes not?)! Needless to say I ate my food outside. Wipe your feet and the rest are just good germs to maintain your immune system.

Cindy May 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Just for a new twist on how crazy showings can be, the new trend in open house related crime is for addicts to rifle through owners’ medicine cabinets to look for prescription drugs they can steal.

It’s so unfortunate that folks who are selling have to figure out a way to cater to civilized society while defending their homes against the lowest common denominator. :-(

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs May 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Rifling through medicine cabinets for drugs has been around for quite awhile. But yes, it is very unfortunate that sellers have to be told to remove these things when showing a home. One wonders what else people might be inclined to steal….so sad
:-(

Cristina May 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

The only thing worse than a sign telling me to remove my shoes is a sign written in Papyrus. Ugh.

Laura May 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Hah!

Carolyn May 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I can’t believe a person wouldn’t take off their shoes. It is not polite where I live to where your shoes in someone’s home unless they ask you to leave your shoes on. The only time I would consider leaving them on would be if the floor was so dirty it would leave my socks dirty or wet (think pet stains). I also hate it when people get into the tub or shower with their shoes on (House Hunters), once I saw a woman get into a garden tub with heels. I would not be happy as a home owner watching her do that to my tub.

Pam May 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Okay, next time I sell my home I’m setting up cameras. This whole topic has generated all kinds of horror. I never thought to worry about most of this stuff. I worked constantly to make sure my home was tip top clean every day it was on the market. To think all of these disgusting things could have been going on! Yuck.

imjacobsmom May 19, 2012 at 2:18 am

Want to hear a hot one…a real estate agent in my area was actually helping himself to items in his client’s homes when Open Houses were scheduled. He was finally caught on tape.

Jessie May 19, 2012 at 4:40 am

What a discovery!!!!!!!!!
Are you sure they are ready to sell that house?

Denise May 19, 2012 at 7:51 am

OMG! Loved your comment “One of my pet peeves is when people climb into tubs on shows like House Hunters, shoes and all.” I thought I was the only one who this bothers! Not only are they dragging who knows what on their shoes into your tub, they are scratching it too! People just need to learn a little respect!

I hated showing our house to potential buyers when it was furnished and was so relieved when we finally moved into our new home and our old house was empty. That way, I didn’t have to worry about anything being stolen or broken. Because of a previous incident we had with a worker in our home (his son was caught going through my daughter’s belongings), I was (still am) very leery about letting strangers into my home.

William May 19, 2012 at 7:51 am

I remember when my last house was for sale I was doing a little cleaning for a showing the next day when I giant Hummer went speeding past my windows down my driveway running over everything planted on the side of my house. I ran outside as they backed up over all the plants a second time stopping at the porch where I was standing in shock and said ” We just wanted to see if our car would fit in the driveway” Everything along the side of the house was crushed and they left without even apologising.

William May 19, 2012 at 8:16 am

I totally empathise with sellers horror stories, selling a home is deeply personal and something we only do two or three times in our lives. Realtors have seen it all but when your a homeowner experiencing it for the first or second time it can be really stressfull !!

I was selling my condo and came home after a showing to all of my clothes on the floor in my closet off the hangers, I asked the realtor what happened and she told me the couple had a fight, he liked the apartment, but she said the closet wasn’t big enough as she trashed it to make a point !! I almost found that funny, after I stood there for a half hour putting all my dress shirts and pants back on their hangers.

Dawn May 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I’d have fired that Realtor on the spot. They had a duty to remove the couple and clean up that area. Sometimes you’ve got to wonder about the professionalism of some of them.

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs May 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I would NOT have found this funny at all. I too would have fired the realtor. That is totally unacceptable behavior in someone else’s home.

Carol M May 19, 2012 at 8:33 am

I blame HGTV for making it seem like it is okay to get into someone’s tub or shower with shoes, to jump on beds and flop on furniture. The agent should speak up and stop this behavior.

I don’t expect anyone to take off their shoes in my house, but I respect other homeowners’ wishes to remove shoes. However, if you know you are going to test a shower or tub, that is fine, but either take off your shoes or take booties with you if they are not provided. Be prepared!

Yes, I expect you to go into closets, cupboards, and any appliances that are included in the sale. As others have said, anything that doesn’t stay with the house is off-limits.

Also, I have no problem if anyone needs to use the bathroom. I have a weak bladder, so I certainly understand.

I refused to have an open house when selling my home, as I was very uncomfortable having several people in. Plus open houses usually don’t bring in serious buyers (a 1991 study, showed that only 3% of houses bought were via open houses), but are a vehicle for agents to drum up business, and attract lookiloos and nosy neighbors. Not worth the trouble, in my book. Serious buyers will make an appointment to see your house.

Pat May 19, 2012 at 8:57 am

Shoes are small change compared to that article you highlighted!
The agent and his partner had sexual encounters all over the sellers house….I’d be livid, then I’d burn the place down, LOL!

Jessica May 19, 2012 at 9:00 am

Well, I can understand the rules, but some people may not be able to leave their children at home. And not all children are out of control. Ha When we were house hunting, we were only in town for 9 days, and we didn’t have babysitters to leave our little boys with. We made them behave in other people’s houses, and they love looking at houses, too. ;-)
I do like people to take off their shoes, even in my home, although I don’t enforce it. I don’t wear mine in the house.
Lots of new homes provide “booties” to wear over your shoes when touring. ;-)

Melissa Daly May 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

I think, unfortunately, when people are shopping they forget someone lives there. I know when we had our home rebuilt after a fire, I about lost it when I saw a worker put out a cigarette on my sub flooring of my home. I quickly reminded him this might be his job but this was MY home. I think that happens when you look at some many homes you forget that people live there. It’s too bad. These are probably the same people who’s children hang from the ceiling at the malls and super markets. If you love it, put it away that way all parties are protected.

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs May 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

We sold our home a few months ago and we did NOT use a realtor. So almost all of the people who viewed our home were given a “guided tour”. WE were the ones in control of how, when and whom our house was shown to. Prospective buyers were offered the opportunity to view the home without the “tour” but most chose the tour option. This was a tremendous relief for us because we were able to “keep an eye” on things. :-)

Only one couple did not take off their shoes but barged right in without even asking! (And yes, they left a bunch of residue all over our hardwood floors and carpeting!) All the others were very kind and respected our request of “no shoes please”.

Even in this tough housing market, I don’t think “rules of etiquette” are a bad thing. After all, if it gets “ruined” by careless people who are “just looking” (some people go to open houses just for an activity) the home owner may have more to do to keep it looking nice for the actual buyer.

Yes, if a house is occupied when selling, people need to remember this is someone’s home! Be kind and courteous of other’s property. IF you buy the house, then you can make it your HOME and you can live it anyway you want.

Happy house hunting and selling!

Erin May 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I think these rules are totally acceptable. Regardless of the market or any other circumstance, people need to remember that they are a guest in someone’s home. I do agree that it’s the realtor’s job to keep up with the guests and know the expectations of the owners. Then they can notify the potential buyer about what’s expected.
I go into new client homes all the time and fully expect to have to remove my shoes at the beginning, and thank them for their time at the end. Bottom line, it’s still their home, they live there and own everything in it. Until a buyer has signed those papers, they don’t owe the strangers in their home anything.

ShabbyChick May 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm

I LOVE THIS LIST!!!! If buyers have a problem with it I would tell them this is my home and I get to decide who comes in and who doesn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to let “Mr. & Mrs. Lookie Loo” have it while we were trying to sell our home. I also had a unique insight into the world of Real Estate with my husband being a Broker for 14 years. Believe me, he saw it all! People have no manners and no consideration, but the RUDEST behavior BY FAR is being a “no-show”. How is it OK that I spend 4 hours cleaning my house to white glove perfection, and you don’t bother to show up? (Some of the blame lies with the buyers agent!) If you do that to a doctor, you get a bill. What do I get besides a clean house and a backache for a week? Somebody owes me some serious cash! And by the way, a bad market is NOT an excuse for bad manners! (We ended up selling our home for cash to a very wealthy couple who were extremely gracious and wonderful.)
And Julia, I COMPLETELY AGREE about climbing into bathtubs at showings! EWWWWWWW.

doodlewalker May 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Regarding the jerks in the hummer who drove over the plantings…..

These people were apparently not invited onto the property, apparently they had just seen the sign out front. Since they were trespassing I think that they could have been prosecuted for destroying the landscaping, and been made to give restitution.

The home owners should have taken the license number and called the police. Really, who does this?

Jan May 19, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Prior to selling our house in Georgia, notorious for its red clay, I bought clear carpet runners and laid them on the high traffic areas. Our lot was a half-acre, partly with lawn and landscape, and the woods left natural. Buyers went in and out during showings, and after the first few, the carpet runners went down. Along with the flyer prepared by the realtor, I left a note saying the runners were temporary to allow people to be comfortable viewing the house, inside and out. To my knowledge, no one was put off, and the house sold in under 90 days.

Jane May 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Insist that realtors o NOT let buyers try out beds! There have been reported cases of bed bugs spread this way as they can be easily transmitted from clothing.

Of course, it is always a risk, however small when potential buyers sit on furniture too. Ugh! They are not buying the beds or the furniture (usually). Personally, I wouldn’t want to test a seller’s bed if I was trying to buy a home.

We have lived in 3 homes and in our latest for well over 20 years. My husband is very tall so I totally understand the need to check out showers and tubs but we always took off our shoes and made sure we wore socks- no bare feet. Unfortunately, some potential buyers aren’t as considerate.

Since the first home we bought had nice looking cabinets but with doors that fell off easily, poorly maintained, we learned to open cabinet and closet doors, check faucets to make sure they work,etc. You’d think a home inspection would turn up something like that but ours didn’t. Even the oven door was sprung . It was our first home and we sure learned from that experience.!

Also, every time we sold a home, we insisted on hiring a realtor who would stay with potential buyers in every room except for spaces like utility rooms, etc. We cleaned out our medicine cabinets and kept drugs in a safe place- although easily accessible to us.

We actually had some friends do a ” test drive” to make sure the realtor actually stayed nearby and respected our needs. Sure, the realtor wanted a sale…fair enough… but we had a right to have our home treated with some basic good sense.

Lise May 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I’m selling my home right now and already have an offer but I’m still showing it as the details get worked out. So today I come home to find somone used my masterbathroom took a poop and left it. That is not ok would anyone not find this discusting.
I have 5 full bathrooms and they pick the master bathroom to take a poop in then leave it. That and numerous other issues makes me very happy that it is all over. I chose zero open houses and did private appointments only so I know who to zero in on for that mess.

Maggy May 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hi all .. I’m dubious about jumping into the mix here, but as a former FSBO (owner-seller) and a Realtor, I have a few observations ..

First, Danielle was right — treat the home you’re entering as if it’s your own. The Golden Rule always applies. As for the wayward kids and folks who were taking advantage of belongs, etc .. NOT right! If you’re selling through a real estate agent, he/she should make sure that proper etiquette is observed; if you’re trying to sell on your own, get a couple of friends to hang out to show prospective buyers around or answer questions (what’s the n’hood like? etc).

Re: shoes On or Off .. I’ve shown houses both ways (and I’ve been on home tours when I had to remove my shoes). If you’re worried about potential buyers tracking in mud and dirt (especially if it’s raining), then buy some “footies” to fit over their shoes, as someone suggested, or ask them to remove their shoes and let them know your concerns. Also, some cultures remove shoes every time they enter their home, so it may just be an everyday thing for them.

Most of the folks you’ll encounter will be respectful and polite; there’s a small % that won’t, and as a homeowner, I think that you’d be in your right to ask them to leave. It might be a good idea to always keep your cell phone handy in case you find yourself in a situation that you’re not comfortable with, and on that note, if you’re selling your home yourself (and marketing it), set up a separate email account and cell # (aka, pre-pay) when you advertise your listing. And it’s also a *very* good idea to have a friend hang out w/ you, if you want to show the house yourself.

A couple of other thoughts if you’re trying to sell by owner (FSBO) .. It’s a good idea to get an inspection (or inspections, if your area warrants them) by good inspectors, and have that for serious buyers to review. Also, if the inspection shows anything that needs to be done, do it BEFORE you show your home (and get the inspector to come back and review his/her earlier comments and update them). The fewer ‘hiccups’ your home has will result in a faster and higher sale.

Good luck to ALL of you who’re trying to sell your homes!

Jenny May 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I don’t think it’s possible to leave kids at home often times. However, parents should have taught their kids not to behave badly no matter where they are!

I do think shoes should be taken off. I hate when people wear shoes at my house. We paid almost $7,000 for all new flooring when we moved in. I want it to stay nice as long as possible. I get annoyed with the people who act like it’s the end of the world to take their shoes off. I actually leave a pair of slippers at my Mom’s for that reason.

Nathan May 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

Asking viewers to remove shoes is completely acceptable. When I was viewing with a friend, a few provided those plastic bootie things to put over your shoes. Those were nice.

Kimberly Codron May 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

The owner gets to make all the rules.

Kelly May 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

When we were selling, we had a showing that lasted for over 3 hours. I have dogs that I had taken with me and I kept driving by to see if they’d left. We could tell that they had sat at the kitchen table because the chairs were pushed out and the guy had left his ball cap on the table. A day later The buyer showed up without his agent or calling first and all but charged in wanting to see the back yard again, taking the long way through the house. They did lowball an offer, when we gave a very reasonable counter offer they walked.

Ulrike May 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

If you want to protect your newly replaced or newly cleaned carpets, you can provide cheap booties for people to put on over their shoes. The worst is when you have to take off your shoes, but there’s nowhere to sit to do so nor to put them back on afterward. And, what do you do when you want to check out the back deck/yard and you’ve left your shoes at the front door?

As for the No Kids Allowed policy, if you aren’t interested in selling your house to a family, go for it. Otherwise, get over yourself.

Parents, it’s your responsibility to keep your kids’ behavior in check. If you can’t control your child, hire a sitter. There are lots of great parenting books and websites out there. It’s 100% possible to teach your child to act appropriately at an open house–walking (don’t run, jump, climb, etc) and don’t touch stuff that doesn’t belong to you.

Kim May 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I have been on both the buyer and seller end of the house-hunting thing this year.

There were some occasions where I had to bring my baby to a house I was looking at as a buyer but he stayed in the baby seat and within my view at all times. It was unfortunately unavoidable as his father and I work two different shifts. As far as the rest of it goes, it didn’t even occur to me not to leave the house in the condition it was in when I left it. Most of the houses I viewed, though, had already been cleared out. The few occupied ones I viewed, I viewed while the owners were out. The rules in this posting should be common sense and it’s sad that people don’t seem to know these. :(

When it came to the house I sold, I was paranoid about things being taken. I lived two and a half hours away from it (it was my parents’ house that I inherited) and I didn’t even put it up on the market until everything was removed and put into storage. That might not be feasible for everyone, but it took a lot of stress off of me.

linda May 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Who keeps their shoes on inside the house? Whether it be my own or another person’s, I would never track in dirt from outside! I would be happy to see a list of rules-this denotes the owners’ care and consideration for the home they are selling/currently living in. Have we really lost this much civility that a request for shoes off would be met with indignation? That the request needs to be made in the first place renders this question highly rhetorical!

I was disgusted by the intact bum-print left on my duvet when we were selling our last home. The bed was not for sale!

Wendy May 21, 2012 at 12:31 am

Wowza. This is a hot topic, clearly. My feeling is that list was not appropriate for potential buyers. Maybe share a list with the realtors you schedule showings with (questions about qualified buyers should be screened by realtors anyway), but that list was much too personal to share with buyers. It wasn’t just about shoes (which I could live with) but about what it was permissible to say, forheavensake! And it was simply rude on the subject of children. People with children don’t live in a “proper” house?

My bottom line is that this couple needs to talk to the realtors, not the clients. Then they need to GET OUT of the house while the clients are there.

dakky May 21, 2012 at 5:39 am

The shoe removal thing is not always about dirt. When I was a kid we had cork floor tiles and my mother would ask anyone with high heels to remove them so they didn’t mark the floor. At work we have a heavy duty floor covering in the kitchen and my heels mark that if I lean on them too heavily. In my own home, I don’t want you wearing shoes inside because we put down new floors and they scratch. Dirt can be cleaned off, but a big gouge out of the floor is a whole other problem.

Amber May 21, 2012 at 11:30 am

It’s really interesting to see the divide between whether to remove shoes or not, I had no idea it was such a hot topic. We recently put our house on the market and left a sign at the door asking people to remove shoes, this was mainly because it was muddy outside, our floors are mainly light colored, and we had a number of back to back showings. We had originally asked our realtor if we should put out shoe covers but she cautioned against it saying that if someone had those on and fell we could be sued! I am feeling VERY fortunate our house sold on the second day as some of these stories about what potential buyers did are crazy!

theSavvySeeker May 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Wowzers! Who knew shoes could start such a debate? I take great pride in my home and spend a lot of time and effort to keeping it clean and welcoming. I would absolutely NOT have a problem taking my shoes off at an open house…out of respect for the home owner. My folks put their home up for sale last year and I was appalled at the way potential buyers acted when visiting the house…coming without an appointment, using toilets and not flushing and scuffing beautiful hard wood floors with their shoes. It takes a lot of time and prep to get a home ready to be shown. I just think it’s the courteous thing to do.

Sarah @ housecrazy May 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I feel bad that we often take our kids house-hunting. I agree, kids should be left at home, but I don’t have a babysitter at my disposal most of the time so they end up going with me.
On the other hand, one thing that drives me nuts about having MY house up for sale is the people who just walk right up and look in the windows! We LIVE here people!!

Karen May 22, 2012 at 12:21 am

When I was looking for a house I was not offendedy by a request to take my shoes off as I live where it snows. It only seems like common sense. I’ve been to showings where they do provide the cloth booties and I had no problem wearing them. I’ve always been respectful of other people’s furnishings, etc., and I wouldn’t think to snoop into other people’s belongings. However I’m not that trusting of the general public and don’t assume that they know how to behave or respect other people’s property or belongings. Most seem to have an attitude of entitlement and the comments here only further validate that opinion. Yes, once someone decides to sell a home then it does become a commodity of sorts, but that does not give other’s the right to destroy, steal or disrespect another person’s property. A potential buyer is just that potential–it’s not their property and they don’t own it. They are not doing your a favor by showing up even if it’s a buyer’s market. Real estate agents who allow that should be fired.

I think rules of etiquette are fine. The fact is if you are a potential buyer it is NOT YOUR HOME. As for children I tend to agree that it is best to leave them with a babysitter, especially given parent’s who don’t watch them closely and keep them under control, but I think that would pose a hardship on many. It’s sad that irresponsible parents who refuse to keep their kids’ behavior in check ruin it for the rest of us who wouldn’t dream of allowing our kids to act or behave that way.

Personally, I would remove all valuables and anything that you wouldn’t want stolen, broken or otherwise destroyed. I would probably clear out most everything, if possible just like the previous suggestions and that also includes food.

Emma May 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

Re the leaving kids at home. It’s sad that people can be so judgemental and assume that perhaps one little accident is the result of unruly kids and negligent parents. We bring our children house hunting with us out of necessity. At the relevant time out kids were 2 and 3. My husband and I tended to tag-team it, one of us plying in the garden with them, whilst the other looked indoors but, when we got serious about a place we had questions for the agent and that was often tricky to work around. In a moment of distraction, talking money, my daughter popped a chocolate in her mouth from the display on the coffee table and the RE Agent gave her such a dressing down we left immediately. As her parent I was not happy that she had helped herself either but the high drama over a sweet was unecessary and puts everyone on edge.

We had a family sized home, which was marketed as such. While dressing the house we hid a lot of the toy clutter but left a selection in a quiet, safe corner for the kids to play so the parents had time to consider – after all we actually wanted to sell our house and every little helps in this market. We didn’t have any child related damage.

Of course wilful destruction is not on whether an adult or child is the offender but, a bit of proportion please. Things are things, children (and their parents) are people and, from my experience, it wasn’t a child that took a dump in our toilet without flushing, trampled dirt through the house and broke a dresser drawer.

The point on the list about thanking the vendors is just plain strange.

Karen May 24, 2012 at 11:19 am

“We didn’t have any child related damage.”

I didn’t read some of the examples given as “one little accident”. The example you gave of that woman dressing down your child is extreme and uncalled for and in that instance her anger seems disporportionate to the situation. One can only speculate why she would behave that way. We flat out don’t know. I would hope that I wouldn’t take things out on a child like that. However, there are times when people have pushed me to my limits and I feel angry towards parent’s for acting irresponsibly and for indulging their children’s inappropriate conduct and expecting everyone to accomodate them.

If you didn’t suffer any child-related damage then maybe you can’t relate to the people who have and that is why you are focusing on proportion. The fact is other people may view things differently than you and the “things” are not yours and do not belong to you. The sad fact is I’ve been around a lot of people who make similar comments, but they do not own up to destroying other people’s property and they don’t take responsibility or seek to take corrective action. You may be different and I am too, but I don’t assume that because I’m responsible that other people will be that way too. Most often, I find that they are not. And yes, I agree that the commenters above provided a lot of examples of adult damage, bascially irresponsible adults who behave liked spoiled, self-induldgent children and I think that is sad commentary about pe0ple behaving badly.

That is why I think the advice above of taking everything out of value, if one can do that, is excellent.

Dee May 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm

People should buy flooring that can withstands shoes. Yay for hardwoods! I tend to be rather formal and do not want people removing their shoes when they enter my home, unless we are very close and the person is staying for a while. I wonder what Miss Manners would say about people traipsing through a stranger’s house dressed (or not) as intimately as they would at home.

Of course, a visitor can stay in public rooms of the house (which again, should have a durable, shoe welcoming floor; if these rooms are too precious for company perhaps you should meet elsewhere). A real estate showing is definitely different territory as visitors will be walking throughout the house, but really: why buy a delicate carpet for the buyer? Buy something easy to clean and durable for the house you are walking away from, in my stick in the mud opinion. :)

Rita May 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Dee, I’m so glad you aren’t buying my home during mud season. But, I’ll be happy to traipse through yours with my muddy mucky shoes (kidding–I would never ever do that!). I hope your house sells fast so you won’t have to clean those “easy to clean” carpets for the 20th time because you were too dainty to ask people to remove their shoes. Even hardwoods are a pain to clean if you have to do it more than once a day for the next viewers.
I’m truly worried about all you people who have foot and sock fetishes, what would you do with real intimate parts?
If I enter a nice home for sale—I remove my shoes out of respect for your cleanliness! (as I always remove outdoor shoes in my own home). I can’t imagine anyone doing otherwise, and I’ll wear socks for those of you who have squeamishness about feet (really, are we this prudish?). If it is a nasty empty house, I’ll keep my shoes on.
FYI: We’ve sold 5 homes, all in less than a week, except one that took just 1 month–we have a lot of experience. No one EVER walked through our houses with dirty shoes.

JW May 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

Yes to the booties – that’s a perfect solution. The crawl-in-the-tub thing is weird as are the folks who are seen with their feet on the coffee table discussing the pros and cons of the house (a la House Hunters). I can see getting into a shower to see if it fits. I like HH but get very tired of snarky comments from so many people on it about houses “needing so much work” or something because they don’t like something like the paint color.
The best thing that sellers can do is to store anything they can before showing. While there are families with well-behaved children, a trip to most restaurants will reveal that there are many clueless parents.
People who look at a home know if its a “no” or a “yes or maybe” right away. They can always book a second showing if they are not sure about measurements or other things.

Country Girl June 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

I too would have fired the agent who scolded my child for eating a staged chocolate. How absurd is that? When I see what people call those “little touches” of fake and real food i think the sellers don’t believe their house is good enough to sell without them. The shoes / no shoes is a debate that will continue until the end of time…

Karen June 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Maybe she had a bad day dealing with entitled house hunters who are disrespectful towards the property of others, including using their homes as a public bathroom and stealing. Yes, it seems an extreme reaction, but I wasn’t there. I look at the bones of a house, not the fake touches and I don’t judge either way. The house isn’t yours and anything in it is NOT YOUR PROPERTY and that is the real issue here when searching for home. It doesn’t belong to you. People need to learn to not assume. It is only common sense and polite to ask even if something is offered and teach their children the same.

Jodi June 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

That list is hilarious! I hope that either the house was amazing or their asking price was very low, because they seem like insane people. As a buyer, I’m amazed by how rude some sellers are. It doesn’t sound like they’re too interested in actually selling the place!

Debbie October 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Oh the nightmare of having people in your home that have no respect or manners. We had people go through our house that broke our sliding glass screen door by not realizing it was closed and walked through it (??). They did not offer an apology or mention it. All they did was prop it up. We had to go out and buy a new screen door immediately because we had other showings, My philosophy is if you break it you buy it. We finally sold our house, but I didn’t trust anyone in my house again. I NEVER want to go through this again.

Debbie October 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Oh, and don’t go to an open house just to be nosey. We had several of our neighbors go through our house. I was appalled that someone would do something like this. Also, if you know the price of the house and you can’t qualify for something $50,000 less, don’t waste our time having to leave our home so that you can see it. We have so much better things to do.

Jessica Winters February 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Proper etiquette states that is considered rude not to ask whether or not the host (or home owner) would desire shoes to be left at the door. In my opinion, (as a nurse) wearing shoes inside is one of the fastest ways to introduce harmful bacteria and viruses into your home. It is one of the most unhealthy habits important to address early to prevent infection in your home. (Shoes worn outside have been in public restrooms, etc. which often have traces of urine and feces on the floor.) If you would like to track all of that into your home where your children lay on the floor and put things in your mouth then that’s up to you!

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