Open House - Can I ask people to remove shoes?

dreamywhiteMarch 19, 2009

We are having our first full blown open house all weekend long. We are also selling FSBO so we will be doing the open houses ourselves. We have new laminate flooring throughout the main level and brand new light creamy colored carpet in the new finished rec room in the basement. I would really like it if people would remove their shoes when they came into our home, especially since it is supposed to be rainy/snowy this weekend. Is that rude to ask people to remove their shoes at the front door? I know when I have visited model homes I always had to remove my shoes upon entering. Now our home is not a model home by any means, but I take a lot of pride in how my home looks and I don't want mud all over the floors for the next couple that comes in to view it. I thought about those footy slip on things but I think they are slippery and I don't want anyone to fall down in my home. Any suggestions?

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xamsx

Do a forum search on this topic; there are approximately 100 threads, so expect to spend some time reading.

Some past threads on this issue:

Last month's post on this issue

The biggest thread on this topic

How good is your market? There are folks that simply will not remove their shoes to view your home for whatever reason (I am among that group). Can you afford to turn away anyone that wants to look at your house? If so, ask people to remove their shoes. If not, utilize some of the suggestions in the threads above, most especially the shoe booties.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 11:53AM
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cordovamom

I'm with xamsx -- I'm among those that wouldn't remove my shoes. I'd move onto the next one, and in this market there are lots of them. If you do expect buyers to remove their shoes, please provide somewhere for them to sit. I would place those little covers over my shoes if asked and if there were a place to sit. But if a buyer slips and falls and injures themselves due to the request to wear the booties, do you want to be held liable?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:01PM
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lucy

Can you rent or borrow plastic runners for the carpetted rooms at least?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:33PM
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dreamgarden

Why not put a box of disposable booties next to the door and ask guests to put these on OVER their shoes?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:20PM
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idrive65

I'm pretty laid back and would gladly remove my shoes, and in fact brought slippers along to view houses in bad New England weather. However some people have a hard time wearing just socks (My Dad, for example, wears special orthotic insoles) or just turn up their noses at the request, so plastic runners on your carpeting are probably the best way to go.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:21PM
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sweet_tea

Home Depot or Lowes sells a clear stick on type roll of runner just for the purpose of this. Get some kind of runners and place them in the areas with light carpet so folks can walk the typical path of the room using the runners.

I think asking folks to remove their shoes can possibly lose a buyer because they don't want to deal with having to worry about light carpet and you will draw attention to this by asking to remove shoes. Plus some folks just don't like to walk around without shoes, and others could be elderly or have other health issues(that you can't tell by looking) that make removing shoes a real pain in more ways than one.

Also note that many of the folks coming to the open house will be curious neighbors that live within a few miles. But lots of these might be embarrassed to tell you this so they might say they are looking at homes for their aunt, brother, mother, etc.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:23PM
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cearbhaill

Booties or runners.
I have a foot problem so painful that I must keep my special shoe on whenever I am on my feet. Even a quick shower causes me pain the rest of the day.
If you required shoe removal I simply couldn't come in.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 2:33PM
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lmhartman

We sold our home last summer. Because we are a no shoe household, we asked our agent about it. She made a nice computer generated sign, and put it and a basket of shoe booties in the foyer. Worked well for us, and we never heard anything negative about it.

When we visited other homes prior to buying this one, there were many homes where they requested no shoes. So long as there were booties provided that was fine. However, I didn't like having to kick off my flip-flops and go barefoot through other people's homes when there weren't any.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:01PM
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sue36

I think it is appropriate. They should appreciate that you want the house you will turn over to them to be in pristine condition. You might want to keep booties on hand as well, to give them an option.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:14PM
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worthy

Removing your shoes on entering a stranger's home is standard polite practice in Toronto. (Even though spittin'chew tobacky on the streets isn't all that common as it is in other parts of this Continent.)


"Welcome to the worthies!"

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:37PM
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worthy

Of course, exceptions for the elderly and infirm. But I notice the ones most wanting exemption are almost invariably women in their 30s with heels, cellphones glued to their ears and an attitude.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 10:42PM
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taku

Hey it's still your house. You own it, and you can call the shots. Think about it. If someone cannot respect you or your home, do you really want to do business with them?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:39AM
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triciae

These discussions are always, if nothing else, interesting.

We are a 'no shoes' household but we're flexible for people with health issues & the elderly. It's never been a problem. People just kick their shoes off on the porch.

For those of you so adamant about wearing shoes...do you refuse to travel because other countries have different cultural norms? If so, I think that's sorta sad. But, we're all entitled to our own choices.

We're boaters (Nordic Tug). Most people know some boater ettiquette like asking permission to board. Some though don't know they can't board unless they're wearing deck shoes. When we invite people for a cruise I always send a list of "Rules" that includes the shoe thing. Once, a couple showed up for a 3-day weekend cruise & they were both wearing 'street' shoes. We sent them into town to buy appropriate shoes. They weren't going to wear those black soled shoes on our boat. Also, at boat shows it would be considered ultra-rude to board without taking those darn shoes off. In most cases, a salesperson would stop you, point to the shoes, & shake his/her finger, "No No!" lol Even the multi-millionaires looking for their next yacht pad around in their socks or barefoot climbing up/down ladders & stairs. At a boat show, appropriately even deck shoes are not allowed on board. Somebody has to swab those decks & vac the salon/stateroom. I'd be furious if some fool tracked grass or mud onto our boat because they had a foot phobia.

So, there are times/places even in America when shoes are not appropriate.

/t

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:55AM
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xamsx

triciae : I'd be furious if some fool tracked grass or mud onto our boat because they had a foot phobia.

How hospitable.

These threads always seem to disintegrate quickly because the "no shoes" folks always make some claims about cleanliness, rudeness, "it's my home", blah, blah, blah. The "shoes on" folks inevitably list age, disease and disabilities as a prime reason for not taking their shoes off, although many list cleanliness as a prime reason too (who knows what lurks upon those floors?)

The simple fact is that when you are selling your house, for whatever reason, there is a certain segment of the population that will NOT view that house if required to take off their shoes to view. Cultural, new rug, new floors, etc., the reasons for wanting someone to take off their shoes is a homeowner's justification. Start thinking like a seller who owns a house; a piece of property; a commodity for sale. Divorce yourself mentally from the idea that it is your home. Moving on mentally will go a long way towards doing whatever it takes to sell the house.... especially if you are in a buyer's market.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:30PM
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cearbhaill

xamsx-
"Start thinking like a seller who owns a house; a piece of property; a commodity for sale. Divorce yourself mentally from the idea that it is your home. Moving on mentally will go a long way towards doing whatever it takes to sell the house.... especially if you are in a buyer's market."

Exactly.
In this market where some people are begging for showings do you really want to be turning people off before they come in the door? They are buying and have shown an interest in what you are selling- one would think you would want to make it easier for them, not harder.

It doesn't matter what folks do in Slovokia, or what is common on boats, or how you feel about phobias.
All that matters is finding someone- anyone- to Buy. Your. House.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 2:47PM
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triciae

It ain't about "hospitable", xamsx.

Actually, I agree with the rest of you. Even though we're a "no shoes" household I wouldn't restrict potential buyers but when selling new houses for the bank I did require the blue booties.

Funny though because we just sold our boat (escrow closed last Tuesday) & that was absolutely no shoes onboard. lol

/t

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:35PM
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cordovamom

Why give any buyer pause to walk on by your home? Make it accessible to all, even those who won't remove their shoes.

We all have our pet peeves and things that we perceive as being rude. To me I would never request a guest remove their shoes, it just seems rude to me. Others think it's rude to keep shoes on!! There's no pleasing everyone. Buyers that normally would remove their shoes will do so anyway, buyers that think it's rude to be asked to remove their shoes will keep them on. I think the plastic runner idea will help you to keep your sanity while showing and will not offend any buyers that may think it's rude to ask that shoes be removed.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:42PM
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arizonarose

I think I would hang a sign on the front door *please remove your shoes* I'm just thinking about what the laminate floor will look like after the first 2-3 people track in. It would make me not want the house if I came in and the floor showed tracks everywhere. ( you know how laminate is ) I'd rather lose a sale because someone is offended by my sign then have them come in and think the house is dirty or hard to keep up.

If they don't remove their shoes after the sign, just keep looking at their feet.....lol j/k

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 10:28AM
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eandhl

I have a medical condition that causes joint pain. Some days it would be real chore to removed and put shoes back on. So I would pass & move to the next one. If you do the bootie thing or a sign be sure you have a chair or bench for people to sit on when they put the booties on or take off/on their shoes.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 10:46AM
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graywings123

Also, at boat shows it would be considered ultra-rude to board without taking those darn shoes off. In most cases, a salesperson would stop you, point to the shoes, & shake his/her finger, "No No!" lol

I have never seen this at a boat show. They put down carpet runners.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:04PM
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triciae

graywings, the Boston & Newport In-The-Water Boat Shows are definitely "No Shoes" shows. Smaller boats displayed indoors usually have stairs with a viewing platform so people can inspect the interior without actually boarding. In-the-water boats though...no shoes even those with the added protection of runners. Our Nordic Tug was sold through Annapolis & was "No Shoes" viewing.

BTW, DH & I have just returned from looking at a house. The listing agent met us & our REALTOR at the front door with blue booties! I started lol because of this thread! I dutifully slipped on the booties & chuckled all the way through the house which, BTW, we're going to make an offer on!!!! We started looking Feb. '07 & have finally found what we want at the price we want. Arduous process.

/t

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:43PM
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phoggie

Your laminate will clean easily, but I would put down
plastic runners where there is carpet....Good luck on your Open House~~

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 9:46PM
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kellyeng

How about the disposable shoe covers? Shoes don't have to come off but floors are protected from dirt and marks.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 10:46AM
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newgardenelf

We are a no shoes in the house family (and on our boat too-small price to pay for a free boat ride) and follow that when visiting friends. But I recently went to several open houses while visiting a friend out of town and when we got to a "take your shoes off" open house- she said "ahhhh. let's just go to the next house." My experience is that buyers may be willing to do it but it's annoying and some will either just come in or pass all together.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:40PM
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mostone

I have found that the problem w/ being required to remove one's shoes when there is inclement weather is that invariably one has to step into puddles in stocking feet. Talk about uncomfortable! I would put down the plastic paths if I were you.

We go to a lot of open houses and the last time we did one w/ a request to remove shoes is was a house with 20-year old REALLY crappy carpet. I found that hilarious.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 8:31AM
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rachelh

Personally I think it's a great idea. I tend to think that if someone is unwilling to take off their shoes then they weren't that interested in the house anyway. This may be a mild screening technique for looky-loos.

I also think as a buyer I can appreciate the no shoes rule. After all, if I am interested in purchasing a property, the seller that doesn't allow muddy feet in is potentially protecting my future investment. It would be disappointing to find a house you really like and during the negotiations (pending - continue to show) other visitors to the home track mud into your future home. Buyers need to see that something like this can benefit them as well.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 10:04AM
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bobbioh

[i]Personally I think it's a great idea. I tend to think that if someone is unwilling to take off their shoes then they weren't that interested in the house anyway. This may be a mild screening technique for looky-loos. [/i]

Actually, asking me to take off my shoes would just drive home the fact that I'd be purchasing a house that has a carpet that would be a pain to keep clean.....and I'd move on.

A runner or booties over the shoes in inclement weather makes perfect sense to me.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 8:22PM
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berniek

For the house seller who has everything.

Here is a link that might be useful: The automatic shoe cover dispenser

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 4:49PM
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van356

"Actually, asking me to take off my shoes would just drive home the fact that I'd be purchasing a house that has a carpet that would be a pain to keep clean.....and I'd move on."

Bob- You wouldn't buy a house because of the carpet color in the basement rec room?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 8:51AM
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camlan

Asking me to take my shoes off is a sign that somewhere in the house there is some sort of fragile flooring that can't be walked on in shoes. Might be a light-colored carpet, might be some surface that is easily scratched.

The "take your shoes off" signs warn me to look carefully at the flooring in the house to see what the issue is. And allow me to determine just how hard or expensive it would be to change out the flooring, because I wouldn't want flooring that can't be walked on. Which allows me to figure out how much lower my offer will be, due to the cost of changing the carpet to something that can withstand shoes.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 12:36PM
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linda117117

I can't think of one time that I've had a client that wouldnt remove their shoes and wanted to move on to the next house. Not all people like it, but most don't make a big deal out of it. Booties are the best way to handle this. There are some people that like to look at houses where it says "please remove shoes" because they feel the house is clean.

I will say that, if buyers enter your house and it appears dirty, they will not remove their shoes and they will bypass your house.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 1:17PM
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auntjen

It doesn't matter what folks do in Slovokia, or what is common on boats, or how you feel about phobias.
All that matters is finding someone- anyone- to Buy. Your. House.

That's the most sensible statement in this thread, IMO.

Make your house as easily accessible to potential buyers as possible. Put down runners if your floors are that sensitive to shoe traffic. Even those shoe covers are a bit of a hassle, and why make it any more difficult for folks to view your home than need be? Good luck with your sale!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 2:57PM
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bobbioh

"Bob- You wouldn't buy a house because of the carpet color in the basement rec room?"

Well first of all....it's Bobbi...not Bob. I'm a female.

Next: I'm the primary home cleaner. We have two dogs and my husband manages an auto repair center (Grease, dirt etc). While I was raised in a New England home where you changed to slippers the moment you came inside, my husband was not and he tends to walk all over the house with his shoes on.

We're currently looking at condos. I have a list of 20+ condos in San Diego that are listed between $60-80K. (That previously sold for $200K). So, if I'm looking at a property and I'm thinking that I'm constantly going to be removing paw prints and chasing down the DH to remove his shoes.....yeah it gets moved down the list.

I work full time, I cook and I'm the housemaid....so ease of cleaning is a big thing to me.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:25PM
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dreamywhite

Thought I would post a follow-up on what we are doing. We did NOT ask anyone to take off their shoes. We were so excited during the showings that we just wanted people to explore and fall in love with the house. Turns out the creamy white carpet didn't get dirty (that I can see) and I did have some older folks come (82 yrs of age) so I couldn't see asking anyone to take their shoes off. I did have a very nice couple that viewed the house and then the backyard and stated that since I kept such a clean home they would exit out the backyard since they didn't want to drag dirt back onto my floors. (How nice I thought) So I guess not asking them to take their shoes off turned out to be okay. We even had a snow/rain storm during one open house and it still was okay. Some did kindly ask if they should remove their shoes and we said "no that is okay, but thank you for asking". I figure we own a carpet machine and it only takes an hour to clean, so after a month's worth of open houses I might re-do the carpet cleaning only since my baby likes to crawl around on it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 4:10PM
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kathymichigan

Your bare feet are sometimes just as bad as dirty shoes because your body naturally produces oils which will set in your carpet and also attract dirt.

(Current house on market 346 days)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 4:12PM
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ilmbg

I have made a post about this before- somewhere. Anyway- my home will go back on the market soon. I too, request either to wear provided booties or no shoes- but it is for 2 reasons-
1. I have very severe asthma- tracking in pollen/dirt/mold spores is a very real concern for me.
2. I have WHITE master bedroom carpet...and I live in the country on 20 acres- people have gone to look at the barns before coming into the house...need I say more??

When the house was up last year, I came home after a showing...only to find the bedroom carpet with a huge area where you could obviously see where someone had stood, turned side to side to look around the room- grinding in dirt- badly. I have had the carpet cleaned professionally twice- I can still see it. I am torn between tearing up the carpet and putting in wood floors, which would be better for my asthma (it is the only carpeted room), or keeping it there because some other idiot will do it on a new wood floor and scratch the H**l out of the floor.
When the house goes back on market next month there will be an explicit sign on the front door- I don't need to sell, just want to- so if someone cannot obligue, and it causes the loss of a sale, no big deal.
The 'no shoe' thing was written in the info that all realtors had- I do blame the realtor- somehow they think they can do whatever they want....

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 2:16AM
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brickeyee

As long as you are in a sellers market you can do whatever you want, after all if one buyer walks away there are many more waiting in the wings.

In a buyers market flooded with properties you can be sure that some fraction of potential buyers will be lost, and one of them may be the offer you really wanted.

Of you have health issues maybe you should just move out until the sale is complete.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 1:23PM
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butterfly4u

By the way, they have paper runners now.
Cheap, easy, ask Home Depo.
You can change them when they are muddy too!
Solves the whole dilema.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:16AM
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dreamgarden

Thanks to the GW moderator for removing those posts that insult or disparage others. :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:48AM
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deaniesue

:/ But the also deleted a bunch that didn't. Why not just delete the whole thread.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 11:21AM
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ICFgreen

wow...didn't realize my post about having a toddler was offensive. sorry.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 4:15PM
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brickeyee

If you can afford to drive of at least some fraction of possible buyers you can do anything you want.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 9:48AM
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dreamgarden

":/ But the also deleted a bunch that didn't. Why not just delete the whole thread."

Probably just deleted up to the point where the abuse started.

I take footies with me when I go to open houses. Just in case I've been walking in mud and don't want to track it into houses that don't offer them.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 10:43AM
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cas66ragtop

Someone here played a big role in the "abuse".

Same person is on another recent post making fun of another agent's misspellings, which I would consider to be insulting or disparaging to the original author.

I guess we all don't have to play "by the rules", do we?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 12:09PM
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cas66ragtop

Just to make it crystal clear............I Am NOT trying to pick a fight with anyone. I am done with that nonsense.

I am really just trying to understand why the rules are enforced for one person, but then they are broken by another...........but that seems to be ok.

I totally agree we all should be nicey-nice to each other and treat each other with kindness and respect. I see a lot of disrespectful things all the time around here. Certain people can handle it, and others like to blow it way out of proportion.

I just don't get it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 12:22PM
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dreamgarden

"wow...didn't realize my post about having a toddler was offensive. sorry."

LOL. If only it were a toddler that was being offensive.

Lots of people looking for houses bring their children along to look.

Does anyone know if they make footies for toddlers?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 12:52PM
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HB2013sc

I love going without shoes in my own house, so I really don't mind it in other houses. We have looked at nearly a hundred houses over the past 20 years. About 50% have had a sign of some kind saying to remove the shoes before entering. I usually take my socks off too and go barefoot (which feels great). I've stepped in wet spots or wet grass while walking around the house & yard in the past wearing socks, so going barefoot is better.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 10:37PM
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nightowlrn

It wouldn't occur to me to NOT take my shoes off - sign or no sign. So, no, I wouldn't be offended and I don't personally know anyone who would. As a potential buyer or RA with potential clients, I would be happy to know the seller was doing their best to keep the carpets clean and other floor types free of crazy high heel dents.

The blue booties, a chair, and a cute sign would be a nice touch for those who don't want to take their shoes off.

ETA -- Good luck !!!

This post was edited by nightowlrn on Sun, Nov 10, 13 at 0:35

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:31AM
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mary_md7

I did not grow up in a no-shoes home and know very few people now who manage their homes that way. I'm in the suburbs of DC.

For viewing homes, I'm glad to wear flats or wear booties over my shoes if provided. Or even bring my own indoor-only slippers if forewarned. Barefoot is out for me. I have no interest in taking someone's toenail fungus or plantar warts home with me.

I've been pretty unhappy with having to take off shoes in a foyer where the entire shoe area is wet and/or where there is no place to sit down while managing footwear. Not doing that again.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 6:23PM
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cathie2029

I think the opposite. To me houses that request this mean they care about their inside and don't want a sloppy mess dragged through their house. When we looked at houses, quite a few of them requested this and I thought wow they keep this house clean. But then again I grew up in a house where tracking bird/dog/cat poo (remnants- lets be honest even if you picked up your dog's crap there's still a tiny bit left in the grass), car oil, restaurant grease, and public bathroom/mall dirt on you shoes was a no-no and looked at with disgust, so I naturally always ask everywhere I go if I should take my shoes off.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 3:09PM
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