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by Cynthia Cummins

Cynthia is owner and founder of Kindred SF Homes and a top San Francisco Realtor. Check out RealEstateTherapy.org for refreshing reflections on the meaning of home and for more best real estate advice (since 2013).

Reading time: 2 minutes 

“Shoes are strange things. If you take your shoes off in a situation in which you’re vulnerable, you’ll feel 10 times more vulnerable.” ~ Daniel Day-Lewis

Okay. You’ve followed—to the letter—your wise agent’s recommendations for preparing your home for sale: purging, painting, floor refinishing, lighting, gardening, cleaning, staging and more. The pillows are fluffed. The flower arrangements are refreshed. The sidewalk is swept.

Now, don’t go and blow it by shooting yourself in the proverbial foot! An example of stupid self-maiming would be allowing showings only on Wednesdays and Fridays between 1 and 2 pm. Or letting your college-age kid and their friends “camp out” in the house for spring break. Or putting the Frisco 72” Faux Fur Cat Tree and Condo back in the corner of the family room after the stagers have left.

Or—my favorite pet peeve—insisting that visitors remove their shoes while viewing your home.

Asking people to take their shoes off is off-putting, inconvenient, truly unnecessary and unsightly. (Nothing says “welcome” like a big pile of stinky shoes scattered around the foyer.)  And you want you buyers to feel at ease, not vulnerable!

A no-shoes rule translates into something like this: “Dear potential buyer or agent. You are unworthy to enter this pristine environment. Please show us the respect we deserve by taking your shoes off or donning a (nearly always pre-worn) pair of these nasty, slippery, ridiculous-looking booties. We want you to pay a lot of money for this property but we don’t care one fig about your comfort and convenience.”

Or it says “Okay, yes, we’re asking $5,000,000 for this house but the floors are so fragile you’ll have to redo them after six months of simply LIVING in your new home.”

If your property is

  • a Buddhist temple
  • an operating theater
  • outfitted with 100%-organic-honey-coated floors

then, okay, shoes off.

Otherwise: Provide a good doormat. Ask us to check our soles for icky substances. Allow us to remove our shoes if it makes us feel more comfortable. Thank us for our time and interest. Then hope you made us feel so welcome that we’ll want to make ourselves at home (in your home) forever and pay you a lot of money for the privilege of walking around wearing whatever we frickin’ want on our feet.

Photo Credit: Tanner Marquis

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