shoes off policy when selling house
Smooth Move Series

Handling A Shoes-Off Policy While Selling Your House

Learn how to maintain being a shoes-off household when you’re selling your house, and how to manage all the foot traffic safely and politely.

A while back, I explained how and why we became a 100% shoes-off household. Since then, that has been one of my most popular blog posts. I’ve received tons of messages thanking me for helping other women transition their families into shoes-off in the house people, too. Things have been going great since we transitioned into this lifestyle…until we decided to sell our house and move.

There was a lot of fear about having people coming in and out of our house, from potential buyers to inspectors to service providers. Especially since we had the foster kittens (that we have since adopted as Foster Fails) with compromised immune systems, and we were right in the biggest rise of Covid cases in our area. We knew we wanted to maintain our shoes-off policy, but it would take a lot of work to make that happen.

If you’re a shoes-off household, too, and you’re planning to sell your house, I hope my experiences and lessons learned will help you navigate the process smoothly and easily. Here’s exactly what we did, how we pulled it off, and what we learned.

shoes off in house when selling

What We Did To Keep Shoes Out Of The House During House Tours And Service Appointments

The first thing we did was talk with our Realtor. I know it sounds like a “duh” piece of advice, but Realtors have likely dealt with this before and they have better advice than the varying info online. Between the kittens and Covid, she was totally dedicated to helping us make sure the sole of a shoe never touched our floors.

Our Realtor ordered us a small canvas bin that had a kind and friendly shoes-off message. Inside the bin, we stocked it full with disposable shoe covers.

We took it a bit further than her recommendations by adding a note taped on the table next to the bin explaining our sick kitty babies’ situation.

Our Realtor also added a note in the system that all other Realtors see when they log in to get the door code for a showing. She specified that all shoes must be removed or covered, and we think that note helped us a lot, too.

What Worked and What Didn’t Work?

First of all, the shoe cover bin and notes from us and our Realtor definitely worked for house tours. We are fully confident that no potential buyer or Realtor entered our house with shoes.

We did fail a little bit, because we didn’t realize that we had left out these shoe covers but failed to leave out a trash bin on the porch to discard them. We found dirty shoe covers put back in the bin, scattered on the porch, and even in the driveway after a full day of showings.

If we had thought about a trash bin, the potential buyers that came that day in staggered appointments wouldn’t have seen this, and we didn’t know because we were gone all day.

What ended up being a problem, though, was managing all the service providers. Inspectors, appraisers, and repair people were constantly going in and out, and a lot of times we weren’t home when they were there. We can only hope they removed their shoes or covered every time, but we know there were a few instances where they did not, based on shoe prints on our hardwood floors. Ugh.

house staging tips for selling

When To Let Go And Just Let Shoes Inside Happen

This was something that was really hard for me to accept. In reality, we were selling a house, buying another house, managing all the financing, and trying to pack and move. It would have been exhausting to manage every single foot that came in the house, so there were a few times I decided it was just easier to let go and let it happen.

When we knew we couldn’t manage our shoes-off policy, we did take some extra steps to keep germs from clinging inside. We rolled up all the rugs in the house. We put down self-adhesive plastic carpet coverings over high-traffic carpeted areas, and we steam-mopped the hardwoods as soon as we got home.

Sidenote: You could use plastic drop cloths instead of the pricier adhesive covering we used. We opted for that because we didn’t want it to slide or tear and expose the carpet beneath. But it’s definitely more costly than plain plastic sheets.

How To Politely Ask Buyers And Service Providers To Comply

In our case, we were able to “blame it on the cats and Covid”, so that made things a little easier. I realize that not everyone can do that. If you do have a pet or young child, definitely mention that in your note by the shoe cover bin.

But if you don’t have a health-related reason, just be honest and up-front. The key is to be polite, friendly, and direct. Don’t beat around the bush or offer only a shoes-off “suggestion.”

Here’s a generic note you can write, and you can edit and adjust as you need:

“Thank you so much for visiting our home. We value the cleanliness and healthiness of this house and never let the sole of a shoe touch the floors. We appreciate you adhering to this policy by covering or removing your shoes when you enter.”

shoes off policy when selling house

Quick Tips:

  • Leave a bin with disposable shoe covers close to the door inside or on the porch.
  • Leave a handwritten personal note next to the bin, and tape it down so it doesn’t slide off.
  • Leave a lined trash can for used shoe covers to be disposed.
  • Leave a basket or large shoe tray for those who prefer to remove shoes rather than cover them.
  • Ask your Realtor to add shoes-off notes to communications with other Realtors.
  • Ask service providers to cover their shoes, and provide covers for them, too.
  • When service providers are unable (or unwilling) to remove or cover shoes, roll up rugs and cover carpets with plastic adhesive carpet covers or plastic drop cloths when you can.

Shop The Supplies We Personally Used:

moving tips from Lela Burris

Want More Home Buying And Selling Tips?

Here’s the full collection of all my home buying and selling blog posts, from prepping and staging to packing and moving. Good luck with your move, and with keeping your floors safe and germ-free for your family.

Just remember, it takes extra work to manage your shoes-off policy during the home selling process, but until you’ve completely moved out and into your squeaky clean new home, it’s so worth the effort.

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