I just read about a trend sweeping the New York City real estate market, where potential buyers of luxury apartments are being asked to remove their shoes before walking into showings. According to the New York Times, the reasons sellers are requesting people to do this vary, from having softer wood floors that might dent with heels to having toddlers in the house and being reticent of all the germs and dirt being trekked through on people's shoes. And though most are happy to comply, being asked to go barefoot has proved a dealbreaker for some.
Personally, I wouldn't be offended if I was asked to take off my shoes during an open house. It's a slight nuisance, yes, but if the sellers are that meticulous about maintaining their property, chances are they've been diligent about keeping up the rest of the house. But as a seller, you definitely risk alienating potential buyers by asking them to do this, and in a tough real estate market, I'd want to be as welcoming as possible.
All this has me thinking more generally about not wearing shoes indoors. I haven't instituted this rule in my own home, though there's certainly a fair amount of gunk and nastiness coating the sidewalks, and the thought of smearing that all over my carpets via the soles of my shoes is pretty nauseating. I'm curious as to where the rest of you stand on this: do you have no-shoes policy in the house? And do the same rules apply to your guests? What if you were selling your house: would you ask potential buyers to take off their shoes too?