As you put together the list of open houses that you’re going to see this weekend, make sure you also plan on wearing shoes that are easy to slip in and out of. Why? Because with all of the rain we’re getting this week, you’ll likely be asked to remove your shoes before entering an open house to prevent tracking dirt and mud into the home. That’s certainly understandable, since the owners probably went through considerable effort to make the home look its absolute best.
After about a dozen times of doing this (like we do on broker’s tour), you’ll probably start to resent the inconvenience, especially if you didn’t heed my advice above about the shoes. But I’m going to convince you that when they ask you to remove your shoes, they’re actually doing you a favor — because it’s one of the smartest things you can do as a buyer.
The “Sock Tour.”
One recommendation that I make to my clients, once they become interested in a particular home, is to take another walk through the house — but this time in their socks. I know it sounds a little strange, but you wouldn’t believe the things your feet will tell you about the condition of the floors, and possibly the foundation — things you may miss if you have your shoes on.
Here are some of the things you may notice, especially hardwood floors:
- Sloping or uneven floors. We have an uncanny sense of balance, and you can sense almost immediately if floor is not level. Your bare feet will also pick up on dips or ridges in the floor, which could be indications of foundation settling.
- Cupped floorboards. When hardwood floors start to “cup” instead of laying flat, it’s usually because there’s moisture underneath. Severe cupping is usually easy spot visually, but more subtle cases are not. Your feet will pick up on it right away.
- Sagging or squeaking floors. Also an indication of foundation settlement, the sagging and/or squeaking occurs when there’s a gap between the foundation and the sub-flooring.
Shoes are designed to isolate and protect your feet from outside sensations, but this is one situation where you want your feet as tuned in as possible … So next time you’re trekking through an open house, kick off your shoes and listen to what your feet have to tell you.
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