You May Leave Your Shoes On
I've visited two different client's homes several times each in the last week, while helping them negotiate deals. They each mention to me each time I arrive that it isn't necessary for me to remove my shoes. I do anyway, and they understand why I do it. It's a habit, and one I do not wish to compromise or slip up on absentmindedly when I'm showing or previewing. There are many times when I may leave my shoes on, but do not because it is not the best thing to do, even if it is ok.
When Everyone Else Left Their Shoes On
Some time ago I visited a brokers open house with a group of other brokers, at a very inexpensive listing. The listing broker told us all that we could leave our shoes on, and all did exactly that, except me. Later that afternoon, not long after the close of the open house, I missed a phone call. When I listened to the voice message, it was a two minute angry complaint from the homeowner of the home I had visited with my colleagues earlier that day. The seller expressed outrage that we had disrespected her home, and her, by not removing our shoes. My first thought was to call her back and tell her that I had in fact removed mine, but I decided against it. She had a good point, and it wouldn't matter from her perspective that one broker had been an exception. My fellow brokers got the same earful, and they deserved it. There was absolutely no reason for them not to remove their shoes in that home, regardless the judgment of the listing broker that it wasn't necessary.
Sometimes Shoes Are Necessary
Of course shoes are necessary sometimes, and it would be inappropriate or even dangerous to remove them. We should all have pretty good sense as to when it would be unhealthy, unsanitary, etc. to remove our shoes. There's nothing wrong with protecting our feet from nails, chemicals, filth, and the like.
Professionals Don't Err On The Side Of Convenience
Just because we may, doesn't mean we should. Whether it is leaving our shoes on or any other temptation of convenience, professionalism in our industry calls for erring on the side of respecting others' property even if it might be beyond their expectations of the moment.