What to Wear When Shopping For a Distressed Property!

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My Shoes

I wear blue jeans and casual shoes that are made of cloth and can go in the washer.  To some people, they may think I lack professionalism but if they could encounter what I encounter, as we never know what treasure we will find when we open a door, it will all be forgiven.  Walk a mile in my shoes and learn what to wear (and what you will may encounter) while shopping what is termed "Distressed Property" (REO, Foreclosures, Short Sales.)

From tip toe-ing through pigeon turds & cockroach carcasses and breathing in mold in between (let's not forget elements too) here is a guide on what to wear when searching for an REO or short sale:

Don't bring children if you don't have to!  It would mortify me if brown bear or blannie touched the floor in some of these homes - and I am not the best housekeeper in the world.

Dress for the Elements!  Make sure you are dressing appropriate for the weather.  Distressed property may lack heating or air conditioning.  I would say it is socially acceptable to wear shorts and tank tops in the summer for now while searching for homes.  Bring water in your car to stay hydrated.  In the winter, even though we don't see severely cold winters, make sure you layer up with sweaters and extra pairs of socks.

Be aware of potentially hazardous situations (while this isn't "the norm":)

Squatters:  This does not happen as frequently as it used to.  For the most part, with the market being extremely hot and homes receiving multiple offers + list agent checks and weekly preservation checks, odds of running into a squatter are a little less what they were even a year ago!  Active listings are generally getting multiple visits per day. 

Smells:  Sometimes smells in vacant homes can be overwhelming.  Many times it is due to the fact that someone used the toilet when the water is off.

Mold:  Persons highly allergic to mold should bring face masks when looking at homes to avoid breathing in mold spores. 

Pests:  If cockroaches bug you, you shouldn't be living in Las Vegas!  Many times pest control has been called in after the foreclosure so usually there are just dead bugs everywhere.

Water Damage:  Wear non-skid comfortable shoes. 

Lights Out:  It isn't safe to look by flashlight in homes that do not have electricity.  It is important to schedule appointments during daylight hours.

Trash:  I see it a lot pre-list but now agents are doing a better job at cleaning out their properties but it is still possible (although more rare) to find personal belongings in REO properties.  You will run into trash if you are looking at short sales.  Sometimes the property hasn't been cleaned in years.  There are some that I wonder if they were ever cleaned since they were built.

Green Pools:  Stagnant water sources breed diseases and most notably become a great breeding ground for mosquitos that could bring a concern for West Nile Virus.

green pool

dead bugs (bees)


More than ever, it is important to work with real estate professionals who know this market to help spot potential hazards because you never know what is hiding behind that closed door!  


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Thanks,  Renée Burrows 702-580-1783 Broker/Owner, REALTOR®


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Re-Blogged 10 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lenn Harley 02/27/2010 09:16 AM
  2. Joseph J. Chang 02/27/2010 09:33 AM
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  5. Jon Sigler 02/27/2010 01:01 PM
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  7. Roland Woodworth 02/27/2010 03:50 PM
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  10. Daniel J. Hunter 02/28/2010 05:46 AM
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Stuart Berman
Ben Kona - Baltimore, MD

I liked this blog..I agree you dress for the market and the type of property you are showing. I showed homes in Baltimore where you had to have a screw gun to take off the board of what would be called the front door. I would wear my boots and usually jeans on those days and if I wore slacks and loafers my clients would look at me funny. Like don't I know the type of property we are looking at. Good tip. Stuart

Feb 28, 2010 04:15 AM #85
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

I always get a kick when the unsuspecting want to see those "distressed" houses. They follow me to the house and I do not park in the driveway. That has saved me many a tire changes. Sometimes I do not even enter the house. I just open the door for them. When they come out holding their nose, I point out the fleas that are covering them. That is usually enough to stop the "tlc and paint" thinking they got in their head. Distressed is DISTRESSED.

I like Carla's outfit. Having one of those to put on would most likely save me a lot of time.

Feb 28, 2010 04:32 AM #86
Claude Cross
Homes By Cross, Inc. - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte NC Homes For Sale

This is how many come across. I love this post

Feb 28, 2010 04:52 AM #87
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

Great advice Renee! I have a change of shoes in my trunk for houses that appear questionable. Although you never know what lies behind closed doors! The home could look just fine on the outside but really scary on the inside. I can tell from some of the comments left here some agents really have no idea (and lucky for them to work in a state with few foreclosures and short sales) how terrible some REO's, etc, really are here in Nevada.

Feb 28, 2010 05:23 AM #88
Daniel J. Hunter
REALTOR® - New Port Richey, FL

Re-blogged, need I say more ;-)

Feb 28, 2010 05:48 AM #89
Cal Yoder
Keller Williams Elite - Lititz, PA
Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744

Great post. Depending on one's client, blue jeans and sneakers may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Thanks.


Feb 28, 2010 05:55 AM #90
Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR
Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA - Dalton, GA

Yeah, it can really be disgusting...yet people always seems surprised (???)

Feb 28, 2010 05:56 AM #91
Gina Chirico
Lattimer Realty - Fairfield, NJ
Real Estate Agent - Essex County, New Jersey


I have seen from what I thought some pretty disgusting places but I'm happy to say I have not encountered squatters....now that I know what they are! LOL!! I clicked on the link to take me to your squatter post. 

Silly as it may sound but the first time I entered a REO, I looked around thinking to myself...who lives like this?  Never mind the mess of garbage on the floors, the writing on the walls, the stench of urine or some other animal feces but unfortunately I learned that  the first home I questioned was actually the best REO I ever showed. 

I cringe when leaving a house and another agent is coming with their buyers and I see a child in tow.  I have actually said to them, I wouldn't let her/him walk around in there, its better if you leave the teddy bear in the car, etc.



Feb 28, 2010 06:37 AM #92
Gena Brown
Catalyst Gold REII - Brooklyn, NY
Catalyst Gold REII

I totally agree you have to have certain attire when shopping for distressed or any other type of properties. 

Boots and be covered and not your best garments no matter the price.  It's also funny to me when someone

over dresses to see a million dollar+ property.  It doesn't show me you can afford it.  It shows you are trying

too hard.  I save the good stuff for the closing.  When I am collecting the check :-)

Feb 28, 2010 06:56 AM #93
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

It isn't just distressed porperties...  I was showing lake porperties and had a snobby agent that looked like she was going to the opera that had to show my buyer one of her listings.  She looked kind of dumb trying to walk across wet grass down to the dock...  Looked dumber trying to walk back up the hill in the rain. 


Feb 28, 2010 08:17 AM #94
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

I actually saw an agent the other day sweeping out a home in her Sunday best.  I would never call you unprofessional -- more like smart -- for wearing these clothes. 

Feb 28, 2010 09:00 AM #95
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Renee - So true ! It is what it is.  One needs to plan ahead.  Had a settlement this past week for a junker property where I waded through the basement for the walk-through to get the water meter reading.

Feb 28, 2010 09:07 AM #96
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


This a must list for anyone looking to buy a distressed property in Vegas these days. The buyer should also wear an attitude to match what might be awaiting.

Feb 28, 2010 11:36 AM #97
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Isn't it great what we run across... Sometimes totally unbelievable! Great post, great advice! Thanks!

Feb 28, 2010 12:14 PM #98
Randy L. Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

I bought my first property years ago in Arizona.  It was infested with Black Widow spiders.  I did get a great price on it.

Feb 28, 2010 05:24 PM #99
Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL

SUPER ADVICE!  I also bring disinfecting hand wipes and have them out in the car...  Sometimes even they don't feel like enough and I can't wait to get home and take a shower.  

Feb 28, 2010 11:21 PM #100
T Doe
Arctic Bay, YN

Renee, I could see that there are plenty of people who can relate with the conditions of those questionable houses.

I earlier mentioned the mosquito dunks for we can carry and drop into the stagnate pools. It dicourages the growth of larve. I heard of the fish that California was introducing to the pools of abandoned homes, kinda cool. Here in Illinois have other options, with hot and humid summers and many illnesses associated with the west-nile virus. Some stores carry the dunks, but you can find on-line as well.


Mar 01, 2010 02:19 AM #101
Carol Culkin, ReeceNichols
ReeceNichols Real Estate - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Residential Real Estate

Renee - I dress for what I am showing on a particular day.  And, I always carry hand sanitizer.  Unfortunately, even that doesn't seem like enough sometimes. Isn't it funny that some people think most Realtors show luxury homes and that it's a glamorous job? 

Mar 01, 2010 05:29 AM #102
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

My favorite title company started handing out purse size bottle of spray hand sanitizer to local agents.  They get snapped up quickly to help combat the ick factor.

Mar 01, 2010 03:31 PM #103
Amy Jones Group
South East Valley - www.AmyJonesGroup.com - Chandler, AZ

Great post!  I stopped wearing open toed shoes as I toured some of our recent "gems" on the market.  Feel like I need a shower as soon as I'm done!

Mar 04, 2010 11:05 AM #104
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