Proper bathroom etiquette when you are viewing homes for sale

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 GREC# 169695

I was looking on line for an article on bathroom etiquette when looking at homes for sale and well I couldn't find any.  I "TRY" to make plenty of bathroom stops during a full day of viewing and I always try to make sure that if a buyer really just MUST go in a home we are viewing that the water is on in that home.  I feel it's part of my job to protect the homes I'm showing for any harm.

I was showing property recently and when we went into the door my buyer client said, "OMG, what is that smell, does this house have a sewage issue?" Well after opening the door for a few minutes the smell was less bad so I ventured inside to investigate. Turns out that someone used the bathoom and the water was not on at the home.  And I know and you know that you get ONE flush if the there is still water in the tank, but sadly there was not. I closed the lid and I sprayed a little bit of lysol that I keep in my car. 

I also immediately sent a text to the listing agent.  He let me know later that day that the owners were going to drive down to their lake home to clean it up and take care of the issue and the odor. I know we can't watch our clients 100% of the time.  From time to time a party of two will not stay together and the agent can't be but with one of them. 

So from now on in my "we're going to be looking at property today" folder there is going to be a little note sheet that says... We as agents won't mind if we need to go back to the office for a bathroom break or stop by a store on our route that has a public restroom.  

I know it just seems like good old fashioned common sense to make sure the water is on before you go using the toilet, but apparently not. And it would further seem that if someone did use the toilet without checking and discover there was no water on at the property that they would tell their agent so that the problem could be taken care of immediately.  

Agents, please don't let this happen when you are showing property.  Buyers, please don't do this... if it happens by mistake please let your agent know.  Sellers, when you turn the water off you might want to put up some "water has been turned off in the home" signs. 

Hey, someone needed to say it.


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Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

OMG, now us agents have to make sure our clients are not using toilets when the water is not turned on? You would think common sense would come into play somewhere.

Oct 26, 2014 02:40 PM #4
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Troy Erickson honestly I'm advocating the responsible party is the buyers, but I guess also suggesting we might mention it.  

Oct 26, 2014 02:46 PM #5
Nina Rogoff
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Medfield, MA
Sells Real Estate!

I'm not sure people can tell when the water is turned on or off. As a listing agent, when a house is vacant, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure I inform people about what to expect. Especially something like not being able to use the bathroom!

Oct 26, 2014 03:06 PM #6
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

In my experience when you turn a faucet on and nothing comes out you can safely assume the water isn't on at that house.  

Oct 26, 2014 03:18 PM #7
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Tammy. A little common sense would go a long way when it comes to bathroom etiquette. Nice job immediately contacting the listing agent.

Make it a great week!

Oct 26, 2014 07:00 PM #8
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Amazing how people just don't use their heads and need to be told these things. GRRRR!

Oct 26, 2014 07:44 PM #9
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I was working with a buyer last year and their child wanted to use the bathroom when we were at a house where the water was shut off . Luckily they lived close by so they went back to their house and came in a few minutes. 

Oct 26, 2014 08:44 PM #10
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I wrote about this a few weeks ago -- during a showing we also came across the dreaded full-toilet that had been sitting there quite a while.  Ickkkkkkk.


Oct 26, 2014 08:44 PM #11
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

I try to avoid EVER using a bathroom in ANY home, vacant or occupied unless it's an emergency!  

A very simple, elementary FLUSH of the toilet or turn of the sink faucet handle should tell one if the water is running or not. 


Oct 26, 2014 09:26 PM #12
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

If a situation arises in a vacant home where someone has to use the bathroom we always check to make sure the water is on.  It simple just flush the toliet first and if the tank fills up again your fine.  

Oct 26, 2014 09:27 PM #13
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Tammy,

You are right someone had to say it! It always amazes me that common sense sometimes is left at home or maybe there never was any to begin with! When water is turned off in a home there should be a sign on each commode to remind those that just don't think!! Come on agents..if it's a relocation property you are instructed to tape each commode with a warning sign.

Oct 26, 2014 10:03 PM #14
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Tammy. What a story indeed. Some people are just stupid. You were good to notify the listing agent.

Oct 26, 2014 10:28 PM #15
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Joe Petrowsky I certainly would want the same if it happened in my listing

Roger D. Mucci I can't begin to understand it.

Gita Bantwal I always remind folks before we leave my office

Kat Palmiotti I'll have to look for that.  Didn't show up in my search

Thom Abbott It's a no no for me too.


Oct 26, 2014 11:04 PM #16
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Cindy Jones exactly, it's pretty easy to check

Dorie Dillard kind of sad that someone needed to say it

Sheila Anderson I certainly would want to be notified if it happened in one of my listings.

Oct 26, 2014 11:07 PM #17
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Tammy,

Isn't it amazing what folks will do...a little common sense needed!

Oct 26, 2014 11:38 PM #18
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

I am always shocked when a client disappears and they are in the bathroom. I had one that kept doing it and then one time I heard a scream. Guess what fell in the toilet? The cell phone. LOL I guess someone was trying to tell the client something.   

Oct 27, 2014 02:39 PM #19
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Yup I have had it happen before, they told me a kid did it. But, it sure didn't solve the problem when my clients had moved out of state. 

Oct 27, 2014 09:07 PM #20
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/ - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

Tammy what a turn off that had to be for the potential buyer. It is something that no matter how well the rest of the house showed, that might stick in the mind of the buyer and sabotage the sale. Thank you for sharing. Good luck!

Oct 28, 2014 04:34 AM #21
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

That happened to me on my listing. My husband and I were rushing around buying a couple gallons of water to flush that monster down the tubes.

Oct 28, 2014 12:11 PM #22
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

How humiliating for whoever it was that did that.....or maybe I'm giving them too much credit.  Maybe they just didn't care.

Oct 29, 2014 04:06 AM #23
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Tammy Lankford,

Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville
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