I knew at the time that a lot of people (including real estate agents) would not agree with me on some of my points, but I forged ahead anyway.
Here were my points:
• Treat the home like your own: Don't do things you wouldn't do at your house; for example pushing or pulling things to see if they bend or are weak, tracking muddy shoes through the house, etc.
• Hands off: This is a great general rule. If you do nothing else, make a point not to touch anything except door handles, and most things will work out.
• Keep kids under control: This is a major problem when more than two kids are involved. Make arrangements to stagger the showing so one parent and then the other go inside with your agent while the other watches the kids in the car.
• Avoid using bathrooms in the house: Plan ahead. Yes, I know, I know … but nope.
• Leave the house the way it was when you walked in: Close and lock windows and doors, and put anything you needed to touch back in place. Report any issues to your buyer's agent! Trust me, the sellers will find out.
A key point in my argument for a "leave no trace" approach to showing etiquette was the avoidance of using the toilets in the house. It struck me then, as it does today, that usurping someone's throne without their royal consent was a faux pas, and I warmed to my topic in the article.
Naturally, I received all sorts of feedback from agents and other readers, both affirming and not so much.
Alas, information tends to live on forever in the cybersphere and I found myself again embroiled in the toilet controversy, in the form of a letter I received from a concerned seller aggravated that her toilet was getting regular use during showings. I don't recall seeing a reason for this at her particular house (maybe it's a cool bathroom).
She did, however, ask for my humble advice on how to best ward off the usurpers ("perhaps a bow wrapped around the lid, securing it down tight at the same time?"). I felt for them.
I think that in the big scheme of things, this is a small (but you have to admit humorous) subject, and most likely exacerbated by the extended time homes are currently on the market. But I felt that a "hat tip" to those sellers still struggling with such invasions of their privacy was merited in this space today.
Fight the good fight, I say.