Comment: Where do you stand with footwear etiquette in people's homes?

Property viewings are allowed to continue during the latest lockdown - but face coverings should be worn. 

UK property viewings are a mixed bag, footwear-wise. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

From the stamp duty holiday to the latest house price index report, property isn't always the most fun-packed topic to write about. 

But amid whatever the latest doom and gloom news may be, there's the occasional quirky email alerting me to – for example – the house numbers buyers are paying the biggest price premium for, or the strangest things Brits have flushed down the toilet. 

The resulting fatbergs caused by some of the unflushables aren't exactly a joy to read about, but the tales of everything from soup to toy spiders meeting a watery end are a little bit entertaining. Thank you Lanes Group plc for the light relief. 

Another email that recently caught my eye asked whether we're inconsiderate when viewing other people's homes... because it could be that we're being so without realising. 

U-See Homes found that most house hunters (69 per cent) were failing to think about whether vendors may have had any cultural differences that they, as visitors, should act upon while in the home – worth considering given the diversity of many parts of Herts. 


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It's the norm for shoes to be replaced with slippers when viewing properties in Chinese or Japanese homes, for example, which isn't something most Brits would expect to prepare for. Instead, we're faced with an etiquette minefield. 

A friend's mum used to insist on guests keeping their shoes on so they didn't get their socks dirty. My mum took the opposite approach: carpets are more expensive than socks, therefore shoes should be removed promptly at the door. In retrospect, that logic does seem sound. 

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We take more of a slapdash stance as hosts, and try and follow friends' lead when visiting. BYO slippers sounds appealing.

Where viewings are concerned, I tend to play it by ear depending on whether the agent has their shoes on/there's loads of pale coloured carpet in plain sight.  

Then there's the house numbers. According to GetAgent.co.uk, excluding London, the UK’s most valuable house number is, appropriately enough, one. In the capital, however, it's 23. Interesting. Ish. 

Maybe yet another story about Hertfordshire's most unaffordable areas wouldn't be such a bad thing after all...

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