Boy, is this the truth!
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.
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!