Oh Poop!

Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

It Can be Sensitive!CAUTION:  This post may offend your sensibilities!

It's one of those conversations you find yourself having and while you're having it, you think to yourself, "I never really thought I'd be having this particular conversation."  And yet you are.  And it is so weird because the topic is...well...poop.  No wait a minute.  That's not right.  It's actually about where one...uh...does their personal business.  And more specifically, if it is okay to use the restroom in someone else's house.

Perhaps I should explain.

We were at an inspection recently when the buyer needed to...uh...use the restroom.  So they asked me if it would be okay.  My opinion is that it should be okay because as far as I know, the restroom(s) in the house have been being used by the current occupants probably on a daily basis.  And the toilet doesn't really care whoever's "buns" are sitting on it, so it ought to be okay.  Just be sure to wash your hands.  Oh, and don't use the nice white towels either.  And don't make a mess.  Other than those minor rules of edicate, I don't see a problem.

My friend, on the other hand, does not agree.  He thinks that using the restroom in a house that isn't yours isn't right.  He argues that one should not use the restroom of a house that you are viewing with buyers.  And he say's that using a bathroom in a house that does not yet belong to you just isn't right.  He even went so far to tell me that he'll leave a property and drive to the nearest convenience store to take care of his personal business.  His restrictions also cover the house that one is buying and is having inspected.

I once heard Jerry Seinfield talk about using the restroom in a house other than your own.  One of his points was that you could be in serious trouble pretty quickly if the toilet becomes clogged for some reason or other.  Suddenly you're in a situation where you may have a potential flood in the bathroom and that is bad!  And even if you don't flood the restroom floor, you may still be stuck with a full toilet of stuff.  What do you do then?  Plunge it in hopes that there won't be an overflow?  And what if you can't find the plunger?  Do you go asking for one?  This could be a dire situation if one isn't careful.

Apparently, using the restroom while viewing or inspecting houses that are not your own is a sensitive subject and one that many people wonder about.  Is it right?  Is it not right?  Is it within proper etiquette? 

I'm not entirely sure I can answer those questions one way or another in regards to Real Estate because I've only been in the business for a couple of years.  I do know this.  If someone needed to use the facilities and they were looking at or buying my house, I'd be okay with that.

As long as they didn't pull a Jerry Seinfield and not tell me!

Originally Posted at: My Owasso Home


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Tammy Emineth
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing

HA! THis is great. Yes, I suppose there could be a debate on this. But every agent I asked about this when I started in the biz pretty much said the same thing "Well, no matter what, there will always be a bathroom in your business"

I have never thought it weird or rude to use the restroom. If you gotta go, you GOTTA GO! If the sellers are present, always ask in a kind manner. I never just assume they would allow it. Who knows when you get stuck with those anti-germ, aphobic, can't touch butt cells, type of people. Been known to happen! hee hee.

December 30, 2010 11:14 AM
Lucille Botos
Lighthouse Properties

Cute blog.  The things we deal with in this business.  I'm with both you and Tammy.  I don't see an issue with it. 

Have a great 2011!

December 30, 2010 11:31 AM
Leslie Ebersole
REALTOR - Chicagonulls Western Suburbs
Baird&Warner Fox Valley

I don't think it's an issue and yet many people do. I know people who will ask to stop at a gas station to use the facilities rather than go in someone else's house.

The things we deal with....couldn't make it up!

December 30, 2010 11:57 AM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Real Estate Salesperson
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956

I see no problem with it, but I know that there are those that do.  I'd have more of a problem using the one at a gas station.  For some, using one in a home being shown, translates into a safety isssue i.e.  What exactly is your client up to while he's not in your line of vision?  Me, I'd assume he's doing what most people do when they're in the bathroon!

December 30, 2010 12:55 PM
Cindy Westfall
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon

Hi Bob, I am of the belief that when nature calls..that's what the bathroom is for..BUT..I will say that once several years back I was hosting an open house and an elderly woman came in with her daughter to look at the house and asked to use the bathroom. No problem. Well, I recieved a call from the listing agent the next day saying that apparently the water left running in the toilet which caused a leak down into the garage below. Now, I am always very careful when closing up a house when previewing it myself as well as hosting an open, so shut all the lights, lock the doors and I had no recollection of hearing the water running when I shut that light off. Now, I really make sure I listen for the tank to fill and stop running if someone uses the bathroom.

December 30, 2010 01:30 PM
Dawn A Fabiszak
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!
Keller Williams Real Estate ( Denver metro area, Colorado

Bob ~ here is my thought, when you have to go, YOU HAVE TO GO!  I don't make it a habit for me or the buyers to use the facilities, but when nature calls, you listen.  If the seller is home, it IS etiquette to ask first.

December 30, 2010 01:56 PM
Tish Lloyd
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches
BlueCoast Realty Corporation

Wow -- to go or not to go; that really is the question!  I'd much rather have a prospective Buyer use the facilities, as opposed to rushing through the house and perhaps taking it off their list.  Ah, the delicacies of potty etiquette!

December 30, 2010 03:14 PM
Lori Cain
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer
Chinowth & Cohen Realtors

I read one time that it was inappropriate to use the bathroom in any client's home without permission. That's when I started thinking that I should leave a note in my listings: "Please leave your card as a courtesy to the Seller. Oh, and feel free to PEE should you feel the need!!"  :=)   Have a great year, Bob!

December 31, 2010 01:45 AM
Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate

I don't see a problem with it as long as you leave things the way you found them.  Also make sure the water is on!

December 31, 2010 10:39 AM
Harry F. D'Elia
Investor , Mentor, CSSN, Radio Coach, REOs, ABR
Precision Real Estate Inc.

Hey-I assist many real estate investors to fix and flip. One of the items to purchase is toilet paper. If they feel the need to use the bathroom, then make it your home-buy it.

December 31, 2010 11:04 AM
Laura Cerrano
Authentic Feng Shui Expert
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island

Hey Bob,

hmmm you have raised a very interesting questions hear.  Should or should not use the bathroom?..that is the question.  I guess if showing a house, I would say no..but, if it's an emergency they yes.  I have used clients bathrooms in the past but, after completing the consultations...also many times they would suggest anyways because they knew the distance I would be traveling.  So ya, that's a hard one. hmmmm

January 06, 2011 10:43 AM
Ted Tyrrell
Selling Homes in Beautiful Victoria
DFH Real Estate Ltd.


An outside of the box type of question.

I agree with Dawn above.

January 08, 2011 01:50 AM
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