First impressions by real estate agents, home sellers, and buyers carry a lot of weight. If you appear well-groomed and properly dressed -- your stock and credibility go up.
Buying a home is a business transaction; think business-wear when shopping for, selling, or negotiating a home.
Women: Pants are entirely acceptable and have been for decades now -- but cuts and colors vary. Dark denims are considered "dressy" by many style gurus. Pay attention to the cut of the jean as well. You don't want them too tight or too low rise, but rather tailor fit. Ditch the tee shirts, tank and tube tops. House hunting is not a "vacation."
Skirts are great. Choosing a length that hits somewhere around the knee tends to be a flattering look for most. If you want to hide your legs a bit more, consider something that hits above the ankle. Wear comfortable, but presentable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, climbing up stairs and in and out of transportation. High heels are acceptable, but be aware that you may be walking across lawns and on soft wood floors -- and may be walking a lot. Leave the animal prints for when you're out to a nightclub. Busy or fussy fashion looks can be distracting. Simple jewelry, and limited amounts, accent your business perspective. Omit the "bling," otherwise you might end up paying more for a home, because the sellers think you can afford it. Simplify make-up, hair and manicure styles to appeal to the majority of people. You're not going to get a better deal because the sellers love your fabulous manicure. On the other hand -- no pun intended -- dirty and unsightly nails could be a turn-off to most. No fur coats, ever. You may even consider limiting the amount of leather you use in your attire. (see PETA for details on alternatives) No low cut or revealing looks. You want to attention to be on your business, not "your business."
(While the majority of these tips are focused at real estate agents -- they work just as well for your clients.)
Men: Verify shoe soles aren't caked with mud before you enter any open house. No jogging, gym-wear, bike shorts or swimsuits -- ever. Business-casual pants are best, but if you must wear jeans, make sure they're clean and not ripped -- and just as with the ladies -- dark denim is more "dressy." Open collar shirts work fine, but realty agents and home sellers don't need to see your buff or not so buff chest. Remember you, as the agent, are a bit of a commodity. The more professional you look -- the more confidence you'll instill in your client. Nowadays it is socially acceptable for men to wear necklaces, rings, and earrings. But be aware of your demographic and try to keep jewelry to a minimum. Omit muscle and tee shirts and no underwear elastic waistbands showing. If they are showing -- your clothes don't fit properly. Limit tattoo exposure, they're all the rage, but they're not for everyone. Ditto the ladies on this one. Wear simple patterned shirts with matching plain pants. Choose colors that compliment your skin tones, not colors that are trendy.
Both: Coffee "go-cups" aren't a fashion accessory. Coffee is easily spilled on carpets when walking up stairs or opening closets and cabinets when touring properties. Leave the drinks in the car. Baseball caps are a no-no. Wet umbrellas should be parked outside the front door, not on hardwood floors or entry tables and chairs. Wear slip on shoes when touring open houses. You might be asked to remove your shoes out of cultural respect to the owner, inclement weather or newly installed floor coverings. If you don't want to take off your shoes buy and carry blue disposable surgical booties -- or if you're a client -- ask your agent for a pair. Wear socks or stockings. No sandals, period. If you are asked to remove your shoes, owners don't necessarily want your bare feet on their floors. Cell phones. If you need to make or receive a call go to a place where you won't disturb others at the open house. Never negotiate a home purchase contract on a different property contract while your viewing a home. Shorts are not okay. They are simply too casual. Dress for the season. Don't wear shorts in snow or black wool in August, even if it is your best house-hunting outfit. Remove your sunglasses when inside buildings. People expect some eye contact. Go easy on the perfume. Many people have allergies to it today and they could be the owners of the house you fell in love with. Keep the smoking outside or not at all when house hunting.
Children: Tops, pants, shoes and socks required. All of them. Diapers alone are not a fashion. Have a few books and stuffed animals to keep children occupied in the office and car rides.
Overall it is most important to remember that clean, well-pressed clothes -- that are age appropriate and the right size -- can really make the agent!