Dream Home or Rat Den? What to Look for When Buying a Pest-Free Home.
The search for a new home is a momentous occasion. But throughout all that excitement and momentum, there’s also an underlying sense of anxiety. Will it be big enough? Is the neighborhood decent? Is there a backyard for my pet leopard? What if LeBron James randomly decides to come over for teatime and the ceilings are just too low? All valid questions. But what you should really be asking is, “does this house have a pest problem?”
Pest-related destruction can cost you thousands in repairs. And if ignored, your new home could become a rodent-infested house of insect horrors. Not to mention a ceaseless, unfathomable money pit. We want to give you all the pre-purchase knowledge many people seem to overlook, so that you can avoid buying one big bug trap.
When talking about home annihilation, these ugly little fellows are public enemy No. 1, causing American homeowners over $5 billion in damages every year. They can destroy the foundation of your home, which makes for sagging floorboards and unsafe living conditions. Needless to say, you don’t want termites as housemates in your new home.
How to Spot ‘Em
Don’t worry about appearing overly fastidious in front of your real estate agent. Behind those friendly, shiny smiles, they’re still looking for a sale. So, take your time and don’t be afraid to knock on a few walls. Look for sagging floors, small holes in the wall, weak or hollow-sounding wood and mud tubes in basements and crawl spaces. These are all signs that your dream house could be home to the infamous T-mite.
Yes, mice are cute. Some would even argue the same for rats. But the ones inside your potential home aren’t the kind you want to have sitting on your lap while reading a good book. These animals carry diseases, cause unsanitary conditions, chew through wires, ransack pantries and leave droppings everywhere.
How to Spot ‘Em
Ask your real estate agent how long the house has been vacant. The longer humans have been away, the more likely rodents have decided to stay (sorry for the rhyme). Otherwise, a good way to see if there are any rats around is to look for their tiny, pellet-like droppings, especially along floorboards. Another thing to be aware of is tiny holes around cabinets and baseboards. A rat can fit in a hole the size of a quarter. Pretty cool magic trick, but we’d rather they’d practice magic elsewhere.
Also, if you hear any scratching, squeaking, or see any nests made out of fabric and paper, just politely walk out the front door and move on.
We are not fans of these elusive little bloodsuckers. Bedbugs can be transported anywhere by means of anything, and they’re extremely hard to find. If you’re touring a home and there is even a small sign of a bedbug presence, run. And run fast. Then burn your clothes. These nasty things not only suck your blood (causing hideous itchy wounds), they can set you back at least $1,500 in professional bed bug removal.
How to Spot ‘Em
Look for any rust colored stains (think dried blood) on any fabric throughout the house. If there is furniture or bedding, check throughout crevices and under seams. If you see any small brown bugs scurry away, you’d better scurry too. Right on out of the house.
Before You Buy
When searching for a new home, there’s always a chance you’ll run into some critters whose sole purpose is to cause mayhem and home decay. In this post, we’ve only covered the tip of this pest-covered iceberg.
Some others to keep an eye out for are wasps, cockroaches, spiders, and carpenter ants. But the most important thing you’ll want to do before signing any papers is to have a pest-savvy professional inspect your potential future home. Because moving should be fun, exciting and pest-free. And your only worries should be about the size of the backyard and the celeb-friendly ceilings.