Do you have a sneaking suspicion the house you’re interested in buying might have a pest problem? Whether it’s ants in the kitchen, termites in the walls, or raccoons in the attic, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. When you’re viewing homes, keep a lookout for these telltale signs of infestation.
When you’re exploring the outside of the house, look for lawn damage like a pattern of brown patches. This could indicate a pest problem. Also check for ridges and piles of dirt that could be a sign of moles.
When you’re inside the home, notice if there are any unusual smells. Pests give off their own unique odors. If you detect a musty smell coupled with the scent of ammonia, it could be a clue about a probable infestation. Also notice if there is a garbage smell, because accumulating trash can attract pests.
In addition to the smells that pests give off, they also make sounds. Rats and mice can be heard scurrying through walls and ceilings or under floorboards. You might hear scratching, gnawing, or squeaking as well.
Check around windows and in basements for any signs of dead bugs. Notice if there are many of the same kind. This could indicate that a large number of them are holing up somewhere on the property.
This is obvious, but if you see droppings, there could be a problem. Do a little research beforehand to know what kinds of droppings certain pests leave behind, like bed bugs and roaches. That way, if you see any droppings you’ll have a better idea of what you’re dealing with.
If there’s a rat problem, then you will generally see holes or gnawing marks on walls and floors. Look also for electrical wires that have been chewed up as well as evidence of nesting. Rats will often nest in kitchen cabinets and behind appliances. Look for chewed up paper that has been stashed in nooks and crannies.
Do you notice that the floors are sagging in some areas? That could be a sign of termites. Other signs of termites include small holes and wood that sounds hollow when you tap it. You might also see remnants of dead termites, such as wings, and little pellets that look like sawdust.
Pests like rats will often take the same path through a property. Look for any signs of tracks, like greasy marks on floors and walls. You might also see footprints in any areas where dirt or dust has accumulated.
Finally, if you notice that the current owner has a large stash of pesticides, you can be sure they are battling an infestation.
While most infestations can be dealt with, it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you make an offer on a house. Be smart and keep an eye out for any of the signs outlined above to tell if the house you love has a pest problem.
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