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How to Spot Pest Infestations When Buying a New House

Buying a home can be thrilling and somewhat nerve-wracking. When touring different properties, many home buyers are more interested in ways to beautify their new house. However, as important as a beautiful living space is, buyers may completely ignore more serious issues growing and lurking beneath the surface; i.e. pest infestations. 

Not only do pests carry a variety of health risks, but they may destroy expensive furniture and cause long lasting, expensive damages around your property. While it may be difficult to spot pest infestation in a new place, there are signs you can look out for to avoid spending your precious savings on a place riddled with rodents and termites.

1. Keep an Eye Out for Pest Droppings

5. Check for Small Holes

Keeping an eye out for pest droppings may not be the most fun activity in the world, but it can save you precious time and resources in the future. One of the easiest ways to determine whether your new house is pest infected is by doing basic research about what different droppings may look like and how you can identify them.

Depending on the type of pest, there are different techniques you can use to spot the infestation. For example, you can prevent bed bugs from spreading to other rooms if you identify their traces through keeping an eye out for droppings. Similarly, rodents like rats and mice leave droppings around walls and corners. Cockroaches on the other hand leave pepper like pellets that is often an indication of a large cockroach infestation nearby. 

It may feel incredibly gross, but a simple research and understanding of pest droppings can save you a lot of trouble and keep your home safe for you and your loved ones.

2. Check for Odd Odors and Sounds

Another simple way to confirm any pest related suspicions is by keeping your ears and nose at work! Pest infestation leaves recognizable odors around the house and different pests may have different smells. 

Firstly, it is important to point out if your soon-to-be new house reeks of garbage. Musty, rancid odors of garbage may point to existing pest infestation and can even attract more pests. Smelly sinks or sewers that give a whiff of oiliness or expired soy sauce may indicate a horde of roaches nearby. Rats and mice leave a putrid odor that smells like ammonia or urine.

In addition to this, the small pattering of tiny feet against walls or floorboards is definitely not a sign of supernatural possession, rather it may point to a possible rodent infestation. Rodents take shelter under floorboards or behind walls so if you occasionally hear gnawing, scratching, squeaking, or scuffling, it might be time to call in a professional pest control team as it may be a sign of rodents or large bugs.

3. Spot Existing Property Damages

3. Spot Existing Property Damages

You may discover traces of serious pest infestation long after you have purchased and moved into your new house, but that does not mean that it did not exist earlier. Look for any existing damages around the property such as hollowed wood which might indicate termites, or damaged fences and wooden floorboards that might harbor a nest of pesky termites.

Keep an eye out for wet furniture or other damp wooden objects which hint to an ant infestation at hand. Additionally, small pecks and holes in clothes, chewed wires, and spaces in walls are all red flags as you might have some irksome mice on the loose. 

If possible, you should always contact former tenants or the property owner so you can get a history of any pest infestations. Speaking to the neighbors or even hiring a professional pest control inspector to go over all the nooks and crannies of the place can make a big difference and save a lot of money.

4. Beware of Nearby Breeding Grounds and Mole Hills

Be wary of any garbage dumps, unkempt alleys, flooding or other pollutants near the building. Additionally, chewed up and loose wires around the place indicate a rat or mice infestation. You should look for any loose or open pipes and nasty, smelly puddles that are stagnant. These are ideal environments for a variety of pests such as flies and mosquitoes. 

Mole hills are an indication of a pest infestation as moles feed on insects and other crawlies in the area and they may also destroy your front and backyard in the process. Small mudding “hills” or bumps in the ground may indicate moles in the area and it is integral to be extra observant.

5. Check for Small Holes in Walls and Grease Marks

If you spot small holes between walls and floors, you know there is a possible infestation around the area. Burrows or scattered garbage heaps and weedy pockets in the place raise a massive red flag because you may have a rat infestation on your hands. Rats are not only dangerous, but they are difficult to catch if you lack the correct equipment or expertise. Before you say yes to the place, you should observe these factors in detail. 

Rats and mice also leave a trail of grease around walls as they are used to travelling the same paths. If you see small patches, grease marks or odd brown spots on clean walls, you know it is time to call in the professionals. Droppings, urine trails, and greasy marks are some signs that pests will leave to indicate their presence. Be sure to check thoroughly before you finalize the house of your dreams.

Investing in a house is investing in a healthy and bright future and you want it to be just perfect, but that takes patience and some investigating to ensure that your future home is not riddled with unwanted creepy crawlies. If you are unsure, it is always preferable to call in the professionals and save yourself expenses in the future by avoiding these 7 critical mistakes most new homebuyers make.

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John and Melissa Steele, San Diego Real Estate Agents
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John and Melissa Steele

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