There are many challenges to face when you are looking for a new home, especially in a market where the availability of residential real estate is shrinking. This may prompt you to make a faster decision when it comes to choosing a new home; however, this may cost you time and money in the future. Hidden problems, such as insect or rodent infestations, may not make themselves apparent until after you have signed off on the home. As you tour open houses, there are several signs you may want to watch for that may indicate a pest problem. Here are 5 signs of pest infestation:
1. Strange Marks on Baseboards
One of the signs of pest infestation is strange marks on baseboards. When you tour a home, remember to inspect walls well before your eye level. Mice and rats have an oil on their fur that can leave greasy marks on lower walls and baseboards and is visible to the naked eye. You can look for these marks in the attic, walk-in pantries, breezeways, and utility rooms. Upon closer inspection, you may see hair in these marks that can further indicate the presence of rodents.
2. Chewed Wires
It is a good idea to closely inspect the wiring of any home you plan to purchase. You may want to pay especially close attention to any systems in the attic or basement, as frayed wiring or gnawed insulation may be a sign that rats or mice are on the property. Rats have powerful teeth that grow continuously, so the rodents must chew on objects to keep them filed down. You may want to have a professional electrician inspect a home’s wiring if you suspect rodents are present.
3. Wood Damage
If you are considering a home that is made partially from wood or has a wooden porch or deck, you may want to inspect these areas for termite damage. Termites and other wood-boring insects can wreak havoc on wooden structures as they feast and breed. Fortunately, the presence of termite activity is not difficult to spot. Look for holes bored into any wooden structure and what look like minute piles of sawdust at the base of wooden posts. This is the termite’s droppings, which are a good indicator that activity is still going on.
4. Evidence of Pest Control Products
Taking a look under a home’s sink or in the garage can clue you in about any pest problems an available home might have, as this is where most homeowners keep their insect and rodent control products. Glue or rat traps, multiple bottles of roach spray, or boxes of ant traps may tell you that the current owner is facing a pest problem.
If you suspect that the seller of the home is battling ants, roaches, or mice, it is important to face the issue directly. You may ask, “Is your home ready for summer pest season? How have you dealt with bugs and rodents during warm weather in the past?” Having honest discussions and asking about what types of pests might be in the area can help you make the best decision possible about buying a home.
5. Holes in the Yard
If you attend an open house, it is wise to take a walk around the backyard and give grass and trees a quick inspection. Small holes in the ground could mean an invasion of moles, chipmunks, or other rodents that are capable of causing damage to your home. The presence of rodents may also attract snakes, some of which can be dangerous.
If shrubs and trees look sickly, this may be a sign that they are infested with insects. Check the leaves for holes and chew marks. If you buy the home, you may want to have a professional come to treat your yard to exterminate any harmful pests.
Buying a home can be an adventure and a challenge, especially when it comes to pest infestations. Knowing what warning signs to look for as you browse homes might save you money, time, and headaches later on.