If there’s one thing that will keep a property from selling, it’s the obvious infestation of pests. A home with a pest problem won’t pass an inspection, and any sign of bugs will have potential buyers running in the opposite direction. While sometimes this may be out of your control, it doesn’t mean that every time you see an ant or two you’re doomed. If possible, contact the owner and get permission (and possibly a budget!) to try these pest elimination and prevention techniques:
Like most living things, rodents and insects are attracted to food and water. For rats, nothing beats a foreclosed home that offers food and shelter without any humans. The Natural Resource Defense Council suggests that you make the property less enticing to pests by:
Eliminating the reason pests want to get in is a great start, but why not eliminate their opportunity as well? Silicone caulk— found at any major hardware store for $10 or less—can seal cracks and points of entry in pipes, ducts, baseboards, moldings and electrical outlets. Additionally, use a needle and steel wool to fix holes in heating and cooling vent screens to keep out larger pests like squirrels and mice. And don’t forget to check the exterior of the home for entryways as well. Plus, firewood, vegetation and other debris kept close to the home can be a great place for pests to live in and climb into the home.
Have you seen the live critters, their damage or their leftovers? According to the United States Department of Agriculture Research Service, Formosan termites infest more than a dozen southern states and cost an estimated $1 billion a year in property damages, repairs and control measures.
If you aren’t sure what creature is causing the damage, PestWorld.org can help you identify the pest so that you know how to eliminate them. And with household products and natural remedies, you may be able to find an inexpensive solution on your own. First pick your pest, and then pick your poison:
If you still have a problem (or don’t have the time to deal with it yourself) call someone who does. The U.S. is swarming with pest control companies—approximately 20,000 currently in business, according to Exterminators.com. With a little information, the site can help you find a local exterminator who can address your pest problem. With proof of repair and professional care, pest damage generally won’t affect the property value, so you and your client can rest assured.