We once had a house listed that was plagued by hundreds of vultures. Yes, you read that right. Hundreds of vultures perched on the roof…Not a welcoming omen to potential buyers. It turns out, our seller’s next door neighbor had stocked up on chicken pieces from Costco and was feeding these lovely creatures every day.
We eventually had to get the city involved in order to make the neighbor stop, but the moral of the story is that buyer’s don’t want to picture sharing their homes with wildlife and while you can’t control a infestation of vultures brought on by the neighborhood crazies, you can control the smaller (more common) visitors.
Everything may seem perfect for your showing: lights on, carpets clean, counters decluttered, but if your basement is filled with roaches or you can hear mice scurrying through your walls, it will not attract buyers. Homes, especially vacant ones, are a common retreat for small animals and bugs. The risks increase during colder weather when animals tend to seek indoor shelter, making residential walls, ceilings, basements, and attics especially appealing, when they can find an entry point or create one by chewing away. While there’s no single solution to keeping out all wildlife, which varies by climate, vegetation, and topography, there are some things you can do to discourage visitors, and if it gets out of hand always contact a licensed pest professional for an inspection and customized treatment program. We also recommend to offer a year of pest control services for a home that has a previous problem as a way to reassure buyers that they aren’t buying a roach motel.
Culprits: House mice, roof rats, Norway rats
Threats: Gnawing through electrical wires can cause fire. Urine and fecal matter can contaminate food and harbor diseases.
Prevention Tips: Install weather stripping on all doors and windows; trim overgrown branches, plants, and bushes; advise clients not to leave dirty dishes in the sink or pet food out at night.
Culprits: Raccoons, opossums, squirrels, bats, various species of mice and rats
Threats: Chewing holes into a home’s structure to reach hidden areas. May carry rabies, hantavirus, or LCMV.
Prevention Tips: Inspect crawl spaces; cover attic vents and fan openings with wire cloth; advise clients to use hard plastic or metal waste bins with tightly fitted, clamped lids.
Culprits: Stink bugs, lady bugs, cluster flies, kudzu beetles
Threats: Feed on plants, fruits, and crops
Prevention Tips: Seal all cracks and crevices with caulk; place screens over doors and windows; install door sweeps under all doors.