Posted April 2, 2021
There are so many things to consider when buying a new home. Does the house fit your needs, will it require repairs, how is the neighborhood, is it close to the office, the list goes on and on. Pests problems might not be the first thing that comes to mind when taking a tour of your dream home, but it should be added to the list of things to consider. Afterall, the last thing you want is to be stuck paying for a bug-infested house. Here are a few key areas to inspect, and things to look for before purchasing your new home.
Walk around the exterior of the home and take a look at any trees. Especially those near the house. Branches that overhang onto your roof can provide easy access to your attic for animals like squirrels, roof rats, and other critters. Branches touching power lines also run a similar risk of becoming a pest highway “off ramp” into the home. Make sure to check trees for any galleries near knots in the trunk, or frass and sawdust left by carpenter ants. While carpenter ants aren’t good for the trees, they are even more damaging to a home.
The first things to look for when inspecting the yard are mole or other animal holes. Even if the hole is no longer occupied by the animal that made it, other pests are likely to take refuge there. Next look for any standing water, or places water might not absorb well. Not only will this attract wildlife animals looking for a drink, but it can also be home for mosquitoes come spring.
Make sure to take note of any cracks in the foundations whether outside or in the basement. These can be the perfect way for bugs to get inside your home. Though termites can’t damage the concrete foundation, cracks allow them entry into the home putting the wood structure at risk. You may see mud tunnels or the remnants of them around the foundation. That is another sure sign of a current or past termite problem. If you have access, also look for daylight peeking between the sill plate and the foundation, this could be another way pests are getting inside.
Damaged wood in a home can be a sign of termites or carpenter ants. To avoid having to deal with them, keep an eye out for hollow sounding wood, tunnels in wood, hard to close doors, noisy floorboards, and piles of sawdust. Moisture can attract termites and carpenter ants; you will also want to keep an eye on window frames, door frames, the sill plate in the basement, and the area around any piping.
Check the weatherstripping along windows, doors, and garage doors. Damaged weatherstripping makes it a lot easier for bugs to get inside the house. If there is damage, it’s likely you’ll find a few critters inside. An overabundance of spider webs around a basement window is a sign the seal is worn. A garage door seal is the most common entry point for rodents. Look for chew marks specifically near the corners of the door.
When walking through the home, make sure to notice any marks or cracks in the walls. Brown stains could actually be droppings and a sign of bed bugs or cockroaches. Grease marks on the walls or in cabinets can be a sign of rodent activity. Paint peeling back from the wall that looks like water damage could actually be a sign of termites, and that’s a mess you don’t want to sign up for.
Take a look at where the walls meet the ceiling. Cockroaches like to roam around upside down and can be found hiding in cracks in these areas. You may spot spider webs here as well. Spiders help control bug populations. If they are present, it’s a sure sign other bugs are around too. You will want to make sure the baseboards are sealed to the wall and are flush with the floor. As you walk around, also notice anything that looks like rodent feces.
Something you may not think to do but should is to check the pipes. Open the cabinets under sinks and look for any water damage or signs of leaks. A leaky pipe is very attractive to ants, cockroaches, rodents, and other pests and provides them with an easy water source. You should also check for a cap on the sump pump as it can be an entry way for spiders, pill bugs, centipedes, and millipedes.
Chances are the home you move into won’t be completely pest free. Though there may be some minor repairs to do, we hope this checklist will help you avoid any major housing headaches down the road. Once you find your new home, we recommend signing up for professional pest control services to provide year-round protection from any unwanted house guests. Give us a call at (855) 953-2002 or submit a request for a free estimate here to get started.