What agents need to know to get rid of household pests

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Agents who are very familiar with the unpleasant – but very necessary – topic of pest and animal protection can reassure both buyers and sellers and present them with helpful solutions. Plus, knowing this is also a quick way to gain their trust.

Residential properties are handed over swept clean and empty in accordance with the purchase contract. No broker or buyer wants to deal with rubble in a new home or unwanted possessions from the previous owner when reselling them.

The worst part of a purchase is when the property is infested with rodents or bugs – or worse, a family of skunks, possums, or squirrels.

Agents who can offer knowledge and solutions to eliminate these unwanted pests are valued and sought after. So if you want to help your customers with this problem, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Identifying pests and where they come from

The first step in pest removal is to determine the type of pest and the point of entry. By simply exploring the edge of the property, paw prints, tracks or paths, chewed or gnawed wooden surfaces, small piles of sawdust and animal droppings become visible.

Animas, rodents, or pests who like to nest in homes are attracted to dark, quiet, and damp rooms. The space under porches or decks and crawl spaces are common areas where rodents and pests like to nest.

Attics are the second most sought-after homestead for other animal species like squirrels, birds, and raccoons. Bees and other insects can infiltrate walls and cavities in ceilings or closets.

2. Trapping or removing the pest (in a humane way)

Some simple, inexpensive methods of repelling small animals include ammonia-soaked rags, mothballs, bright lights, and loud music. Colorful balloons can act as a kind of scarecrow to keep animals from entering a home.

If all else fails, a cage with a treat in it can lure an unwanted pest out of its hiding place. For this reason, it is important to identify the species so that they can be attracted to a suitable bait.

Professional services are available to remove larger or dangerous animals, but there are some easy ways to do some preliminary work before calling in the experts.

3. Prevention of their entry

The best way to fight unwanted pests is to prevent them from entering in the first place. So make sure that all holes in the perimeter are sealed and all windows and doors close tightly.

Branches that touch a house or stretch over a roof provide easy access for birds, squirrels, and other tree-climbing creatures. Experts advise trimming branches touching a house or near windows and roofs.

Animals are always attracted to food sources, so bird feeders should be placed some distance from a home. Pet food bowls should be removed as soon as the food is consumed and, most obviously, all litter and trash should be sealed in containers with tightly fitting lids. Compost heaps should be placed away from any structure, be it a shed, garage, or porch.

Outdoor lighting should be yellow or high pressure sodium to ward off animals and other pests. Old nests that have been abandoned must be disposed of immediately so that no new residents are attracted.

Tons of clutter such as building materials, flower pots, garden tools, and sacks of soil can attract rodents and bees, who are drawn to nesting. If the infestation occurs again, fans, wind chimes, radios and balloons can help to repel some birds and animals and prevent new problems.

4. Understand the harm

In addition to the noise and disturbance that animals can cause in an attic or between walls or ceilings, their waste and uric acid consume building materials and insulation.

Birds in particular look for nesting material and chew and shred paper, cloth, and other building materials. The most common birds that nest in attics are starlings, pigeons, and sparrows. Raccoons can be particularly vicious, chewing on sidings and clapboards, and spreading rabies.

Bats, another undesirable inhabitant of attics and open spaces, do not attack humans but rather spread litter and attract other pests, thus perpetuating the problem of undesirable animals.

It’s also important to know that pests can multiply quickly, causing the problem to grow exponentially. Raccoons can have several litters per year and squirrels have two, which makes the problem worse. Wire mesh or hardware cloth are two ways to seal openings that allow pests to enter a home.

Realtors who are well versed in the unpleasant but very necessary subject of pest and animal control and removal can assure buyers and sellers that there are solutions to rid houses of unwanted animals, insects and birds.

An alert agent can spot problems and offer solutions to pest problems before they become unwieldy. When all else fails, local experts, who are familiar with the most common pest species in their area, are ready to help.

Gerard Splendore is a licensed associate real estate agent with Warburg Realty in New York. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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