Buying a Home that may have an animal or pest problem
Buying a home is a very exciting and also a very stressful time. The last thing you need to deal with is an animal problem. Too alleviate your stress we recommend that when you find a home that you are considering purchasing that you have an animal inspection. An animal inspection may unearth some things that you and even the seller may not be aware of. Wild animals do billions in dollars of damage to homes every year. Many times animals will be in areas of the home where people are not, like the walls, attic space, and the crawl space. In most cases wild animals will return year after year to the same spot to birth their young or to simply use the home as a living space. Many times the seller is unaware that they even have an animal problem. Nowadays most mortgage companies require buyers to have termite inspections, why should having an animal inspection be any different?
Home inspectors are great but they do not specialize in everything and often time’s things are missed. Many home inspectors do not go into attics or crawl spaces for liability reasons. It is absolutely crucial that you find a home inspector that is willing to inspect all areas of the home including the attic and crawl spaces.
You don’t have to be an expert to make a few observations and ask some questions. Often times a simple visual inspection and a few questions can tell you a lot about a home. Follow these steps for performing a simple visual inspection.
- Look for holes in the soffit, roofing, siding, or around the foundation of the home. Look to see if the chimneys have caps. Look to see if the vents have screens.If there are large holes in the soffit, roofing, siding, or around the foundation there may be a current animal problem or an animal problem has occurred in the past. If there is or has been an animal problem you will often notice black marks around the potential entry point. These black rub marks are a result of the dirt and oil that is in an animals fur. When the animal goes in and out of the entry point they will likely leave these black rub marks around the hole. Though this is not always the case, some animals are much cleaner than others and leave little to no black rub marks at all. Look at gutter down spouts, and fence posts. These are areas that animals will utilize to climb up the home and gain access to the roof areas. You will sometimes see black rub marks, scratch marks, and even paw prints.
- While inside the home be wary of any abnormal smells that you may come across. Sellers will often contribute these smells to the house being stale just because no one has lived there in a while. Though sometimes a musky odor may be the result of some moisture that is retained in the home it could also be the result of animal urine or droppings that may be present in the home. If is absolutely crucial that you ask questions about these smells when you come across them.
- Listen to any noises in the walls, attic, or ceiling space of the home. Cracking or settling noises are normal in homes but these noises are often inconsistent and happen at different random times. Animal noises for the most part are consistent and will typically occur in the same area at the same time for a duration of time. Sometimes the animals may move to other areas of the home and the noises could continue in these areas. Some animals are diurnal or active during the day and you could possibly encounter these noises while at the showing of the home. Other animals are nocturnal or active during the night and you would likely not be going to a showing at night.
- Ask Questions. Ask the previous home owner if they have ever had an animal problem or if they have ever heard any noises. Ask them how long ago it occurred. Ask them how they remedied the problem. Ask them if they have had any repairs done to the home within the past year and why they had the repairs done. Often time’s animals will live in a home for a short period of time over the course of a few weeks or months. People sometimes consider this to not be a big deal. This is absolutely a big deal. Once animals inhabit a structure they will leave signs behind like droppings, urine, and many different types of damage. The smell of the animal droppings and urine in the structure serve as an attractant to other animals. Animals almost always return. Sometimes they will have 2 separate denning spaces on 2 separate properties and will continue to go back and forth between the two.
Even if the steps above are followed exactly it does not guarantee that animals do not or have not occupied the home. That is why it is very important to contact a licensed and insured wildlife control company to have a professional animal inspection performed at the property.
How can we help: At Animal Remover L.L.C. we provide professional and comprehensive animal inspections and pest inspections. We will work on the buyer’s behalf and will perform a full animal inspection on the home. During the animal inspection we inspect the roof, soffits, fascia, gutters, vents, attic, crawl space, foundation, deck, porch, patio, and any other necessary areas where animal activity can occur. We look for signs like droppings, urine, disturbance to insulation, rub marks, paw prints, chew marks, scratch marks, damaged wiring, damaged duct piping, animal fur, smells, and sounds. We also use high tech equipment to complete these inspections such as thermal detection cameras, pin hole cameras, motion cameras, and listening devices. We determine if there are wild animals currently living in the home or if there is any evidence that wild animals have lived in the home in the past. We will provide the buyer with a full report and will also give you recommendations for how we can remedy the animal problem, recommendations for cleanup, and recommendations for preventive measures so that the animal problem doesn’t occur again. We also provide warranties on the repair services we offer so that you can be at ease knowing that you are covered in the instance an animal returns.