Mice and rats are drawn to houses to find food, water, and shelter. The reality is that if you are in the market looking to buy a home, you need to be alert to the possibility that a property has an issue with mice or rats.
There are some important warning signals you need to be aware of regarding the prospect of a rodent infestation.
Specific Signs of a Residential Rodent Issue
Signs of a rodent issue to be on the lookout for include:
- Gnaw marks
- Urine Odor
- Greasy trails
- Scratch marks
- Scratching sounds
- Squealing sounds
- Scurrying sounds
A primary reason certain animals are classified as rodents is their incisors. The incisors of rodents continually grow throughout a mouse or rat’s lifetime.
Consequently, these animals need to gnaw at objects to keep their incisors in check. In addition, rodents gnaw the structure of a home itself to gain access to a residence in the first instance or to forage about a house in search of food and water.
Finally, rodents will gnaw on other objects, particularly packages that contain food.
When it comes to gnawing on the structure of a residence itself, gnaw marks are more commonly found along the exterior walls of a home near the foundation. In addition, they are likely to be found along the bottom of the walls, near the floor.
Gnawing may result in holes rodents use for passage. Bear in mind that a mouse can fit through a hole as small as a dime; a rat can get through a hole as small as a quarter.
Rodents can successfully gnaw a wide array of different types of materials. These include:
- Many types of wood
- Drywall or sheetrock
Mouse and rat droppings, or feces, are also signs of rodents in a home. Mouse droppings are small, about the size of a grain of rice. Rat droppings are a bit larger. Both types of droppings are brownish, growing slightly darker as they age.
When they dry out, rodent droppings can be a grayish color.
You typically will not see rodent droppings in some pile. Rather, they may appear in something of a line located where they regularly walk or forage. For example, you may find rodent droppings along the base of a wall.
Rodent Dropping Carry a Health Risk Too
As an aside, you need to understand that rodent droppings can present a genuine health risk. They can carry harmful viruses or bacteria. Some germs survive even after rodent droppings dry out.
When they do dry out, rodent droppings crumble very easily. When they crumble, the feces can become airborne and carry these germs with the dust. If inhaled, a person can contract some of the germs potentially living in rodent droppings.
A sign of a more advanced rodent infestation in residence is a urine odor, perhaps rather faint. When a homeowner has put a residence on the market for sale, the prospect of detecting a rodent urine smell is likely unlikely.
The odds are that the homeowner will have taken steps to mask and potentially unpleasant odor in the residence.
When rodents are out and about foraging, they tend to leave a greasy-looking trail along their typically traverse pathways.
These trails are created to establish a particular rodent’s territorial zone and identify that rodent’s favored course. You might see greasy-looking trails inside a home, usually along the walls of a residence.
Another indication that a residence might have a rodent issue is the presence of what can be relatively tiny scratch marks.
You might find scratch marks on a wall. However, they also might be found on the floor.
Scratching, Squealing, Scurrying Sounds
When mice or rats infest a home, they also make sounds. These include scratching, squealing, and scurrying sounds. As with a urine odor, you will not detect these noises at a home showing or open house.
Rodents are primarily nocturnal animals. They are most active from dusk until dawn. Because most home showings and open houses are during the day, the odds of hearing rodents on the premises are slim.
If you detect the presence of rodents in a home, you’re interested in making an offer, and you do need to inquire about the homeowner.
A homeowner needs to provide accurate information in response to such an inquiry, whether or not a specific disclosure of a rodent issue (past or present) needs to be made by a seller.
You must remember that a homeowner may not be aware of a rodent issue if it is of a fairly new origin.
You must inspect the premises before closing on a contract for sale. The inspection must include examining the property for the current or past presence of rodents in the house.
When you are looking to buy a new property, it is vital that you thoroughly check the premises for the signs of a rodent infestation.
Now that you know some of the signs of a rodent infestation, you can go to the viewing armed with information!
While most of the property viewing is likely to concentrate on the property’s aesthetics and feel, it is essential to cover some of the basics.
You do not want the first memory of your new home to be the removal of a rodent infestation!