Moving into a new home should be a time of great excitement for you and your family. After all, you’ve spent months consulting realtors and visiting properties until you’ve finally found the perfect house to make your new home. It should be a dream come true. But nothing can turn that dream into a nightmare faster than finding out you’re sharing your new home with a colony of bed bugs. It may not be at the top of your list of things to worry about when buying a new home, but the threat of bed bug infestations is very real and you need to take proactive steps to protect your family and your property from these blood sucking parasites.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small rust colored insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. While there is no evidence that bed bugs carry or transmit diseases, their bites typically cause an irritating allergic reaction in the victim leaving clusters of red and itchy welts on the skin. Adult bed bugs can live up to seven months between feedings and have been known to survive up to a year in otherwise abandoned buildings. Bed bugs can reproduce at an alarming rate, with an average female laying as many as 500 eggs in a single year. Once believed to be extinct in the US, bed bugs have made a major comeback in recent decades, due largely to the increase in world travel and a growing resistance to pesticides in the insect population. When bed bugs invade a property it can be difficult to fully eradicate the infestation, which is why for new home owners early detection is critical.
Is Your Potential New Home Free from Bed Bugs?
Before a buyer closes on a new home there are a few crucial steps that must be completed. There is the general appraisal of the property in which the lender will establish a current market value for the house and surrounding land. This appraisal does not include a true home inspection and is only meant to give the seller and buyer a working understanding of the monetary value of the property. After the appraisal comes the home inspection, and this needs to be performed by a state certified housing inspector. This inspection covers the fundamental integrity of the residential structure. The inspector’s investigation typically covers the interior and exterior of the home, carefully examining the foundation, masonry composition and roofing materials. The inspector will also review the plumbing and electrics and make an assessment of the current heating and cooling systems. Generally, the housing inspector’s assessment will also include a pest inspection. This typically covers termites, rodents and ants. Basically any pests that can adversely effect the structural integrity of the residence for sale. It is important to note that not all pest inspections cover bed bugs, so buyers may have to rely on pre-closing disclosures from the realtor.
Realtors are required to provide potential buyers with property disclosure forms. It is here that you will most likely have access to a more detailed history of any problems the current or former owner had with pest infestations. Naturally, some owners and realtors may be reticent to fully disclose past invasions of bed bugs and other pests so it is important that you view this material with some skepticism. If you feel like you are not getting the full story, or you simply have additional questions about the history of the house, do not be afraid to ask direct questions of the seller or the realtor. A new home is a major investment and you don’t want any unwanted surprises once you close the deal. Even if you are reasonably happy with the realtor’s property disclosure it is always wise to consider a professional pest inspection prior to signing any paperwork.
Professional Bed Bug Inspections
As we know bed bugs are able to hide in cramped out-of-the-way spaces and can survive for months without feeding. It can be a mistake to assume that an empty house will be free of all pests. Even an unfurnished property can be home to an infestation of bed bugs. They can easily be hiding in baseboards and crown molding or in carpets and fabrics of all kinds. To be absolutely certain the property is free from bed bugs a professional pest inspection is always the best option.
If you’ve found the house of your dreams and you want to be certain your new home will be pest free it’s time to schedule an inspection by a professional that specializes in bed bug detection and removal. They will be able to spot any tell-tale signs of infestation and take the necessary steps to secure the property. Canine inspections are especially effective and are recommended for all new home buyers. These highly trained sniffer dogs are extremely accurate at detecting bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle, so any bugs that may be hiding or hibernating will be sniffed out and exposed. If there are any signs of bed bugs on the property your inspector can recommend at a plan of action to eliminate the pests before you close on your new home and begin to move the family in.
Buying a new home is an exciting time for any family, but it can also be fairly stressful. There’s a lot to take care of and the process can seem overwhelming at times. But don’t let a potential bed bug infestation turn a dream house into a nightmare. Before you shake hands with the realtor and sign on that dotted line be sure you have taken every step to ensure that your family’s new home is safe, secure and pest free.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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