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Don’t Let Critters Bug Your Buyers: Pest Prevention Tips for Home Sellers

Picture this; your real estate agent brings over a keen would be home buyer to see your place. You’ve done your staging, you made sure that everything was shipshape before your guests arrived, the dog has been sent to the neighbours for a while and you’re about to leave yourself. You’ve done everything right and it should be a great showing for your home and your agent.

The problem is that, as your agent shows the home, the buyers are bugged by bugs. Maybe it’s that annoying buzzing beast you were chasing for an hour but ran out of time to hunt down. Or those few pesky ants in the kitchen that seem to just keep coming back out of nowhere. They are small, but the impression they make can be rather large and not in a good way. If a potential buyer has to keep swatting away a fly, or they spy that tiny ant army on your lovely granite counter top that’s quite possibly going to be the only thing they remember about the house later. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Bugs make a very bad impression.

With the summer upon us, this is likely to be an issue more than it ever was in the winter, when most of the critters were asleep and keeping out of the way. Now they are back pest control has to become a part of your pre-showing routine. The following are some simple do’s and don’ts to help you maximize your efforts to keep your home for sale as bug free as possible

“Do’s”

Remember pest prevention is your best option.

Bugs are opportunistic creatures and they’ll enter your home whenever and wherever there are opportunities to do so. By minimizing the situations which they can take advantage of, you will be minimizing the chance of having a pest problem to begin with.

Remove sources of food – Store food in sealed plastic or glass containers; garbage containing food scraps should be placed in tightly covered trash cans, and be sure to remove garbage regularly from your home. And don’t forget to vacuum up all those crumbs and sweep way any food that has fallen down the side of the fridge or stove. These may look like tiny crumbs to you but to an ant family they’re a tempting dinner worth marching for.

Remove sources of water – Watch out for water accumulating anywhere in the home. Keep an eye on for any sources of water that might attract bugs, like collection trays under house plant containers, an uncovered pet water dish or damp dish rack.

Remove sources of entry and shelter – Get rid of clutter created by things like stacks of newspapers, magazines which provide places to for bugs to breed and hide. In addition you should seal off places where bugs can enter your home and then hide. Cracks and crevices around cabinets or baseboards can be the biggest culprits here, but a short session with some caulk or putty should help solve the problem.

Use pesticides the right way – Since pesticides can be dangerous, read and follow the pesticide label’s instructions and safety warnings to the letter, keep pets and children away from areas where pesticides have been applied and only apply chemicals approved for use in homes.

“Don’ts”

Following the pest control “do’s” above will keep you on the right track to a bug free home. The following “don’ts” might seem obvious, but they do bear repeating.

Follow the label regarding “indoor” vs “outdoor” use – Many bug sprays and other pest remedies intended for use outdoors are dangerous to use indoors. Chemicals intended for outdoor use remain toxic longer inside than they would outside and can become a real health hazard. Read the labels before you use any product and if it says for outdoor use only then it is, with no exceptions.

Don’t assume that “more” is better – Always read and follow label directions. If they say five sprays, stick to five sprays, even if you think the number of pests to be dealt with calls for ten. Just as using outdoor chemicals indoors is dangerous, so is using too much of a pesticide.

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