The Impact of Pests on Property Value and How to Protect Your Investment

No one wants to buy a home infested with bugs, mice, or other pests. That’s why protecting your real estate investment and property’s value should be at the top of your list of priorities, especially if you plan on selling at any time in the future.

First-time homebuyers may not be looking for perfection, but they’re certainly not expecting a lot of DIY upkeep — especially if they’re used to having landlords take care of their housing maintenance. If you want top dollar for your house, make sure to keep it pest-free.


Effects on Property Values

Damage from insects, rats, moles, and other critters will be noticeable during professional home inspections. Serious infestations could lead to buyers backing out of the deals or lowering their bid offers.

Mice, rats, squirrels, and other vermin chew through wood and electrical wiring. This damage is expensive to repair and causes fire hazards. Knowing how to get rid of lawn pests is another issue, as armyworm or white grub infestations can lower your home’s curb appeal.


Termite Damage

Termites chew through wood, especially on the inside of the building. Although there are exceptions, typically, homeowners’ insurance does not cover termite damage. 

Signs of a termite infestation include:

  • Blistering or buckling in wooden floors
  • Damaged or hollowed wood
  • Discarded termite wings
  • “Swarming” termites
  • Mud tubes — strips of muddied tubes along walls and crevices
  • Damaged drywall and bubbling paint
  • Buckling support beams.
  • Tapping sounds coming from within wooden support beams and boards.

The cost of repairing termite damage varies, but hiring a professional exterminator is the best way to protect your investment.   


Home Invaders

Houses and commercial buildings are always susceptible to ants, silverfish, spiders, roaches, and a host of other insects. Getting rid of ants the natural way is hit or miss; some solutions work better than others. While chemical insecticides tend to be more effective, they are not environmentally protective.


DIY vs. Professional Exterminating  

When it comes to selling a piece of property, pest control is a serious business. Professional exterminators will remediate the current infestation and create a plan to keep critters from coming back. Real estate agents can market the home as pest-free and protected.

DIY is an option but isn’t always effective. Also, potential buyers may see DIY pest control as a half-hearted attempt to cover up the problem, all in the name of making a sale.


Perceived Value

Along with financial considerations, buying a house is an emotional decision. Perceived value is a customer’s idea of whether buying something is worth the money. Psychologically, the thought of buying a bug-infested home is a real turn-off. The home may have all the elements a buyer wants, but if insects and vermin are part of the package, that could be just the thing that turns a buyer away. 

What does that do to the value of the property? Certainly nothing positive — especially if the homebuyer shares a negative opinion (with the home’s location) on social media.


Prop Up the Value

Take proactive measures against pests. Prop up the value of your property with annual or semi-annual inspections for insects and critters nesting in walls, porches, vents, attics, and garages. Skunks, bats, voles, rats, mice, moles, raccoons, opossums, and other varmints seek out warm areas with nearby food and water sources.  

Hire an exterminator before putting the home up for sale. Have your real estate agent talk about pest control to agents of potential buyers (but remember not to make it sound like the house is a serious bug target).   


Go Thermal

Today’s technical world has its foot in the door of pest control. Thermal images can detect buggy activity in walls and nesting places. Termites, hornets, rodents, wasps, and other insects are not actually visible in these images, but thermal cameras detect temperature differences –– noting a change in the warmth patterns of the home’s walls. Thermal image cameras detect pest infestations in ways that the naked eye cannot.


Convincing a buyer that a home is a good investment is easier when there are no obvious pest infestations. More importantly, convincing a mortgage lender to dish out big bucks on a pest-damaged house is more of a challenge…and the bank is actually in control of the sale. Your real estate agent will help you assess and protect your property investment. 






Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on 5 acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees, and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall, when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.

About the Author
Worth Clark Realty
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