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When you're looking into buying a new home, knowing the signs of rodent activity can save you from buying a home with furry roommates, damaged structure and possibly dangerous diseases. Cleaning up after rodents can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars! When you're looking at buying a home, watch for these common signs of rodent activity.
 
Nesting Activity
Tunnels and burrows around the home can be signs of nesting inside the home. Be sure to look around and behind flower gardens and bushes where rodents can come and go while being concealed from predators. Inside the home look for evidence of nests in places like basements and attics. Look for shredded paper, plastic or insulation that rodents use for creating their nest.
        
Droppings
Rodents like rats and mice can leave up to 180 droppings in their wake every day. These small black cylindrical leavings are possible sources of disease and should be an immediate warning sign if seen inside the home! 
 
Pest Control Products
If you happen to peek under the kitchen sink and see pest control products, this is a good indication there might be a rodent issue in the home. Traps and boxes of poison are also a sign that the owner has had or currently has a rodent problem. 
 
Damaged Wires and Gnaw Marks
Rodents' teeth continuously grow and they must gnaw at hard surfaces to reduce the size of their growing teeth. Watch for frayed electric wires and bite marks on wood trim. You may also see holes in plastic. Favourites to chew are chair legs, baseboards and insulation.
 
Smell
The smell of rodent urine is described as "musky." Rodent infestations have a similar smell to an unkept pet cage. This is because all animal urine contains ammonia. If you catch the smell of ammonia, follow your nose and start to look for other signs.
 
Trails and Rub Marks
Rodents tend to use the same paths repeatedly and so day after day, they will leave "grease" trails. Look for the grease left by their coats up against walls and on floors.     
 
Finally, even if the rodents have been eliminated from the home, their damage to foundation from burrowing, damage to wiring and frame due to gnawing may still exist. Chewed wiring poses a fire hazard and possible diseases from their droppings can pose health risks for your family. If you have any doubts about potential rodent activity in a home you are thinking of buying, book a pre-purchase inspection with us. 

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Picture of

Keith Langlois

RHI | NHI

Registered Home Inspector
National Home Inspector
Licensed Electrician