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Home > Blog > Buying and Selling > Common Pests To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

Common Pests To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

Battling household pests is a common problem that wreaks havoc for both property owners and renters, generally requiring extensive cleanup and repairs that can be expensive and time consuming. Unfortunately, when you are in the market to buy or sell a home, the presence of rodents and insects can be a deal breaker when it comes to closing a sale. Along with the inconvenience and sanitation issues associated with these nuisances, the potential for actual damage caused by pests to a home is something that should rightly give a buyer pause. If you are selling a property, be sure and attend to pest issues before putting your home on the market, while buyers should be aware of the signs that a potential dream home has underlying issues. 

Common Household Pests

While the presence of household pests should not necessarily prevent you from buying a home, you do want to make sure the situation is addressed in negotiations before a sale. According to the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, common household pests found in our area include the following:

Rats and Mice

In many communities, rats and mice are a real nuisance. While mice are smaller than rats, both carry known allergies and are capable of spreading disease, not to mention being capable to doing some real damage to the structures within your home. The NYC Health Department conducts routine inspections for rats, and addition to actually seeing one of these creatures, telltale signs include:

  • Rat or mice droppings;
  • Burrows and holes;
  • Gnaw marks on walls and furniture;
  • Excessive garbage or clutter where mice and rats tend to congregate.


The presence of cockroaches is enough to give any potential buyer pause, and the fact that they, like rats and mice, come out mostly at night can make them hard to detect. Look for cracks and gaps in walls and around windows where roaches can get in, and look for their droppings, which may appear as dust or smudges, on walls, along floorboards, and under sinks. While they may not cause structural damage, the presence of a even a single roach is a problem, and a major infestation can take months to clear.

Carpenter Bees

While any type of bee’s nest can be a problem, particularly if you are allergic to stings, carpenter bees are a real nuisance. They make nests by drilling holes in wood around your home, such as on decks and porches, and can quickly multiply and make your outdoor uninhabitable if not attended to right away. Look for signs such as small, circular holes in beams, as well as the presence of saw dust from their drilling on your porches railings and floors.


Termite infestations do serious, structural damage to your home. According to the Cornell University’s Integrated Pest Management Program, unlike other household pests, you will not likely be able to notice termites or any damage they have caused without an inspection. Termite inspections are required before buying a home, and sellers are generally obligated to fix any damage if these types of pests are found.

Contact Our New York Real Estate Attorneys For Help

There are any number of issues that can come up when buying or selling a home, and at Cavallo and Cavallo, we provide the legal knowledge and experience to help you deal with them all. Our experienced New York real estate attorneys work hard to protect your rights and interests throughout the buying or selling process, and can guide you to the services and products you need to make sure your home is safe and ready to be sold. With offices in the Bronx and Westchester, we can help; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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