Pest Infestation Signs You Should Keep an Eye out for When House Shopping

Pests are a nasty problem. Every year, people in the U.S. spend $7.47 billion dollars in pest removal and cleanup. 

When you’re shopping for a new home, the last thing you want is to buy a house with a pest infestation. Sellers won’t always be upfront about their pest control problems, so you should be aware of the signs to watch out for.

Learn about these top pest infestation signs so you won’t be blindsided by a pest problem in your new home.

Shredded Paper

As you’re doing your walkthrough, check behind appliances and in cabinets with a flashlight. These are the places that the seller may have overlooked when cleaning. 

If you see bits of shredded paper or other bits of materials, this could be a sign of rats or mice. They use these materials to build their nests.


Yeah, it’s a little gross, but check out photos online to familiarize yourself with what the droppings of common pests look like. When you’re doing your search in those nooks and crannies, keep an eye out for those droppings as well.

Doing your research ahead of time will help you know on the spot which type of pests you might be dealing with. This is helpful if you want to question the seller about the problem. Many states require sellers to disclose problems with pests anyway, so they’ll be open to talking especially since you’ve already broached the subject.

Odd Smells

If there are enough pests present you may notice their odor. For example, the smell of mice has been likened to musty urine. Bed bugs give off a musty, sweet smell. Roaches have a strange smell that is like a cross between feces and soy sauce. 

Scurrying Sounds

Listen closely as you walk through the house, particularly in little-used areas like the attic or the spare bedroom. If you can hear scratching, squeaking, gnawing, or scurrying sounds, that’s a sure sign the home has some unwelcome residents.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy the home outright, but you may want to request that the seller call a pest exterminator before you’ll close the deal.

Bite Marks and Holes

Rats and mice like to chew and will gnaw on everything they can find. Keep an eye out for gnaw marks on electrical wires and other materials throughout the home. 

Watch for holes in the walls and floors as well. These can be indications of pest infestations like carpenter ants or termites.

Should You Buy a Home with a Pest Infestation?

Is buying a home with a pest infestation completely out of the question? Not necessarily. But you do need to know what you’re dealing with.

The law requires that sellers disclose pest problems when selling their home. However, that doesn’t always mean that they will or there may be a problem that they’re not yet aware of. But if you know what to watch for, you’ll know if there’s a problem before you buy.

Looking for more great house-shopping tips? Be sure to check out more articles on our blog!