It has been a long, cold and snowy winter. What happens when it gets too cold for little varmints to live outside? They come inside of course. Surely you’ve noticed the occasional mouse droppings or heard them tippy toeing through your walls or ceilings. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a good mouser of a cat that handles these delicate matters for you. Heaven forbid my cat or dog bothers getting their paws dirty. Ok, maybe once or twice, but only if that mouse walks right out in front of them. Personally, I think my cat brings them in during the Fall and stocks up for the winter – it gives him something to play with.
You might have noticed that this time of year, these cute little critters start moving around more. They’re probably busy building nests and getting ready to have little mouse babies. Have you ever seen a mouse baby? They are so cute!
What? You thought that now that spring has sprung they’re going to head back outside all by themselves? Don’t be silly. They have a nice warm place to live. Safe enough save for the bored cat that gets in the way sometimes. There’s certainly plenty of food to eat. Just look around. A crumb here and there, a dropped nibble, cat food, dog food, bird food, people food – it’s all good and it’s all mouse food.
Now don’t go freaking out on me. I hear you out there screaming, “There’s no mouse in my house!” You’re right, there is no mouse in your house. There are several mice in your house. They don’t live by themselves, you know. They have little mouse families, just like you and me.
So where does real estate fit into any of this nonsense? Well, are you trying to sell your house or want to in the near future? Might be a good idea to get rid of the evidence and help your cute little winter boarders move back outside -– where they BELONG, right? If you’re lucky, you have calm, cool buyers that understand such things. Mice are not an unusual problem to encounter, yet it might give those buyers an edge when considering an offering price. After all, you have mice!
So what are you supposed to do? Should you call an exterminator? Sure, why not. What are they going to do? They might set out poison for those little devils or traps. Those are fun. Especially when you hear them snap shut in the middle of the night. If you have pets or small children, though, be careful. Poison is poison – it’s poisonous! It could make you very sick or worse. And those traps? OUCH! I hate those things.
What else is that exterminator going to do? He (or she) is looking around to try and figure out how those little guys get in. Good luck! Any little hole will do. They can even come through your dryer vent and poke holes in the tube. I swear I’ve heard whole nests fly out when I turn the dryer on.
Do you really want that potential buyer walking through your house noticing all your nice features, spiffy appliances, awesome staging job, beds all made, bathrooms sparkling clean and then –- what’s that?! A mouse trap? Poison? “They must have varmint issues. Let’s get out of here.” I have an agent in my office that will cry at the mere mention of mice.
Ok, so what’s your solution? Simple: Hide those things. You have a showing coming up? You’re going to clean your house aren’t you? Well, aren’t you? So don’t forget the mouse pellets, pick up the poison and traps and put them away. What if these buyers have small children with them, the last thing you need is for those kids to get into something like that.
Am I in any way suggesting you hide a problem? Absolutely not. Disclose, disclose, disclose is the rule of the day. You have a Seller’s Information report that your Realtor should have given you to fill out. Fill it out! And be honest and straightforward. Lay it all out on the table. Do you have any underground fuel tanks? Has the roof ever leaked? Water in the basement? Got all your permits? Any asbestos hiding somewhere? Mold? What else ya’ got you might need to tell them about?
Oh, yea, there it is – is there any infestation by pests that affect the property? Yes or No? Tell the truth now and explain what you are doing to remedy the problem. Buyers appreciate honesty and appreciate knowing you are actively working on solving those problems. If they get freaked out by the occasional mouse or bug in the house, maybe they shouldn’t be buying a house. I’m here to tell you, come winter, they’re coming in and there’s no stopping them. All you can hope for is to scale down the invasion till you get to spring and can herd them outside.