Did a mouse drop by your open house? Unbeknownst to you, this unwelcome guest is probably already a permanent resident.

Homes, especially vacant ones, are a common refuge for small animals and bugs seeking warmth in the winter months.

Below is some expert advice Dr. Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director, gave to the National Association of Realtors recently on how to protect you home from three common types of cold weather pests: rodents, wildlife, and insects.

Rodents

Culprits: House mice, roof rats, Norway rats
Threats: Gnawing through electrical wires can cause fire. Urine and fecal matter can contaminate food and harbor diseases.
Prevention Tips: Install weather stripping on all doors and windows; trim overgrown branches, plants, and bushes; advise clients not to leave dirty dishes in the sink or pet food out at night.

Wildlifemouse

Culprits: Raccoons, opossums, squirrels, bats, various species of mice and rats
Threats: Chewing holes into a home’s structure to reach hidden areas. May carry rabies, hantavirus, or LCMV.
Prevention Tips: Inspect crawl spaces; cover attic vents and fan openings with wire cloth; advise clients to use hard plastic or metal waste bins with tightly fitted, clamped lids.

Insects

Culprits: Stink bugs, lady bugs, cluster flies, kudzu beetles
Threats: Feed on plants, fruits, and crops
Prevention Tips: Seal all cracks and crevices with caulk; place screens over doors and windows; install door sweeps under all doors.

Cold Weather, Warm House

How do you make a home look inviting in a photograph when the ground is frozen, the tree limbs are bare, and the sky is overcast? Even if your area doesn’t get much snow, many grasses go dormant in the winter months, turning a lifeless yellow or brown.

Here are some tips from real estate professionals and photographers to make your San Diego home‘s exterior listing photos pop during the winter.

  • Follow the sun: Capture the home’s exterior when the sun is lighting the front of the house
  • Add some color: Place hearty potted plants, such as mums, poinsettias, or ornamental cabbages, around the front entrance
  • Tidy up landscaping: Even in the colder months, homeowners need to make sure the lawn is well-manicured
  • Specialty photo: An image of a home glistening under an evening sky look beautiful and mask some dead greenery, but tread carefully. Flipping on lights and snapping a quick photo in the dark will likely yield poor results.

If your photos still suffer from the winter blahs, call in a pro. Don’t just pick a photo from a warmer season. The main exterior photo should reflect the current season. so that it’s clear the listing is new to the market.

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This is filed under National Markets.


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