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The Impact of Pest Infestations on Property Value and What Owners Should Know

Guest Post by Adrian Nita

Life in the nation’s capital can be sweet — historic neighborhoods, impressive monuments, and
beautiful cherry blossoms. However, homeownership here comes with its own set of challenges.
With over 100 species of ants within the state, many rats, mice, and raccoons are finding

homes in residential areas, and insects such as bed bugs and termites are causing daily
problems so it can be a struggle.

Infestations degrade structures, make life hard for residents, and can significantly affect buyer
perception during potential future sales. So, how much do pests bite into property values, and
more importantly, what can homeowners do about it?

The Costly Consequences of Pest Infections

Dollar bills. Why Redfin may not be for you
Pests can be costly!

According to research by the National Pest Management Association, termite-induced damage
alone costs U.S. homes around $5 billion annually. This noteworthy sum doesn’t even account
for damage caused by other pests like rodents or ants.

A home with past pest troubles can deter prospective buyers due to perceived risks,
negatively affecting the property’s market evaluation. According to Express, pest infestations
can reduce a home’s value by 20%. That’s a significant drop that no homeowner wants to

Beyond just the financial concern, pests also have a heavy social stigma. Nobody
wants to be labeled the neighbor with a vermin-infested home…It’s pretty embarrassing and

The Termite Impact

While pests in general, erode your property value, termites are arguably the most destructive of
them all. The damage they wreak can be immense: tearing down wooden structures, massive
colonies within walls, and weakening the overall structural integrity of your home.

You might find it shocking to know that a massive subterranean termite colony might eat
through about 15 pounds of wood every week. Homes with significant infestations have been known
to collapse entirely.

Now, translate this into potential damage to your property, and you will understand why part of
being a responsible homeowner means figuring out how to get rid of termites in Washington,
D.C., or any other city, for that matter.

The Rodent Invasion

Rodents can affect the value of your property almost as much as termites do. If you’ve ever had
mouse or rat infestations, then you know what these destructive pests are capable of. Rodents
can chew through wires, insulation, and even some types of walls.

Plus, the harm they inflict is not only structural, as rodents have a knack for interfering with
electrical systems. According to PestWorld, electrical faults caused by rodents chewing their
way into wiring result in 20-25% of all accidental building fires.

Insect Infestations

Bed bugs and roaches, although less destructive physically than termites or rodents, can also
dent your property value. Mainly because they hit where it hurts the most: the reputation of your

A history of bed bug invasions may raise eyebrows among potential buyers or renters. The
difficulty of eradicating these pests once they’ve moved in is enough to make any house hunter
think twice, impacting both your selling price and desirability.

Roach trouble? The same applies, albeit to a slightly lesser degree. Cockroaches don’t really
stir up warm feelings of homeyness and comfort. Instead, they’re associated with filth and
uncleanliness, which are other reputation breakers.

What Every Homeowner Should Know

Woman holding wallpapter
What homeowners need to know

Pest control and law go hand in hand, especially when pests affect properties and buildings in
Washington, D.C. The responsibility usually lies with the property owner. However, if you’re
renting, you also have rights and responsibilities as a tenant, depending on the situation.

The Office of the Attorney General lists tenants’ rights in Washington, including their right to a
pest-free environment. However, tenants must also do their part to maintain cleanliness and immediately report any signs of pests


When selling a property, homeowners are obligated by real estate rules and regulations to
disclose any history of pest infestations. This applies even if you successfully eradicated an
infestation before putting your home on the market.

What Can You Do?

Given the hefty devaluation pests can cause and their potential to scare off interested
buyers, it makes financial sense to keep your home pest-free. What’s the best way to deal
with pest troubles if you want to sell or rent out your property?

Regular Inspections

Make regular checks a part of your home maintenance routine so you can spot any pest issues
early before they start multiplying. Look out for signs like droppings, chewed furniture or wiring,
strange sounds within walls, or signs of termite damage, such as bubbling paint, mud tubes, or
damaged wood.

Maintenance and Repair

Proper maintenance is one way to ensure pests don’t find their way into your home. This could
be as simple as sealing gaps around doors and windows or ensuring the plumbing isn’t creating
standing water.

Keep it Clean

Pests love messy homes. Regular cleaning can deter many pests from settling on your property.
Trim overgrown foliage, clean up stagnant waters, and manage waste well.

Professional Help

If you notice signs of pests or infestations, don’t just ignore them, hoping they’ll go away on their
own (hint: they won’t!). Pros know how to handle pest problems effectively without causing
further damage to your property.

Sell As-Is

Suppose the worst happens, and your property has a widespread pest infestation that would be
expensive to treat effectively. You could decide to sell as-is, putting your house on the market
sans repairs or specific treatments for pest elimination, essentially selling at a discounted price,
accounting for repairs needed after purchase.

This will eat into profits somewhat because it is sold below market value. If the cost of handling
renovations post-infestation far exceed the gains from a full-price sale, then this may prove to
be the most financially prudent choice.

Keep the Value of Your Home

Keep your home value up by controlling pests.

A pest-free home is about comfort and health and directly impacts your property’s
value. After all, real estate is one of the most significant investments many of us will ever make.
So far from being a purely cosmetic or hygienic, pest control could mean the difference
between making a profit on that investment or taking a severe financial hit.

Let the experts at Eng Garcia help you today!

Adrian Nita is a former marine navigation officer turned writer with more than 3 years of experience in the field.
He loves writing about anything and everything. When he’s not writing, Adrian enjoys spending time with
his family and friends or hiking in the great outdoors.

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