As real estate experts like Todd Lubar know, there’s a lot more that goes into making sound investment and purchasing decisions than just looking at the structural integrity of a property or the neighborhood it’s located within. Recent problems with pest outbreaks in certain areas just further underscore the need to understand that making sound purchasing decisions requires paying attention to detail and nuance.
Case in point is a problem that homeowners and property managers, as well as real estate entrepreneurs like Todd Lubar are seeing across the country: a growing problem with bed bug infestations. Bed bugs are tiny creatures that are hard to spot before they become a problem, and a problem do they become. Especially in more urban areas, which is why large cities are the ones that most often top lists of places that have infestation problems of all sorts. While there is no way to completely avoid problems with unforeseen pests, it helps to be aware of them and to know what to do in order to watch for them and spot them when considering property investment.
Todd Lubar and others note that one of the biggest problems with bed bugs in urban areas is just how fast they can spread. There are all sorts of ways that bed bugs can hitch rides on various items, bringing them from one place to another, and the next thing you know, you are dealing with a major infestation that can be very hard to get under control. They are tiny creatures that can make their way into a home or property on a mattress, clothing, or even a suitcase or purse.
Obviously, residential areas, particularly densely populated apartment buildings are going to be one of the higher risk places for an outbreak of bed bugs to occur. But as Todd Lubar and others not, it is not just residential properties that are vulnerable to this kind of infestation. Hotels, schools, and places with a lot of traffic are also susceptible to an infestation.
Orkin, the popular pest control company, puts out an annual list that ranks cities in terms of worst problems with particular types of infestations. As expected by Todd Lubar and others is that major cities top the list. The “winner” as the worst is Baltimore, Maryland, for a second year running, which might make people think twice about moving and/or investing in real estate here. But with careful foresight, attention to detail, and regular maintenance, you can set yourself up to be far less likely to deal with this problem, or be able to get the situation under control before it becomes a disaster.
Firstly, you can take a look at available city data to determine where the outbreak is most likely to be concentrated and perhaps avoid potential properties there. Any property that you are thinking of living in or purchasing should be thoroughly inspected. You can ask an inspector to pay particularly close attention to signs of insect and other pest infestations or potential problems. If you are thinking of purchasing and living in a place that has been known to be a haven for bed bugs, Todd Lubar provides a few suggestions for how to keep the issue under control.
You will need to make regular inspections of certain places in your home that tend to be where pests like bed bugs congregate. This means the seams of bed sheets and mattresses, behind picture frames, around wall outlets, and other similar type places. They are small, flat, brown bugs that only need a source of blood in order to make your home theirs and they can become a problem faster than many people might think.
If you do find bed bugs, you need to thoroughly wash all bedding, textiles, and all surfaces of your home very deeply. Deep cleaning and heat treatment are what are most recommended by pest control experts and they often tend to work better than pesticides and other chemical treatment means. There are cases where the only solution is to get rid of certain textiles or other places that you may not be able to get all the eggs out of or you will just face repeated outbreaks.
So while, yes, it does make sense to take more caution when looking into any type of real estate in a place like Baltimore that has topped the list of places with pest issues, it doesn’t mean that you should overlook this area. Baltimore is not the only large city on that list and urban areas will always be more prone to outbreak than other areas, but this is also where it makes most sense to live and own real estate. As experts like Todd Lubar and others remind us, you just need to know what you are dealing with, pay attention to the details, and take appropriate action if you do, in fact, find a problem.