When you first purchase a house it can be an exciting new investment. As a careful, first-time buyer you made sure to dot your I’s and cross your t’s. Hiring a reputable building inspector who spends hours checking into all potential problems with your to-be home can help you in this process. Although everything seems to be going well, an inspection can bring up a few concerns. Usually, whatever comes up seems minor and do-able: and then bats fly in.
First off, just to get you thinking seriously about this concern (even though you’re already checking to see if you have ghosts as well), consider the fact that bats are not pests. In most states, these unique critters are both endangered and protected. Though this is true, when we prep for Halloween by watching scary movies in the dark, bats usually seem to be the theme of spooky. To be the devil’s advocate, Bats are serious insectivores and their populations are on the decline. For this reason alone, they need our protection. This means that it can be difficult to find someone willing to remove them without it being costly.
It is best to avoid this problem completely, by not buying into a house with these symbols of all things scary and to thoroughly investigate the house with a professional that you’ve extensively researched. If you are interested in purchasing a home that is on the older side, it won’t hurt to look for signs of bats as well as checking the ground underneath to make sure it’s not an Indian burial site. Chat with your building inspector before an official house inspection and see that he/she is savvy to these indicators. The following signs may be evidence of bats in your house that are ready to give you haunted house chills:
Look for unusual brown or grey stains in areas where bats might potentially enter the home. These entry points may be attic vents, cracks, and holes under rotted eaves, where a chimney meets the house and openings where the pipes and wiring enter the house. The stains can leave your house looking like it came straight from a Stephen King novel, which is not a look you want to have. The main characteristic of these stains is that they are oil-based and difficult to remove.
The droppings will most likely be found around the roost site. Feces droppings are pellet-like and give off a particular scent. At first, you may think that a ghost is also dwelling in your house with their musky smell, but have no fear, it is the droppings and their smell which is more noticeable in the summer. In the winter months, the scent lessens as the bats have either migrated or are hibernating. Inhaling dust that contains fungal spores found in bat droppings can cause a serious lung infection, and that is more frightening than the famous Halloween icon.
If your inspector thinks they hear the sweet chirping of baby birds, make sure that you can hear it too (otherwise you may have another problem aside from bats). Once it’s confirmed that your inspector hasn’t been possessed by a classic ghost scenario, have them double-check that this social chatter is not emerging from a spooky bat colony. Bat’s audible chatter is very similar to that of birds.
The reason for all the ominous forewarnings is not solely to further bats scary presence. We know that despite their portrayal in many horror flicks, bats are quite helpful mammals to our ecosystem, but who wants to live with bats unless you write murder backward (redrum)? The reason to consider checking for signs of roosting bats is that they can be very tricky to remove. It is illegal to poison these creatures of the night and otherwise ineffective. Proper bat removal usually involves an intervention by a bat removal company. The company will use exclusion methods to remove the bats and seal up any potential re-entry points in your home. Depending on the size of the bat colony and how long they have roosted, the damages, guano clean-up, re-insulation, and repair can be costly and time-consuming. So buyers beware of bats.
Do your research on the property before you buy it and in all seriousness, have a qualified inspector look at your potential investment that knows the signs. If you don’t, you could end up spending more money than you originally planned on due to the removal of our friendly Halloween friends. Don’t wait until the bats have guests over that you can’t see, but can hear saying “boo” throughout the house. Whether you want to resell your property or you’re buying it for yourself, it’s important to make sure it’s bat free before the problem multiplies into ghosts as well.