That is right! Even though we are in the midst of the coldest snap in decades as I write this, it is clear that our plants and indeed all the wildlife out there think spring is in the air. The plum trees have blossoms, daffodils are peeking their heads up through the soil, and a raft of baby-making is going on in the wild.
This means, coyotes are coming to your neighborhood, looking for food for young ones, along with mountain lions in some of the hillier areas, so keep small pets and children safe inside and monitored. Rats are more brazenly intruding in our houses, as are squirrels, mice, bats, and skunks. In the hills, you also need to watch out for wild boar activity.
What does this mean for house preparation and sales? Well, make sure you have good secure fences and gates, and that you have placed really good screens on any openings that get into your crawl space and your roof area. You would be shocked at how small an opening it takes for a rat to get through. They can collapse themselves to less than an inch! So weatherstripping, making sure doors and windows seal tightly, is a must. As a bonus, it will make your home more energy efficient and save you money.
Skunks particularly love to hide underneath houses, in basements, and under garages. They always bring with them their eau de skunk, so it is important not to let them get into these areas in the first place. There are tons of companies that will humanely trap and relocate these animals, so it is always good to try that before killing them-
Buyers will be very put off by any hint that they have to deal with rat or mice intrusion, so make sure that you remove and extrude them any way you can. Also, clean up the crawl spaces, and the attic spaces in your home of rat poop and urine. Mice and rats also love any insulation you have, and it is almost impossible to clean it, so replacing the insulation material in your attic space can be a good call before you have inspections. Bonus points for changing out the filters in your heating system - another place they love to go. This will make sure that you are not sending musty, fetid air throughout the home when the heat is turned up. The area around the water heater, if you have one with a tank, is another place that makes sense to clean thoroughly. Rodents love the warmth!
No one thinks to talk to buyers or sellers about these things unless they come up as issues on an inspection- but it is always a good idea to pre-empt this by thinking about it before and managing it before there is a need to do anything about it. One little secret of home ownership is that we live in their world, and inevitably you will come in contact with critters!