Most people cringe at the thought of bed bugs—especially those who have had to deal with an infested home or condo. But how do you go about the selling process? You can treat the home first and get rid of the bed bug infestation, though some states may require full disclosure to a potential buyer. If the treatment wasn’t completed or fully effective, you may also end up with additional expenses or a botched deal post-closing. You can also seek out an investor who will buy the home and not deal with the infestation issues.
Before we move further, let’s talk about bed bugs. It’s a common myth that bed bugs are attracted to dirt and filth. This is not true; bed bugs only need three elements for survival: warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. As you can tell, these elements are not uncommon to any home or condo, regardless of size or price. Bed bugs are known to be expert hiders and live in the smallest cracks and crevices of a residence; they can be found in mattresses, bed springs, upholstery, furniture baseboards and wallpaper.
The latter two elements are what cause the most pain for those selling a home or condo. If bed bugs are known to be present, disclosure laws in most states require that the seller provide an accurate statement about the property’s condition, including infestation. Therefore, it is legal to sell your home or condo if it is infested with bed bugs, however, it may decrease in value.
While there are options for removing a bed bug infestation before selling your house or condo, it’s not always cost effective. Treatments can be very expensive – upwards of $1500. While pesticides and bombs, also known as aerosol foggers, are less costly than the heat treatment, they coat your home in poison, putting families and pets at risks. These cheaper treatments also fail to get in places where adults, eggs, and nymphs reside.
Everything You Need to Know About Selling A House With Bed Bugs
Is it Legal To Sell a House or Condo with Bed Bugs?
Yes, it is legal to sell a house or condo with bed bugs. Real estate disclosure laws in most states require the seller to inform the buyer of an infestation; however, there are loopholes. There are states where sellers are not required to complete a disclosure statement but instead pay a penalty to the buyer. Some disclosure statements are also so vague that a bed bug infestation is not a specific question.
These disclosures differ from state to state; you can find your requirements at your local health department. You can also contact the building manager if selling a condo, as condo disclosures may differ from selling a home.
What if the Neighbor Condos Have Them Too?
It’s usually not the responsibility of the condominium association to eliminate the infestation; however, bed bugs can move from one unit to another through adjoining walls, electrical wiring, and plumbing. Once they reach that common area then the condominium association will need to eliminate the bugs, notify unit owners, and require them to treat their living space.
Do They Need to Be Gone Before You Can Sell?
No. But many homebuyers require a pest inspection along with the traditional home inspection, and bed bugs can typically deter a potential buyer. From a legal perspective, sellers are only required to fix structural defects, and anything that violates a building code or safety standards. In regards to bed bug infestations, the buyer can negotiate the added costs of removal.
Who Typically Buys Houses With Bed Bugs and Why?
Typical buyers would include:
- Real estate investors
- Land buyers
- Companies looking to acquire a block of land or a building to make a rental
- House flippers
These types of buyers do not intend on living there, but buy these homes to fully gut and rehab or rebuild. In turn, they can sell the property for more money than their purchase price. Basically, a buyer would still consider the purchase of a bug-infested home if they calculate the profit being more than the investment.
What Happens if I Don’t Disclose But Knew They Were There?
In some states, bed bugs are not a disclosure that is required by law. However, if you live in a state where it is, there can be some serious consequences in not disclosing a bed bug infestation. The most common is canceling the purchase.
Some buyers put a contract in place that includes contingencies to give them a way out of a purchase agreement without losing any money by requiring a return of what is in escrow. You can also face the potential risk of getting sued or having to reach some sort of agreement or settlement. This will end up with you needing to pay monetary damages, costs of extermination, and other fees.
If you’re looking to sell a house or condo with bedbugs, we’re here to help. We can get you the answers to all your questions and get you on your way to selling your home or condo. Call us now for a free consultation.
You can also read up on other kinds of common infestation problems that people face: