Writer: Eli J. Pacheco
Did you know that there are more than 280 species of squirrels? Yep. They’re skilled climbers who can leap more than ten times their body length. They eat mostly fruit, nuts, and seeds. They cannot, however, chew their way out of windows if trapped in a vacant home…no matter how hard they try.
Becca Mangini knows this. A three-year Keller Williams agent, Becca can chalk up her crash course on the Sciurus vulgaris – or, common squirrel – to just plain experience.
Or more accurately, AN experience. In a beautiful home in Muirfield.
Among the gorgeous appointments in the home – beautiful hardwood floors, an elegant kitchen redesign, and winsome sunroom, Becca noticed something NOT in the listing.
Chew marks. Lots of chew marks.
“I saw shredded drywall, wood, and plastic on the ground,” Becca says. “Lots of bite marks on the windows. What is going on here? We got to the bonus room, and a squirrel darted past us out of the blue – down the hallway and into the master bedroom!”
Becca and her guests stopped the tour to hunt down their nutty house crasher. With teamwork and a timely open front door, they were able to funnel the fuzzy intruder outside into freedom.
“I started investigating,” Becca says, determined to close the case on the rogue rodent. “I found out he had come through the dryer vent. The dryer was gone because the house was vacant. But they hadn’t sealed the flap, and that’s how he got in.”
She left relevant feedback for the listing agent: Might want to deal with that squirrel damage inside, pronto. And take care of those exterior vents! “They’re not only for birds nests,” Becca says. “They can be entry points for small creatures!”
After Becca’s questions were answered (or unanswered, as it turns out –including, “did he get nutrition from the wood?” – he’d been in there several days, apparently), it was back to doing real estate agent things.
At least, for a while.
Recently, Becca’s zoology skills were called upon once more. As she sat in a living room talking to a buyer and reviewing a sale, she freaked out!
“A little tail was sticking up behind the chair,” Becca said. “What was it, a gecko? It looked like just a little newt, but my brain was thinking, ‘snake’! He ran into a fake plant, and I grabbed it, took it outside and shook him out.”
Becca Doolittle, at your service.
“When a property is vacant, that’s the thing,” Becca says. “A listing agent might think everything is fine, but a house needs to be checked on. It’s your responsibility. There should be no squatters, animals, or pests. It should smell nice, with the heat at an appropriate level.
We tend to think ‘set it and forget it’, right?
Not so, in real estate. You never know who will show up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
“It’s stuff you never even think of,” Becca says. “In real estate school, no one taught me to check for squirrels or newts!”