Matthew Slutsky
August 24, 2009

Everyone is talking about the “social media” as the latest and greatest tool to sell homes. I don’t think there is an agent around who isn’t on Twitter, Facebook, and writing blog postings about their successes. But, does your agent know about… the Bedbug Sniffing Dog!

The bedbug has emerged as a serious issue to home purchasers, especially in multiple unit complexes where the bugs can easily spread throughout an entire building where treatment is often completed per unit in isolation of the entire building. People are walking away from deals due to the presence of such bugs.

The bedbug (or bed bug) is an insect of the family Cimicidae that lives by hematophagy – feeding on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. Its name comes from its preferred habitat: mattresses, sofas, and other furniture; although not strictly nocturnal, bedbugs are mainly active at night. Writing this posting makes me want to watch another episode of HBO’s amazing TV show True Blood!

Teri Karush Roger recently brought this issue to light in the New York Times article Buying and Selling in Bedbug City, where Rogers writes:

Scattered among notations about routine matters in the co-op’s records lay the exploded fragments of a bombshell.

“The minutes referenced multiple attempts to exterminate bedbugs in the building,” said Steven Ebert, the Manhattan real estate lawyer who represented the buyers.

What was the background to the story? According to Rogers:

Although bedbugs hadn’t been detected in the seller’s apartment, a bedbug-sniffing dog — currently in vogue as a helpful if not foolproof detection device — had spotted potential infestations in a third of the co-op’s 90-odd units, though the insects had been seen in only two. A buildingwide extermination effort had been mounted just a few months earlier — but at least 10 owners, including the sellers, had declined to have their homes treated.

While mosquitoes are sucking people blood, rats are roaming the streets and apartments, and cockroaches infest buildings, are bedbugs really that bad?? I think so!

When buying resale, don’t forget to ask about the status of bedbugs in the building, have a lawyer review the Board’s Minutes (if in a condo) and, call for a bedbug sniffing dog! Social media outlets may give your property better exposure, but the presence of bedbugs may kill the deal.

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