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I have many stories about Fleas and Rodents that I have encountered over the years. However, the following two stories are my favorites and therefore I have decided to share them with my millions of readers (or at least those who are interested in my Real Estate horror stories). Enjoy 🙂 !

Fleas

Did you know that fleas can jump up to 13 inches in the air ? That is 200 times their own body height. They do it all by propelling from their toes. To put that in perspective that is the equivalent of a human standing on the ground and jumping to the top of a 100 story building using only their toes. Check out this short video

Now that you have the fun facts of fleas lets talk a little about the dangers. Fleas can be annoying as they bite people and animals causing itchy, red bumps on our skin. I’m sure most of you give your pets a monthly flea pill because fleas are a real problem here in Florida. Fleas can cause all sorts of skin problems mostly resulting from excessive scratching. Fleas carry diseases which can be transmitted to humans and animals through their bite. Fleas can cause a myriad of health problems including tapeworms, murine typhus and the bubonic plague.

Now with all of your flea facts and fears in place I will tell you about my most fun flea experience (insert sarcasm here). Around 2010-2011 the wave of Florida short sales had started to take off, and not only could homeowners not afford their mortgage payments anymore but they certainly could not afford to maintain their properties. We had a distressed investment property owner call us who lived in Miami and was attempting to manage his own property from a distance. Now, not only should you hire a professional even if you are local but especially if you live a far distance away (but that is a story for another blog, “Do it yourself property management disasters”). Surprise Surprise the tenant had decided to stop paying the rent and subsequently destroyed the already underwater homeowners investment property. By the time the tenant had moved out we had to go to the property to obtain pictures of the exterior and the interior to put it for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The property was in a pretty wooded part of Apopka and when we pulled up to the property in the middle of the summer we heard dogs going crazy in the garage. We opened the front door and curious about the animals we walked into the dark home (no power or water was on) towards the garage. In the garage we found two dogs chained up that the tenant had left with water and food but it still had to be over 100 degrees in the garage. We called the tenant and apparently they were just there for the day (we still called animal control). As we walked through the property we (we being my husband, mother-in-law and myself) started to notice that our legs were starting to itch. My husband was wearing a light khaki colored dress paints and when he looked down to see what was going on he discovered his pants covered with one to two dozen black spots which turned out to be fleas. Once the mystery of the itchy legs had been discovered we hauled out the front door like a band of lunatics screaming and flailing our arms and as soon as we were out the front door we proceeded to shake out our clothes. I’m not sure if anyone saw us but I would have loved to have had a video of this. Obviously from any distance one could not readily observe the fleas that we were running from nor the atrocity that we had discovered in the woods in an Apopka home. I have never felt like I needed to shower as much as I did right after that.

Now we had a new problem, how to make the home available for other Realtors® to show their potential clients? One might think it would be as easy as call the homeowner to call a pest control company…but not on a short sale. The owners didn’t have any money which is why they were in this position to begin with. So now we either walk away from the deal or we deal with it ourselves and try to help the seller. So in all our wisdom we hired one of our friends to go throw literally a dozen flea bombs into the vacant house. At the end of the day the homeowner would not cooperate with us to get their home sold so the bank foreclosed on the property. We had been attacked by fleas, purchased flea bombs and paid someone to go back into the property to set off the bombs. Our reward? Itchy legs, a hundred dollar loss and ultimately no paycheck not to mention the countless hours of our time lost. Welcome to the life of a real estate agent.

For your viewing pleasure here is an old fashioned flea circus:

Rodents

Other than the pitter patter of little feet in the ceiling above you how do you know if you have unwelcome company? Well, I found that out by thinking we had a roof leak in a property we managed. I asked my contractor to go fix a roof leak  because there was a stain in the ceiling and it had to be attributed to rain coming through the roof and landing on the drywall in the ceiling (logically what else could cause a stain in the ceiling). So the contractor went to the property and called me saying there was no roof leak. An open and shut case had quickly turned into the mystery of the stained ceiling. So I sent a second contractor to the property to prime and paint the ceiling and when he got to the property he called me and told me that in fact the stain would continue to keep coming back. When I asked why he responded by telling me that he discovered rats in the attic and the stains were actually rat urine. In order to get rid of the stains for good we would need a pest control company to come and trap the rats. Interesting but true, however, what makes this story truly interesting is in the actual pest control.

I am sure most of you have heard of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but for those of you who haven’t (where have you been for the last 30 years) here is the Wikipedia definition (the most reliable source available…jk but it works for the Ninja Turtles 😉 ): “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are a fictional team of four teenage anthropomorphic turtles, named after four Renaissance artists, who were trained by their anthropomorphic rat sensei in the art of ninjutsu.” This ‘anthropomorphic rat sensei’ is named Master Splinter and is a human sized rat. Apparently the pest control company (in business for 20+ years) had never seen a rat the size of the one they discovered in this property and therefore named it Master Splinter. Don’t believe me? Check out the below proof from when they caught the elusive “Master Splinter”.

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To bring the picture full circle here is a picture of the actual Master Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:buy generic cytotec online

Now picture this rat running around in your attic peeing on your ceiling and perhaps you will find the same humor in this story that I did when they called me and told me they caught Master Splinter. I can tell you that no turtles were found in the attic and therefore I am pretty sure the dirty rat that was caught in the attic was not a martial arts master 😉 Hope you enjoyed my roach, flea and rodent stories 🙂 I am sure these will not be the end of my adventures with these critters but such is the life of a Real Estate Aficionado.

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