Hooray! It’s finally spring! After a long, dark, and cold winter, Canadians rejoice. But what’s that crawling in my dishwasher? Well, if you are me, it is an ant colony. Seriously?! Apparently, this is a common problem that is relatively easy to fix with a call to the local exterminator company. But it had my disgusted wife passionately exclaim that it’s “time to move!”. Buyer beware.
After she put the vacuum down, I explained that even if we were to move, we’d want to deal with the ant problem prior to listing. A seller is legally obligated to inform the buyer of any problems that would not be discovered during a home inspection (e.g. carpenter ants hiding in the appliances). If the seller does not disclose any latent or hidden defects after a sale is finalized, or makes misrepresentations, the buyer could seek court action. In my opinion, a buyer should always conduct a home inspection prior to finalizing a sale.
Temporarily muzzling the ants prior to showings would also not be ethical. Real estate agents have disclosure obligations as prescribed in the Code of Ethics. The Real Estate Council of Ontario requires agents to disclose any material facts that affect the market value of the property. The Code of Ethics defines a “material fact” as a fact that would affect a reasonable person’s decision to acquire or dispose of an interest in real estate. The occurrence of a murder or suicide raises an interesting question (I’ll save this for another discussion).
So, the next time you have ants in your pants (or dishwasher) and decide it’s time to move, I recommend that you contact your real estate professional for advice.
By way of update, we successfully removed the ants by using vinegar, and a peppermint oil spray. Go green when you can!