Treating for Termites

Whether you are buying, selling or living in a home, termites are likely something you will encounter.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that homeowners spend more than $2 billion annually on termite pest control and on repairs caused by termite damage.  Termites also damage more than 600,000 homes annually here in the United States.  Therefore, termite prevention and control are a critical part of home maintenance.

2 story home photoThe first thing to remember is that termites do work slowly.  Most termite colonies take 2-3 years to form.  Therefore, if you do see evidence of termites, you have time to determine how you’re going to deal with them most effectively, and it’s not going to be an emergency situation.  Generally speaking, termites become more active in times of moisture as they can’t move around without moisture.  So here in Arizona, that time is typically after monsoon season has ended, and the temperatures have dropped—mid-September through December.

It’s critical that you have a termite inspection of your home at least once a year.  In between the inspection times, be sure you personally walk around the exterior and interior of your home every few months to look for mud tubes (dry brown tubes the width of a pencil on the walls).   If you do discover evidence of termites in the form of these tubes, it’s time to call a termite exterminator.  This is a matter of opinion, but there’s an argument to be made that you should sign up for a termite service that will be around in the next several years so they can repeat the service if there are problems later on.  Finding a warranty service that will warrant the service is very important.

Finally, take steps to prevent future termites.  Preventing moisture from getting inside the walls of your home is critical.  Therefore, keep your home’s foundation dry by preventing irrigation systems from dripping or leaking near your home’s structure.  Keep attics well-ventilated and seal all openings into your home such as cracks and knotholes.  Taking these simple steps will go a long way to prevent these omnipresent wood-loving bugs.

 

Crime Rates

neighborhood-street photoWhen determining what neighborhood is a good fit for you and your family, several factors likely come into play.  These factors probably include how far the neighborhood is from your place of employment, or the local airport if you travel often, whether the schools are a good fit for your children, whether there are HOAs, how centrally located the neighborhood is to shopping and major freeways.  One item you may not consider right away is the rate of crime in that particular neighborhood.  These statistics aren’t as obvious or as easily discovered as the others, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t as important.

One good resource which also arguably offers the most accurate statistics is the local police department in the city or zip code in which you are searching.  For the City of Phoenix, this Police Department website offers crime maps and stats, as well as neighborhood crime counts.  This information will give you a clear picture of how much, or how little, crime has happened in that particular neighborhood.  For the City of Scottsdale, this website features the same information, specific to the city of Scottsdale.

There are also privately-run and managed websites which also offer and analyze such information.  One such website is Neighborhood Scout, which not only ranks the “safest” neighborhoods based on the numbers of reported crimes, but also groups the types of crimes between property and violent crimes.  Another privately run website which discusses crime statistics is this one, which examines crimes in Scottsdale by year and compares Scottsdale to other cities in Arizona.  These websites should only be used as a general starting point, as their accuracy can’t be verified like the government-run websites.

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