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Watch out for fleas in run-down buildings

Watch out for fleas in run-down buildings

If you are like most people, you probably don’t have much experience with fleas. Even if you have had minor troubles with them in your home, caused by a dog or cat, you most likely took steps to remove them quickly before they became a problem. But when a property owner simply gives up on any semblance of personal hygiene, or a property is left vacant for a long time, a minor problem can snowball into something huge.

Such was the case when I went into a run-down short-sale building in South St. Louis this afternoon. This property was occupied, the owner had a dog, and the place was filthy. I did a quick walkthrough and got out as fast as I could. Only, when I stepped outside, I noticed the wonderful gift of fleas all over my ankles. Disgusting? Of course, but I wish I could say this is the first time I have had this happen. Still, this summer has been especially bad for this problem, with a good number of foreclosures seeming to have a flea problem. Between REO companies not fighting these infestations once known, and former property owners that are clearly beyond lazy, the problem is likely to be stopping anytime soon.

So what can you do? The best method is to make sure you have a can of OFF or similar bug spray with you when entering such buildings. I don’t often spray myself beforehand, but if I find fleas on my legs while in a building I will immediately go to the car and spray. Most of this stuff does not kill the fleas, but they will certainly jump off (pun intended) you. Other than that, it’s something that is pretty much just a hazard of the business. Just be prepared so that you can nip the problem in the bud should you encounter it.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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2 thoughts on “Watch out for fleas in run-down buildings”

  • adam

    September 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I had this happen to me in a house on virginia. it was really embarrasing because I was with clients. next thing you know the 3 of us were out in the street swatting our ankles for 10 minutes. I was worried they were going to get in my car!

    Reply
    • Matt Kastner

      September 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      I actually had them get in my car once. Drop to Target and got a huge can of flea spray and sprayed on the spot. Sure, I might have lost a million brain cells by driving home in a car filled with those fumes, but I’ll take that over the plague.

      Reply

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