House hunting can be fun, but also frustrating at times. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect home, you discover something is terribly wrong with it. The good news is that you can usually uncover these problems before you purchase, saving you a lot of time, money and heartache. And if you decide to proceed with the purchase anyway, at least you will be prepared to deal with the situation, such as pest control remedies.

So, as you’re touring homes, take these measures to detect an infestation.

Listen up. Many pests, particularly rats and mice, will make scratching noises. But since they’re mostly nocturnal, and more active at night, you might not always hear them during normal home-touring hours.

Look for droppings. Rodents will leave very tell-tale droppings, although a savvy home seller would obviously be cleaning frequently. Check in less-obvious places, such as inside cabinets and drawers.

While you’re looking… Observe any signs of possible nesting behaviors, like shredded papers or fabrics inside cabinets, behind appliances, and in dark corners.

Check for openings. Check around the home for openings, through which pests can enter. Often these will be easy enough to repair, but getting rid of unwanted “guests” already living in the home will be another matter.

Beware mud tunnels and “sawdust”. Check around the foundation of the home for mud tunnels, which indicate the presence of termites. Small piles of “sawdust” are another clue.

Watch out for humidity. Most pests, from insects to rodents, prefer to live near a steady supply of water. So, if the home has any moisture issues, you’re likely to encounter pests as well. Look for signs of water damage, especially in basements and around appliances that use water. If you do discover moisture in the home, you will likely face repairs plus a pest problem.

Look for rust-colored stains. If the home is still furnished, check for rust-colored stains on mattresses and couches. These are a sign of bedbug feces. Not only is that disgusting; bedbugs can be ridiculously difficult to eradicate.

Ask a pest control technician to examine the home. The above are just some of the more common signs of a pest infestation. If you’re seriously considering a home purchase, having the property professionally inspected for insects, mice, and rats is a smart move. If a home is otherwise perfect, you might wish to proceed with the purchase even if we uncover a pest situation. But at least you’ll know what you’re getting into, and will be prepared to deal with the problem.