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November 5, 2018

Community pitches in to help save woman’s ant-infested home in Edmonton

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Karla Touet had worked hard for several years to save up to buy her first home. So when the carpenter ants came marching in, even though her home was severely damaged and compromised, she wasn’t about to give up.

Karla sought out advice, and it seemed that there was a common thread in the advice she received considering the extent of the damage — walk away and claim bankruptcy.

Karla’s story is a little different. She grew up in foster care, so she never really experienced home ownership like many of us do. She would often dream of one day becoming a homeowner and having a place she could truly call her own.

She gained employment as a painter to work toward her goal and formed a company, First Class Interior Painting Inc., and hired some employees. Her little painting business was also a little different. Karla focuses on craftsmanship over production. She would work 16 hours a day, six days a week, going without payroll for months to invest in her team. She focused on training and learning cutting-edge painting techniques. She even provides health benefits for her employees.

After four years of working with the bank to qualify for a mortgage, she finally got the go-ahead on financing. (It is often much more difficult for a self-employed individual to qualify).

Excited about the approval, Karla went looking for her first home. She found one, but after the inspection turned up some significant problems she decided to walk away. Then she found what was to be her new home. It passed inspection with flying colours. It wasn’t anything big and expensive, it was a modest home built in an older Mill Woods neighbourhood, but it was going to be hers.

Karla became a homeowner in 2016. Two years later an ant marched in, then another, and another. She called the exterminator, who treated for the infestation, but the ants came back in bigger numbers. The exterminator came in again, but the ants still came back. The exterminator said she should go looking for wet wood, as it was likely attracting the ants. Then came the hammer! Karla opened up her living room wall on July 19 to discover a massive carpenter ant colony eating her home, as well as a black mould issue.

Keep reading in the Edmonton Journal


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