Should You Get a Pest Inspection Before Closing?

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|10 min read

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As a first time home buyer, there are few things more exciting than having your offer accepted on your dream home! But before you close on that property, it’s important to make sure that the home is liveable and free from harmful pests that can cause problems once you move in. Pests can cause significant damage and potentially even pose a threat to your health. That’s why hiring a pest control company is a critical step in the home buying process. 

Signs of pest infestation aren’t immediately obvious to the untrained eye. The chances of identifying pests are low if you don’t know where to look. It’s also possible that conditions exist within the home that make the property vulnerable to pests in the near future, such as wood rot and excessive moisture. This is why requesting a home pest inspection before closing is important to both buyers and lenders. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to navigate a termite inspection after an offer is accepted, so you can be sure your new home is a safe and comfortable place to live. From understanding what goes into a pest inspection to how it differs from a home inspection, we’ll cover everything you need to know about pests as a new homeowner. 

termites

What goes into a pest inspection?

A pest inspection is a thorough examination of a property to determine if there are any signs of pest infestations or damage caused by pests. During the inspection, a licensed pest inspector will typically examine both the interior and exterior of the property, including the basement, crawl space, attic, roof, and surrounding grounds. 

The inspector will look for visible signs of pest activity, such as droppings, shed wings, or termite tubes, as well as any damage caused by pests, such as chewed wires or wood damage. They may also use specialized tools such as moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to detect hidden pest activity.

In addition to termites, pest inspections may also cover other common household pests such as rodents, ants, and cockroaches. The inspector will provide a detailed report of their findings, including any areas of concern and recommended treatment options. 

How are pest inspections different from home inspections?

With all of the steps required to close on a property, it can be easy to confuse a pest inspection with a home inspection. A home inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of a property’s overall condition, including its structure, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, among other things. 

>> AGENT ANSWERS: How does a home appraisal and inspection help a home buyer?

A pest inspection, on the other hand, is a separate process focused specifically on identifying any signs of pest activity or damage. Both inspections are important steps in the home buying process, and can provide valuable information to help the home buyer make an informed decision about their purchase.

When a home goes under contract, it’s usually contingent on results of the home inspection. This means that if something undesirable about the property is discovered during the home inspection, the buyer may be able to pull out of the deal. This could also apply to a pest inspection if it’s worked into the purchase agreement.

Home inspectors look for all kinds of hazards or major defects on the property that could prove unsafe or significantly impact the value of the home. Although they may pick up on a few signs that indicate the presence of pests, they’re limited in what they can reveal, because they’re not pests specialists. If home inspectors find something suspicious such as wood rot or moisture, they’ll recommend a specialist take a closer look. 

What does a pest inspection cost, and who pays for it?

Pest inspection costs can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the location of the property, the size of the property, and the scope of the inspection. On average, a pest inspection can cost anywhere from $75 to a couple hundred dollars. In some cases, it may be more depending on the level of detail required.

In some cases, the home seller may be responsible for covering the cost of the inspection, while in other cases, the home buyer is the one responsible for payment. It’s important to review the terms of the purchase agreement to know who is responsible for covering the cost of the pest inspection before ordering one.

It’s worth noting that while a pest inspection may add an additional cost to the home buying process, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your new home is free from unwanted pests and move-in ready. A pest inspection can also identify potential issues that may need to be addressed before closing on the home, which could end up saving you money in the long run.

What are the benefits to hiring a pest control company before closing?

While it’s not always required by law, it’s highly recommended to get a pest inspection before closing on a home. The average infestation of carpenter ants can cost homeowners $6,000 to $10,000 in damages. There are quite a few reasons why home buyers are better off getting a pest inspection before they close.

Protect your Investment

The first and most obvious benefit to getting a termite inspection is protecting your investment. If there are pests on the property, it’s best to find out sooner rather than later. Once you close on the house, there’s little you can do to get the seller to address the pest problem. That responsibility is now yours as the new homeowner. 

Ensure Safety and Health

Certain pests, such as rodents, can pose a serious threat to you and your family’s health and safety. Rodents carry diseases such as Salmonella, a bacterial disease affecting the intestinal tract which is particularly harmful to children and those with compromised immune systems. Pests can also create fire hazards by chewing on electrical wires which could create a short circuit, cause a spark and ignite nearby flammable materials.

Prevent Costly Repairs

In addition to putting your home at risk for a fire hazard, pests can also cause significant damage to a home’s structure and furnishings. Termites are some of the most common culprits found in pest inspections, causing extensive damage to wood. Rodents can chew through a home’s pipes and insulation, which could be very expensive for a homeowner in the long run. 

pest inspection

What can I expect from a pest inspection before closing?

How long a pest inspection lasts will depend on how bad the pest infestation is. Pest inspections can last as little as 30 minutes if there are no signs of pest presence or vulnerable conditions. A large home with an attic, a basement, or other crawl spaces will warrant a longer pest inspection to make sure that all areas of the home are covered. 

It’s important to note that reputable pest inspectors will not only look for the presence of pests, but also areas that could house pests in the future. For example, wood mulch in flower beds located right up against the house’s foundation is a pest problem that could attract termites in the future and should be removed. This is why it’s important to not rely solely on a home inspector and contract a pest inspector for further investigation.

A thorough pest inspection also includes identification of pest damage signs such as holes, gnaw marks, and foul odor. This lets the inspector know that there may be pests on the property even aren’t easily visible. Here is how termite inspections typically go:

Exterior & Interior Pest Control Inspection

The trained pest inspector will first examine the exterior of the property, including the roof, walls, foundation, and landscaping. They’ll also examine the property’s interior, including attics, basements, crawl spaces, and other areas where pests may hide. During these inspections, pest experts look for any signs of pests, damage, or potential entry points. They’ll also check for pest droppings and nesting materials.

Assessment of Risk Factors

After examining the exterior and interior aspects of the property, the inspector will identify any pests present on the property including rodents, including rodents, termites, ants, roaches, and other common pests. They’ll also assess any risk factors that may increase the likelihood of pest infestation, such as standing water, wood-to-ground contact, or improper drainage

Recommendations for Pest Control Treatments

Lastly, if any pests or potential risks are identified, the inspector will provide a detailed pest report of their findings, including any recommended pest prevention treatment or repairs. This pest inspection report is important to obtain because it can be used to negotiate repairs or treatments with the seller before closing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how getting a professional pest inspection before closing can be beneficial to you as a homebuyer, talk to one of the top real estate agents in your area. They’ll guide you through the process from start to finish and can advise on other aspects of your home purchase.

>>DISCOVER: When Do You Get Paid After Selling Your House?

Vivian Tejada

Vivian Tejada is a freelance real estate writer from Providence, RI. She writes SEO blogs for real estate, travel and hospitality companies. She's passionate about the future of work and helping Latin American freelancers achieve time, location, and financial freedom. When she’s not writing you can find her at the gym, a family cookout, or at brunch with her girls.

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