Pest Inspection: What It Covers And Why It’s Important
Kevin Graham4-minute read
June 18, 2021
When you move into a home, or even after you’ve been in there for a while, you don’t want it to be a habitat for various critters. While a home inspection covers the general systems and structure of a home, a pest inspection is specialized. It’s always a good idea and may even be required, depending on the type of mortgage you’re getting.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about pest inspections and make sure you’re prepared should the need arise is part of your mortgage process.
What Does A Pest Inspection Entail?
A pest inspection includes a search for bugs and other creatures that can cause damage to the structure of your property, a health hazard or both. One common structural concern is caused by termites that get their nutrients from the wood in your house. But various other bugs and rodents can also cause concerns.
A pest inspection usually takes place around the same time as a home inspection or appraisal. In fact, one of the instances it might be required is when an appraiser observes signs of a potential pest problem. However, as a homeowner, you can have an inspection done whenever you’re worried you might have an issue.
Typically, pest inspection and mitigation services are provided by the same types of companies that do extermination. If you suspect a problem and you can visually see where it’s coming from, it may be possible to do some DIY inspection and mitigation. However, this is something that’s often best left to pros. If required to get one for your mortgage, a professional will be required.
With limited exceptions for certain states and counties within states, you usually need a pest inspection if you’re getting a VA loan. One notable exception is VA Streamlines (also known as interest rate reduction refinance loans or IRRRLs), unless an appraiser thinks there’s a problem.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what’s involved in the inspection next.
Checks For Infestations
A trained pest inspector will look through the interior and exterior of your home for all manner of critters that could be a hazard. These include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Subterranean and aboveground termites
- Carpenter ants
- Various kinds of rodents
Checks For Structural Damage
Insects and other pests get into your house somehow, usually by exploiting and/or causing structural damage to your home. The inspector will look for evidence of damaged floorboards, baseboards, walls, siding and more. After rooting out the pests from their hiding place, the structural damage will have to be fixed.
Creation Of A Pest Report
Once the inspector is done, they’ll issue a pest inspection report which is given to the appraiser. Although states have different forms and pests they look for based on the climate, they do share some common elements:
Each inspection form will give a brief overview of the pests found. They’ll also discuss where they were found and any damage done. Finally, they’ll go over necessary treatments.
Treatment And Damage Repair
In the vast majority of instances, the problem needs to be treated and any damage caused by the infestation needs to be repaired to the satisfaction of the inspector before you can move forward with the loan if the inspector or appraiser had previously noted the problem. They’ll do another inspection to verify that the problem has been taken care of.
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How Long Does A Pest Inspection Take?
The actual length of the pest inspection depends on a variety of factors including what they have to look for, the square footage and the actual layout of the house. For example, if you have a crawlspace or attic that are harder to access, that can take some time.
The paperwork also has to be sent to your mortgage company and that might take a day or two. Beyond that, if damage repair or mitigation is required, it depends on how quickly you can get that scheduled. Once completed, another inspection to confirm damage repair and eradication of the problem is usually necessary. But the faster you get the damage repaired, the easier it can be.
How Much Does A Pest Inspection Cost?
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a termite and pest inspection is about $100. However, the cost can vary quite a bit depending on the size of the home and what’s being inspected for. Additionally, sometimes you might be able to get a bundle deal if you also have a regular home inspection done with the same company.
With most loan options, it doesn’t matter who pays for the pest inspection. The one that’s different is the VA, and that’s important because it’s also the only loan where pest inspection is typically required.
A buyer, seller or lender can pay for a pest inspection under a VA loan in the following states:
In the remaining states and Washington, D.C., either the seller or lender have to pay for the pest inspection on a VA loan.
Should I Get A Home Pest Inspection?
If you’re getting a VA loan, you’ll have to get a pest inspection in many states. For further details, speak with one of our Home Loan Experts. It’ll also be required if the appraiser notes signs of a pest problem.
Beyond that, no one wants to share their home with uninvited guests, particularly if those guests have more than four legs. Getting an inspection is well worth it for peace of mind alone. You’ll be making sure you have a place that’s clean and safe to live in. It also saves you from spending a bunch of money on future repairs if you can get them taken care of before you move in.
Finally, if an appraiser deems it necessary and you don’t end up getting a home inspection, you may not be able to get a mortgage at all. That could be prime motivation to get it taken care of.
The Bottom Line
A pest inspection will help ensure that no undesirable creepy crawly has made your home their own. This relatively cheap inspection can be necessary to get a mortgage in some cases and it’s also there to give you reassurance that the home you’re living in is safe and sanitary.
We hope you learned a little bit more about pest inspections. A pest inspection and a general home inspection are always important, but they can be particularly necessary when you’re buying a house that’s sold as-is.
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