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No one wants to share their home with unwelcome critters, but did you know there’s a way to identify the problem before it becomes an infestation?

While you’re probably familiar with home inspections, you may not have heard of a pest control inspection. This specialized inspection provides a thorough examination of your property to evaluate signs of critters and provide recommendations for dealing with them.

Do I need a pest inspection?

The process of buying a house has many steps. The last thing you want is to add an unnecessary hurdle for yourself. Whether or not your home purchase requires a pest inspection will depend on the type of mortgage you have and where you live.

But even if a pest inspection isn’t required, it can still be a good idea to get one. 

  • As a buyer, a pest inspection can tip you off to infestations that could be costly and time-consuming to deal with down the road. 
  • As a seller, a pest inspection can help you list with confidence and sell faster with the certification of a pest-free home.

Even when you’re not selling or buying a house, if you notice signs that you’re hosting unwanted guests, you don’t need to wait for an appraiser or mortgage lender to tell you to get an inspection. Booking a pest inspection is an effective way to deal with it head on.

In some instances, your appraiser may require a pest inspection if they notice signs of an infestation.

Pest inspections for mortgages

Not all mortgages require pest inspections. VA loans, however, require these inspections in certain states and counties that they deem to be at high risk of termite infestation. Termites thrive in warm, moist climates, which puts most of the U.S. at risk. If your state isn’t listed below, you’re required to undergo a pest control inspection as a part of your homebuying process. 

Pest inspection for VA loan

If you live in the following states, you are not required to get a pest inspection as a part of your VA loan unless otherwise stipulated by your appraiser:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If you live in one of the states listed below, whether or not you need a pest inspection as a part of your VA loan will depend on what county you’re in. Your mortgage officer can help you determine if a pest inspection is necessary for your property.

  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

What’s included in a pest inspection?

Your pest management professional will examine your home's interior and exterior while evaluating any damage or signs of hidden damage from pest activity. The most common tip-offs include indications of moisture, droppings, wings, and tunneling.

Some of the pests that your inspector will look for include:

  • Ants
  • Bees
  • Cockroaches
  • Earwigs
  • Fleas
  • Mosquitoes
  • Moths
  • Rodents
  • Silverfish
  • Spiders
  • Termites
  • Wasps

Depending on where you live, regional pests — like scorpions or rattlesnakes — may also be included in your pest control inspection. Note that this is not an all-inclusive list: You may require a specialized inspection for more particular pests, such as bed bugs.

After your inspection, you will receive a report with a breakdown of the inspection that notes problem areas and recommended treatments. 

How much does a pest inspection cost?

On average, a pest inspection will cost around $100 but may be more expensive depending on the size of the house. Most major pest control companies offer free quotes unless your inspection is tied to a homesale. If you prefer to use a smaller, local company, make sure to ask how much a quote is before requesting one.

You may be able to save money if you bundle your home inspection with your pest inspection. This option isn’t always available, but if it is, an experienced real estate agent should be able to refer you to a trusted inspector.

Who pays for it?

Who ends up footing the bill for the pest inspection will depend on your mortgage. For VA loans, the seller or lender will pay for the inspection unless the sale is taking place in one of the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

If the home is located in one of the states above, the seller, lender, or buyer can pay for the pest inspection.

If the pest inspection isn’t required for your mortgage, who pays for it may be something to negotiate with the sellers. Talk to your real estate agent to see if it’s something that could be covered through seller concessions.

5 steps to prepare for a pest inspection

Just like in your home inspection, your pest inspector will need access to the interior and exterior of your home. Their on-site examination can last anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours, but the timeframe will depend on the size and complexity of your home.

Follow the steps below to ensure an efficient and easy inspection:

  1. Rearrange. Clear away clutter so it doesn’t get in your inspector’s way, but don’t put it in the hiding spots you’re used to. Your inspector will need to access storage areas in your garage and under your sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms. Move anything stacked or pushed against your walls a comfortable two feet out.
  2. Create easy access. Likewise, your inspector will need easy access to your attic and crawl spaces. If your furniture or belongings obstruct the entryways to these little-trafficked areas, clear them away so your inspector can get in and out.
  3. Clear your crawl space and attic. Your inspector needs to access your crawl and attic space so they can examine it. As such, you’ll need to make room for your inspector  to complete their assessment. Move away objects that are stacked against walls or blocking the entrances.
  4. Trim your hedges. The inspector will also need to assess your exterior walls. If you have hedges or other plant life that abuts your home, trim them back so your inspector can access the walls for their examination.
  5. Put away pets. Your inspector is there to look for unwelcome pests, not to entertain your pets. Secure any animals so that they don’t get in the way or distract your inspector while they conduct their assessment. Keep in mind that your pest inspector will need access to the interior and exterior of your home, so you will have to account for both.

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