Pest Concerns When Buying a Home

Pest concerns when buying a home

Pest Concerns When Buying a Home

The Northern Virginia real estate market continues to have low inventory, which increases the competition among home buyers. This may tempt buyers to waive the home inspection contingency, and possibly even forgo a home inspection altogether. We had a conversation with Brett Lieberman, owner of My Pest Pros who agrees with us that skipping the inspection would be a big mistake. Brett said, “It’s like buying a used car. You need to know what’s going on under the hood.” When it comes to pest issues, Brett had some insights, and we wholeheartedly agree.

Planning for the Level of Urgency

Homebuyers need to consider the amount of risk and expense they are willing to take on in a new home as well as the level of pest activity that may be considered acceptable to them. Some issues are critical, and the buyer should be prepared to act immediately – either by negotiating with the seller on price, or planning for the expected expense of pest mitigation. For example, burrows in attic insulation or droppings in the garage can indicate a rodent issue, which may be recent and require fast action, or simply an old problem that never got cleaned up. From termites, carpenter bees or ants, or other destructive pests that can impact the structural integrity of the home, to the presence of mosquitos in the garden, it’s important to consider how soon and important it will be to resolve the problem.

Looking for Subtle Clues

Pests don’t make themselves visible at the convenience of the inspector. “We often have to look for risk factors that we advise our clients to tend to whether we see evidence of pests or not,” says Brett. Landscaping issues like bushes and trees touching the house, direct contact between the ground and wood elements of the house, cracks and crevices allowing access to the interior, and other clues can lead to pest problems even if they aren’t present. We flag these issues in our home inspections, but a quality pest control company also will include advice about trouble spots when they do a pest inspection.

Which Expert is the Right One?

Buying a home is one of life’s biggest investments, so we think it is worth taking a “belt and suspenders” approach to the purchase. Start with a home inspection, whether or not it’s a contingency, and follow the advice of the inspector about whether it’s a good idea to bring in a pest control professional. Be wary of a home inspector who offers to prepare a pest report as part of their services. Some lenders require a “wood destroying insect” report before issuing a mortgage, and it can be tempting to try for a one-stop-shop inspection. However, certified pest management experts must undergo hours of intensive classroom training, take exams and renew their certifications every two years. It is worth the investment to get a certified pest management expert to make sure this inspection flags potentially dangerous pest issues. It’s also important to understand that the Wood Destroying Insect report requested by lenders usually does not cover general pests. It’s limited to pests including termites, carpenter bees and carpenter ants. Pests such as ants, spiders, crickets or mice are not usually covered.

Biller & Associates has the years of expertise to make a home inspection worth the investment whether it is a contingency or not. We look at all aspects of the home, including potential pest issues as part of our services. We identify warning signs, and recommend using a pest professional like My Pest Pros to complete due diligence before finalizing the purchase of the home. Contact us today to schedule a home inspection.