All Your Answers to Pest Inspection Questions When Buying a Home
You don’t want to move into a Warner Robins home and find that you are sharing the house with uninvited guests like insects or rodents. If the previous owner wasn’t diligent, they may have passed a pest problem onto you. Learn how to recognize the signs of annoying pests and get rid of them before you move in.
Georgia Laws for Pest Inspections
There are no laws in Georgia that require a seller to do a pest inspection prior to listing the house. The most likely pest damage done to a house in Georgia will be by termites. One of your most important tasks is to have a pest inspection completed before buying the house.
A termite clearance letter indicates that a thorough termite inspection was done by a licensed pest inspector and no evidence of active termites was found. Ideally, you can negotiate with the seller to have the inspection done and provide you the letter. If they won’t do this, you may have to schedule an inspection to make sure termites haven’t damaged the house structurally before you buy it.
The Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection in Georgia states that anyone using pesticides must be trained and licensed. The chemicals they use must be licensed, as well. Ask to see the license of any inspector you use.
Getting a Pest Inspection
Most people will put a conditional offer on the house they want, pending the results of a pest inspection. Your job will be to find and schedule a licensed inspector to come to the house. In some cases your agent may do this for you.
If you find pest damage, you are in the position to cancel your offer, negotiate with the seller to have them fix the problem or reduce your offer sufficiently to cover what you will spend to correct the problem.
Beware of that last option. To know what the repairs will cost, you will have to have a contractor come out and make an estimate. You’ll then have to trust that the estimate is accurate. For instance, should the contractor start working and find more significant damage than the pest inspector discovered, you might be out thousands more than you expected.
According to a review of residential pest inspection reports, you need to look at the inspector’s report for the following:
- No problems were found
- One or more pest problems were found with detailed descriptions of the damage
- Recommendations for any repairs of the damage
- Indications that this has occurred in the past but is not a problem now
- Description of any conditions in the house that make it vulnerable to future pest problems
Infestation Red Flags to Look Out For
When you are walking through the house, there are things that you can look for that indicate a pest problem. Point these out to your agent and the pest inspector so they won’t get overlooked. According to this article on spring cleaning and pest infestation signs, there are many ways to spot a pest problem.
- Look for ant trails in the kitchen. Argentine ants are small, dark ants that don’t do any real damage. But they can exist in colonies of thousands. They are attracted to sweets and could have trails to soda or juice spills. The appearance of a lot of these ants could hint of a cleaning issue.
- Georgian pecan trees are hosts to aphids. Asian ladybugs were brought over to control the aphids. In winter, though, the ladybugs may come into the house for the warmth and collect on walls and ceilings.
- Silverfish and firebrats can be found in dark, moist places in the house. They only do damage when the numbers are large, but should be controlled if there are any signs of them.
- Any signs of gnawed woodwork or insulation material that has been pulled out of the wall could be mice or rats. Small rodent droppings or urine stains in cabinets and cupboards are signs. If you find other pieces of shredded paper or fabric as you walk through the house, rodents could be present and nesting somewhere.
- Check all wood surfaces for small holes in unusual places, piles of sawdust or powder from the wood, blisters or wavy surfaces. This could be the sign of wood-damaging pests like termites or carpenter ants. Tap on exposed wood beams and panels. If a solid piece of wood sounds hollow, or your tapping caves in the surface to expose the inside of the beam, the house could be seriously infested with termites or ants.