We normally talk about Houston pest inspection and prevention in our articles, because well—it’s sort of our business. But let’s just do a complete 180 and talk about real estate, shall we? Don’t worry, we’re getting somewhere with this.
So, maybe you’ve thought about moving into a nicer home in this buyers’ market? If this is you, have you covered all your bases? Checked the housing market trends, searched the appraisal districts for the best neighborhood to buy and everything? If you answered yes to all of those, then you are probably already locked on a particular house.
We assume you’ve already researched the property tax history, local schools, any HOA bylaws, etc. You know of course you need to have the home inspected to make sure the foundation is solid as well. But we can bet you’ve forgotten one major task. Where are we going with this you ask?
Don’t worry if you are stumped, many homebuyers actually do not realize it. We’ll give you a hint—it deals with things that creep and crawl in the night. No, we’re not talking about your insomniac cats—we’re talking bugs, pests, rodents.
Take it straight from real estate agents we service on behalf of their clients—pests can ruin a closing quickly.
HOUSTON REAL ESTATE PEST INSPECTION EXPERTS AGREE
So yeah, we’re talking about asking for a pest inspection report on any home you’re looking into. On that note, it’s also wise to have one done at your home before you sell your house. Sure, you may think your home is the perfect example of cleanliness and it very well may be. The problem is—you can’t always see signs of infestations or conditions that make your home vulnerable.
Things like wood rot, moisture beneath the floors and other indicators aren’t noticeable to the untrained person. This is why many buyers and even lenders require a pest inspection before they will close. Now, we’re not talking a little walk through the home with a home inspector. Lenders and buyers in Houston want a certified Houston real estate pest inspection expert to perform the task.
Pest control experts agree—there is story after story of massive infestations and home damage owners never knew about. They don’t have a clue until getting a pest inspection before selling their house and are shocked at the damage. The best way to avoid surprises like this is to have monthly treatments from a reputable Houston pest control expert.
Otherwise, a typical home inspector may overlook signs that a well-trained pest control technician would notice. When it comes to pests, more serious creatures like termites can wreak havoc on a home you’re buying or selling.
HOUSTON REAL ESTATE PEST INSPECTION VS. HOME INSPECTION
Once a home goes under contract; whether you’re buying or selling, the offer is contingent on the home inspection.
Home inspectors are looking for hazards such as faulty wiring, out-of-code additions, safety issues, or structural defects. However, when it comes to pests—what they look for is very limited. In fact, they really only mainly look for evidence of termites. Now, a home inspector may report red flags that also indicate the presence of pests such as termites. Although, even then, it’s just about wood rot or moisture, and then they’ll suggest a specialist look into it further. In other words, they’ll defer it to a Houston real estate pest inspection expert. However, if there is no clear sign of rot or moisture, they likely won’t even bring up pest inspection at all.
You Need A Licensed Professional
Just as a home inspector must have certain credentials and certifications, a pest inspector must also be certified. Home inspectors go through extensive training on structural integrity, local building codes, general electric and more to become certified.
Pest inspectors also undergo thorough training in pest identification, risk factors for infestations, and subtle signs of existing problems. There are many signs a home inspector would not know that a pest expert would and vice-versa.
It’s dually important for each inspector to undergo the many hours of training and certifications. It ensures that the home you are buying or selling is indeed safe and fit for occupation as is.
There are some home inspection companies however that have dually trained inspectors. These inspectors are both certified in Houston real estate pest inspection and general home inspection. Typically, these inspectors do cost more but they are doing two jobs at once which saves you time.
DOES TEXAS LAW REQUIRE PEST INSPECTION BEFORE CLOSING?
While many states require certain home inspections prior to closing—Texas requires none at all. In fact, you can buy or sell a home in “As Is” condition. While some homes sold in this manner may be a bargain to some investors, it comes with some caveats.
You see, when you buy a home “as is,” you as the buyer accept all liability for any faults, not the seller. Once you make your offer and close, the problems if any, are yours and yours alone. For example, you could get a great deal on a fixer-upper for only 50K. However, after you discover costly repairs it could end up costing another 100K to make it liveable.
It May Not Be Law But You Still Need It
Just like a home inspection, in Houston, real estate pest inspection is not a requirement for a home sale. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t still need it in order to close. In fact, you will likely need both inspections, but not because of any law.
That is because most mortgage lenders in Texas require home inspection and pest inspection—at least for termites. In addition, if you are buying a home with financing from VA or FHA Loans you may need to show proof of pest inspection. You will also likely need to show proof that the seller corrected any issues prior to the loan being approved.
Also, you should keep in mind that as a seller, it is required by law to offer full disclosure. That means you must notify any pest issues or damage and structural issues to potential buyers.
EXPECTATIONS FOR A HOUSTON REAL ESTATE PEST INSPECTION
In Houston, real estate pest inspection can take as little as an hour—it all just depends on the size of the home. Also, if you have crawl spaces, a basement, or an attic, that will take longer as well. Basically, the more complex your home is, the longer it will take.
During a pest inspection, the pest inspector will examine the interior and exterior of the property looking for red flags. These flags can be signs of infestation or conditions that could attract pests. Expect them to look into every single point of entry for a pest that exists in your home.
In addition, it’s worth noting that it’s not always signs of infestations that raise flags. It could also be conditions that favor pests. In order to properly examine the property, they will check moisture readings and look for signs such as:
- mud tubes (small tunneled passageways that termites use to transport food underground.)
- piles of insect wings
- compromised wood (crushed corners, damaged joints, hollowed-out wood)
- wood that is moist (a moisture content reading exceeding 28%, this is evidence of destructive fungi)
- gnawed wires or drywall
- rodent droppings
BE SMART WHEN BUYING OR SELLING A HOME IN HOUSTON
Even though pest inspection is not required when buying or selling, it’s something you don’t want to overlook. It’s not, “do you really want to pay for a pest inspection?” Rather it’s, “do you want to be smart about buying or selling a home in Houston?”
For sellers, providing a recent home and pest inspection report gives buyers confidence in trusting you as a seller.
For buyers, requesting that the seller provide both of these reports protects you from a bad investment.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home in Houston, real estate pest inspection service from Champions is as reliable as it gets. You can rest assured that our experience spanning over two decades will ensure a positive experience. It will give you peace of mind that the home you are buying or selling is suitable and ready for a new owner.
Selling your home? Contact us today and get the most for your home with our Houston real estate pest inspection services.