Guide to Pest Inspections Before Buying a House in Florida

September 7, 2021
A hand holds a magnifying glass up against the back of a two-story house.
If you are on the cusp of purchasing property, a pest inspection before buying a house in Florida is essential.

The joys of owning a home in South Florida’s wondrous climate can be somewhat mitigated by the presence of a range of home-invading pests that can turn your new home into a battle zone. This region is host to more species of termites, ants, roaches, and other property-damaging and disease-spreading vermin than any other part of the country.

The best way to avoid having to go to war with these unwanted guests is by conducting a top-to-bottom pest inspection before buying a house in South Florida. This guide to presale home pest inspections explains how to prepare for a pest inspection, what the inspection will look for, and who is responsible for paying for the inspection. 

The guide also describes the benefits of working with a company such as Nozzle Nolen which has more than 70 years of experience keeping South Florida homes pest-free.

Do You Need a Pest Inspection Before Buying a House?

Termite inspections, which are referred to as wood destroying organism (WDO) inspections, aren’t required if you’re paying cash for your new home or your home insurance policy doesn’t require such an inspection. However, Florida statutes and the Florida Administrative Code require that home buyers seeking a loan must file a WDO inspection report with their mortgage company.

In addition, if you’re applying for an FHA loan, VA loan, or HUD loan, a WDO inspection is a prerequisite before the mortgage insurance agent will approve the loan. Many home insurers also require a WDO inspection.

The WDO inspection looks for: 

  1. Signs of active Subterranean termites, Drywood termites, or wood-devouring beetles. 
  2. Wood decay or damage.  
  3. Indications of past infestations and conditions that make the house susceptible to a future infestation. If extensive pest-related damage is found, the mortgage company may deny the home loan until repairs are made.

While WDO inspections and inspections for other pests may not be a requirement for purchasing a house, these inspections are highly recommended as an inexpensive form of insurance against having to pay dearly to address future pest-related problems.

A graphic explaining what WDO are and how they are a part of a pest inspection before buying a house.

How Do You Prepare for a Pest Inspection?

A pest inspection for a potential home purchase typically takes place around the same time as the general inspection of the home. While the general inspection covers such areas as plumbing, electrical, roof, and HVAC, the WDO inspection focuses on finding signs of an infestation of termites or other wood-eating insects.

In addition to termites, the pest inspector will look for indications of the presence of:

  • cockroaches
  • ants
  • bed bugs 
  • bees and wasps 
  • carpenter ants
  • rodents 
  • spiders
  • snakes
  • moths

Along with inspecting for the actual pest, the inspector will also look for damage to floorboards, baseboards, walls, siding, and other structural elements that may indicate a past or current infestation. 

While many pest inspections can be completed in less than one hour, in some instances, the inspection can take several hours, depending on the size and age of the home and the damage the inspector finds. Professional pest control technicians are able to spot signs of trouble that homeowners will miss because they have the training and equipment needed to perform a thorough inspection without doing any damage to the home.

Who Pays for the Pest Inspection Before Buying a House?

In most instances, the home buyer is responsible for paying for the presale pest inspection, which typically costs about $150 – $250. However, some sellers will include a pest inspection as part of their seller concessions as a way to attract more potential buyers. For many buyers, the pest inspection cost is picked up by their real estate agent. In most states, VA home loans require that the buyer provides an invoice showing that another party paid for the WDO inspection.

The report completed by the pest inspector will describe the current condition of the property as well as any issues that need to be addressed now or that may pose a threat in the future. It will also include recommendations for fixing pest-related problems with the home. In cases where extensive pest-related damage is present, the report may recommend a more comprehensive inspection of specific areas.

Can You Pre Purchase a Pest Inspection?

Florida homeowners who plan to settle into their new residence often choose to make the presale pest inspection part of their long-term pest-control strategy. For example, many South Florida homeowners purchase a termite bond contract that covers inspection and treatment by their pest-control service for any current or future termite infestation. 

Since homeowner insurance policies don’t cover termite damage, the bonds can be seen as an extension of your home’s coverage.

Termite bonds are priced based on the duration of the contract and the services they include, but the average cost for the initial home inspection is from $700 to $1,000, and subsequent annual costs total about $300 to $400. An alternative to a termite bond is a pest-control service such as Nozzle Nolen’s 365 Complete Home Protection Package, which is designed to give homeowners peace of mind from day one in their new abode.

Getting Started With Nozzle Nolen

In addition to initial preventive treatment, the 365 Complete plan provides quarterly visits from Nozzle Nolen’s trained and certified pest control technicians, as well as responses within 24 to 48 hours whenever a pest problem arises in your home. The plan protects against Subterranean and Drywood termites as well as a long list of other pests, including rodents, bees and wasps, ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, and many others.

Nozzle Nolen has provided professional pest control services to South Florida homeowners for more than seven decades. We know that buying a home is a big commitment which is why we put together this guide for a pest inspection before buying a house. Protect your biggest investment with a home protection plan from Nozzle Nolen. Give us a call at 800.226.6536 or Contact Us. We look forward to serving you.

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