Pest Inspections for Real Estate Transactions

By Chris Williams on January 13, 2014.

Real estate and pest controlQuestion

I recently re-financed my home and the lending institution required a pest inspection and a special form be completed, along with mountains of other documents. We have had no pest problems recently, and have lived here for 15 years. Although nothing of significance was noted during the pest inspection, which we were grateful for, we were curious why we needed to have this done.


That is a great question, one I get asked all the time. The reason lenders and other underwriters, especially the V.A. and F.H.A., demand a pest inspection be done is to protect their investment. The inspection focuses on termites and other wood-destroying organisms, excluding rodents, decaying fungi, and other non-insect causes of damage. Only licensed Pest Control Professionals can complete form NPMA-33, the industry standard form required by lenders.

Once the form is completed, it is only good for a period of 90 days, and there is no warranty associated with the inspection. Having a reputable pest control firm do the work is very important and also informative. This form typically includes a diagram of the structure, featuring the general layout of the foundation elements, numbers indicating listed obstructions, relevant findings, and any other comments. The inspection is limited to the accessible areas inside and outside the structure. The inspector is very limited in his or her ability to open walls or otherwise dismantle structural elements without prior written consent. Crawl spaces and other void areas may be deemed inaccessible.

Other obstructions include, but are not limited to, fixed wall coverings, exterior coverings, finished ceilings, duct work, appliances, stored items, furnishings, insulation, cabinets, and shelving. A trained inspector knows where to look for evidence of wood-destroying insects and can usually get a pretty good idea of what, if any, pest activity is or has taken place in the past. We are also looking for signs of prior pest treatments. For example, holes from drilling and injecting liquid termiticide along garage and basement slabs would indicate a previous liquid treatment.

Damage from carpenter ants, termites, wood boring beetles, and carpenter bees may require some form of treatment if recent or ongoing activity is observed. In some cases we find serious damage and active infestations that were un-noticed by the homeowner and need to be addressed. To be honest, most homes I inspect do not have serious pest problems; however, about 1 in 10 houses have had or do have a termite or ant colony interacting with the structure and need some type of treatment. A thorough inspection may also uncover other issues not addressed on form NPMA-33 but may be of interest to parties involved. Bats, mice, rats, roaches, wildlife, leaks, fungi/mold issues, and drainage/moisture issues are all among the other problems I have come across over the years and pointed out.

There are many benefits to a pest inspection. You could uncover some unknown problem or find out there is no problem at all, and best of all … close the loan! Call a Pest Control Professional for all your pest control needs.



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