Dec 10, 2008

Are Pest Reports Legally Required?

Hello Neighbors,

In California, the short answer... Nope!

Would we want a client to move forward with a purchase or sale without one? NO!

A pest report isn’t a legal requirement at all for the State of California! Nope. It’s a lender requirement (90% of the time), or something us agent’s order simply so our clients have some protection / piece of mind.

TONS of information can be pulled from the California Pest Control Board’s website at: One of their documents is 152 pages long, another is 600 pages! Look for their 12 page booklet from the State of California which has a bunch of Q & A on pest requirements.

It says directly in the State of California materials (in the web site noted above): “Most lending institutions require that homes in California be inspected for wood destroying pests and organisms (WDO) before financing a home loan.” – it’s absolutely true of VA loans for example. But we have had loans go through (where we’ve been representing the Buyer) where a pest report wasn’t even required.

Of course, we nearly always have our client get a pest report. It’s common sense. In most bank transactions, a Buyer takes the home “as is”. It’s extraordinarily rare for a bank to supply any reports and do any repairs. However, we need to know what we are getting in to. A pest report gives us a quick glance at potentially expensive issues. Pest reports are usually between $85 - $125, and that’s cheap insurance for piece of mind.

In a “standard” family to family transaction, the Seller will likely order and pay for the pest report. In a Short Sale transaction, it’s anyone’s guess. In a REO (foreclosed, bank owned) transaction, the Buyer will probably have to order and pay for the inspection themselves.

- Jim

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