Should Sacramento Home Sellers Pay for a Pest Report?

pest report

Now that the market is shifting in Sacramento, it’s time for sellers to obtain a pest report upfront if at all possible. Our long run of seller’s markets where homes are sold in AS IS condition are pretty much over. Of course, there are listing agents in Sacramento who have their “own way” of doing things and these guys would never take a listing without obtaining a pest report. But I see that under certain market conditions as overkill and unnecessary .

When the markets are hot and sellers rule, sellers can expect buyers to get their own pest reports and to live with the results. Pest reports are for a buyer’s edification only anyway. Unless a buyer is obtaining a VA loan or an appraiser spots suspicious items, a pest report is not required in a real estate transaction. Many unfortunate sellers in a seller’s market were forced by their agents to obtain pest reports and agreed to pay for a clearance because their agents didn’t stop to consider alternatives.

However, the times they are a changin’. We are now in a market where buyers are not as committed to buying a home. They want the best house on the best street in the best neighborhood, and in the best condition. If they can’t get that, they will remain a tenant. Inventory has increased, but only the nicest homes or underpriced homes quickly sell. It’s a bit more stable but with fewer buyers.

For that reason, my advice to sellers is now get a pest report. Whether sellers clear the work is another matter, but my suggestion is to at least pay for a pest report. Because when a buyer obtains the pest report, sellers are stuck with it. Oh, sure, one can obtain a second pest report but the second inspector will probably find more stuff that the first inspector missed. These reports are only as good as the inspector.

There is also the racket of pest companies trying to outsource the pest work at the consumer’s expense. I’ve said for years that pest companies should stick to inspections. Must be political lobbying that lets pest companies also bid on the work. Further, I’ve never read a pest report that didn’t contain padding, sometimes 30% or more. However, sellers are under zero obligation to use a pest company to clear the pest. And pest inspection reports stay on file for 2 years at the Pest Control Board.

When you hire your next Sacramento listing agent, why not hire an agent who understands pest reports and addresses market conditions? Avoid hiring an agent who works solely by rote because that’s the way it has always been done. Unless you like paying more for no good reason.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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