How to Read a San Francisco Pest Report

Deniz Kahramaner
Deniz Kahramaner
Sep 23, 2022
There are many documents included in a disclosure package when buying a house. Many of those documents are advisories, inspections, or disclosures from the sellers. You can find here all of the necessary documents to know in the state of California.
Arguably the two most important documents are the home and the pest inspection. Oftentimes, one might find themselves skimming these documents because of how technical, complicated, and dense they tend to be. In this article, we will be addressing what can be written up in the pest inspection, as well as what it actually means.
When one typically hears the word pest, he or she assumes that it has to do with rodents. However, in this case, the pest inspection typically notes fungus, subterranean termites, drywood termite damage, and other findings.
Each of these could come from a variety of reasons, the property is older and has not been maintained, or there has been some previous water damage. Fungus and subterranean termites typically result due to water damage. It is important to note that the inspector is unable to inspect inaccessible sections of the home such as areas closed off by walls, ceilings, substructure, adjacent structures, etc. A diligent inspection may not uncover the true condition of infestations behind such concealed areas and there may be sections within a report that notes “further inspection.”
Many pest inspections are broken up into Section 1, Section 2, and Further Inspection.

Section I— Active Infestations

Section 1 “contains items where there is visible evidence of active infestation, infection or conditions that have resulted in or from infestation of infection.” Some items that could be noted in Section 1 can include:
  • Evidence of a subterranean termite infestation
  • The wood siding at the area(s) indicated on the diagram is fungus damaged.
  • The window(s) indicated on the diagram are fungus damaged
  • Fungus infection and damage were noted to the exterior window trims/jambs at the front entry, where indicated.

Section II — Likely to Lead to Infestation

While in ”Section II items are conditions deemed likely to lead to infestation or infection but where no visible evidence of such was found.” Some examples include:
  • Vegetation was noted growing in close proximity to the rear of the structure. This is considered an excessive moisture condition.
  • Efflorescence was noted on the foundation walls in various locations. This is an indication of exterior forms of water penetration and is a condition conducive to attracting future infections or infestations.
  • The stucco is in slab and in earth-to-wood contact. This condition is conducive to attracting future infections or infestations.

Further Inspection

Further inspection items are defined as recommendations to inspect area(s) that, during the original inspection, did not allow the inspector access to complete the inspection and cannot be defined as Section I or Section II. Textual examples of this section often can be seen in the following:
  • This inspection by nature is limited to the accessible, visible portions of the structure, and does not include inaccessible areas such as areas occupied by furnishings, storage not moved and/or the interior of hollow walls.
  • Portions of the garage/basement area were inaccessible for inspection due to closed walls and/or storage.
  • The exterior surfaces appear to have been recently painted and may conceal additional adverse conditions not stated.
  • Further inspection of the exterior stucco by means of test holes to determine the condition of the framing behind is recommended. If this inspection is desired, it will be performed upon request at a reasonable cost and upon permission from the owners. The findings will be reported in a supplemental report.
  • The interior spaces of the unit appear to have been recently painted and may conceal additional adverse conditions not stated.
What’s important to note, unlike the home inspection, most pest inspections actually include approximated costs, as these inspection companies can also do the work. While some of the numbers can be shocking, these costs can be used to determine the severity of the damage inspected. HOWEVER, it is always suggested to get quotes from other licensed professionals.
  • Being mentioned in a pest inspection does not mean that some of the fixes need to be made immediately.
Some of the items noted could have been noted during the last sale however many years ago and have not been fixed. It is okay to do some of the items here and there while addressing some more urgent issues sooner. To determine what may be considered more urgent, feel free to reach out to the Pest Inspector who conducted the inspection. Their contact information is provided on the inspection and they are all more than happy to assist.
Here at Atlasa, we understand that these documents not only can be very long and time-consuming, but that they also might not make sense to someone who doesn’t make it a regular practice to read through them. Being able to discern whether it is or is not an immediate fix can be difficult, and finding a secondary opinion might feel troublesome. Not only does Atlasa carry with it a level of experience that helps with the monotonous task of getting through pest inspections, but, also, we have a diverse network that our clients have access to. Be it for a secondary opinion, renovations, or further inspection work, Atlasa has the network that clients need to get the job done.
Additionally, if you are dealing with a condominium that is part of an HOA, these costs are likely going to be split as long as the HOA agrees to do the work which was noted.

What does a Pest Inspector not Inspect?

Pest inspectors, similar to home inspectors, cannot inspect everything and can only make observations on areas that are easily accessible and visible. Pest inspectors also do not inspect for the presence of asbestos, mold, or fungi, and other areas such as the roof.
Please hire a specialized licensed individual to inspect for those items if you believe it may be present.
Overall, buying a house is a complicated and confusing process that can make a buyer feel overwhelmed and anxious, especially when reading inspections.
At Atlasa, we understand the difficulty of going through this process by yourself, and thus, we aim to help clients through it all. We want our clients to feel confident and informed when making decisions and choosing to write an offer on a house. To learn more about Atlasa or to get in contact with an Atlasa agent, visit or email [](mailto:
To read more about disclosures on a state level, check out our article on California Disclosures, or our article on San Francisco Specific Disclosures.
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Deniz Kahramaner
Deniz Kahramaner is the Founder & CEO of the data-driven Real Estate Brokerage Atlasa. His mission is to help home buyers understand the tradeoffs of different home options using big data and analytics. Feel free to contact Deniz if you need help with the home buying or selling process at