Check out this awesome guest post by our friends at HomeLight on the importance of having a termite inspection before purchasing a home!
When it comes to specialized home inspections, there’s one that you absolutely don’t want to skip out on: the termite inspection.
Consider this scenario: You find your dream home, make an offer, and the home goes under contract. You have the standard home inspection done, and all looks good—except for a small patch of wood rot on the side of the garage. Since it’s pretty small and doesn’t seem to be affecting any structural integrity, you write it off as a small sign of age and go through with the closing.
Two months later, you start hearing a strange clicking noise coming from your walls. When you investigate, you find out that that almost definitely means termites, and call a termite inspector right away.
The inspector finds that you’ve got a serious infestation, which means you’re not only going to have to get rid of the termites and prevent them from returning, but you’re also going to have to replace the wood they’ve destroyed. Depending on where the termites were and how long they’ve been there, that could mean a bill running into the thousands of dollars.
Of course, if you’d gotten the termite inspection before closing, you wouldn’t be on the hook for that bill, and the problem wouldn’t have been as bad.
Not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why getting a termite inspection is so important when you’re buying a home.
Many mortgage lenders require them.
While a termite or pest inspection is not required by law in every state, many mortgage lenders do require pest inspections before financing can be completed.
This is for obvious reasons: a bank doesn’t want to put up the money for a home that may end up falling (figuratively OR literally!) to termites. In addition, certain types of loans will not go through without a thorough pest inspection in addition to the home inspection. Veterans Affairs (VA) loans and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are a couple of examples.
Without the termite inspection, your closing can end up being delayed or derailed. That’s why it’s best to schedule one right after your home inspection.
The cost is highly reasonable.
The cost of a termite inspection will vary depending on the size of your home, but in general, you can expect the cost to range between $75 and $150—a relatively small investment compared to how much you’d pay if you discovered extensive termite damage six months later.
Getting a termite inspection now and finding any problems will also save you money in the long run on remediation and wood replacement or repair, as you’ll catch the problem earlier.
In addition, if termite damage is found, the seller will be the one who pays to fix it. This can be a great help to buyers, as moving in itself is already an expensive proposition. The last thing you want is to pay even more money out of pocket to fix a problem that could have been identified and handled before the home was signed over to you.
Certain counties may require termite inspections, even if a state does not.
Even if the state you’re in doesn’t require termite inspections, there’s a chance that your county does. Your agent will be able to tell you whether or not this is the case.
If you don’t get an inspection when one was required, you’ll have no legal recourse if termite activity is discovered later on, or if it turns out the seller didn’t disclose known termite activity.
Homeowners insurance brokers usually require pest inspections.
Homeowners insurance is almost always required by mortgage lenders, even if it isn’t legally required by your state.
And most insurance brokers will require a termite or pest inspection in order to insure your home. That’s because they want to know that your home is sound before agreeing to insure any damage.
While most policies don’t cover damage to wood or structures from termites, they do cover other problems that termites can cause. For example, if termites chew through your electrical wiring, which then causes a fire, your insurance would cover those fire damages. Or, if termite damage weakened your roof, leading to water damage, your insurance would likely cover that.
Now that you know why you need a termite inspection, here’s what getting one looks like.
Typically, you would schedule a termite inspection after your home inspection. The home inspector will take note of any potential signs of termites or areas where termites could be active, like frass (termite droppings, which look similar to sawdust), damaged wood, or wood rot.
Once they’ve made those notes and you’ve received the report, you’ll be able to point out any problem areas to your pest inspector (although as a licensed professional, he or she will be on the lookout for those signs, in addition to other less obvious ones, too).
When the termite inspector has gone through your entire home, including the crawl space, attic, and/or basement, they’ll provide you with a Wood Destroying Insect Report cataloging any problems you may have, as well as risk factors that may be conducive to termite problems in the future. In some states, the WDIR will be accompanied by a moisture inspection report.
If an infestation is found, you’ll want to ensure the seller schedules removal and repair as soon as possible. The company will provide the seller with a report showing what they did to repair the problem, how they removed the termites, and what they did to prevent their return (usually insecticide around the areas that were treated and possibly in the soil around your home.
The best way to ensure the home of your dreams truly is the home of your dreams—and not nightmares—is to have it thoroughly inspected before you close. That means a standard home inspection, but also a pest inspection, particularly termites. Termite infestations are quite treatable when caught quickly, so the last thing you want to do is give a potential colony the chance to grow and expand over months.