What You Should Know About Termite Inspections – Entertainment & Living – GoErie.com


What happens during a termite inspection and why can it affect the sale of a property?

Termite inspections and treatments have become a natural part of my 58 years in pest control. As I approached the age of motorists, my father was dying to throw me the car keys. Not to retire as my chauffeur, but rather to redouble our efforts in completing the required mortgage inspections.

Termite inspections, now more commonly referred to as pest inspections, were initially only required for VA or FHA mortgages, unless the appraiser deemed them necessary.

Today they are as natural as a credit check or a title search. Even most home inspection companies include pests in their menu options.

The actual basic logic behind an inspection? Protection – for buyer and bank.

The lender wants to make sure that their collateral doesn’t lose money if pests nibble on your investment and reduce its value.

Although referred to as pest inspection, the focus is on wood-destroying insects (WDI). These include termites, powderhorn beetles, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees.

Non-wood-destroying pests are usually not included in the report. Bed bugs, cockroaches, mice and the usual gang of vermin do not need to be reported unless otherwise stated.

Some companies extend this to wood-destroying organisms (WDO). They include rot / fungal damage in their scope of testing. These organisms can be just as devastating as insects and essentially affect the entire sub-structure.

This inspection focuses on two aspects: infestation and structural damage. Are there any indications of pests and are they active? Did these pests cause damage that requires repair?

Both aspects can have serious consequences for the value of a building. A failed inspection has been known to sink a transaction.

Hearing an infestation has often turned off buyers, especially those who have had a traumatic experience in the past.

Regardless, the lenders will move on with the process as long as the issues are resolved. But who bears the financial responsibility?

Many contracts contain these details and even go so far as to set a spending cap in US dollars.

Usually the buyer pays for the inspection. The seller fixes the problems.

Logic dictates. If the sale collapses, the seller owns the property with the problem. It would be in everyone’s interest to correct the problem.

The pest inspection is often the last eventual documentation to be ordered. As a result, the report is often filed within a week or two of closing, adding pressure on all parties concerned.

Difficulties arise when there is significant damage. Additional reports, estimates, and supporting materials must all be submitted in a timely manner. Contractual deadlines are of the utmost importance.

It is also imperative that there be clear communication between all parties to the transaction. I vividly remember a phone call from a lawyer looking for a report that was never ordered. An unexpected break was taken when I drove over to do the inspection and share my results with the anxious attendees.

Fortunately, there was no evidence of an infestation. And the closure continued, albeit 90 minutes longer than expected.

NEXT WEEK: Don’t kill the inspector / messenger.

Henry Fox is the owner of Henry N. Fox Professional Pest Management. You can ask him questions at [email protected]

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