Every year in the United States, more than 5 million homes1 have some sort of termite problem, amounting to approximately $5 billion2 in damage. That’s more damage than is caused by tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes combined. And termite damage is rarely covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. If you’re buying a home, here’s what you need to know when it comes to termite inspections.
Real estate contracts dictate whether or not a termite inspection is required before the purchase of a home. VA home loans in most states require a termite inspection. Few states require a termite inspection, but many lenders or banks won’t make a loan without one. It’s a good idea to talk to your realtor and find out exactly what is needed before you close on a house. And before you think that your home inspector will be able to determine the presence of termites, think again; most home inspectors are not trained to look for termites.
The termite inspection, also known as a Wood-Destroying Organisms (WDO) report, is prepared by a licensed pest control company and addresses the presence of any termite damage or evidence of treatment for termites. By law, pest inspectors are required to report only on what they visually encounter–be it actual termites, wood damage, or a mud tube trail. It is NOT a guarantee that termites are not present. Multiple termite colonies can live near the home, all of them in constant search for food. Find out if the company backs up their inspections with a limited time warranty, which may cover minor repair from damage.
Pay close attention to your seller’s disclosure documents. The home’s termite history and damage should be on the disclosure, with receipts for treatment copied if possible. This full disclosure protects the seller, especially in the Southeast, where it’s more common for older homes to have termite damage. Many times, a termite “bond” transfers service from the seller to the buyer; ask your realtor if this is the case in your home purchase.
Make sure you are present during the inspection. That is the best way to insure that an inspection is completed. If there is damage present, ask the inspector to show you what he or she has found, so you can be an informed homeowner.
What if you’re already a homeowner, but you discover some damage to your wood or find a “mystery insect” in your walls or floors during a renovation? It’s not a good time to try to diagnose or remedy the problem by yourself. The best person to assess wood damage is a pest management professional with specific training in termite detection.
A Certified Sentricon Specialist™ receives specialized training in termite detection and treatment through the use of the Sentricon® System. Bait stations are strategically installed around the house containing a lethal food source that the termites eat and take back to the colony, destroying the reproducing queen termite in the process, and eliminating the colony. With the colony—or multiple colonies—eliminated, the home is protected from termite destruction.
It pays to be proactive when it comes to protecting your home from termites. If you’re purchasing a home that’s not protected by a termite specialist, find out more about Sentricon here, or visit our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages.
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2 National Pest Management Association