Know what The LEXpert is thinking about today? Termite inspections….well, there is more than just termites. You’ve got Carpenter Ants, Carpenter Bees, Termites, Powder Post Beetles and maybe even more. Those are just the ones I’ve encountered over the past 11 years.
Most people only get inspections when they buy a house. That means that when you see on the PVA or a Seller Disclosure that the seller has owned the house for a long time, odds are that there miiiiight not have been a termite inspection since then. It isn’t rare for a house to need a termite treatment in our area. Seeing a lot of damage is rare though. And the times I have seen the most damage have been when a seller has been there for a mighty long time. A termites first bite might have been the night the seller watched the last episode of Cheers. Now they just watched the season finale of N.C.I.S and the original termite’s great-great-great-great-great-great grandkids are half way up the first floor.
Now that I have scared you into having YOUR house inspected, there are a few things I want to share about how we Realtors handle wood destroying organisms in the Bluegrass area.
The contracts we use say that the buyer may get a termite inspection at their own expense (except for VA loans where the seller has to pay for it for some reason), and IF there is evidence of live or dead insects, or any damage from them, the seller has to pay for a treatment.
Our contracts also say that if there is any damage, the seller is automatically on the hook to pay up to 1% of the contract amount for repairs. Anything above that amount is to be negotiated. The attorney who wrote our contracts but have been about to be a buyer, since it sure favors the buyer.
So, if you are a buyer, you definitely want to do a termite inspection. If you are a seller, you really hope nothing is found. Speaking of that, there is a place on the standard Wood Destroying Insect Report (WDIR) where inspectors write a bunch of numbers. If you look down at the key, those numbers are all the places the inspector can’t get to, such as behind drywall, under carpet, behind insulation, etc. I like to point that out to my people because a clean report really just means no insects were FOUND.
The best time to do a termite inspection is after you have negotiated the normal home inspection repair items. That way you don’t end up spending the money on the termite inspection until after you have any home inspection repairs resolved. Our contract just says that it has to be done before the closing if one is going to be done. The termite inspection does not fall under the same paragraph/time line for the normal home inspection. Another reason to wait is this: Since the seller has already agreed to a treatment and repairing damage up to 1% of the contract price if needed, you want to drop that news after you have worked out your normal home inspection repair list. The seller is only going to spend so much money on repairs. You want all of the budget for the home inspection repairs. Let the seller know there are termites at the same time you present the repair list and you get fewer inspection repairs because he is now subtracting the termite treatment/repairs from his budget.