Updated for 2023
Yes, a termite inspection is part of the standard Northern Virginia real estate sales contract.
Last week, I received a question via email from an upset seller who had just been told that he was being required to have his home treated for termites. He wanted to know if this was accurate (getting a second opinion) because he really didn’t want to spend another $500.
I responded that I work here in Vienna and that I was unclear where the heck he was located or what his real estate contract may require… (I’m, not the NSA!).
NVAR’s real estate contract covers termite inspections in Paragraph 17 (17, that’s the update):
As you can see, it is the “Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection” because we also have Carpenter Bees which drill perfectly round, quarter-size holes in decks, rake boards, trim boards, and anything made of wood around your house.
Inspections cost $30-$75 and the Purchaser can select which party will pay that inspection fee when they put together their original offer. I recommend that my clients select and pay for the inspection.
If there are wood-destroying insects found then the Seller is obligated, per the contract, to pay for a treatment or necessary repairs.
Recently I have found many home inspectors recommending that you get a WDI or termite inspection at the same time as your home inspection. This is sensible, especially in Virginia where termites are a fact of life in residential real estate. Treatments are easy but, if there is structural damage, then you can include the repair in your negotiation or you may decide to void the contract if the damage is extensive (such as joists).
If your Settlement or Consummation date (a new real estate term) is more than 30 days away, then you will need to pay for a second inspection closer to Consummation. Hey, that is just the way that the contract is written.
I recommend getting the inspection done 3 or 4 weeks prior to your closing, just in case repairs need to get scheduled. This way any treatments can be completed if necessary and the revised WDI Report showing the repairs can be submitted to the buyer’s lender and underwriter for approval.
Gone are the days when termite inspections get done at the last minute… like a Vienna real estate agent pulled on me last month. If you or your buyer (Consumer) wait to the last minute and the results changes the closing documents then you will have triggered a mandatory three-day waiting period.
Although Paragraph 17 is a standard part of the NVAR real estate contract, Purchasers or Consumers using FHA or VA loans should be aware of their specific WDI clauses included in the appropriate financing addenda. And condo buyers should note, most upper-level condos don’t require WDI inspections ~ again, consult with your mortgage professional in advance.