Editors’s Note 9/2014: This post has been edited from the original article to reflect current lender requirements.
The Northern Virginia real estate contract can require that a termite or “wood destroying insect” inspection be conducted. This election is made by the Purchaser in their offer. And, if there are active termites or structural damage from termites, then the Home Seller will have to pay for a treatment or any repairs so that a “clear termite report” can be provided to the mortgage lender and Home Purchaser with a one-year warranty.
Mortgage lenders will want to see the inspection report, and that inspection should be dated within 90 days of the settlement. You will need to confirm that number with your loan officer.
Termite inspectors do have to be certified in Virginia and receive annual training. I am not sure if the termites come up with new tricks to outsmart the inspectors, or if it is the state that wants to keep tabs on everyone.
Home Termite Inspections are “visual”
Keep in mind that the inspections are “visual” (like a home inspection) and the inspectors are not going to rip apart walls to check things out unless they find a termite trail. Over my 23-years selling real estate and attending many inspections, I know that termites leave tell-tale signs that look like tunnels, and can make a 2×4 look like swiss cheese that you could easily poke a hole into with a screw driver.
Recently at one of my listings in Vienna, I called my client to tell her that the termite inspection was “OK”, and she responded that she was meeting a termite guy the next day. It seems another company spotted the sale online and sent her a letter directly to set up a time, sounding like they had been assigned the job. This is happening often and is a Very Shady business practice!
The Termite Inspection should include a warranty
Another ploy has been to contact the new owners a few months after they move in and offer a year warranty for $85. Here is the thing… the inspection done before closing already included a one-year warranty.
If you are a home buyer, you should plan to select and pay for the termite inspection (around $50) and if termites are found then you know a proper treatment will be at the seller’s expense prior to your final loan approval. The underwriter for your loan will want verification that any treatment or repair has been done, so you must make sure you have the paperwork a week or two prior to your settlement.
Any questions? Send me an email and I will point you in the right direction.