Far, far from the set of A Bug’s Life…
Hey, this is Virginia and we have termites. Millions of tunneling termites in the soil headed toward your house.
A few times every year, I get emails from people asking questions about termites, termite inspections, termite damage, WDI report, and termite related issues that have complicated their purchase or sale.
One guy who bought a home somewhere in Virginia discovered, after Settlement, that the foundation had extensive termite damage. He had paid cash for the house and, assumed the seller had inspected for termites.
I know, he who assumes makes an ass of u and me.
Another e-mailer discovered that damage had been noted on the Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) report and asked about getting the seller to fix it… which caused problems.
Or the local Vienna home buyer a few years ago flipped-out when the termite guy inspected his potential home with only a long screwdriver and LED flashlight. (fyi, these are the tools)
The WDI Report – Own it!
My recommendation is to get ahead of the traditional mindset of letting the seller provide a WDI Report by adding a few simple steps:
- Include in your offer that YOU will hire the termite inspector
- Have the termite inspector come by when you are doing your home inspection
- Know what treatments or repairs can be done prior to Settlement
The NVAR Sales Contract gives you, the buyer, the option to select an inspector. Your home inspector is not going to look for termites, so ask your buyer agent to give you some suggestions of who to call.
Having the inspection done during the home inspection gives you a chance to address potential damage or treatment during the home inspection contingency period. And, if there is extensive damage, there is the option to void the contract and walk away.
Treatments before Settlement are common (30% of the time) and typically include a one-year guarantee.
The WDI paragraph in the sales contract is short, and states that identified damage or treatments will be done at the Seller’s expense.
WOOD-DESTROYING INSECT INSPECTION Buyer at Buyer’s expense OR Seller at Seller’s expense will furnish a written report from a pest control firm dated not more than 90 days prior to Settlement showing that all dwelling(s) and/or garage(s) within the Property (excluding fences or shrubs not abutting garage(s) or dwelling(s)) are free of visible evidence of live wood-destroying insects, and free from visible damage. Any treatment and repairs for damage identified in the inspection report will be made at Seller’s expense and Seller will provide written evidence of such treatment and/or repair prior to date of Settlement which shall satisfy the requirements of this Paragraph.
Your mortgage lender or loan underwriter will need to review the WDI Report to approve your loan. If there is damage, termites are seen, or a treatment is performed, your mortgage underwriter will want to see evidence those actions were completed.
Read that paragraph again… because it is in the contract already.
If the Seller refuses to have a treatment performed or make the noted repairs, then you will have an Underwriter Issue.
Look at it this way, since the bank is giving you 80% of the money or more, they really want to make sure that the house is structurally okay. And, if the Seller is making an issue out of it then the Seller will be in default.
If that’s the case, then you will need legal counsel to help you navigate your next steps. For reference know they aren’t in compliance with the Performance paragraph.
Caution to those flying solo
Today’s home buyers who are navigating the Virginia real estate market without a “buyer agent” are really on their own.
Virginia is a Caveat Emptor state where the responsibility is placed squarely on the buyer to be satisfied with the inspection(s). Discovery is up to the buyers especially in the contract we use here in Vienna, the NVAR Contract, where the home inspection contingency clearly states buyers can do inspections(s) at the Purchaser’s discretion.
The WDI or termite inspection does not automatically get done at a specific time. The paragraph above states that it is done prior to the date of Settlement. And that will be a huge issue with your lender if the Seller waits to the last minute because of strict CFPB required disclosure periods.
Still have questions?