Tips & AdviceShould You Get a Termite Inspection?

Should You Get a Termite Inspection?

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Owning a home comes with a fair share of responsibilities, and homebuyers want to purchase a safe and reliable property. During the home buying process, potential buyers complete a home inspection and final walkthrough to evaluate the property’s condition and ensure they make a sound purchase. Some homebuyers may decide to conduct an additional termite inspection.

Whether you’re a seasoned or a first-time house buyer, you want to take precautionary steps when making a sizeable purchase. A termite inspection clarifies a home’s structural integrity and ensures that the home does not have pest damage.

Is A Termite Inspection Necessary When Buying A Home?

There is no federal legislation that mandates termite inspections, and homebuyers, therefore, do not have to complete this step in the buying process. However, many loan providers require their borrowers to acquire this type of inspection if they wish to finance their purchase with a mortgage. Many homebuyers eventually acquire termite inspections due to mortgage lender requirements.

Before securing a home loan, most lenders request proof of a homeowner’s insurance policy. The lender determines if the borrower’s home needs a pest inspection and typically finds that the house should have an inspection. Lenders want to ensure that they can recoup their investment in the home and will take steps to validate the property’s safety.

Some loans always require termite inspections, such as VA and FHA loans. Loan providers may ask for a termite clearance letter, certifying that a pest treatment company inspected the property for termites and found no trace of termites or damages caused by termites.

Why Do You Need A Termite Inspection?

Loan providers sometimes require termite inspections to guarantee they will not lose on their investment due to pest damage. Homebuyers who will not use a mortgage or whose lenders do not require a termite inspection should still consider completing this step due to the following reasons:

1. Termites may be active even if they are not visible

Even though they are small, humans can see termites. However, termites can settle into a home without someone noticing, sometimes taking up to five years to form colonies that are powerful enough to cause damage. By the time a homeowner notices a termite on their property, it is too late to seek preventative measures. Termites destroy 600,000 homes across the United States each year, settling in undetected.

Termite inspectors are able to look closely at a property to determine if small termites are present, detecting the pests before they cause damage. A homebuyer who can find evidence of termites may still have time to react before they take over the property. An inspection saves valuable time and money by catching potential invasions before they take root.

2. Fixing termite damage is expensive

Homeowners who suffer termite damage spend $5 billion annually to remedy damages. That means an average homeowner who suffers from this infestation spends around $8,333 to fix the issue.

A termite inspection only costs between $50 to $300, saving thousands of potential dollars. Additionally, catching potential damage before closing on a home means homebuyers can still ask the seller to finance the cost of repairs if needed.

3. Termite damage can be life-threatening

A property with significant termite damage can become structurally unsound and unsafe. As termites continue to eat away at a wooden beam, that beam can no longer support the weight of what it must support, meaning that beam could collapse and bring down pieces of the house with it.

If an owner is in the home at the time of a collapse, they could sustain serious injuries.

What To Expect During A Termite Inspection

Termite inspections only take one to two hours, depending on the size of the home. During the inspection, a professional will check the interior and exterior of the house for any traces and signs of termite infestations.

According to Orkin, physical signs of termite damage include:

  • Squeaky floors,
  • Damaged wood,
  • Stuck doors and windows,
  • Discolored drywall,
  • Small holes in drywall.

Inspectors will also look for signs of the presence of termites, including:

  • Mud tubes (also called termite tubes),
  • Flying swarms of termites,
  • Termite wings,
  • Pellets.

A termite inspector usually investigates every room on the property and tests out several features like doors, windows, cabinets, and floors. They will also search the outside of the home to look at the foundation and see if they can find proof of mud tubes.

How Much Does A Termite Inspection Cost?

Termite inspections usually cost between $50 to $300. If someone hires a termite inspector as part of a home inspection, the service may come free of charge. The following factors influence the cost of a termite inspection:

  • Location of the home (termites thrive in warmer conditions, so southern states are at a higher risk of activity)
  • If the inspection is due to signs of damage or part of a home inspection for a mortgage.
  • If the homeowner needs proof of completion.
  • Whether you currently own the property or you are getting an inspection to meet the requirements of a real estate transaction.

Even if a homebuyer has to finance the cost of a termite inspection during the home-buying process, the charge remains small compared to the additional closing costs. Purchasing a home is expensive, and homebuyers should take extra steps to guarantee they will not have to spend an unexpected and significant amount of money in their first few years of homeownership.

Conclusion

If left undetected, termites can cause serious structural damage to a property, costing homeowners thousands of dollars and potential injuries. Therefore, homebuyers should schedule a termite inspection, even if their mortgage lender does not require one.

A termite inspection can prove the absence of termites and almost guarantee that a homebuyer will not have to put up a large sum of money to address the pests in the near future. It also helps provide a peace of mind knowing that their new home rests on a sturdy foundation.

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