Q: When purchasing a home, is it better to have the termite inspection performed before or after entering escrow?
A: This is a question we get a lot in the wood repair business. Homeowners are understandably nervous about agreeing to purchase a home only to get back a termite inspection report that shows massive termite damage. So, is it better to demand that the inspection be done prior to escrow?
The answer depends on the individual circumstances of the seller and the home being sold. Here’s our advice:
It may be better to perform the termite inspection before escrow when…
The home is older, has not been sold within the last five years, shows signs of general neglect or is located in coastal areas where termite pressure is highest.
Basically, if the home is at a moderate to high risk of having termite damage, it is in the buyer’s best interest to request a termite inspection before even discussing pricing. The inspection may disclose findings that will require additional expense on behalf of the seller and affect attractiveness of the house.
Sellers should be aware that if they do agree to have their home inspected prior to escrow, they may need to pay for the inspection out of pocket, as opposed to billing it to escrow. Also, if the home is not sold within four to six months, a new inspection report and fee may be required once the property does go into escrow.
Some termite inspection companies will offer a discounted rate for inspections in these situations. It never hurts to ask, and sellers could end up saving a little bit of green.
Regardless of the downside, getting a termite inspection before negotiations start is usually prudent in most situations.
It may be better to perform the termite inspection after escrow when…
The home is relatively new, has been sold within the last two years, and seems as if it has been properly maintained by the current owner.
If the home is at a low risk of termite trouble, then the buyers are likely safe to start up negotiating without getting a termite inspection first.
However, getting the inspection early can’t hurt, even when the indicators of termite trouble are low. Being armed with information is a good thing, especially before agreeing to a price for the home.
Select a reputable termite company that specializes in escrow transactions and charges a nominal fee for inspections. Be very careful of “FREE” inspection offers. Nothing is “FREE.” Also make sure to have the termite inspector go over the report with you and your realtor so that everyone is clear on what needs to be done to get the termite clearance and your escrow closed.
If you are a home seller, and a termite inspector finds termite damage to the wooden structures in your home, call Best Rate Repair. We offer fast, friendly and affordable wood repair service. Our expert craftsmen can repair the wood damage to your home so that you can put your property back on the market and get it sold quickly.