What Home Buyers Need To Know About Termite Inspections


Gift-Wrapped House With Red Bow

Home sellers aren’t always required to perform a termite inspection

Imagine this nightmare scenario: you find the house of your dreams that’s right in your budget. You are careful on your walkthrough of the property to look out for any damage. When you’re ready, you place a bid and the seller accepts. Contracts are signed and they keys are exchanged. You have a wonderful new house, and you’re thrilled…for three months until you realize that the house is infested with termites.


Yikes! No one wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home only to see their prized possession tented and their credit dinged for another big expense.


So, to keep your dream of homeownership from turning into a termite-infested nightmare, here’s what you need to know about termite inspections and buying a new home.


Are home sellers required to have their home inspected for termites?

FHA loans do require a termite report and clearance but most other lenders do not unless it is written into the purchase contract. Therefore, it is important that you review your purchase contract carefully to see if a termite report is required.


If it is, your lender will likely require termite clearance before closing on escrow.


What if a termite report is not required?

If your lender does not require a seller to have a termite inspection performed, you will want to strongly consider hiring an inspector in the course of the other inspections you’ll have done on the house. This is especially true if the house has not been tented in the last two years. Most termite companies will guarantee their work for up to two years, so any later, and the house may be at risk again for a termite infestation.


What type of termite inspection should be done?

If a lender requires a seller to have a termite inspection done, they will only likely require Section 1 clearance. Section 1 clearance means that the inspector does not find evidence of an active infestation or structural damage from an infestation.  While Section 1 clearance is a good thing for sellers to demonstrate, buyers might want to be aware of Section 2 items and be prepared to address them later. A Section 2 inspection looks for conditions that are likely to lead to a termite infestation or damage.


In California, it’s common for the home seller to pay for a Section 1 inspection while the buyer pays for Section 2. However, when buying a home, everything is negotiable. It is still a buyer’s market in many areas of Southern California, You should still consider requesting that the seller cover a Section 1 and 2 termite inspection.


When do sellers have the termite inspection performed

Some sellers will have a termite inspection performed before they put the house on the market to prove to potential buyers that it is structurally sound. Others will wait until they have a buyer on the line and have the inspection performed during escrow.


For additional questions on termite inspections or to get a referral for a local, honest and cost-effective termite company, contact Best Rate Repair.


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