No homeowner wants to find out that their house is infested with termites. These small insects can be incredibly destructive. Each year, they cause a staggering $5 billion in property damage in the United States. Unfortunately, signs of their activity can be difficult to detect, and when they are seen, extensive damage has likely already occurred.
As a homeowner, a termite inspection is one of your best lines of defense against these pests. Termites can strike your home at any time, so it’s wise to be vigilant about checking for damage. During an inspection, trained professionals will check the interior and exterior of your home, as well as areas like crawl spaces, for signs of termite damage and recommend necessary treatments.
If you are buying a home, your mortgage lender may require a termite inspection for loan approval. Even if you’re already in your home, annual inspections are a good idea. Read on to learn more about termite inspections, including who is responsible for the cost.
Covering the Cost
Nobody likes to talk about money, but when it comes to termite inspections, there’s a bit of good news. While cost can vary depending on the vendor, most pest control companies, including Terminix, offer free termite inspections. If there is a cost associated with an inspection, it is usually minimal and in the $50-$150 range.
If a termite inspection is being conducted as part of a real estate transaction, there is usually cost associated because the inspection covers other wood-destroying insects. Typically, the seller will cover any costs associated with the service. Certain types of home loans, such as VA (Veteran’s Administration) or FHA (Federal Home Administration) loans, have additional requirements and restrictions on termite inspections. For example, in most states, the VA will not allow the buyer to pay for the inspection and VA lenders require an invoice as proof of who paid for the inspection.
What to Look For
A termite inspection should include a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your home. Different species of termites can cause different types of damage, so inspectors should keep an eye out for all of the following:
- Mud tubes – These structures are formed by subterranean termites, which nest in the soil under and around your home. They are used to connect the colony to sources of wood for food.
- Termite droppings – Drywood termites tunnel through wood and create holes to remove their excrement when they build a nest. Their excrement is hexagonal-shaped wood pellets, which often resemble coffee grounds or sawdust. The presence of drywood termite pellets in your home is a sign of an infestation.
- Discarded wings – Piles of termite wings near the windows or doors of your home are signs of swarmers, the reproductive termites that fly out from their original colony to mate. When they mate, they lose their wings.
- Damaged wood – Termites chew through wood in search of cellulose. This activity results in damage to wood behind and below walls and floors. Often, they hollow out the wood and leave a series of grooves or tunnels that can weaken its overall structure.
- Blisters in wood flooring – Termite activity below wood flooring can often result in a blistered appearance. This may be a sign of subterranean termites, which can damage the sub-floor in your home.
As mentioned, termite inspections are frequently required for real estate transactions. Individuals buying or selling a home will likely hear the words “termite letter” during the sale. A termite letter, or more accurately, a “wood destroying organisms report,” is a document that confirms a home for sale has been inspected for any signs of insects that may cause structural damage. For the buyer, the document provides peace of mind that they’re not purchasing a damaged home. For the seller, a termite letter can often expedite the sale.
These letters outline the types of infestation and damage found (if any), as well as the recommended treatments and the limits of the inspection. Many mortgage lenders will require the letter on file to complete the transaction.
Based on the findings of the inspection, the pest control company will recommend treatments or provide options for prevention and protection. Terminix provides treatment options for both subterranean and drywood termites, as well as protection plans that covers the cost of damage and repairs as long as your plan is active. Our trained technicians will conduct an initial inspection, then recommend a customized treatment plan and follow up with annual inspections to help ensure your home is free of termites. Call to schedule your initial inspection today.