Contributed by: Doug Webb
Updated on: August 26, 2022
Preventing termite damage is essential for any homeowner. The first step starts with a termite inspection. However, the cost of a termite inspection can vary based on the company, location, reason for the inspection, and other factors. Therefore, it's best to speak to a pest control professional for termite inspection prices in your area.
Although some companies charge for termite inspections, with Terminix, initial termite inspections are always free. Schedule one for your home today.
Read on for information on termite inspection costs, why other companies may charge you to get one, and how to prepare for a home termite inspection.
Understanding termite inspection costs
Several factors go into the cost of a termite inspection. Your geographic location is one factor. Another factor is whether you need a residential termite inspection vs. a commercial property inspection. Inspection costs may also differ based on whether you currently own the property or you are getting an inspection to fulfil the requirements of a real estate transaction.
Let's take a closer look at the individual factors that determine termite inspection costs.
Different states in the U.S. have different inspection regulations. For instance, if you're purchasing a home in South Carolina, your lender will require you to have a South Carolina Wood Infestation Report, which costs roughly $150. Also, your geographic location may influence the cost of a termite inspection due to differences in taxes, labor and fuel costs.
Real estate transaction or property owner maintenance
If your termite inspection is part of a real estate transaction, the cost could be included as part of the final cost of the property.
In the case of a home loan, some states require the buyer to pay for the termite inspection. On the flipside, other states require the seller to pay for the inspection. In those states, sometimes the seller will offer to pay for a termite inspection as an incentive to prospective buyers.
A property owner requesting a termite inspection as part of the standard maintenance of the property will likely have a different price than a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction.
Loan and property type
The type of home loan you are taking out can also influence the cost of the termite inspection. Requirements for a standard loan are different from pest inspection requirements for someone taking out a VA loan or an FHA loan.
In the case of a VA loan, if the property you want to buy is in a location where termite infestation probability is rated moderate to very heavy, you may be required to get a termite inspection as part of the loan process.
FHA loans generally require a home appraisal, and if the appraiser sees evidence of termite damage, you will likely be required to get a professional inspection. Furthermore, repairs likely need to be finished before the loan is approved. The buyer usually pays for the appraisal and inspection, but the seller is usually responsible for the repairs.
Home inspection bundles
Home inspectors usually do not have the necessary qualifications to perform a professional termite inspection. However, they may partner with professional pest control companies, offering discounts and bundle it into the total cost of their home inspection.
Termite bonds and letters
Generally, a termite letter is a letter written by a certified termite inspection company stating that a home has been inspected and shows if there is evidence of termite activity. If there were previous reports of termites in the home, the letter will tell what repairs have since been made to fix the damage. A termite letter may be required before obtaining certain types of loans or if the property is in a high-risk area for termites. A termite letter can cost between $100 and 200. However, the cost may be waived by the inspection company if they are hired for termite control treatments.
If termites are discovered in a house that you are planning on buying, many lenders will require you to have a "termite bond." Although sometimes used interchangeably with "termite agreement" or "termite contract," a termite bond is something entirely different. In other words, the lender is really looking for a termite agreement or a termite contract. On the other hand, a bond is simply a fee that a pest control company pays to a regulatory agency when it establishes it's business. If the pest control company goes bankrupt and owes customers money, the bond (usually a few thousand dollars total) is split among claimants.
Termite bonds do not cost the homeowner or potential termite customer any money but are rather a regulatory requirement for termite control companies to operate their business.
Residential or commercial termite inspection
Most termite control companies charge different fees based on the type of property they are inspecting. A residential termite inspection will likely be less costly than a commercial property inspection. Commercial properties include apartment buildings, condominiums, duplexes, office buildings, restaurants, and retail stores.
Why should you get a termite inspection?
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Termite damage can cost you thousands of dollars in household repairs. By contrast, a timely termite inspection by qualified professionals can be worth every penny when you weigh it against the cost – and headache – of repairing termite damage.
Signs of termites
Recognizing signs of termites in your house could mean the difference between a small amount of damage and a large amount of termite damage. These signs include blisters in wood flooring, wood damage, discarded termite wings, mud tubes where your property meets the ground, and mounds of drywood termite droppings (called “frass"). If you notice any of these signs, you should call a professional right away.
Annual inspections and prevention
Scheduling an annual termite inspection for your home is a fairly inexpensive way to help prevent costly termite damage, especially if your home is in a high-risk area for termites.
Buying or selling a home
Generally, homeowners insurance does not cover the costs of termite inspections and treatments because it is considered preventable. If you are buying a house, your lender may require a termite inspection as part of your loan process, and termite inspections can give you valuable peace of mind.
Is the termite inspection cost worth it?
So, do you need a termite inspection? The answer to that question involves considering the consequences of not getting a termite inspection. Termites are destructive, causing about $5 billion in damage yearly in the United States, according to the National Pest Management Association. Fortunately, taking the right precautions can reduce your chances of suffering termite damage due to an infestation.
How often should I schedule a termite inspection?
The first step to avoiding a termite problem is having your home regularly inspected for termites, at least annually. We also recommend that you have your home inspected anytime you suspect termite activity.
How to prepare for a termite inspection
When you schedule your termite inspection, ask your inspector what you should do to prepare. The termite inspector will need access to your garage and exterior walls, attic, crawl space, sinks, and other areas in your home to assess any structural damage. Before the inspector arrives, move household items and restrain your pets to provide easy access to:
Garage walls. Move items two feet away from the garage walls so the inspector can see where the walls meet the slab floor. Expansion joints in the garage provide entry for termites.
Underneath the house. If you have a raised foundation, the inspector will go under your house. The inspector needs access to the crawl space, usually through the crawl space access door on the outside of the house. Remove items that block the opening to the crawl space.
Attic. Clear items away so the inspector can get into your attic. If the attic access is in a closet, remove clothing and other stored items so the insulation doesn't fall on them.
Sinks. Remove items under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. The inspector will check for leaks and termite evidence.
What to expect during a termite inspection
What does a termite inspection consist of?
The inspector will be looking for signs of termite activity or infestation in your home, including:
- Termite droppings
- Evidence of termite swarms (such as discarded wings)
- Mud tubes
- Hollow or damaged wood
- Buckling or bubbling paint
- Brittle drywall
- Live termites
Signs of termites can be difficult to spot. That's why it's important to have a termite control professional perform a termite inspection to your home annually. A trained technician knows which species of termites are present in your area, what signs of termites to look for and exactly where to look for them.
A termite professional will also assess your home for potential termite access points:
- Cracks in the foundation around plumbing
- Expansion joints (found in the garage and other places)
- Hollow block walls
- The side of foundation walls and piers
Additionally, they'll also look for any conditions that may lead to future termite infestations in your home, including plumbing leaks and wood-to-soil contact.
Questions to ask your termite inspector
Your termite inspector will work with you to come up with a plan to help get rid of existing termites and guard against future infestations. Having a list of questions prepared beforehand can help you to better understand the nature of your infestation and take a more collaborative approach alongside your termite technician. Here are just a few questions to consider asking during your termite inspection:
- Which termite treatments do you recommend?
- How long will the termite treatment take?
- Where is the termite activity or infestation?
- How can I help prevent future infestations?
- What will the initial treatment cost?
- What is the cost to extend protection?
- What type of guarantees do you provide?
Terminix® offers a free termite inspection. If you have termites, Terminix can recommend one of several treatment systems. If you don't have termites, Terminix can help protect your home against future infestations.
Free termite inspections from Terminix
A free homeowner's inspection is different from a real estate transaction termite inspection, which is usually required by the mortgage lender and/or insurer. With this type of inspection, the termite professional inspects for termites and other wood-destroying insects and organisms and issues a formal report.
On the flipside, if you're already a homeowner and suspect termites, there's good news: Some termite inspection companies, like Terminix, offer free initial termite inspections for homeowners. Keeping your home free from termites is a part of regular home maintenance and can save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
During a free initial termite inspection from Terminix, a termite control professional will inspect your home to look for common signs of termites and any existing termite damage. If termite activity is found, Terminix can customize a treatment plan to fit your needs. If termites are not found, Terminix can recommend a plan to help protect your home from the damage a potential termite infestation could cause.