The Termite Report
One of the inspections you will most likely get when purchasing a home is a Termite Report. Also called a Wood Destroying Pests and Organisms Report. This report is designed to tell you if the home you are about to purchase has termites or other pests; such as beetles; that may damage the structure.
What are termites?
Termites are small, ant-like insects that feed off of the cellulose in wood. These little pests will burrow and tunnel through wood, eating their way through your home. If they go untreated, they can cause complete destruction of the wooden structure. Not good news.
There are different types of termites. Subterranean Termites which live and move in the ground. Any earth to wood contact provides the perfect setting for the termites to make a buffet of your home. There are also Dry Wood Termiteswhich will colonize in non decayed wood which has a very low moisture content. They will obtain entry to the wood, the queen will lay the eggs and the damage begins. There are also Damp-wood Termites and Powder-post Termites but the most common in California are the Subterranean and Dry Wood Termites.
How are they treated?
There are different types of treatment for each of the different types of termites. The treatment will also depend on the seriousness of the infestation. There are both chemical and non chemical treatments for termites. Fumigation is the most common and effective way to eradicate Dry Wood Termites, although microwave and heat are also effective as non chemical treatment.
Subterranean Termites are treated with a soil treatment that requires application directly to the soil in, under and around the structure. Often times the soil treatment may only be applied where the infestation is found and not around the entire building. You may want to get clarification on which procedure is being used to treat the Subterranean Termites found in the report.
Understanding the Report
The scope of the termite report is to identify for the client any condition or damage which is related to termite infestation, wood destroying beetle infestation and fungus infection. Fungus infection is also known as Dry Rot and is caused when the moisture content of the wood exceeds 20 or 30%. This creates a fungi that feeds off the cells of the wood. Fungiis treated with borates which are injected into the wood. This treatment will kill the fungi, however, it does not add strength to damaged wood. Most often time the Termite Company will recommend replacement of wood infected with Dry Rot.
Any items found with damage will be identified as either Section 1 items or Section 2 items. Section 1 items are any conditions existing from termite damage, water damage, Dry Rot or active termite infestation. Section 2 items are identified to alert the client of a situation that could lead to future damage. Most lenders will require any Section 1 item to be corrected prior to the close of escrow. VA loans will require clearance of both Section 1 AND Section 2 items.
Once the problem has been identified as either Section 1 or Section 2, the company that has prepared the report will usually recommend the proper work necessary to remedy the problem right under the item found. The remedies may include fumigation, localized treatment, wood replacement and further inspection.
Once you have received the termite report, be sure and take the time to review and understand the process necessary to correct the problem. If you have any questions, please be sure and speak to your REALTOR® to help you understand the work being performed. Depending upon how the purchase contract has been written will determine who is responsible for paying for what work to be done. Most times the seller will agree to correct Section 1 items and the buyer would then be responsible for any Section 2 items they would like corrected. Prior to the work being completed, make sure all parties understand which items are going to be repaired. If you have determined that you would like the Section 2items completed, make sure that is communicated prior to the work being ordered complete.
After the work has been performed, the Termite Company will go back out to the property and inspect the work that has been completed properly and issue a Termite Clearance.
The Termite Report is an important part of your inspection process. Understand the treatments, the necessary repairs and the type of warranty offered after any work has been completed. Your investment is worth it! Get a Termite Report!