Does California Require a Termite Inspection?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Vic Steele, Broker CA DRE 01349863 CA BRE 01349863

This may be one of the most popular urban legends in CA real estate: Does California Require a Termite Inspection?Valet Real Estate Services

The short answer is "No."

I just got a text from a client who is in escrow to buy a home in Orange.  We had their property inspection earlier today.  He wanted a referral for a termite company.  I was surprised for two reasons:

1. The purchase contract specifically said the Seller (Foreclosing Bank) would NOT pay for a termite inspection.

2. The propery inspector did not mention he noticed termite damage today.

I asked my client about that and he said the property inspector did not see termite damage, but he told him that a termite inspection is required in all Calfornia real estate transactions.

I explained this is a very popular urban legend, but it is not entirely accurate.  Some lending institutions require a termite inspection AND a clearance.  A termite inspection is highly recommended in every transaction.  If the Residential Purchase Agreement calls for a termite inspection, almost every lender will require it is completed and any Section 1 work is completed before the loan can fund.

So there is not a California law requiring a termite inspection.  It is standard practice, it is highly recommended, it is NOT required.

If you're looking for a straight answer on anything, like Does California Require a Termite Inspection, ask me!



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Valet Real Estate Services


A referral is sending someone you care about to someone you trust!

Vic Steele, Broker, CA DRE License No. 01349863
1250 N. Lakeview Avenue, Suite M, Anaheim, CA 92807


Comments (9)

Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage,NMLS ID 6666 - Sacramento, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609

It's possible that your client was using his VA Home Loan Benefit which DOES require a termite report and clearance prior to closing escrow.  Otherwise, most other loan programs only require a termite report and clearance if it is called for in the purchase contract.  Almost all REO properties are sold AS IS.  Thanks for your post and have a great 2012.

Jan 02, 2012 05:02 PM
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA DRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA

Thanks for bringing up that one Doug.  It doesn't apply to this particular scenario, but that doesn't change the accuracy of the statement.  You rock!

Jan 02, 2012 05:06 PM
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Vic - Good job on clearing up one more California myth on buying and selling in our state.

Jan 02, 2012 08:18 PM
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA DRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA

Thank you Laura.  Together we can give clients the best information available!

Jan 03, 2012 07:23 AM
Bob Willis
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Orange, CA
Orange County & L.A. County Real Estate Agent

Good answer Vic.  By the way, I'd like to wish you a Happy New Year!  Cheers.

Jan 03, 2012 08:38 AM
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA DRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA

Thank you my friend.  Happy New Year to you and yours Bob!

Jan 03, 2012 12:12 PM
Megan Stonetree
Four Quartets at Woodbury - Irvine, CA
New Homes in Irvine, CA

Vic - great information!  Bring your buyers out to our new homes in Irvine - I promise - NO TERMITES!!!   Seriously - I have 2 more homes to sell and I need great agents to help get it done! 

Jan 06, 2012 08:38 AM
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA DRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA

I'll be certain to point out those two homes to any prospective buyers Megan.

Jan 06, 2012 12:05 PM
Lanty Kennedy
You are certainly right Mr. Steele. Lenders back in the 80's and 90's all almost required it, but there is no law that states you must have one. One thing I would like to mention is, home inspector are skilled people, but they are not license termite inspectors. I would not base getting a inspection or not on a home inspector's opinion. Any real estate agent will tell you purchasing a home will probably be one of your most important investments you will ever make. And spending $75-100 for a termite inspection is well worth it. Remember most homes are built from wood timbers and that's all termites eat 24 hours a day, not to mention other things we look for like fungus, dryrot, etc.. Lanty Kennedy President Budget Termite Control, Inc 1-818-897-2650
Dec 24, 2013 10:31 AM