Termites and Buying a Home - What You Need to Know

Real Estate Agent with DEAN Knows & Infinity Real Esate

Termites and Prospective Homeowners

Prospective buyers tend to concentrate on the cosmetic changes they will need to make to a house if they buy it. Buyers often evaluate a property's worth by its curb appeal.

They may not be aware of the potential dangers lurking below the surface. For example, termites or other wood-destroying insects can silently consume wood and cause property damage.

Termite damage

termite damage in a homeTermites are known as silent destroyers because they can chew through wallpaper, wood flooring, and other materials and are responsible for more than $5B in property damage every year.

Termite damage can be difficult to spot with the naked eye. It could take up to eight years for the first signs to become apparent, all the while getting worse and worse by the day.

Buyers should request a wood-destroying pest inspection and be provided a report showing no active infestations.  This is also most likely to be required by your lender before they will loan you the funds for closing. It is critical to find out about wood destroying insects before purchasing a home to avoid being stuck with severe damage that is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.

Termite inspection

It is best to be fully informed before purchasing a house. Buyers can be confident in knowing all facts by proactively scheduling a termite inspection.

A termite inspection or wood-destroying insects inspection is different than a standard home inspection. It assesses the structure and systems of a house from the roof to its foundation.

Buyers should schedule a home inspection before closing. However, it is important to consider having a termite inspection performed by licensed pest professionals.

The termite management specialist will inspect the house from the crawl space or attic to determine if there are any signs of termite damage. The inspector will then issue a report, and, if there is an infestation, an estimate of how much it will cost to correct the situation. Buyers can also negotiate any repairs with the seller before closing if any termite damage is found.


Termite prevention tips

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, homeowners should schedule a professional inspection once a year or less after purchasing a home.

Keep these termite prevention tips at heart:

  • Repair any leaking water pipes, water pipes, or AC units that are located outside the home. 
  • Make sure basements, crawl spaces and attics are well ventilated. 
  • Downspouts and gutters should direct water away from your home.
  • Keep firewood at least 20 feet from your house and at least 5 inches above the ground. 
  • Mulch should be kept at least 15 inches away from the foundation.

Regularly inspect the foundation for signs such as mud tubes, cracked or bubbling paint, and wood that sounds hollow when it is tapped. Any noticeable changes in wood exterior areas, such as windows, doorframes, and skirting boards, should be monitored.

Choosing the right inspector

Choosing the right inspector for your WDIR is important.  In many instances, if you receive a WDIR showing no active infestation but later find termite damage to your property - you still could possibly be responsible for those repairs. 

The Wood Destroying Insect Report (WDIR) that shows no active infestation simply means that -- there are no active termites or other wood destroying insects.  There very could be damage from a non-active infestation.

You will want to choose a highly qualified inspector that is looking out for your best interest.  You may not want to use your local pest control specialist as many of them may not even provide a WDIR that would be accepted by your lender. 

Buying a home is often the largest investment that a person makes. To make informed decisions about their homes, prospective homebuyers should gather as much information as possible.

Comments (1)

Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Real Estate Advocate

This is such valuable information as it pertains to the Termite infestation and damage they can bring to your home.  Being in Denver, we do not see MUCH, but every now and then where there is a higher water table, there have been some termites found.  Have a great 2022, !!

Jan 07, 2022 09:55 AM
Dean Cacioppo


Thanks for the kind words.  We are in Southern Louisiana so they are something that we deal with on a regular basis.

Jan 07, 2022 10:43 AM