Often when customers make an offer on a house their real estate agents recommend that they have a "termite inspection" done. This is a bit of a misnomer since the inspection concerns much more than termites. The correct term is a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) Inspection. In the purchase agreement that I most often use it defines the Wood Destroying Organisms as "...anthropod or plant life, including termites, power-post beetles, oldhouse borers and wood-decaying fungi, that damages or infests seasoned wood in a structure, excluding fences." Banks often require that a WDO Inspection be done prior to the closing of the sale. Even if they do not have this requirement or you are paying cash, I strongly urge you to have a WDO done! The cost is minimal. However, if you do not have one done, and then find out there is an infestation and/or damage, the costs can be significant. Often buyers think that since the home they are buying is of "concrete block" construction they are safe from wood destoying organisms. The truth is that nearly every home has extensive wooden components in it. Wall studs, rafters, trim, doors, window frames, etc. are all possible meals for WDO's. Do be aware that, as with any inspection, there will be some limitations, such as areas that cannot be examined. Inspectors will not be able to tear open walls or rip up floorboards. Your inspector can inform you of these limitations. There are no 100% guarantees, of course. But you will be "hedging your bets" as much as possible, and in the process become a better informed buyer and diminsh your risks.
The contract will mandate that the WDO Inspection must be done by a company that is licensed to conduct such inspections. You can find plenty of local pest control companies in the Yellow Pages or on the internet. Neighbors, friends, and family members can also recommend service providers that you may choose to use. I suggest that you speak with several and ask them what they charge, are they available, how extensive their inspection is, etc. Costs should run between $40 and $60. You may wish to check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any outstanding complaints against a particular company.
I recommend that you attend the inspection, if possible. Since home buyers also frequently have a professional inspection done, it is usually more convenient for them to have the WDO Inspection done at the same time as the professional inspection. At the end of the inspection you will receive a written report for your own records and for your lender if you are financing your purchase. This report will be very important if it becomes necessary to negotiate repairs and/or treatments of infestations. See your specific purchase agreement for more information.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need more information concerning Wood Destroying Organism Inspections.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida