Termite infestation costs approximately $1 billion in prevention and structural damage across the country annually according to the Department of Agriculture. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most common types in the U.S. are the native subterranean and Formosan termites. As a potential homebuyer or seller, you'll want to have proof that the home has not been infested with termites or the property has been properly treated and repaired after termite damage occurred. A termite inspection will verify and confirm both.
Where Termites Are Popular
The Termite Infestation Probability (TIP) Zones referenced by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department details where termites are most likely to occur. If you're planning on purchasing a home in one of these states, consider getting a termite inspection performed as part of the due diligence process. Additionally, the mortgage company may mandate it to close on the property.
Required by Lenders
According to the TIP Zones, Louisiana, California, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and eastern Texas have the heaviest infestations of termites. If you're purchasing a home in any of these states or states with moderate to heavy infestation the lender will inform you on whether a termite inspection will be required. Home sellers should ensure there are no active termites to prevent any unexpected surprises during the inspection period and to protect the home from unnecessary damage.
Keeping The Home Under Termite Contract
Pest control companies offer yearly service agreements to annually inspect and treat the home if termites become active. In a real estate transaction, a contract typically requires an initial inspection before the home closes and an annual inspection for a recommended number of years. Again, local mortgage and insurance requirements vary, but a transferable termite contract could be required to close on the home.
Termite damage takes several months to become visible. A termite inspection can make recommendations, detect termite activity and perform treatment to prevent future infestation. Depending on the region of the country you live in or decide to purchase real estate, a termite inspection could be critical to closing on the property. Regional lender requirements will typically dictate when a termite inspector performs an inspection or treats the house.
Monica Dillon has more than 10 years experience in real estate sales, marketing, investing and appraising. She specializes in energy efficiency building practices and renewable energy. Dillon has been syndicated by the National Newspaper Publisher's Association. Her work has also appeared in the "Journal Of Progressive Human Services."