Reading a Termite Report
Reading a termite report might not be the simplest thing in the world for most of us, but it is a skill you should at least have some confidence with especially when you seek an inspection for your home. Inspectors will complete a termite report once they are through inspecting the home in order to let you know about their findings in a systematic and organized fashion.
Two Parts of Termite Reports
Termite reports have two basic parts that let homeowners know all the basic information the inspector wishes to tell them about their home as it pertains to termites. The termite inspection is just the first part of a professional termite control service. The first part of a termite report addresses existing damage. Basically, this part identifies areas of the home that have already been damaged by the pest. This damage could be either new or old, or some combination of the two.
Inspectors cannot always tell for sure about every damaged area they discover, but they generally come up with theories about active infestation and where the population might presently be lurking in and around the home. Dry rot and structural damage are included in this report. It could also include notes on warning signs of activities in places where the inspector was unable to access during the course of the inspection. Special provisions may be put into place for technicians to check out these areas in the course of their elimination work as a follow up to inspection.
The second part of a termite report is more speculative in nature. It is not based on actual observance of damage as is the first part, but rather on observation of dangerous situations or areas highly susceptible to attack. It reflects on visual observations and shares information on immediate risks. This section also details preventive actions such as installing physical termite barriers and other measures than can be taken to minimize risk. Examples of areas commonly included in this portion of a termite report include stacks of firewood, especially those leaning against or right up next to the wall of the home; fallen or dead trees near the house; and any areas with particularly high moisture content. Termites love warm, moist areas and thrive under these conditions. It is no coincidence that they typically mate in the spring.
Termites and Real Estate Purchases
It is strongly recommended that buyers obtain a termite report prior to making any kind of real estate purchase. To get this report you need to make arrangements to get a termite inspector to look over the property. When the inspection is completed and the report is presented to both the buyer and seller, the seller becomes responsible for any past or present damage as well as for handling any active termite infestations. The best way to deal with infestation in many cases is to send in technicians with termiticides that are totally nontoxic to humans but lethal to termites. The cost of an inspection is usually reasonable, and can often be rolled into the cost of infestation treatment if such treatment proves necessary. Payment for the inspection can be negotiated among the buyer and seller of the property.
Going forward, the buyer assumes any and all responsibility for preventive measures recommended in the report. And any property that has existing damage needs an annual inspection going forward to protect the buyer’s investment in the home. Some inspectors offer termite bonds that make such annual inspection work much more affordable over time. Reading a termite report is the first step toward implementing a long term infestation prevention strategy.