What Buyers Need to Know About Termites and Home Inspections

I know buying a house can be expensive. And it is perfectly understandable to make the best possible effort to attempt to minimize cost and utilize your hard earned dollars effectively. As a Realtor, I am often asked a very important question – “Do I really need a termite and home inspection?”

If you only get one thing out of this article, get this – the answer is “YES!”

Couple of quick facts.

  • Georgia is ranked 5th for termite population and we are directly north of the state ranked #1 (Florida).
  • It is not unlikely that the home you have chosen will have some sort of termite damage.
  • Many homes on the market do not receive adequate termite prevention, treatment, or repair.
  • Not all sellers will tell the truth, or even know, all the termite and structural facts about their home.
  • Not all inspection/pest treatment services are the same.

The current 2007 Georgia Purchase and Sale contracts have changed significantly since last year in this area. 

  • Sellers are no longer required to provide a termite letter at closing.  It is solely the responsibility of the buyer. This was done in an effort to allow buyers the opportunity to choose their own provider.  It is thought that buyers will be more likely to choose quality service that they are comfortable with so that they can be assured of the findings. (Note: VA Loan sales still insist that the Seller be responsible for the termite letter. The Buyer may not pay for the service.)
  • The “right to request repairs” clause defines the person of “Inspector” and what can be considered a “defect.”  This is important for buyers when selecting an inspector and deciding what course of action to take about his findings.

There are major differences between termite guys and home inspector guys.

  • Most home inspectors are NOT authorized to complete a Georgia Wood Infestation Report. They do not have the specific training to recognize all signs of termite/pest infestations.
  • Most termite guys are NOT home inspectors. They do not check structural soundness, roof damage, appliance operation, electrical operation, plumbing, heating and air, or a variety of other things on an inspectors checklist.

For most people. the purchase of a home is the single biggest investment they will ever make. It is important to know the answers to some key questions.

  • Is the home covered by a termite or pest control company? What is the nature of that contract? Is it transferable? What does it NOT cover? Is it retreat and repair or just retreat?
  • Has there ever been, or is there now, an active infestation? What are the results?
  • Is the home structurally sound? Does the plumbing, electric, heating and air function properly? Does the roof leak? Is there any evidence of previous water damage?

Don’t assume that if there was something wrong with the house, you would know.  The current owner may not even be aware of the problem.  Unfortunately, is some cases, they wouldn’t tell you even if they did.  Be responsible for your own inspections.  This way you will know the reputation of the professional providing the service. Who pays for it can be a part of negotiations, but make sure you know and approve of who does the work.

If you decide to start minimizing costs, you should think twice about this being the appropriate area in which to do it.

Note: Special thanks to Garry Adams of Northwest Exterminating for conducting the best “Bugs and Byers” class ever! You can contact Barry for more information about your home or your future home.

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