Termite damage can be devastating, and it’s usually not covered by insurance. If you buy a home that’s been damaged by termites, the value may decrease rapidly. That’s why Northern Virginia lenders typically require that prospective homebuyers get a termite inspection prior to purchasing a home. Regardless if your lender requires an inspection or not, it is something that you need to do.

Your Purchase Agreement

Before you buy a home, you will sign a purchase agreement. There will likely be a contingency in the agreement that states that the home has to pass a termite inspection.. The potential buyer will typically have to pay for the inspection.

Arranging the Inspection

In most cases, the buyer’s agent will actually arrange for the inspection. He/She will coordinate with the homeowner and the termite inspection company. When the inspector comes out, he will be able to look inside and outside of the home for termites.

Then, once the inspection is over, the prospective homebuyer will receive a copy of the report. At that point, he will find out if there is termite damage.

What if Something Is Found?

It is important to read the scope and limitations noted on the second page of your provided inspection on form NPMA-33.  Treatment guidelines are as follows: 

FHA and VA require treatment when any active infestation of subterranean termites is found. If signs of subterranean termites-but no activity-are found in a structure that shows no evidence of having been treated for subterranean termites in the past, then a treatment should be recommended. A treatment may also be recommended for a previously treated structure showing evidence of subterranean termites-but no activity-if there is no documentation of a liquid treatment by a licensed pest control company within the previous five years unless the structure is presently under warranty or covered by a service agreement with a licensed pest control company.

Additional Tips

Have the termite inspector also look for signs of carpenter ants, carpenter bees and wood destroying beetles when he is conducting his inspection. These insects can also damage wood, so you want to make sure the home doesn’t have any before you make an offer.

If the inspector finds signs of a previous infestation, have the current homeowners provide documentation of any repairs that were made. You will need to keep these documents on hand in case you ever want to sell the home.

Termites cause billions of dollars in property damage each year so it is important that you protect yourself before buying a home. A termite inspection is a relatively inexpensive way to protect your investment. It won’t take long to conduct an inspection, and it will provide you with some peace of mind. Thus, it will be well worth the cost.