Who Pays for Termite Inspection: Buyer or Seller?

If you own a home or are in the process of buying one, you already know how crucial a termite inspection is. Discovering hidden problems after inheriting a house is a fear that can become a reality. Termites, the destructive pests that they are, can cause significant structural damage. The trouble is, they often go undetected until the situation has escalated into a full-blown infestation.

Termites work tirelessly 24/7 to devour any wood they can find, including the wood in your home and wood mulch. A single termite can mean the destruction of home foundations, support beams, and anything else that stands in their way.

When it comes to real estate purchase contracts, there’s usually a clause covering wood-destroying pests. It’s crucial to understand the terms of your agreement because it determines who’s responsible for paying for a termite inspection.

Why Is a Termite Inspection Important?

Termite inspections and preventative services are essential for ensuring that your home remains free of these pests. In some real estate transactions, a “termite letter” may be required. This document details any termite presence or damage in the home. It may also include information on other wood-damaging organisms.

Certain types of home loans, such as Veteran’s Administration (VA) and Federal Home Administration (FHA) Loans, require a termite inspection before closing. For new home buyers, getting a termite inspection done before finalizing the purchase can save them from costly repairs in the future.

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Termites cause damage to over half a million homes each year, resulting in approximately $5 billion in damages. Regular inspections, maintenance, and preventative treatments significantly reduce these chances. Having an inspection performed allows you to catch issues when they’re still small, preventing severe infestations.

Who Pays for the Inspection?

The average cost of a termite inspection is around $100, which may vary based on the property’s size. There may also be an additional fee for the termite letter. Some companies even offer free inspections if you sign up for their preventative services.

Typically, it is the seller who covers the cost of inspections. However, if the buyer decides to pay for the inspection, they can factor the amount into their negotiations on the house price.

If the buyer decides to cover the cost, they may request a more detailed inspection to determine if the home is prone to termite infestation. This also gives them an opportunity to establish a relationship with a service provider, ensuring future prevention of infestations and damages.

Who Pays for the Treatment?

Following the inspection, the pest control company will go over any signs of current or past termite activity. The “Termite Letter” or termite inspection report will outline any issues found and specify necessary steps before the home sale.

According to some reports, treatment costs can range between $1,300 and $3,000. However, treatment costs may vary depending on the extent of the damage already done.

If there is no active infestation or damage, the cost of preventative treatment will fall on the buyer. Preventive maintenance includes moving bark away from the home or any other preventative treatments.

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The seller will typically pay for treating an active infestation or repairing wood damage. Proof of treatment is often required and provided before completing the sale, unless it’s an “As Is” property sale.

Termites and an “As Is” Property Sale

“As Is” home sales refer to real estate transactions where the seller has no intention of changing the current condition of the property.

However, it’s important to note that “As Is” doesn’t give sellers a free pass to hide property issues. Instead, sellers are expected to disclose all flaws they find in the home, and buyers agree to purchase the property under those conditions.

Many areas have enacted real estate disclosure laws to ensure sellers disclose any issues with the home for buyer protection. Failure to disclose problems may result in lawsuits or a reversal of the sale.

Most banks are hesitant to provide loans for properties sold “as is.” VA loans, FHA loans, and USDA loans all require the structure to be sound.

Buyers can still have inspections done for an “As Is” sale to uncover any undisclosed issues. This includes a termite inspection, although it doesn’t necessarily mean the seller will conduct any treatment.

Sellers can have pest inspections done before listing the home to be aware of any issues ahead of sale offers. Inspections on “As Is” properties allow for better planning after the sale closes.

Professional Termite Inspection and Treatment

A termite inspection will help you plan suitable treatments to protect your property. Our certified termite inspectors will identify any past and current termite activity and include it in their report. Call us now to schedule a termite inspection and get your termite letter today!

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