Lauren Bunting

(Jan. 24, 2020) All homebuyers know they should get a home inspection, but a common misconception is that your home inspector will also cover inspecting for termites.

While home inspectors make a notation in the home inspection report if they see termite activity or if they see prior termite damage to structural components, they do not perform a full termite inspection.

In addition, termite inspections are handled within the local contract of sale under it’s own paragraph, which reads:

Wood Destroying Insect Inspection: “Buyer, at buyer’s expense, (if VA, then at seller’s expense) is authorized to obtain a written report on the state regulated form from a Maryland licensed pest control company that, based on a careful visual inspection, there is no evidence of termite or other wood-destroying insect infestation in the residence or within three feet of the residence; and damage due to previous infestation has been repaired.

The provisions of this paragraph also shall apply to: (1) the garage or within three feet of the garage (whether attached or detached); (2) any outbuildings located within three feet of the residence or garage; and (3) a maximum of 10 linear feet of the nearest portion of a fence on seller’s property within three feet of the residence or garage.”

The contract of sale further specifies how any current/present infestation is to be handled, and calls for sellers to pay up to 2 percent of the purchase price for any treatments or repairs.

If the cost of treatment and repair of any termite damage exceeds 2 percent of the purchase price, a seller may cancel a contract, unless the buyer chooses to pay for the cost of treatment and repairs exceeding 2 percent of the purchase price.

Note that if the buyer is using a VA loan, the seller must pay for the cost of the termite inspection as well as any repairs that might be needed.

– Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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