Some straight talk about termite letters and pest inspection. Inspections are part of a home purchase. Chattanooga home inspections usually include a “Termite Letter” or WDR (Wood Destroying Insect Report) for the benefit of the purchaser and their lender.
Chattanooga pest inspections can cost $45-$175. A pest control professional bought me a beer this afternoon and we discussed the “termite biz”.
I was curious why only a certain few pest companies “court” real estate agents for customers. Like any commercial concern there are many liabilities. A big event for a small pest company can be unseen damage to the naked eye and hidden evidence of active pests. ‘Termite Letters’ are warranted for 90 days in both Georgia and Tennessee by law. That means if a pest or organism event occurs within 3 months of inspection, then treatment and or repairs may be guaranteed by the pest control company. In Tennessee and Georgia corrective treatment may be warrantied but not repairs within the 90 day period.
You may think that your homeowners insurance policy covers damage from termites and other pests. Most home owners policies do not. For that matter, it was a rude awakening for many locally who had tornado and wind damage to learn their policy did not cover that type of event. So how do you lower the risks of damage?
If you have your home regularly treated and inspected. Ask them if they guarantee for any repair damage to the structure or if they are just guaranteeing to apply another free treatment in the case of damage. I learned today that many only warranty treatments, but do not cover the cost of repair. The warranty for re-treating may only cover so many feet from the incident. So one way of selling you may be to charge $400, but the treated area is very small. Compared to $800 may treat the entire foundation area with another company.
If you have a newer home you may think the builder’s pre-treat covers you for decades. If the builder’s contractor was honest and did a good job, the chemical may last 8-12 years. If the solution was diluted or sparse then the years diminish. Homes that are 8-20 years old make great lunches for termites according to my friend.
1. Review your home owners policy and find out if events such as damage from pests, and even wind are covered. Find out the gaps in coverage.
2. Remember the “Termite Letter” , WDR, WDO, “Clearance Letter”, may only be good for 30-45 days prior to closing. Depending on your state it may be guaranteed for 90 days after closing.
3. Pest companies that do many WDRs for Realtors may offer less protection for your home owners in the long run. Ask them about their ability to provide “Termite Bonds” for repair damage beyond guaranteeing the re-applicaiton of treatment.
Hope you learned a bit more about potential threats to your home from this straight talk about termite letters and pest inspection.