Termite inspection is very essential especially for buyers and sellers of homes. You may also want to carry out an inspection to ascertain that there are no termites in your already existing home.
Following is a discussion on what the whole process consists, the cost, procedures, how long it takes, training and software applications.
Table of Contents
What does a termite inspection consist?
A termite inspection is an activity carried out with the intention of determining whether or not there are termites in your home.
The person carrying out the inspection checks the entire interior of the home as well as the exterior of the property. The inspector carries out a thorough checking including any hidden spaces such as those in the basement of your house.
The inspection constitutes of a search towards determining whether there are any signs of a termite infestation. The first thing the inspector will ask you is if you have spotted any termite swarms in the recent past.
Whether or not your response is positive, the inspector goes on to find any other termite signs.
How much does it cost?
What factors will determine the cost
The cost associated with termite inspection varies depending on a number of factors as discussed below;
Reason behind the inspection
There are different reasons why you may need a termite inspection. To begin with, if it is a requirement in order to complete the process of a buying a home, you must carry out a termite inspection.
Such a termite inspection will cost about $65 to $100. Sometimes, termite inspection is just a quote for termite eradication or inspection. In such a case, the inspection is offered free of charge.
If you have entered into a contract for an annual inspection, you will pay about $200 to $300. In other cases, you may want a termite inspection so as to determine whether a termite treatment carried out recently was successful.
Such a follow up inspection is in most cases offered as a free service. This is especially if it the termite treatment company that is still doing the inspection.
The size of the house or property
A big house or a large portion of property leads to incurrence of higher termite inspection cost.
This is because, the inspection process will not only take longer but it will also involve searching in increased number of places. Termites may hide in far places where the house is too big and offers many hiding places.
Where the inspection involves checking in places that are hard to access, it may require use of complex equipment which may be very expensive.
The easily accessible the house or property to be inspected is, the simpler is the equipment to be used is and the cheaper it is likely to be.
The company hired
Different companies operate differently. You are advised to compare the costs of inspection for different inspector companies as well as the quality of their services then choose the best and the most affordable.
The cost of a termite inspection will vary depending on the above factors. The cost is estimated on average to be $75 to $150. Sometimes, the inspection may be done free of charge but should you need a report, it may cost about $100.
Who pays? Buyer or seller?
It is also important to understand who is responsible for paying for the termite inspection. In most cases, the buyer pays for the inspection.
This is usually in the case where the seller has not provided any report showing that the house has been inspected and found free of termites.
In addition to that, if the report submitted to the buyer by the seller appears to be incorrect, the seller may have to pay for another thorough inspection. This will be done until the buyer is fully satisfied that the report provided is correct.
If you are the buyer, you will need to be certain that the house or home you are about to buy is free of any pests.
When the buyer is in doubt however, such as when he or she has seen some signs of termite infestation, the buyer may ask the seller to submit a termite inspection report; in which case the seller will pay.
Moreover, the type of market in question may be what determines who pays for the inspection. The market can either be a sellers’ market or a buyers’ market.
In the case where it is a sellers’ market, the buyer is not likely to ask for a termite inspection and the seller may just ignore the need for the report. On the other hand, if the market is a buyer’s market, it is wise for the seller to prepare a report before going to sell.
Inspection for home purchase Procedure & Duration
The termite inspection process involves a number of steps. The inspector must follow them keenly so that the inspection results are a true reflection of the current condition of your house.
The inspector can decide to begin with a search outside your house (exterior) then later inside the house (interior). Supposing the inspector starts with the exterior, the procedure involves the following;
- Checking the base of the foundation wall of the house is the first thing done. The inspector checks thoroughly if there are any signs of termites such as mud tubes at the constriction joints.
- The inspector also finds out if the fence is in contact with your house. It is likely that the termites use the fence as a way to reaching your house.
- If you have wood mulch around your flower garden, you need to check if there are any signs of a termite infestation. Wood mulch is found to one of the preferred foods for termites.
- The inspector also confirms if there is any wood that is in contact with your home and the ground. Any wood to ground contact should be done away with as it makes way for the termites to get to your home. Such contact can also be broken by using concrete footing to insulate the wood on the ground.
The inspector now goes on to check the interior. Here, the inspector checks the base of the interior part of the wall. Among the termite signs looked out for are the mud tubes.
- The inspector also checks the area between the baseboard and the sheetrock. Do not just look for the mud tubes alone. If the inspector notices small dabs of dirt that is not supposed to be there, then further search is done since that is the first sign that there are termites present.
- The person inspecting also checks whether the baseboard, door or window trim are damaged.
- There is also need to check if there are holes in the sheetrock.
- It is not enough to just check the wall, sheet rock and base board. The inspector must find out whether there are any mud tubes under the sink in the kitchen and in the bathroom. If the bathroom has bath traps, they must as well be inspected. It is necessary to open the bath trap door and inspect inside.
- Whether the inspector is searching in the interior or exterior, a flashlight is always a great tool to ensure no evidence is left out.
How long it takes
Some of the signs that the inspectors look for are; mud tubes, frass, live termites, termite nests, or even high moisture content on the walls of your house.
The average time a thorough inspection takes is estimated to be 45 minutes. This will however depend on the size of the home or property as well as the state in which the home is in.
The complexity of the job to be done by the inspector as well as the type of inspection required also determine how much time is taken in completing the termite inspection process.
DIY Video Guide
Below is a video from DoMyOwn on how to do it yourself.
Are there companies that offer free inspection?
There are cases where examining your house for termites is done for free. The inspector informs you on whether or not your home is infested with termites.
The inspectors prepare you for any possible threat of termite infestation and which locations in your house are particularly more attractive to termites.
The inspectors offering the free service usually have tools which aid in ensuring the inspection is thorough.
A free inspection does not therefore mean that the work is not going to be done well. Nevertheless, there is a difference between a free inspection and that which is paid for.
A company that offers inspection for free usually pays its inspectors on commission.
These termite inspectors are less experienced and they are perhaps offered this chance to better their skills.
Companies that require you to pay for termite inspection involves very experienced inspectors who are paid highly. If you think the infestation in your house is very severe, it is better to get a paid inspection.
Since some of the chemicals used in termite elimination are harmful, the termite inspectors must be trained appropriately and licensed in the state where they are to offer their services.
For you to be admitted to the institutions that offer termite inspection training, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification.
There are a number of steps you must undergo before you are licensed as a termite inspector;
You must study about pest control by completing the courses which equip you with the knowledge of pesticide application.
The reports by the Structural Pest Control Board point out major areas of study such as identification of pests, types of pesticides, how to preserve and repair surfaces that have been treated, the effect that pesticides have on surfaces, problems of pesticide misapplication, and laws relating to safe uses of pesticides.
Narrow down to a termite program
Since you are interested in termites, you are supposed to enroll in a program that teaches you more about termites.
Here you learn how to identify termites and the damage they cause. You are also trained on the procedures followed in inspecting crawl spaces as well as other areas that are hidden.
Additionally, you are taught how basements should be treated; the pesticides used for pests that damage wood, the equipment used in applying pesticides, the different foundation structures, and any fungi that inhabit wood. It is at this level also that you learn about the construction terminology as well as inspection checklists.
Become an apprentice
At this point, you watch a professional termite inspector do the job. You are given a chance to assist in carrying on the inspection so that you can acquire the necessary skills.
You are simply required to go to training programs that offer a chance for apprenticeship. You can also get in touch with inspectors who may be willing to take in as an apprentice. You may or may not be paid as an apprentice.
Get a license in your state
You are required to follow up on the requirements before you can get a license as a trained termite inspector.
In most cases, you will pay a fee, complete an application form and undertake a test that confirms your qualification on pest inspection, managing structural damage, and application of pesticides.
The examination may also seek to determine whether you are aware of the local laws relating to termite inspections and handling of pesticides.
Termite inspection training is offered widely. You can go to the local community colleges, junior colleges or you can even take up online classes.
Most importantly is that, wherever you decide to undertake your training, the above requirements must be met before you are issued with a termite inspection license.
There exists some termite inspection software. It has all the tools for reporting and the features that technicians require to easily and effectively organize termite inspections.
These computer/mobile applications keep all the data required in carrying out the inspection accurately making the inspection process more efficient.
Some of the benefits that result from the use of this software are reduced time taken in carrying out inspections as well as increased efficiency of the inspection procedures.
Some of these applications include;
- Bugbase-Which is specifically designed for California pest control professionals
- Pestpac by Workwave
- Termite Inspection Report mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows by Gocanvas
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