Termite Inspections for Homebuyers in Northern Virginia
In Northern Virginia, your mortgage lender will likely require that you get a termite inspection before closing. Subterranean termites are prevalent in the area and banks do not want to issue a mortgage on a home with a termite problem.
Plus, the standard Northern Virginia real estate sales contract also requires you to get a termite inspection in addition to any other home inspections you opt for. Fortunately, the contract also states that sellers are responsible for providing termite treatment and repairs of structural damage.
Need to Know Terms
WDO – You may hear your Realtor or mortgage lender mention a WDO inspection or report. WDO stands for wood-destroying organisms. In Northern Virginia, it’s almost always going to be subterranean termites, but there are incidences of drywood termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and wood-boring beetles.
Termite Letter – Termite letter is usually lingo for a form that pest control specialists call an NPMA-33. It’s the official form used in real estate transactions to document the findings of a termite inspection.
Mud Tubes – Mud tubes aka dirt tubes are literally tubes that termites make out of mud. They travel through these tunnels to their source of food. For example, mud tubes usually get spotted on foundation walls leading up to the floor structure.
Frass – Frass is termite droppings. During the inspection, the inspector may not see live termites but could see signs of a termite infestation. Examples include termite wings, mud tubes, wood damage, or frass.
Licensed Termite Inspector – There is no license required or available for termite inspectors in Virginia. In other words, Virginia does not regulate who can perform termite inspections.
Termites in Northern Virginia
The most common termite species in Northern Virginia is the subterranean termite. These termites do over five billion dollars in damage to wooden structures every year. They sneak in through tiny cracks in your basement walls, or undetected in your crawl space. To make matters worse, Northern Virginia’s relatively moderate climate means termites are active all year long.
What’s Included in a Termite Inspection
Your termite inspection service includes a thorough inspection, and termite form for your bank if needed.
We start at the exterior of your home paying close attention to wood mulch beds, and the foundation wall for mud tubes. Plus, we look for red flags such as piles of wood close to the property or rotted door frames. Inside, we’re looking at other areas for signs of termites. For example, damaged hardwood floors or baseboards are often clues of a termite issue.
However, it’s the crawlspace or basement that often has the biggest impact on the termite inspection. Mud tubes, damaged joists or subfloor, moisture, and even mold are all signs of an infestation. So, we pay close to attention the bottoms of foundation walls and columns which is where mud tubes originate. We also inspect and probe if needed, the ends of the joists which are usually the first attached.
In addition, we examine the crawlspace for conditions that attract termites. This includes signs of elevated moisture such as mold or plumbing leaks and wood in direct contact with soil.
When to Schedule a Termite Inspection
During the Homebuying Process
- Schedule your first termite inspection as part of the home-buying process, typically during the due diligence period. To make things easy, you can schedule your termite inspection with our whole-house inspection.
- This allows you to negotiate with the seller for any necessary termite treatments or repairs.
- Even if you’re not in the market to buy a home, an annual termite inspection is wise for homeowners in Northern Virginia.
- Termites are slow and early detection can prevent extensive termite damage.
Types of Termite Treatments Available in Northern Virginia
If your inspection reveals live termites or other wood destroying insects, then you’ll need to consider treatment options. The best treatment is unique to each house and infestation.
- Liquid termiticides get applied around the foundation to create a barrier against termites.
- Termite bait systems can be installed in the soil around the property.
- In severe infestations, tent fumigation may be necessary to eliminate termites.
- This process requires temporary evacuation of the home.
In Northern Virginia, termite inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process. Don’t underestimate the importance of protecting your investment and ensuring the structural integrity of your future home. By following the guidelines in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the termite inspection process and make an informed decision when purchasing your new home.