Beware of unethical termite inspectors!
Over the years, I’ve seen this situation far too often – a homeowner is trying to sell their home and is trying to make the most of the deal. But, during the sales process, he or she receives “nickels” to death for repairs or other things the buyer wants.
In many parts of the country, a home must pass a termite inspection before the bank will loan you money. That, in itself, is not a problem. Every homeowner should want their home to be protected from termites. The problem starts when an unethical or downright dishonest termite inspector is hired. These guys don’t really care about buying or selling your house. They are only looking to sell a high-priced treatment in the homes they inspect. These are some of the tricks they use:
1. Termites in fences, trees, stumps, yard wood or other wood that is not attached to the house; must treat the house. In the parts of the country where termites attack homes, you can find them everywhere. You see, termites are nature’s little recyclers and their purpose is to return cellulose to the soil. With that being the case, you need to understand that they can be found almost anywhere you find cellulose: in the yard, near the house, etc. A home shouldn’t have to be treated if termites are only found outdoors, away from the home.
2. Your home has not received termite treatment in the last 5 years; must treat the house. On the back of the NPMA-33 Termite Inspection Form, you give the inspector the right to RECOMMEND a treatment, and one of the criteria is whether there has been no treatment for termites in the last 5 years. However, the inspector MUST consider other circumstances. They should not AUTOMATICALLY recommend a home treatment that exceeds the 5-year mark for treatment.
Remember, the inspector only has the power and authority to RECOMMEND treatment. You cannot say that it is a requirement. It depends on the bank if a treatment will be required or not.
Another thing to remember: an inspector could list the home as infested on the NPMA-33 report and sell a treatment based on that report. However, if you mark the termites in Section II of the report and those termites are found outside the house (tree stump, fence, etc.), and you sell a treatment, you are committing fraud by misrepresenting the actual findings and conditions. of your inspection. This is because Section II of the NPMA-33 form is reserved for finds within, on, or below the structure only, and NOT for areas remote from the structure.
Homeowners looking to sell their home, and anyone considering buying a home, should educate themselves on all issues related to selling a home. When it comes to hiring inspectors, ask for references, call the Better Business Bureau, and contact your state’s pest control regulatory agency, often the state department of agriculture. Ask specific questions about the company you are considering hiring, and then make an informed decision.