There are two types of homes in Long Beach. Those that have termites and those that will have termites. It’s only a question of time. A termite inspection isn’t required BUT it’s highly recommended for anyone buying a home in Long Beach. From the types of termites to the termite inspection to the termite report and finally how this plays into the home buying process. Here is what you need to know.
Termite Inspection Knowledge Drop
In California, termites infest homes in one of two ways. The first type is the subterranean termites. They enter the home through the ground, usually the foundation, and enter then home. They craft these tubes which lead up the side of the home and into the house. To determine if the termites are active, break the tube. When you come back the next day, if the tube is rebuilt, then termites are active in your home.
The next type of termite is the dry-wood termite. Unlike their subterranean cousins, dry-wood termites don’t require soil but rather can enter the house through any crack. Typically at the foundation. The damage they cause is just as severe and, like their cousins, they remain hidden from site. Keep in mind that just because one of these creepy-crawley termites is in your home doesn’t mean the other type is there.
Every now and then, you may see a small hole poke out from the wall caused by termites. The damage that termites do is unseen. If you would, image a 2 by 4 board. No imagine the board being completely hollow with just a fine layer of exterior remaining. That is what termites do. They eat wood from the inside out.
For Your Home
Termite Inspections are not required by law BUT they are highly recommended. Within your purchase agreement, make sure to add a clause whereby the seller must have a termite inspection conducted and all repairs completed PRIOR to the close of escrow.
A termite inspection is completed by a termite company. They will crawl all over a house, looking in the usual spots for signs of termite damage. Above, the tube method was discussed. They also hit the eaves with sticks which protrude from the roof. If the stick punctures the exterior and you can see the “hollow” inside, then that’s a sign of termites.
For anyone thinking of selling their home, it would behoove you to have an inspector perform a report today and make any repairs. Odds are the buyer is going to ask for the repairs to be made. Why not get it done now?
Termite Report and Repair
The termite inspection report will contain a section called “Section 1” and in this section they will denote any repairs to be made to the house. This is something that is asked of the seller to go ahead and fit or repair. The report will spell out clearly if the home is current infested and which areas suffer from termite damage. In the diagram, the inspector has outlined (1) the type of infestation and (2) the areas around the house that were impacted. Each spot where damage was located corresponds to another section of the report where the damage is described.
Termite infestation is such a huge problem that when a Termite Report is created, it is then put on file with the California Structural Pest Control Board. Anyone can request a copy of the termite report for a particular property and, if required, you will have to pay a fee for it.
If you have never been through a “tenting”, the process is quite simple. The termite company will give you thick, plastic bags to put all your food in. Then you will bag the bag. Make sure it is super tight. Plates, glasses, etc. are perfectly fine. The gas is not a residue gas but an airborne gas. It will get into food but won’t settle on dishes. This last year, we had our houses tented and, just to be safe, we put all the dishes in the dishwasher and ran them after the tenting was completed.
For the next 3 days, your house will sit under a tent while the gas is pumped in. As we all know, you do not enter during this time. Unless you’re into the whole “Breaking Bad” thing. I asked the owner of a termite company if they ever had a problem with thieves braving the gas in order to break into a house. He said out of the 1,000+ that he has done, maybe once or twice. It shocks me that people would do that but oh well!
Another layer of protection, for the sub terrain termites, is that they will spray under and around the house. The chemical they use seeps into the ground where the termites hang out during the day. The chemical kills them and BOOM! No more tubes going up the side of your home.
In total, most termite companies guarantee their work for a period of time. Usually 3 years even though the chemicals are suppose to control termites for 5 years.
For on-going maintenance, most termite companies will come out once a year and do a light treatment around the perimeter of the home to ensure the termites stay away. But this will not get rid of termites that have already infested your home.
Termites are a fact of life. Fortunately for a buyer, experts are available to make sure your biggest investment isn’t termite infested from the beginning. Make sure to require the seller of a property to get a termite inspection report and have all repairs completed prior to close of escrow.