When you purchase a new home a wood destroying insect inspection should always be included. Even in cooler climates such as Connecticut they are still important, we have just as many wood destroying insects as most other states. In fact, according to industry experts Connecticut has heavy to moderate termite activity, so why isn’t every home inspected?
The answer to this question is complicated, but it starts with HUD. HUD is the agency that handles mortgages and real estate matters for the federal government. In a recent bulletin sent to appraisers, banks, realtors and the like. The agency spelled out their position on termite inspections prior to the sale of a home. The agency stated that termite inspections were to continue if they were “customary” in the state where the inspection is taking place. Not knowing how to define customary, most realtors, appraisers, banks and mortgage companies naturally thought, Connecticut is considered a cold weather climate termite inspections are no longer needed.
Here is the problem; in 2009 local pest control companies that did termite inspections prior to HUD issuing this statement did a study to see what percentage of homes inspected in the year prior to the HUD statement had “evidence” live or not of wood destroying insects. Over a thousand homes were inspected for the prior one year period and over 40% of homes had some type of wood destroying insect evidence. The information was submitted to the National Pest Management Association and in turn they presented it to HUD.
The outcome was even more astonishing than the study. HUD knows that many homes in at least Connecticut are not being inspected because of the way the bulletin is worded, but refuses to clarify the statement. So that means the only time a home is being inspected for termites in Connecticut is under the following circumstances:
- The buyer requests it.
- The mortgage company requests it.
- Or the buyer has an experienced agent who guides them through buying process.
Other than the aforementioned circumstances a buyer, especially a first-time buyer would have no idea that termites are prevalent in Connecticut. And why would they.
Now, by my own admission the pest control industry appears to be crying foul because from their point of view more inspections will mean more treatments. The problem with that argument is that that’s the point. If an inspection is done and a wood destroying insect is found shouldn’t it get treated? Or look at it this way; if a doctor told you that you had an over 40% chance of having a heart attack would you change your lifestyle? The answer is obviously yes.
The pest control industry doesn’t blame realtors, appraisers and the banks for the misinterpretation. What the industry wonders is; why wouldn’t everyone involved want to know about termites BEFORE the home is sold? It’s a question I never really have been able to answer.