Before you move away… better listen to what your house has to say.

In my many years in the termite repair/inspection industry I have seen many things and have met many interesting and wonderful people. The relationships that can and are built by an inspector and real estate agent can lead to smooth real estate transactions. I have noticed that an informative and empathetic agent cares for his or her client and, truly wants what is best for them. Recently I was asked by one of those agents what can be done before their client puts there house on the market from a Termite inspector’s point of view (we’re actually Structural Pest Inspectors: remember fungus/dryrot is a living organism that feeds off the wood of a structure). I thought the question was a great one and knowing what may be possibly infesting/infecting one’s home before selling has the potential to greatly increase the value and selling of that home.

So you’re ready to move on-- whether leaving town, across town, another state, upsizing or downsizing , whatever the reason-- you’re ready. Through friends, research or because you have them in your contacts list you’ve connected with a Realtor. You meet, have a nice conversation, you know you’re in good hands and everything is on track. Then they say to you: let’s get a “termite” inspection before we put this home on the market. A simple suggestion/request that can really (usually does) affect the negotiations of the selling of your home and on to the next one.

Many people have waited to the end of the selling process to do an inspection and let me tell you it can be a stressful time for all parties. Reports, repairs, treatments, more repairs, re-inspections, further inspections, lenders, underwriters…………… get the picture. Some of those headaches are still going to happen, let’s be honest, but the last minute tango can be avoided if we’re ahead of the game. The key here is being proactive.

Each house tells a story some can be short stories (little or no findings) or an engrossing novel (hopefully not a horror story, with many findings). Either way it’s a story that needs to be written. My job as the author of this story will need your help, for if some simple steps are not taken we’ll be missing some pages. In all seriousness, the goal of the inspection is to be able to inspect all accessible areas of the house, this is super important, and will save valuable time. Listed below are ways in which an inspection will be complete based on all accessible areas of the structure. 

Accessibility:  Inspectors need access whether your home is occupied or vacant.

1: Raised foundations (crawl spaces/subareas) make sure the access to these areas is known and ready to be entered. If in a closet please move storage out of the area and check to see if secured. (most inspectors are not equipped nor have the time to remove screws and storage from this area. If sub area access is on the exterior same rules apply. If your home has a basement make sure that an access to the sub area soil is available.

2. Attic openings: Same rules apply. Please move storage and clothes out of the closet if that is where the access is.

3. Under sinks:  Please move all contents from under sinks, these areas are important to clearly see if leaks are present and if any water damage is present.

4. Garages: Interior of garages, especially the interior walls need to be available for inspection. The goal here is to clearly see if Termites, fungus or water damage is present.

5. Exterior foundations/ sidings (if wood): Being able to see the foundation is once again crucial to a proper inspection. Landscape material, vegetation, and/or storage should be moved away (if present)

6. Decks: The dreaded deck! If the deck is part of the inspection, inspectors will need adequate clearance to get under the deck or if lattice panels are put in place a section should be removed prior to inspection. (Note: if the deck has less than 12 inches of clearance a further inspection will be called and decks boards may need to be removed) all this can be determined at the inspection.

Subareas and garages are without a doubt crucial areas for inspection if these areas in particular are not made accessible an inspector will call for a further inspection meaning a another trip out to the property and another inspection fee.

As I try to wrap up this little gift of knowledge there are a couple others things to keep in mind. I suggest painting your house after an inspection because if repairs and/or treatments are called for (I’m just saying. Don’t worry, it might not happen!) it’s better to have these things done before the nice fresh coat of latex goes on. I could go on and on… the older the house the more to look at. In the end your house doesn’t lie, what there is to be revealed will be revealed. I like to think that what you’re doing is a gift to the buyers and more importantly a better deal to be had when closing. Good Luck, and hope to see you soon.

Bill Helms | 916.949.2245 |