There are several moving parts that are interconnected to real estate transactions and one vital part is the commercial or residential property inspection with wood destroying insect (WDI) investigation, otherwise known as a termite inspection. An important part of this process is providing you with the information you need as a property owner of the true condition that currently exists within the property and the NPMA-33 report. The NPMA-33 report is the wood destroying insect report that is commonly used and referred to by mortgage companies, HUD, lenders, real estate agents, lawyers, etc. It is a legal document that details the findings and evidence by licensed pest control applicators.
A licensed pest control applicator is someone who has proven to the state to have the experience, training, and qualifications to inspect and remediate pest control infestations. They have the experience to know where to look, but more importantly, what to look for such as evidence of insects (they could be alive or dead, or even just pieces) and damage to provide recommendations for treatment based on experience, training, and education. Including it with your home inspection before listing or closing on the building is vital because it will help you make an informed decision and can save you thousands of dollars!
Wood Destroying Insects can cause a lot of damage!
So what does your inspector look for?
Well, this inspection is limited to WDI insects because they cost the most financially and cause significant damage to buildings. This would include wood boring beetles, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and especially termites since it is the nature of these insects to nest or feed on wood causing thousands of dollars in structural damage to a home. The insects that we look for during a WDI inspection are:
- Carpenter Ants- Typically the nests found in homes are satellite nests and their primary nest is close by somewhere else on the property. They do not actually feed on the wood but build their nests in it, they are usually found in wood that is already damaged by consistent water intrusion or water damage.
- Termites- In NJ& PA it is the eastern subterranean termite that is prevalent in our area, they live in colonies and feed on wood.
- Carpenter Bees- Following suit with the carpenter ant the carpenter bee doesn’t eat wood either, but they eat holes making chambered tunnels inside the wood to lay eggs. Unlike other species of bees, they are solitary and do not have a hive or swarm.
- Wood Boring Beetles- The adults lay their eggs inside of existing cracks or holes and it’s the larvae that eat their way out causing the damage.
Examples or Infestation.
Infestations can be aesthetic or structural damage like joists, beams, soffits, posts, fascia, etc., holes in wood, peeling or bubbling paint on wood surfaces, mud or shelter tubes, evidence of live or dead insects including wings, parts of insects, insect droppings or frass, hollow, darkening or blistering wood. A WDI inspection is a visual inspection of readily accessible, unobstructed areas of the exterior and interior of the property, due to the standards of practice of the inspection it does not include: the opening of walls, flooring, or ceilings as this would be a destruction of property.
Is a Wood Destroying Insect or Termite Inspection Really Necessary?
This is the main question, why would you add it, I mean wouldn’t you know if there was a problem when you walked through the property? Wouldn’t you find out once you moved in and you could always take care of the problem then? Well, this depends, because the truth is that it’s the indication of concealed problems that the inspector is looking for. Those items and areas that are not as obvious that most homeowners don’t even think of. It is the experience of inspecting properties daily, knowing typical and standard building practices, how it all ties in together, and knowing what to look for to find either concealed damages or repairs. It should be a top priority to have a wood destroying insect inspection or termite inspection added to your home inspection to give you peace of mind and savings, that the inspection is giving you the data and arming you with the knowledge of the true condition of the property by a professional so that you can make an educated and informed decision prior to purchasing the home or commercial investment.