When one is trying to obtain a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home, you most likely will be required to obtain a WDO inspection by the bank, the mortgage company, or the guarantor (FHA, VA, HUD, etc.). Although it is commonly referred to as a “termite inspection,” WDO actually stands for “wood-destroying organism.”
A proper WDO inspection looks for evidence of infestation by termites (both subterranean and dry wood types), wood decay, wood devouring beetles, as well as evidence of pest infestations, damage to wood, or conditions conducive to infestation; and evidence of past treatments.
WHY IS GETTING A GOOD WDO INSPECTION IMPORTANT
First, when you are buying a home, the WDO inspector is working for you. They are not working for the real estate agent, nor the seller. You are the one who will be the one stuck with the bill if the home you purchased turns out to have a termite or other WDO problem that is not detected during pre-sale inspection.
Next, understand that a proper termite and WDO inspection of an existing home will usually take a half-hour to an hour. Sometimes even longer. Don’t let anyone try to pressure the inspector into rushing through an inspection.
Finally, understand that a proper WDO inspection will cost. Credentialed WDO inspection companies spend thousands of dollars a year on continuing training, certifications, inspection equipment, and insurance in order to provide you with the best inspection possible. So be suspicious of companies offering cut-rate rapid inspections. Remember, get what you pay for.
Many home buyers look at pre-sale WDO inspections as an annoyance imposed by banks. But the reality is that termites and other wood-destroying insects cost homeowners hundreds of millions of dollars every year in treatment costs and damage repairs. In light of this, a proper and thorough inspection by a qualified WDO inspector is always in the buyer’s best interest. And it should be looked upon as an important part of the home-buying process.
A PROPER WDO INSPECTION
A proper termite and WDO inspection consists of several steps:
An inspection of the exterior of the home, looking for signs of termite activity, such as termite shelter tubes, as well as conditions conducive to termite and other WDO infestation. This would be conducive to wood that is too close to the ground, improper grading, dead tree stumps by the house, tree branches overhanging or touching the home, leaky gutters or downspouts. The inspector will also look for evidence of infestation by other wood-destroying insects.
An inspection of the interior of the home, with special emphasis on the garage, basement, door and window frames, and other areas that are prone to WDO infestation. This part of the inspection is both visual and physical and involves visually inspecting, tapping and probing susceptible wood.
The inspector will also be looking for live termites or other insects, dead termite “swarmers”, other evidence of infestation. damaged wood, and conditions conducive to infestation, such as excessive moisture levels. When evidence of a past or present WDO infestation, damage due to an infestation, or conditions conducive to the infestation are found, the inspector will usually attach his or her remediation recommendations and/or an estimate for treatment.
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