Are Termite Inspections Legally Required Before Selling A Home?

Are Termite Inspections Legally Required Before Selling A Home?

It should go without saying that anyone planning to buy a home should have a termite inspection done. Termite inspections are considered routine by some real estate agents, but other agents may try to dodge any discussion of termites before closing a deal. Termite inspections are not always a real estate agent’s sole responsibility. Theoretically, sellers, lenders, real estate agents, and buyers should all be concerned with obtaining a termite inspection report before a real estate deal is finalized. But how can a person know who is responsible for obtaining a termite inspection report? As it turns out, there is no quick answer to this particular question.

There are no federal laws that require termite inspection reports to be provided to buyers before a house is sold. The law concerning termite inspection reports varies from state to state. Surprisingly, only a few states legally require termite inspections before a house is sold, but most lenders will not allow buyers to borrow money unless a termite inspection report is provided to them. Obviously, a bank does not want to invest in a home that is structurally compromised by a termite infestation. If a home shows signs of termite activity, or if an inspector suspects that termites could be active on a particular property, then buyers reserve the right to have a licensed contractor carry out a more detailed inspection. Normally sellers are required to pay for additional and more detailed termite inspections. Sometimes buyers will opt to hire and pay for termite inspections in order to guarantee an objective and detailed report, as conflicts of interest can become problematic in these situations.

In some states, termite inspection reports are not commonly provided unless an appraiser notes an issue with a house. There are thirteen states that regard termite inspection reports are merely discretionary. A few of these states include Maine, Idaho, Colorado, and not surprisingly, Alaska. It is also a good idea for buyers to request a history of termite activity in houses that they plan to buy. Sellers can also benefit from disclosing a particular home’s previous history, as it is rare to find old homes that have been unaffected by past termite activity. Providing full disclosure will prevent sellers from being considered liable for termite damage that may be found after a home’s sale.

Have you ever bought a house from a seller who refused to provide full disclosure or a termite inspection report?