In our local (Oakland) marketplace Its customary for a Seller to hire a local licensed pest control inspector to perform an inspection of the property before putting it on the market. The term “Pest inspection” conjures up images of bugs. Well, that’s a part of it. A pest inspection is a look at all of the wood components in a structure. Wood can become damaged in many ways such as water damage (dry-rot,) fungus damage, termites, wood boring beetles, carpenter ants etc.
According to Greg Nichols (owner of East Bay Termite 510-652-4712) “The average home compiles exponential damage over the years if basic maintenance is not performed.” In other words, if you purchase a home with a clear pest report, 2 years later you may have a few hundred dollars in damage. 4 years later it may be in the thousands. 7 years later it could be in the tens of thousands. Greg also says “The perfect formula for damage arises when wood comes in prolonged contact with water. Problematic areas are concrete porches and landings over wood, exterior decks, kitchen counters, shower/tub areas, toilets and soil build up adjacent to your foundation. Keeping the water away from the wood by simply chalking or painting can avoid some very costly problems.”
According to Greg, 95% of termite damage in the East Bay Area is caused by Subterranean Termites. These termites live in the ground and will die with prolonged exposure to open air. To get from their home in the ground to their food (in your home) they build small mud tubes to commute through. Think of them as an expressway to their food. If you see mud tubes running across your foundation, it may be time for some professional advice.
By far the most expensive problems are the ones that you don’t know about. Greg recommends that you should have a full inspection about every 4 years. Some issues if caught early can be resolved by a handyman and a trip to Home Depot. If left unchecked you’re asking for costly trouble.