Homeowners are usually reluctant to admit to potential buyers that their
homes have been damaged by termites. For some people, the mere mention of the words "termite damage" conjures up images of tiny insects with very big teeth
dining on weight-bearing wood beams until a home collapses in a heap of sawdust. Thankfully, this is not usually the case.
What is a Wood Destroying Report?
As a protective measure, banks and lending institutions require that homes be inspected for damage from termites and other
wood-destroying insects before closing the sale of the home. A Wood Destroying Insect Report (WDI) is a document prepared by a licensed pest control company that
informs the lending institution and buyer of the results of the inspection.
provides basic information about
the inspection such as the
address of the property and which
structures were inspected. Also,
general questions are answered:
Are there any obstructions or
areas inaccessible to inspection"
Is there any visible evidence of
infestation or previous
treatment? Will the inspecting
company or another company
correct the damage? WDI pinpoints special areas or concern such as locations of previous
treatment and areas that are
inaccessible to inspection.
What a WDI is not
Now that you know what a WDI is, let's talk
about what a WDI is not:
What are WDIs good for then?
A WDI is not a structural damage report. WDIs tell you only about damage
relating to infestation (but not the extent of same as that is the expertise of a building contractor). In addition, it does indicate the presence of structural damage for other reasons such as earthquakes or floods.
A WDI is not a guarantee of the absence of wood-destroying insects. An
inspection is an important tool in evaluating the soundness of a structure, but
there are limitations. An inspector can't pick up a house and look under it, or
take it apart and put it back together.
What good is a WDI if it can't
guarantee that a house is free from termites? Aside from identifying obvious
infestations and previous treatment, WDIs highlight potential problem areas.
Here are some things that buyers should look for:
Cracks in foundation walls. A crack 1/32 of an inch wide will give termites
and other wood-destroying insects access to a house.
Leaking pipes and faucets. Termites, as well as other insects, seek out
moisture for survival. Leaking pipes can keep wood and soil continually damp and
create a perfect home for termites.
Wood debris around and under a house. Pieces of scrap lumber or firewood
kept next to a structure can support a colony of termites.
Sprinkler systems or bubblers placed near the outside wall of a structure.
Excessive watering can dilute pesticide treatments around foundation walls.
Flower planters. Planters allow hidden and direct access to unprotected
siding and cracked stucco when built in direct contact with a house.
Trellises and wooden fences. If a trellis or wood fence touches the soil and
is in contact with a structure, it provides a direct link between subterranean
termites in the soil and wood in the structure.
WDIs provide valuable information for the sale of a home and document its
present condition for future reference. Unfortunately, there is no state law
that requires a WDI for the sale of a structure; it is a requirement of the
lending institution. State law does dictate that WDIs meet certain minimum