Homeowners are usually reluctant to admit to potential buyers that their homes are 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'S A W.D.I.I.R?
As a protective measure, banks and lending institutions require that homes be inspected for damage from termites or other wood-destroying insects before closing the sale of the home. A Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection Report (WDIIR) is a document prepared by a licensed pest control business that informs the lending institution and buyer about termite damage or presence.
WDIIR's have two-pages. The first page provides basic information about the inspection such as the address of the property, and answers general questions, such as: Are there any obstructions or areas inaccessible to inspection? Is there any visible evidence of infestation or previous treatment? If damage is present, who will correct it? A statement of the inspector describes the terms, conditions and limitations of the inspection.
The second page of the WDIIR goes into more detail. It pinpoints special areas of concern such as locations of previous treatment, and areas that are inaccessible to inspection. At the bottom of page two, there is a space for the inspector to draw the structure with these details included. Obviously, this is where accuracy matters most because the buyer and lending institution rely on this specific information when deciding whether or not to go through with a sale.
WHAT A WDIIR IS NOT
Now that you know what a WDIIR is, let's talk about what a WDIIR is not. A WDIIR is not a structural damage report – it is only a report about visible damage relating to infestation, not about structural damage for other reasons, such as earthquakes or floods.
A WDIIR 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. After all, an inspector can't pick up a house and look under it, or take it apart and put it back together.
|WHAT ARE WDIIR'S GOOD FOR ANYWAY?!|
So what good is a WDIIR if it does not guarantee that a house is free from termites? Well, aside from identifying obvious infestations and previous treatment, WDIIR's highlight potential problem areas.
Here are some things that buyers should look for:
- Cracks in foundation walls. It only takes a crack 1/32 of an inch wide to give termites and other wood destroying insects hidden access to a house.
- Leaking pipes and faucets. Termites as well as other insects, seek out moisture for survival. Leading 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 soil and is in contact with a structure, it provides a direct link between the subterranean termites in the soil and wood in the structure.
WDIIR's 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 WDIIR for the sale of a structure; it is a requirement of the lending institution. State law does dictate that WDIIR's meet certain minimum standards.
By law, all pest control applicators, inspectors and companies must be licensed by the Structural Pest Control Commission. The general public may call the Commission to find out if any applicator/inspector or company is properly licensed.
In addition, the Commission maintains a database on the WDIIR's and post construction termite treatments performed on homes in Arizona since 1988.
[This information was taken from the brochure entitled "What you should know about wood infestation reports". It is available, at the S.P.C.C. office, free of charge. Our phone number is (602) 255-3664. Consumer information line is (800) 223-0618.]