After reading last week’s article, if you’re brave enough to buy in winter let me tell you about one of the most vitally important inspections you’ll need to get: a pest and fungus inspection. This is sometimes referred to as the Termite Report, but it is so much more. Of course, a good inspector will check for termites, but he will also check for powder post beetles, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, dry rot, and more.
He’ll take a screwdriver and poke, punch and prod the eaves of your house. He’ll check to see whether the rain gutters are doing their job and if the kitchen ice maker is dripping. He’ll notice whether the wax seal on the commode is broken and if the wooden fence around your yard is attached directly to your siding. He’ll crawl under your house and walk around the perimeter, making note of anywhere he finds earth-to-wood contact. If, for example, a post in your basement (or under your house) is not on a concrete block or your siding goes all the way to the ground, you’ve created a bridge for critters to travel from the ground into your home, where they can feast on all manner of wood.
By the way, now that we’ve had enough rain to knock the leaves off the trees, it’s a good idea to go back and double check the gutters you cleaned a few weeks ago. I just noticed a clogged downspout outside my bedroom window and had to go out in the rain to clear it. It’s much easier to clear leaves when water isn’t pouring from the sky and from the downspout!
Back to the inspection, once the inspector is done, he’ll provide a report with findings in two areas: Section 1 includes active infestations: problems you have right now with bugs or dry rot. Section 2 includes issues that could lead to critters chewing on your home like any earth-to-wood contact or leaking plumbing.
What the report won’t include is anything the inspector cannot see during a visual inspection. Inspectors are not paid to move furniture or clean your basement. The house’s occupant needs to do that before the inspector arrives. Inspectors also can’t see through new plywood or drywall, put in place by a do-it-yourself handyman in an attempt to fix or hide problems. Be aware that a seller is required to disclose “anything he knows or should reasonably have known.” So, just because an inspector cannot see dry rot, for example, doesn’t mean the seller isn’t required to disclose its existence.
A little advice to sellers: before you sign a contract to sell your property is the best time to make any and all disclosures you can think of. Buyers are far more forgiving when they know about defects before making a purchase than judges are afterwards.
And a friendly reminder, if you’re interested to winning $750.00, consider submitting your ideas on how to make Ukiah a safer place to live and work. I’m open to all kinds of suggestions, and I have three expert judges choosing the winner: Ukiah Daily Journal Editor KC Meadows, City Councilman Doug Crane, and Police Chief Chris Dewey. You don’t have to be an expert writer. Use bullet points, if you want to. My goal in sponsoring this contest is to find workable solutions to the challenges we face as a community. Learn more at www.richardselzer.com/2014/09/29/making-ukiah-safer-in-2014. The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2014.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.realtyworldselzer.com. If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you’re a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 35 years.