Selling or purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most of us make. Competent realtors help guide both sellers and buyers through a maze of paperwork required by law, mortgage, title, and insurance companies. Most buyers provide qualified proof from their lender, an offer sheet with qualifying statements in regard to home inspections and the state of the residence. Sellers provide a disclosure sheet about any previous, or known problems that could affect the sale in regard to structural issues, previous pest infestation, etc.
In the South, one of the most important is separate from the home inspection report. A termite letter (CL-100), also called a South Carolina Wood Infestation Report is a must and required by most lenders. This report is performed by a licensed and trained termite and a pest control professional. It is not to be confused with a home inspection report which focuses on structural matters, roofs, cosmetic/appearance, foundation, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing issues.
Only a trained and certified professional can determine previous, or current damage with wood pests like termites and carpenter ants. Moisture is the biggest attraction for wood-destroying pests. Subterranean termites love moist, damp, and dark places. Termites and other wood-eating pests need water and a food source to survive. Wood, cellulose, subflooring are all on the termite menu. The report will provide details of any sign of active fungi/mold that not only attracts termites but could also be a sign of a drainage or plumbing issue. Fungi and mold have significant health risks causing upper respiratory infections and much more.
The inspector can provide details and recommendations for the seller and buyer if evidence of wood infestation and secondary issues are found. Recommended remedies can be a full termite treatment with a bond, removal of the mold/fungi, adding vapor barrier, improved ventilation and the installation of a dehumidifier, or fan to assist in reducing humidity levels and keeping the area as dry as possible going forward.
Humidity in southern states is like a magnet for wood-eating pests and the property you are buying could be their free buffet. Most lenders require the CL-100 and will not allow a sale to proceed if the report indicates any issues until they have been treated and remedied.
The best inspectors of possible wood infestation are professional termite and pest control providers. They have been trained, licensed, and have the experience to identify these problems. Buying a home is a big investment and you need the peace of mind that comes with a termite letter and a termite bond.