WDO Inspection

Why WDO Inspections Are Essential for Every Home

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Buying a home is one of the biggest investments most people will make in their lifetime. When you’re house hunting, it’s only natural to get swept up in curb appeal and nice finishes. But there are some critical things you need to look out for that could cost you big down the road, if overlooked. One of the most important inspections to get on any home is a WDO inspection.

What is a WDO Inspection?

A WDO inspection looks for wood destroying organisms (WDOs), which are pests that can cause severe damage to a home’s structure over time. The most common WDOs are termites, carpenter ants, wood boring beetles, and decay fungi. A WDO inspector will thoroughly examine all areas of the home to identify if there are any signs of these destructive pests.

WDO inspections are often required by lenders before they will approve a mortgage. They want to ensure the property is free of infestations that could compromise the structural integrity and decrease the value. Termite damage alone costs U.S. homeowners over $5 billion dollars per year according to the National Pest Management Association. Catching an infestation early is key to preventing costly repairs down the road.

Why are WDO Inspections so Important?

There are a few key reasons why WDO inspections should be at the top of your list when evaluating a new home:

1. WDOs Can Cause Hidden Damage

One of the sneakiest things about WDOs is they can cause major destruction to a home without any visible signs. Termites are sometimes called “silent destroyers” because they often go undetected as they eat away at wood framing, floorboards, and other structural elements. You can’t judge a home by its surface appearance alone. Paying for a WDO inspection allows a trained professional to look beyond the drywall and siding to identify hidden infestations before they become catastrophic.

2. Prevent Costly Repairs

Catching a WDO infestation early is much less expensive than repairing extensive damage. The cost to treat and repair a widespread termite infestation can be $3,000 to $7,000 or more. And that doesn’t include structural repairs if elements like floor joists or support beams become compromised. A WDO inspection that comes back clear or identifies minor issues can give you peace of mind that you won’t be facing huge, unexpected repair bills down the road.

3. Meet Mortgage Requirements

Most mortgage lenders will require a clear WDO inspection report before approving a buyer’s loan. They want to ensure the property meets their structural integrity standards and that their investment will be protected. As a buyer, you also want to be sure your new home meets those structural requirements before completing the purchase. Any identified issues can be negotiated with the seller prior to closing.

4. Protect Your Investment

Your home is likely your biggest investment, so take steps to protect it! Getting a comprehensive WDO inspection helps shield your investment against unforeseen pest damage. When you eventually go to sell your home, you’ll also appreciate having documentation that the home was free of infestation issues at the time of purchase.

When Should a Home Be Inspected for WDOs?

Ideally, you should have a WDO inspection completed before making an offer on a home. This allows you to make your offer contingent on a professional inspection that meets your standards.

However, it’s also smart to get an inspection after your offer is accepted. This serves as due diligence to ensure there are no surprise infestation issues not apparent when you viewed the home. Sometimes a seller will pay for this inspection to assure you that everything checks out fine.

A WDO inspection is recommended in these common home buying scenarios:

  • Before making an offer on any resale home. This establishes the home’s baseline condition.
  • After an offer is accepted on a resale home. Confirm no infestations were missed upon initial viewing.
  • When purchasing a foreclosed home. These homes are at greater risk for pest issues.
  • If there are any visible signs of damage in a home. Better to investigate further.
  • For peace of mind on any home purchase!

What Does a WDO Inspection Entail?

A thorough WDO inspection consists of two phases – the interior and exterior inspection.

Interior Inspection

On the inside, an inspector will closely examine:

  • Baseboards, trim, and door/window frames for grass or mud tubes. These are signs of termites.
  • Floors beneath carpets and flooring for damage or softened wood.
  • Attics for tunneling or damaged rafters.
  • crawl spaces for damaged joists or support beams.
  • Garages, especially wood elements like support posts.

Inspectors often probe wood surfaces with a tool to identify hidden damage. They also may use moisture meters and infrared cameras to identify concealed water leaks or pest activity.

Exterior Inspection

On the outside, inspectors look closely at:

  • All sides of the home’s foundation for cracks or damage.
  • Wood siding for holes or evidence of pests.
  • Attached decks/porches for damaged supports or railing.
  • Landscaping and drainage near the home’s foundation. Improper grading can lead to moisture issues.
  • Firewood or debris touching the home which can provide pest access.

A complete inspection covers all accessible areas where WDOs may lurk. Inspectors will also check crawl spaces, fencing, roof eaves, garages, and yards thoroughly.

What Does the Inspector Provide Post-Inspection?

After completing a thorough inspection, the WDO inspector will provide a detailed report of their findings and recommend next steps. Standard report contents include:

  • Overview of all areas inspected including attic, crawl space, garage, etc.
  • Description of any damage identified and where it’s located. For example, termite damage in the back patio support beam.
  • Photos documenting any problem areas discovered.
  • Classification of any identified infestations. For example, drywood termites.
  • Recommendations for any needed pest control treatment or structural repairs.
  • Warranty information if the inspector provides repair services.
  • Detailed diagrams showing the home’s structure and where damage is found.

Reputable inspectors will take time to review the full report with you and answer any questions about their findings. They can also offer advice about next steps if treatment or repairs are needed.

Are Follow-Up Inspections Recommended?

In some cases, follow-up WDO inspections are a smart idea for ongoing protection:

  • After treatment: If an infestation is identified and the home is treated, a follow-up inspection helps ensure the treatment was effective.
  • Annually: For peace of mind, some homeowners have their home inspected annually to catch any new pest activity early. This is especially important in known termite areas.
  • Before sale: Smart homeowners will have a fresh WDO inspection done before listing their home for sale. This shows prospective buyers the home is pest-free.
  • After extreme weather: Flooding, heavy rains, or drought can make a home more susceptible to WDOs. It’s wise to re-inspect after these weather events.

Think of a follow-up inspection like getting your car routinely serviced. It ensures your valuable investment continues performing its best season after season.

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