This afternoon I was driving along Blossom Hill Road in Los Gatos, with my destination being the salad bar at Whole Foods, when my cell phone rang.  A woman who did not identify herself or her location said to me, after noting that she called the number from the blog/site, “a house was termited four years ago. Do we really need to do it again?”  She needed professional, unbiased real estate advice, and figured that since I had nothing to gain either way, I’d tell her the truth.

I asked her what she meant by “termiting”.  Was it an inspection, a fumigation, or some other treatment that was done 4 years ago?  She elaborated that the house was tented for (drywood) termites four years ago.  She didn’t want to waste her money “termiting” again (to use her words).

“Are you buying a house?” I asked her.  “Yes” she confirmed.  I continued, “then you probably should get a termite inspection from a licensed and reputable company because drywood termites can come right back after the treatment.  Not only that, but the inspector will look for other things, like subterranean termites, dry rot, fungus, boring beatles, and more.” (I did explain that you don’t just tent for drywoods – they may or may not be a problem. What you want is an inspection to see if there’s anything that does need treating. The inspector might find cellulose debris, for instance, and will note whether it’s infected or not.)

“Do you have a Realtor assisting you?”  “Sort of” was the confused sounding response.

I suggested that she go to her Realtor and ask for help in finding a good, licensed pest control operator to inspect the house.  “Do not just pick one out of the phone book – they are not all the same”.  Like everything else, reputation matters.”  I explained one story where a national chain had missed $10,000 worth of work on a Cambrian area home that could only have been seen in the crawl space, so it was pretty evident that the first inspector didn’t go in there as he’d claimed.

I don’t know her name, I don’t know where she lives except that it’s in California but I do know that it’s a good idea to have your house inspected for termites every 3-5 years.  If you are purchasing a house, townhouse or condo, it’s one of the biggest expenses you’ll ever have. It is reasonable to try to fully understand the condition of the property, and if there are big issues (such as termites or other “section 1 items”), to fix them.

For further reading:

How often should you get a termite or pest inspection? (Guest post on my Live in Los Gatos blog by Janet Thrasher of Thrasher Termite & Pest Control in Los Gatos)

What happens when inspectors disagree about the property? (Post on this blog site.)

Free report: your role in the home inspection (as well as other reports – all on Sereno website)