Home is where the bugs are, termite testing
Q: We are buying a home and our real estate agent said the FHA doesn’t require termite inspections anymore so she didn’t order one. Why would the FHA not require termite inspections? It doesn’t make sense.
A: When the government makes a decision to do something or not do something, making sense generally isn’t part of the reasoning. However, the real estate agent isn’t completely correct. The FHA mandate says that a termite inspection is no longer automatically required unless there is evidence of active infestation, it is mandated by the state or local jurisdiction, is customary to the area, or at the lender’s discretion. “Customary to the area” would be driven by local market practices such as incorporating provisions addressing termite or wood destroying organisms in the standard real estate sales contract in termite prone areas or where the potential of infestation exists, or local requirements, such as states requiring the use of their own wood destroying insects/organism form. Lender discretion and prudent underwriting is key to properly evaluating the risk associated with a property’s condition, including its geographic location. Lenders may refer to the TIP (termite infestation probability) zone and use that information as one of the tools in their determination of whether or not to require a pest inspection.
So, basically, since New Mexico would be considered an area prone to termite infestation probability, it would be customary to the area, particularly since termite inspections were almost always done here in the past for real estate sales. If you found termite evidence in your home after buying it and an inspection wasn’t done, I think you would have a good cause for damages since we are in a termite prone area. Your realtor can check the TIP Zones map at www.termites.com/information/statistics/tip-zone/ and they will see that New Mexico is in a moderate to heavy infestation area.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development uses the TIP Zones to determine the risk and actions necessary as a requirement for guaranteeing mortgages. Conventional mortgage lenders, called mortgagees, also use the TIP Zones as their underwriting standards are usually similar to HUD’s. The TIP Zones first noted by the US Forest Service have become an important part of determining whether inspection and prevention are underwriting requirements for mortgage loans. Finally, the International Code Council uses TIP Zones to determine building code requirements for termite prevention. The ICC’s International Residential Code (IRC) stipulates that code officials must use the map to determine building code requirements for subterranean termite prevention.
I definitely believe all homes in New Mexico that are sold should be inspected for termites and other wood destroying insects. If you are buying a home or if you just want an inspection, let me know where you live and I can put you in touch with a qualified and competent termite inspector. If you are a real estate agent, I can also put you in contact with qualified inspectors in any area in New Mexico.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 505-385-2820.