If you're selling your home, termite and pest inspections are usually a requirement of a mortgage lender before they will agree to release the funds an applicant requires to purchase a property. Many home insurers also insist your home is inspected regularly in order for your insurance cover to remain valid, especially if you live in an area of high termite activity.
A termite inspection is actually more correctly referred to as a 'structural pest control inspection'. As well as looking for termites, the pest control company inspector will be on the look-out for signs of water damage, leaking pipes, and wood to earth contact. All these factors could provide a perfect access point for termites or the growth of fungus – another nasty infestation you don't want to find becoming established in your home.
So, what can you do to prepare your home for the pest control inspection?
Be methodical in your approach and work from room to room. The pest control inspector will be particularly interested in checking out areas that could be prone to water leaks or dampness. In your kitchen, bathroom, en suites and utility rooms, remove any obstructions or storage that is sited adjacent to sinks and areas around plumbing pipes. Remove bath mats or rugs and place them out of the way so that the inspector can access floorboards around sinks, toilets, showers and baths.
The inspector will want to look in your loft space. If you don't have an integral loft ladder, make sure you have a safe ladder available for the inspector to use. Ensure that access to the loft is unimpeded by storage boxes and other clutter, and make sure the hatch is easily removed. If access to the loft is via a walk-in wardrobe or closet, take any hanging clothing out and remove storage boxes. If you have an electric light in your loft, make sure it's working.
If you have a cellar or basement, move any clutter to the centre of the room to allow a two-foot, clear perimeter, giving the inspector easy access to check around the brickwork. Check that the lighting is working correctly.
Walk around the external perimeter of your house, and remove any storage or other obstructions to a distance of at least two feet so that the inspector can gain access safely. If there are bushes or shrubbery that cover the walls or foundations, cut or tie them back. Similarly, if you have wooden structures like decking, sheds etc., ensure that any encroaching vegetation is cleared so the inspector's view is not impeded.
If you have a garage, park your car outside for the duration of the inspector's visit. Move any items stored inside the garage to the centre of the floor, leaving a two-foot perimeter. Do the same for any outbuildings that you have.
If your home is constructed on raised foundations, it's likely the inspector will want to go underneath your house. Make sure the opening is clear of junk and clear away any obstructing vegetation.
Termite and pest inspections are usually carried out by professional pest control companies whose operatives are specially trained to recognise even the most subtle signs of current or previous termite and other wood-destroying pest activity. You can make the inspector's visit run more smoothly by carrying out these simple preparations.