What are the benefits of a WDO inspection being performed before vs during the Real Estate transaction?

Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO) inspections have been a part of the real estate process in CA for years. The WDO inspection is performed by a state licensed inspector- there are two levels to the branch 3 (WDO) license- field rep and operator. A field rep license is the first one would attain and allows to legally identifying WDO’s (termites, wood boring beetles, dry rot etc.). A field rep must hang their license below and Operator. An operators license is a step above field rep- operators have more privileges to work including owning their own termite company (essentially, they can carry more liability). But let’s not get bogged down with these details- this blog will cover the benefits of having WDO inspections completed before or during escrow.

A few of my favorite reasons to have a WDO inspection completed before escrow are as follows: First, it allows the seller to factor in associated cost for repairs when determining the desired sales price. With that said it also allows them to decide if they want to go ahead and complete repairs on all, some or none of the findings. The other reason that I really like having the WDO inspection prior is it assigns the liability of the findings to a company- meaning that the seller can now disclose the report and interested buyers can communicate with the inspection company and not have to put the seller in the middle.  The biggest drawback of a pre-sale inspection is that often times the homes are fully furnished and a complete inspection is more easily completed in a vacant home. In short, a pre-listing inspection will typically benefit the seller of a property.

On the flip side, having the inspections done once an offer is accepted can have its advantages as well. In contrast to having them done up front- often times WDO inspections that are being performed during an escrow are performed on homes that have already been moved out of- inspectors love vacant homes! In the Greater Sacramento Area, when WDO inspections are completed during the escrow period the fee is usually paid by the buyer (average cost of a WDO inspection should be around $125). Having said that it gives the buyer the ability to choose a company of their liking and based on their own criteria- I must say that WDO companies should have similar findings and recommendations as they are all governed by the Structural Pest Control Board. The last reason that I will discuss that offers an advantage to the purchasing side of the real estate transaction is negotiation leverage- WDO inspections typically will include a bid for repairs based on findings. This bid for repairs is often times used to negotiate the sale price or terms of the deal.

Our recommendation for determining when to have a WDO inspection completed for a real estate transaction is simply to have one completed. It is our responsibility to identify WDO’s and makes recommendations to resolve findings. How our reports are used in the negations is not the WDO Company ’s business, with that said, we certainly love consideration when repairs and or treatments are being performed!!!

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