The WDI Report looks for evidence of wood destroying insects in and around the home you are purchasing and may be required by your lender. We recommend always paying the extra for a WDI report as wood destroying insects can be very costly in the long run and while the report does not always guarantee a house free of the pests, it will look for signs of infestation and damage both past and present. While you as a homebuyer should obviously be concerned about any current infestations, the signs of damage in the past can also help you understand more about the home that you might otherwise miss with just a visual inspection on your own. As wood destroying insects are a known factor in South Texas, it is always a good idea to have an expert take a look at the home and talk to you about the possibilities of the various wood destroying insects in your home and ways to avoid giving them the conducive conditions that give them the greenlight to move in and make themselves at home.
Wood Destroying Insects
Often, you’ll hear the WDI report called a termite inspection and termites are always a concern. “Termite” often becomes the generic term for wood destroying insects, despite the inspectors best attempts at educating the public on the differences between termites and other pests. Termites come in several different forms here in Texas and there are three main varieties that your inspector will look for; subterranean termites, drywood termites, and Formosan termites. Formosan and drywood termites tend to be found more along the Gulf Coast, but are not unknown here in San Antonio. The eastern subterranean termite is the dominant species we deal with here and you can read about the differences in the species in this article (the site has an incredible volume of information about termites if you’re looking to brush up on your pest knowledge). Termites are not the only concern of the WDI report though and all of the various wood destroying insects should be considered in the findings.
The other main concerns in San Antonio when it comes to your home and the wood it’s built with are carpenter ants and wood boring beetles. There are also carpenter bees, which if you’re afraid of bees to begin with, sounds about as horrifying as possible. We do not recommend doing any Google image searches for these bugs if you already have an issue with insects – our skin is currently crawling!
The WDI Report
The WDI report breaks down into four main parts: information about the report itself, conducive conditions and active and past infestations and treatments noted, a diagram of the home inspected, and signatures and information about notification. You can download a copy of a WDI report (PDF) to see what’s in one, but please be aware that the forms do change from time to time and this may not be the most recent version. Your inspector will give you a copy of their report and the report we have provided is for informational purposes only.
The first section describes the scope of the report and contains a disclaimer that is important to note. The inspection is just that, an inspection. It is not a treatment, warranty, or structural damage report. This report should be used to find out the possibilities of damage and infestation, but if there are concerns in the report, you may want to follow up with a more thorough inspection of the home (which could include both treatment and more in depth analysis of any potential damage to the home). We can’t stress it enough, just because you’ve had the WDI report, does not mean the bugs are gone. There is a distinct difference. Many pest inspectors are also pest control companies and can recommend treatment, but that is a separate item and not done at the time of inspection. This section also contains information about the inspector and the company they work with, FHA or VA case numbers (inspections may be a requirement of your loan, depending on what type of loan you are using to buy the home), and who’s purchasing the inspection and who it will be delivered to once complete. An interesting side note, VA loans require that the veteran does not pay for the WDI inspection, but Texas has an exclusion to that rule and veterans in Texas can pay for their WDI report.
The second section of the report is information from the inspection itself. It lists any findings of the inspector; specifically whether there are any conducive conditions or signs of active infestations and whether there are signs of previous treatments or infestations. This is the heart of the report and the information that everyone wants to know. Conducive conditions are probably the most worrying part of the report as, much like a home inspection, the inspector has to give details of anything they see that might give the wood destroying insects the reason or ability to enter the home. Common conducive conditions include wood piles (both natural and man-made), tree branches that come in close contact with the house (particularly on the roof), mulch in flowerbeds, wood rot, anywhere that wood and soil make contact, and fences that touch the home. This by no means is a complete list and your inspector will outline the conditions they find and will help explain them to you so that you know what to look for and can correct the issues.
If there are signs of active infestations, the inspector will note them in the report and provide details as to what they saw and where. Same with previous infestations or treatments. Previous treatments or signs of previous infestations do not mean that there is no active infestation, just that the inspector sees things that indicate something may have been there or been treated in the past. If there is signs of previous treatment, you should dig deeper by looking at the Seller’s Disclosure to see if it’s noted there and asking the sellers for any information they might have.
The third section contains a grid where the inspector will draw a diagram of the structure and what he has inspected and make notes as to their findings based on where they found issues. This drawing will help a pest control company if treatment is required and also will serve as a guide if further evaluation and inspection is needed.
The final section wraps up the report with signatures and information about where the inspector posted notice of their inspection. You will often find these stickers on the inside of the cabinets under the kitchen sink, but they may be posted elsewhere. These give notice that the home has been inspected and assist future inspectors with information about when the home was last checked out.
Keeping Wood Destroying Insects Away
San Antonio has a lot of conditions that are conducive to wood destroying insects and they are quite common in our area. As a homeowner, you should educate yourself about the common conditions that give the pests an open invitation to your home and keep those items to a minimum. Pest control companies can set up regular treatments to keep the bugs at bay as well as treating any active infestations. Many home warranty companies offer termite services as part of their higher end packages and it may be something you want to investigate with your agent. As your home is a major investment, we recommend you protect that investment against wood destroying insects as they can literally chew a hole right through your investment. With a few preventative measures, you can keep the insects at bay and keep your home safe for years to come. Many pest treatments will also cover the various creepy crawlies that might enter your home, so it’s something that’s worth looking into to keep your home looking great and your family safe.
If you need a pest control company or recommendations for a WDI inspector, ask your real estate agent for a list of companies they’ve worked with in the past that they trust.
image courtesy of choking sun