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Welcome to our page especially for Realtors.  Here, we have tried to give you the information you need to answer your or your client's questions about termite inspections and proper termite control procedures.  This page is broken into several sections, and you can jump right to the section you might have questions about.

First of all, on this page, we detail what is supposed to happen when a house goes to sale. The inspection process comes next, what we are supposed to do and what you, as agents, are expected to do. Then, if you like, you can visit a walk-thru of one of our termite jobs.

Got a strange question?  Ask the Exterminator.  There's also a place to check out the straight scoop on termites, a place to see the difference between flying ants and termites, and a place to see how to choose the right exterminator.  There is also information you might need to know to keep out of hot water when the prospective buyer (or seller) has a problem with termites.  And what to do if you have an "Emergency Cert" or a special request.   Lastly, we detail what you DON'T do.

You can also see the standard *NPMA-33 form that we use for our inspections
exclusively, read over the terms and conditions of our Renewal Plan, and check our
This is a PDF File

What about when the exterminator finds termites in the yard but not in the house?  This happens often and here's what to do about it.

We will be happy to discuss any of these procedures in any detail you wish, just contact us during regular business hours.


Mortgage Information
Here in New Jersey, certainly in South Jersey, most residential structures going to a real estate settlement will require a "clear" termite certification.  At present, a "certification" means a Wood Destroying Insect (hereafter called a WDI) Report . This usually means that the buyer and the seller agrees to the exterminator that provides the
certification, and depending on circumstances, that choice may be made by the buyer or the seller, or even the realtor.

Sometimes, because of a "cash deal," a sale between family members, or some other special circumstance, no termite or wood destroying insect reports are required.  As a Realtor or a homeowner, you're still smart to have a WDI Report generated whenever the property changes hands, no matter what.

Just about the only time you might not honestly need one would be if you intended to demolish the structure and start over.  A WDI, in this case might be superfluous. Although you might make a deal with the exterminator if you're going to build on that same property. After all, if you're really smart, you'll have termite pre-treatments performed on that new house while it's under construction and perhaps save yourself headaches in the future.


What can happen, is that termite inspectors will find termites in the landscaping timbers or other wood AWAY FROM THE HOUSE, and mark "Live Termites" on his report. Once he does that, both the buyer and bank will want it treated. They trust that the inspector was accurate and ethical, and that his report was a clear indication of termites infesting the structure.  But that's not actually what he found, and now you have to pay for a treatment!

What the inspector should do, is to inspect the house inside and out.  He should go into the crawlspace, if it has one, and look there too.  Based on his findings, he should fill out a report detailing what was found - any termite damage and/or activity, any conducive conditions, and any obstructed or inaccessible areas.  He should make this report available to you, the homeowner, at your request.

What he SHOULD NOT do is try to find termites anywhere on your property. Turning over wooden artifacts in your yard, digging in the landscaping - these are always ways to find termites, even if they are not actually "eating on your house."   Then, he says, "There are termites on your property, now I have to perform a treatment."  That's money you don't necessarily need to spend, and money he wouldn't get without fudging on the actual danger.


First of all, don't panic if an inspection of your home reveals termites.  Have the inspector show you exactly where he found the problem evidence.  He should not have any problem with that. You can also use a camera to take pictures of any damage or activity that appears to be there.  You can never have too much documentation to protect yourself.

If the inspector is unwilling to show you what he found, don't get upset.  Make sure you ask for a copy of his report.  You, as the property owner, are entitled to a copy of his findings.   Then, the next thing you should do, is GET ANOTHER INSPECTION.  If anything sounds or looks fishy, it probably is.

"OK, they showed me the termites. Now what?"  Where were the termites?  In the structure?  Garage?  Or were they outside of the home, say, in the landscaping timbers, the mulch, or perhaps, infesting wood in the yard,
Termite Check
maybe even termites in the fence?  If they were not in the home, then the inspector cannot say for sure that the house is infested and needs an actual treatment.  Our own National Pest Control Association has issued a guideline on that problem.

If, however, your home has never been treated for termites before, then you might give some consideration to indeed having it treated.  In this case, the buyer and/or the bank may require just that before they commit themselves to purchase.

If your home HAS been treated, then make sure you have the paperwork from that treatment.  Make sure the previous termite evidence is documented, and that you have the contract showing that your home is under warranty, and any termite activity will be treated.

If you had your house treated before, but you don't have your paperwork, or you let your contract warranty lapse, you'll probably end up paying for a new treatment. If there's one thing you need to do, it's KEEP ALL THE PAPERWORK and KEEP YOUR WARRANTY RENEWED.


If the property going to settlement is presently under a termite contract, or has been treated already, then the previous exterminator should be contacted to provide the certificate.  Most exterminators, in most ares, will not certify another exterminator's work and may even be required to quote for termite procedures even though the structure may not actually require treatment.

To contact the previous exterminator, who will have, presumably, a treatment history on the structure.  If any further treatment is required, his price, if any, may be well below the cost of other exterminators.  If you don't know or can't remember, check the settlement sheet.  Another good reason to make the WDI a record of your settlement. Your lawyer knows.

If the property has never been treated or the previous exterminator is no longer around, the buyer and the seller should decide on an exterminator to make an inspection and submit either his work proposal or a clear certificate.  If the findings are "positive," the buyer (or the seller) should have the right to obtain other estimates for any work that needs to be accomplished.  And all parties should agree on the exterminator before any work is done.  Exterminators may charge for each of these reports, so be sure to find out the cost of the report and who is to pay for it.

In a perfect world, the WDI Report, attachments and any other reports, along with the invoices, should go to, and be paid at settlement. Many exterminators want to be paid immediately upon completion of the work.  You should avoid this.  Insisting on payment at settlement makes the payment a legal record at settlement, and easily retrievable in later years when the property again goes to sale.  If any questions or problems arise, the record is still there.  Make arrangements with the exterminator so he knows that payment will come from the settlement.  Make sure he gets paid.

Exterminators like to arrange their inspections direct with the occupant, if possible.  So we need their names and phone numbers, and we should also have the name and phone numbers of the cooperating broker or agent, and the owner, if different from the occupant.  United will take your inspection orders by phone, mail, fax or email.



We contact the occupant, make the arrangements to arrive at a time convenient to them, to make our inspection.  Our inspection, depending on the type of structure, may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to complete.  A report of that inspection will be supplied to agents or brokers immediately.

Inspections are just that.  Our visual inspections (no treatments are performed) are to all accessible areas of the house, including attics, basements, crawl spaces, garages, and outbuildings.  Freestanding playhouses and sheds are inspected (if possible) but generally not covered in standard pest control procedures.  Neither are fences, fence posts or landscaping (railroad) ties.  Inspections are generally non-intrusive except that our inspector will want to see each room.  His concentration will be in the basement or crawl space because this is where the problem usually surfaces.  But his inspection to the rest of the structure may disclose other problems too.


Well, unfortunately, here in New Jersey, Termite Inspectors don't need a license. Which means that salesmen, exterminators, house inspectors, and yes, even your Aunt Suzie, if she wants to, can declare themselves a "termite inspector" and no one can really say anything.  Naturally, it would be in the best interests of every company to send an inspector that knows what he is doing.

United can answer your requests for a qualified licensed Accredited Wood Destroying Insect Inspector. "Credentialed Inspectors" go through a special, intensive training course to attain their status.  Currently, in the State of New Jersey, there are only 43 Credentialed Inspectors.
Credentialed Inspector

(December 1999) Our rates for Special Accredited Inspections in the State of New Jersey are listed right here.



A proper inspection starts on the outside. This is because an exterminator can determine where he wants to look inside. Certain outside structures or conditions may affect the way termites invade structures and he needs to know these things first, before he checks the inside.

The very first time a termite inspector makes an inspection on an unfamiliar property is extremely important.  He usually only has a few minutes to assess any problems evident in the visible areas of the structure.  Time and energy wasted by inefficient routines offer the opportunity for mistakes to happen.

So if that inspector comes inside FIRST, you'll know he isn't an experienced inspector. If an inspector makes his inside inspection, finds no problem on the inside, then discovers a problem on the outside, he's going to have to go BACK inside and check to see if he missed something.  While not exactly a serious mistake, just extremely counter productive, a common mistake made by inexperienced or disinterested inspectors - good inspectors, intent on doing the most efficient job, won't make that mistake.

After a thorough check on the inside, the inspector will complete the inspection by returning to the outside to recheck parts or even all of the outside.  Outside inspections are for signs of wood destroying insects, conditions permitting their entrance, or conducive to their existence or return.  He considers many factors: Gutters, patios, the way and manner in which roofs drain water, ornamental plants; all are taken under consideration.  Our inspectors then make a rough sketch of the property, show the occupant any and all problem areas and explain his recommendations as completely as necessary.  If requested, he will also quote a maximum (and firm) price for control services on the spot.  

The inspector's report will then be processed in our office, and should the findings be positive, a formal quotation for our services, including the costs of certification, is mailed to the agents and/or homeowners.  Our quotation amount is guaranteed for at least 90 days, and there are no other hidden charges.  If you need price guarantees for longer, we will issue extensions to any Real Estate Agent or Broker by request.

Our quotation, in the form of a letter, including any HUD forms and attachments, is then mailed out to the person and/or realtor that ordered the inspection.  All paperwork is also faxed if we have a valid fax number.  Normally we send these to the "orderee" and their realtor.  If there are others to send to, they must be requested.

United does no continuing follow-up solicitations or sales calls of our termite certificate quotations, either by phone, mail or any other means.  We consider that harassment. We will initiate our work over the phone with either the homeowner or the realtor, we will begin our work on your authorization, and to save time, prefer to make our treatment appointment arrangements direct with the owner or the occupant.

Upon completion of our work, we will submit our Termite Certification, our Invoice, and all other necessary paperwork for our services, to be paid for at settlement.


Of course there are times when emergencies pop up.  Emergencies, being somebody forgot to order the certification, or you have to start from scratch for some reason.

Yes, we can handle that.  Even calls from the settlement table are not unusual, and response can be important.  We're good at responding.

Phone any emergency requests into our main number.  If we are not in, our answering machine relays your request into our two-way radio system.  You can also email, we are always connected to the Internet, just put the word "emergency" in the subject line and our radio sends a call.  Details are on our Radio Contact Page.

It is wise to have inspections done immediately after signing agreements of sale. Leave plenty of time for problems that may crop up.  If termite problems are discovered by an inspection only a short time before settlement, there may not be enough time to obtain other opinions and act on them.  In short, you could be faced with the possibility of paying a price much higher than you need to pay.  And leave your client thinking, perhaps, that you're "in cahoots" with the exterminator.

If you know that your client has termite problems, it is much better to consider this before the house even goes on the market.  That means that all signs of termite damage must be fixed or addressed.

Leave plenty of time for the homeowner to get other opinions - and prices.  Some exterminators may charge more for "emergency jobs" when they know settlement is to be imminent.  They recognize that a certain percentage of the work always goes to the first exterminator making the inspection.  Make it a point to speak personally to any exterminator that uses this practice, and drop any that continue.  The homeowner might well forget the name of the exterminator, or, more likely, the exterminator won't be around anymore.  But the homeowner will remember that "he paid too much" and he'll remember your name.

Act like it's no big deal.  Because it isn't. EVERY structure will eventually get termites, and the fact that the problem is discovered before settlement is good for the buyer AND the seller.

For the buyer, it means that this problem will be addressed before he takes possession, and for the seller it means that one problem (and there are usually many) is taken care of.  The cost of a termite job is usually less than the cost of a good mattress, so we're not talking about big bucks here.
Buying a Home

Oh, sure, we have all heard the "horror stories" about thousands of dollars in termite damage, or houses "falling in," but those cases are usually exaggerated or non-existent. Really serious damage is rare - less than one percent.  There is no reason for panic in ANY situation.  It also depends on what you call "serious" - most termite damage can be taken care of by termite restoration carpenters in short order. See our list of reputable carpenters and termite restoration experts.


Yeah, this happens too.  It happens because inspectors are human, subject to the human frailties such as no X-ray vision.  Sometimes the inspector just plain misses finding the evidence.  However, more often than not, termites discovered after the sale are those discovered during subsequent renovation or decorating.  If the termites were not able to be seen by the inspector, at the time of his inspection, he certainly can't be expected to know about a hidden problem.

As an agent, (or broker) the immediate thing to do would be to call the exterminator who supplied the certification and alert him to the problem, if he doesn't already know it.  Don't panic your homeowner, assure him that things like this happen, and that you'll be happy to intercede with the exterminator.

Speak with the exterminator (not in front of the homeowner) and ask him about the procedure he will follow to take care of this problem.  Reputable exterminators will respond quickly, make another inspection of the property to determine the exact problem, and supply whatever control is required.  Damage may also be covered too, it depends on each individual occurrence.  

This is all assuming the problem is termites.  Oftentimes, homeowner discoveries may not be termites.  You can't trust the knowledge of a carpenter or a homeowner for proper identification of wood destroying insects.  Advise the homeowner to save a sample of the insect for the exterminator to identify.  This is important, because if the exterminator has nothing to identify, the answer may not be obvious.  The "live activity" the carpenter discovers upon opening a wall may not indeed be termites. And most insects discovered in this manner quickly disappear, sometimes without a trace, so by the time the exterminator arrives, they may all be gone.  The word is, SAVE A SAMPLE!

Discovery of termites after the sale can be a touchy situation.  Remember, the homeowner most likely knows nothing about termites except what he has seen on Saturday morning TV.  He has, in hand, a "Certificate" that says he has "no termites," he also has the expectation of terrible expenses to face and the distinct impression that he is being ripped off.  Not a good situation.  

Get the exterminator involved right away.  Personally.  His (and your) response time is critical.  If the situation can be defused before the homeowner takes drastic (legal) action, this is the best.  Make sure you also keep a written record of your dealings with all parties involved, it will be valuable to keep everything straight later on, whether for you or the law.

Unfortunately, if the client calls a lawyer before he calls you (or the exterminator) you have a problem.  Lawyers know less about termites than homeowners do. Besides, it's their JOB to do this, so you can't really blame the lawyers. Exterminators know this fact, (or they should) so it is in their best interest to solve the problem before it gets to the lawyers.  Most of the time this is easily done. Sometimes it is not.  This is where the "reputable" as in "reputable exterminator" comes in.  He will have the experience and knowledge to correct the insect infestation, deal with the homeowner to alleviate all of his fears, and supply the continued support for any further problems.  

So this means your exterminator must have experience in business.   Ask him how long he has been IN BUSINESS - not how long he has been IN THE BUSINESS - pick your own standard.  Most exterminators will want to solve the problem if they possibly can.  Exterminators in business a long time, value their reputations and are much more inclined and equipped to handle the problem efficiently.  And when it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, the exterminator must also be adequately insured.  Both for full liability and for errors and omissions.  Exterminators in New Jersey are required to have liability.  They are not required to have errors and omissions.  United carries both. Our insurance certifications are supplied upon request.


If treatment is required, we will again set up a convenient time with the homeowner to perform our treatment, supplying your settlement papers to you in plenty of time for your settlement.  Termite Certifications are supplied on the NPMA-33 form and our own Inspection Report Form 189 are also supplied.  

Our treatments follow the guidelines of the National Pest Control Association, and we neither propose nor recommend control treatments that are dubious in value or redundant in nature.  Our inspectors are not paid according to the prices they quote or on the amount of work they bring in and are thus not inspired to inflate the cost to your client.

Our work can also carry a guarantee which would then be renewable, annually, after completion of the guarantee period.  Our renewal fees are reasonable and are not normally subject to increases.  Average renewal costs are under $100 per year on a normal residential property, and include any required treatment or inspections at no additional cost.  Our Termite Renewals also cover the cost of pre-treatment for any new construction at the property and no-cost certifications if we supply the certification for settlement.

First thing, during an inspection, you shouldn't interrupt the inspector with questions that will take his mind off his work.  If you want to go over what the results were, just ask him to see you after the inspection.  If you have areas you want him to see for some special reason, you can ask him to look at them after his initial inspection when he knows more about the structure.  Most inspectors have a regular routine to follow and will want to concentrate completely on their work.  Diversions can cause mistakes, and we don't want that to happen.

Most importantly, DON'T PANIC if the structure has termites or damage.  Most of these problems are routine also, and most are handled easily.  Remember, we live here in South Jersey, and our "Garden State" could easily be called the "Termite State."

Don't answer homeowner's questions about termites or damage unless you know exactly what you're talking about.  Ask them to contact the exterminator or builder directly.  This will tend to eliminate misunderstandings.  Homeowners have a tendency to hold agents and brokers accountable for their comments, even off-the-cuff comments.

All these are actually "common sense" things.  Most Realtors learn these things early on, you already knew that....

Links to Local Realtors

The IPCO Network - The International Association of Independent Pest Control Operators - All Family-owned companies.
National Pest Control Association  - Our national association
New Jersey Pest Control Association - Our New Jersey state association here....
National IPM Network - Promotion of Integrated Pest Management procedures
Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Pesticide Programs - Big Brother

The US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, and their Entomological Sciences Program - You can say that "big government" is bad, but when you check out this site you'll see where it can definitely be good.  Absolutely fantastic site, a wealth of information for the exterminator and the layperson.

The Environmental Health Network of California has gathered a fabulous listing of health and information links, and one of the best lists for pesticides.

We welcome your comments or recommendations about our Web site, you can tell us all about it right here.

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