Contract offers are common after free termite inspection

Q. A termite inspector visited my house and apparently expected me to conclude his free examination with a contract signing. I did not do this. A previous inspection 15 or 20 years ago contained a guarantee for five years. We have not kept up the annual inspections.

It seems to me the inspector was trying to scare me into a costly contract. What is your opinion or advice?

Edna Morse, Linthicum Heights, Md.

A. There are but a few exterminator companies in the whole country who would not have offered you a contract. However, not all such contract offers would be for termite treatment, which we assume was proposed. Some contracts would be for an annual inspection if the house was termite-free. Was it?

Regular, annual professional inspections assist the homeowner in finding and controlling termite infestations before they do substantial damage. Under inspection contracts (not annual-inspection ones), the treatment, if needed, would be a charge to the homeowner.

The procedure depicted by this homeowner is not unusual in the termite-control trade. Control operators will usually not guarantee absence of termites without first treating the premises.

If the examination report indicated the presence of termites in the house, by all means have them exterminated without delay by a reputable company. Annual reinspections thereafter are ordinarily recommended.

Note: In my opinion it is prudent to seek two or three written bids from reputable firms before proceeding to eliminate infestations.

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