By Hogan Willis, Realtor, Guest Contributor
As a real estate agent in South Carolina, home buyers frequently ask me, "what is a CL-100?" When it comes time to buy or sell your home, this is an item you can't forget! As beautiful as South Carolina is, our humid climate makes for a perfect breeding ground for our least favorite insects - termites. Also known as a Wood Infestation Report (WIR), CL stands for "clear letter," indicating there are no current termite infestations in your home. During a sale of structural property in South Carolina involving a lending institution, a CL-100 is a mandatory report at the time of closing. As a buyer or seller, you will need a "CL-100 clear" to declare the home structurally sound in order to continue the purchase or sale of property. Unless your purchasing your home with cash, listen up!
There are a few factors inspectors will look for during the home inspection including signs of termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, wood-destroying beetles, and wood-decay fungi. The concentration of these wood-damaging forces in the Lowcountry are very high due to our hot and humid climate. In addition, the majority of structures in our area are constructed with white pine, a delicacy for termites.
What does the inspector look for?
- Visible evidence of active, or previous infestation of termites or other wood-destroying insects
- Visible evidence of whether there has been prior termite treatment
- If there is evidence of active wood-destroying fungi below the main floor (indicating a wood moisture content of 28% or above). Note: Fungus will only grow if there is enough moisture, so it is important to find the direct cause of the moisture and work to resolve the problem.
- Any visibly damaged wooden members below the main first floor of the home including columns, sills, door jambs, exterior stairs, and porches.
The inspector will go under and around the structure to check for all of these circumstances. When damage is discovered, all surrounding material must be removed and replaced. The source must be eliminated and any disrepair rectified. It's important to remember that a CL-100 report is only valid for 30 days prior to a property closing. Because of this short window of time, many issues are not discovered or addressed until several days before a scheduled closing.
However, termites can be treated and serious damage can be avoided if the home is covered by a "termite bond." This bond typically consists of a one time payment to a pest company, which they will then handle periodic treatments throughout the year to keep your house "clear." The company you purchase the termite bond from is liable for all damages and repairs, but be very careful about where you purchase a termite bond. Not all companies provide the same warranties with their services. One person you can trust, and feel confident in your inspection, is Trip Cummings with Barrier Pest Services.
If you're planning to sell your house in the near future, The Post and Courier has outlined several tips to protect your home and ensure you receive a "CL-100 clear."
- Have your home regularly inspected
- Remove debris near home and in crawlspaces, including wood piles and thick mulch
- Provide adequate ventilation in crawl space and between plants and exterior walls
- Install proper drainage and eliminate wood-to-ground contacts
- Remove dense vegetation growing close to foundation or siding
The best advice on combating termites is to never let them get a foothold to start. Keep up with repairs and keep your termite bond current. This will help you ease through the process of obtaining your "CL-100 clear" and continuing with the purchase, or sale, of your beautiful home. We've outlined the additional need-to-know factors when inspecting a home in our Quick Guide to Residential Home Inspection.
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