Selling a house can be stressful in itself, but it becomes even more of a chore when you have to sell a property that has experienced some damage caused by termite activity. It isn’t impossible though – plenty of homeowners have successfully sold their houses despite termite damage. The key here is knowing how you need to proceed in this situation, as there are some legal requirements that need to be met when you sell a house affected by termites.
Below you will find everything you need to know about selling a house with termite history.
When Do Termite Infestations Happen?
Termite infestation is a more common issue than some people realize, and even though you might try, there’s very little chance of escaping them, as termites are present in 49 out of 50 states, the only exception being Alaska.
Termites can cause serious problems when they get into your home. They can destroy wooden furniture, compromise the structural integrity of your house, and can even chew through the siding.
Unfortunately, early detection is often impossible, especially for untrained eyes, due to the fact that many signs of termites being in your house are invisible. However, if you have even the slightest suspicion that termites have decided to make your home theirs, you should contact a professional – the cost of the termite inspection is nothing compared to how much you might have to spend on making the house termite-free again once the termite infestation gets out of control.
There are several signs that a home has termites:
- Mud tubes. Look for mud tunnels that run up the side of the foundation or on support beams. These tubes will look like lines of dried mud. Termites travel through these tubes to and from the colony.
- Wood’s hollow sound. Termites eat wood from the inside out, so you won’t see signs of them just by looking at a support beam or section of wood in your house. Tap the wood to listen if it makes a hollow sound which may indicate damage.
- Droppings. Termites often leave droppings that resemble sawdust piles. These droppings can indicate any nearby wood is infested with termites.
- Shedded wings. Another sign you may have termites is seeing a pile of discarded wings in windowsills or near the home. Termites swarm in the spring and shed wings. If you see these in or near the home, you may have termites.
It is important to remember that a house with termites will rarely get to the point where nothing can be done to repair it and bring it back to its glory – especially if it’s not one of the destructive species. The ones you should be most careful with are the Formosan termites, which are a type of subterranean termites that usually appear in the southern regions of the US.
In most cases, however, it would take years for the termites to cause such damage, and if anyone is living in the house, they are bound to notice some of the signs a lot sooner than that.
How to Prevent Termites in the Future
Once you have treated your house and got rid of the termites, you should incorporate some preventative measures so that you can ensure termite issues won’t come back, simultaneously also preventing other pests from entering your home.
- The first thing you should do when preventing future termite damage is to install mesh screenings on all the external vents, which will prevent not only termites but also other pests from entering your home.
- If you can, prevent the wooden parts of your home from touching the ground. In many cases, termites invade a house because its wooden parts are in contact with the soil.
- Make sure moisture does not accumulate in the vicinity of the foundation. If your house has poor drainage, you might have to install drains or tiles.
- If you use wood to warm up your house, remember to not store it inside crawlspaces or near the foundation of the house. Wood and other materials, such as newspapers or cardboard boxes will serve as an invitation for termites and serve them as a source of food.
Selling a House with Termite Damage
When it comes to selling a house with termite damage, you can proceed in one of the two ways.
Repairing the House
The first option available to you is investing in hiring a pest professional to perform a termite inspection and termite treatments and then proceeding to make the necessary repairs to bring the house back to its previous glory.
The whole process should begin with hiring a pest control company that will send a pest inspector to assess what kind of termites are residing in your home and what will be the best way to get rid of them. How much that would cost depends on which species of termites you are dealing with and how advanced your termite problem is. The national average cost for termite treatment is $525; however, some more involved processes can cost up to $2,500 or more.
In most cases, termite infestation is not a deal-breaker for selling a house, as it is possible to not only eliminate the entire colony but also repair the house and bring it back to the state before infestation.
However, it is understandable that even after you’ve paid for a Terminix in Scottsdale exterminator and repairs, prospective buyers might be a little skeptical about purchasing a house that had termite issues in the past. The best way to make these worries go away is by showing the warranty that you received after the treatment – any respective company should issue one, usually valid for a year, that can be transferred onto the new owners at any point. A termite warranty shows the new homeowners that they don’t have to worry about having to pay for the treatment from their pocket, as it’s already been done, and if the effects are not as satisfactory, they can always get in touch with the company issuing it.
Last but not least, you have to be prepared that you might be in need to negotiate the price. Although not always, some interested buyers might try to negotiate the price for a lower one, using the termite argument. However, if you have all the receipts from the required repairs you made and the treatment, then you have no reason to agree to the lower price unless you are fine with it.
Selling the House As-Is to Cash Buyers
The second option you have is selling the house to a cash buyer in the condition it is in, which simply means with termites in it. This is an ideal choice for those who don’t want to deal with termite treatment and repairs that come with it, don’t have enough funds to deal with termite problems on their property, or just want to get rid of the burdensome houses fast.
Selling the as-is house means that you won’t have to deal with as many property showings as you’d have to if you were selling the house in a traditional way on the real estate market. Those houses are usually sold to real estate investors, and they mostly prefer to purchase them before it hits the market.
However, just because you are not selling your house on the real estate market does not mean that you don’t have to disclose the state of it to potential buyers. In many states, you are required by law to disclose termites and anything else that might potentially affect the value of the property, even if it’s not visible at first glance in the disclosure form.
Keep in mind that most buyers will probably require a general house inspection, including a pest inspection, and sooner or later the termite activity will be discovered. If you decide not to disclose this information, and after buying the house, the buyer finds termite damage and proves that you knew about it prior to the sale, you will most likely face legal repercussions.
What’s more, you have to be prepared that in many cases, you won’t get the full market value of your house, as the new homeowner will have to cover the costs of getting the house treated, which can be quite high depending on how extensive termite damage is.
The Bottom Line
Spotting a termite infestation can be hard, especially if you don’t have a trained eye as pest inspectors do. In fact, many homeowners don’t even realize that termites have invaded their home until they want to sell it and discover damaged wood, structural damage, and other physical damage caused by them.
Don’t let termites take over your home and ruin your chances of selling. If you’ve found yourself saying, “I need to sell a house with termite damage!” we can help. The Highest Cash Offer team has the experience to help you out of even the most difficult real estate situations. If you need to sell your house fast, we will make the highest cash offer for your property. To get started, give us a call at (888) 387-5750 or fill out the form above for a free no-obligation cash quote today!