Buying a House with Termite Damage
Buying a house is daunting enough, but when the house you’ve fallen in love with has termites, the prospect becomes all the more worrisome.
Unfortunately, Southern California is extremely hospitable to several species of these voracious, damaging insects. A variety of subterranean, drywood and dampwood species are all found throughout our region.
As you might guess, it is extremely important to determine whether a problem exists — and if so, to what extent — before you close on a resale home.
The Trouble with Termites
Termites live in large colonies, established in a location where protection and food are plentiful. If this happens to be inside your walls, attic or some other hidden location, you may not even know they’re there until significant damage has occurred. Latent damage and undetected termite infestations cause billions of dollars in structural damage every year in the United States. Newer homes are as susceptible as older homes, especially recently built subdivisions in outlying areas.
And lest you think that block homes are immune, think again.
Even block homes use wood for roof trusses and interior wall studs. Termites can move through block and metal to reach food, and they aren’t picky about their source of cellulose. They will gladly eat furniture, cabinets, cardboard and the paper coating of drywall.
The Southern California Termite Rundown
Next to wood structures, termites love moisture the most, and Southern California gives these damaging pests a lot to love. Termites traditionally swarm in the spring, and are especially active right after a big rain. However, they remain active all year long, thanks in part to our beautiful weather. In fact, statistics suggest that a sizeable percentage of homes in our area have a current or have had a past problem with termites.
This means that whenever you’re buying a house, you must be on the lookout for any signs of damage and infestation. Unfortunately, neither home buyers nor their real estate agents are usually qualified to determine whether a home has termites or preexisting damage. For that, you must use a licensed inspector.
Should You Have a Termite Inspection when Buying a Home?
California does not require home sellers to provide a pest inspection to buyers. If you will be financing your home, your lender will almost always require an inspection. But even if you plan to pay cash when buying a house, it’s critical that you engage the services of an experienced inspector during the due diligence period.
If the inspector does detect evidence of damage or an infestation, this is not necessarily a reason for panic or automatically canceling your offer to purchase. Professional termite treatments can do away with the pests, and most come with a two-year warranty, in case they return.
If the damage is severe, we can help you negotiate with the seller for termite treatment and — if necessary — repairs or a reduction in price to compensate you for the work that must be done.
The Edie Israel Team of professional Realtors® understands the importance of due diligence and inspections prior to buying a house, condo or commercial property. Serving Yorba Linda and the surrounding areas, our experienced agents will guide you through the real estate purchasing process and ensure that your interests are protected every step of the way.
If you have an interest in selling or buying a house in Southern California, contact us today to learn more.