Is it ok to buy a house with termite damage?
When you find a house that ticks all the boxes you’ve been looking for, it’s exhilarating. You’ve got the right home, in the right area, at the right price. But then the home inspection takes place, and you get the concerning news that the team has picked up termite damage. It can be very worrying as the potential buyer, but is it worth killing the deal because of a termite infestation? It can be overwhelming and confusing, but here are some tips to follow if you find yourself in this situation:
1. Determine where the termite damage is
Find out where the damage caused by the termites is located. If it was found in the floor joints or the main structure of the home that supports it, it’s recommended you walk away from the deal. If the termite damage is elsewhere, pause before you make a rash decision. Any damage that affects the surface of the wood structures isn’t considered to be significant damage.
2. Think twice if it’s your first home
A house severely affected by termite damage is likely on the market at a bargain price. This makes homes like this accessible and appealing to first home buyers trying to get onto the property ladder. However, if this is your first home purchase, be extra cautious when faced with termite damage to your potential investment. If you discover costly structural damage, you likely won’t have savings to dip into to restore the property to a safe state because you are just starting out.
3. Has the termite infestation been solved?
The seller should not only fix the damage caused by termites on the property but also fix the infestation. What led to the infestation in the first place? If there are clogged gutters or leaks, allowing water into the foundation, these issues will attract more termites in the future. Anything that attracts termites, such as overgrown bushes near the walls or foundation, should be fixed at the same time the infestation is brought under control by the pest control team called in. You want the home protected again termite infestations happening again.
On the flip side, you could use the situation to your benefit. Is the owner open to negotiation on the price now you know the house has termite damage? Use the information as a bargaining tool, and you could come out the winner.
Termites are renowned for the costly damage they can cause. Look for signs of mud tunnels on the outside walls of a home. Also, check for sagging floors or peeling paint.
But other pests infest houses. Here’s what to look out in a home before you make an investment:
- Look for signs of droppings or shredded paper for signs of rodents.
- Look at baseboards to signs of dirt or grease where rats squeeze through.
- Look for dead insects or parts of them lying around the inside or outside of the home.
- Look for signs of stains on furniture or beds. This could signal the presence of bed bugs, which can be very expensive to remove from home if confirmed there is an infestation. The stains are not caused by blood, but by bedbug waste. Another thing to look out for is eggs in the crevices of furniture. They are small cream-colored eggs.
Brisbane based pest control expert Danny Kelly says “If you can face buying a home that has a pest infestation, and have the time and financial resources to deal with it, there is no need to cancel a sale when a home inspection reveals they are there”. It can take time and money to get it right. Ensure you have the correct information. How much damage has been done to the home, and how much will it cost to fix it? How much will it cost to remove the pests from the property? Once you have this information, you’ll be able to make a call on whether or not it’s worth the time and money it will take to solve the problem.
The other thing with discovering a termite infestation is that you know the home is vulnerable to them. You will have to invest in termite protection and maintenance program to monitor the property. If the house still wins your heart over, go ahead and buy it, but make sure you work with a reputable pest control company to protect your asset in the future. If it all seems like too much risk and effort, walk away from the sale. Most importantly, always ensure any house you are interested in buying undergoes a presale inspection that you insist on. You want to ensure that the inspection is thorough and you are being given all the information you need to make a sound decision.