Selling a House with Termites

It can be your worst nightmare come true: the discovery that the home you’re ready to sell not only has termite damage but also swarms of live termites. What does that mean for your home? Is it the death knell for a sale?

Although discovering termites and termite damage is certainly not a good thing, it does not mean you can’t sell your home. It will complicate the selling, yes, but you can still find a traditional buyer, or perhaps an investor who will purchase the house as-is (meaning, no work or expense will be required to make the sale).

In this article, we look at the steps to take when you discover termites have invaded and damaged your home.

Get Your Own Inspection

Hire a professional to conduct a termite inspection so that you know the full scope of what you’re dealing with. It’s far better to do pre-emptive information gathering rather than be surprised by a potential buyer’s inspection report.

While the average homeowner can do an initial termite inspection, a professional will see signs of activity that a layperson could miss–thus the importance of calling in the experts.

Subterranean termites are usually found at ground level, although sometimes they are found above the first floor. Tell-tale signs of the presence of a termite colony include flying swarms, especially near lights; pencil-sized mud tubes going up from the ground or dropping down from wooden structures; wood that is excavated in parallel lines or completely disintegrated; the accumulation of “mud” piles; piles of wings; buckling paint; and live termites.

After the Inspection

A thorough termite inspection will reveal termite damage, travel tunnels, and live colonies. The next step a homeowner should take, before fixing any damage, is to get rid of the live termites.

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Extermination

Homeowners who are in a hurry to sell their homes may need to hire a termite extermination company to kill the pests quickly. This could mean tenting the house to carry out structural fumigation. The lethal agent deployed is either a chemical gas or heat.

Homeowners who have more time to get rid of the termites can make use of chemical or non-chemical solutions to remove termite colonies. One non-chemical solution is a membrane or sand barrier installed around the house. Another non-chemical solution is certain fungi and nematodes which have shown themselves to be effective against termites.

Chemical solutions are available as well. Liquid termiticides applied directly to the soil kill the pests. Bait plugs in the ground contain poisoned food that kills termites after they eat it. Wood and building materials impregnated with pesticides cause termites to die after they chew on the materials.

Addressing the Cause

After termite colonies have been exterminated, the next action step is to remove food and water sources that may draw new termite populations.

Termites enter homes looking for food, moisture, and shelter. Homeowners should look for wood around the house that is directly touching the soil. This could be siding, door frames, trim, or stairs. Create space between the wood and the dirt below. Make sure woodpiles and stacks of firewood are not near the house.

Moisture that draws termites can occur in downspouts, air conditioning overflow lines, leaking sprinkler heads near the house, and even clogged gutters. Clear out downspouts, channel ac lines out into a yard, and fix sprinkler heads.

Fixing the Damage

After colonies have been removed and the sources of food and moisture eliminated, it is time to address areas of termite damage. This is most frequently done by removing and replacing damaged wood.

The easiest repair is usually made by adding support to the portions of wood that have been eaten away. A more difficult fix is removing the damaged wood and replacing it with new wood. Great care must be taken to provide temporary reinforcement while repairs are underway.

When termite damage has occurred under a house in floor joists or structurally crucial parts of the home such as load-bearing walls, a professional builder should be hired. These are not areas that the average home-owner should tackle as do-it-yourself side projects. Repairs must be made properly to restore the structural integrity of the house.

The Facts About Selling a Termite-Damaged House

The ease or difficulty of selling a home with termite damage depends on the amount of damage that exists, and the extent of the repairs made. Minor damage that has been repaired may not slow a sale at all.

Homes with extensive termite damage, even when repaired, will not receive top-dollar offers. However, they can still sell and will often appeal to first-time home-buyers looking for a discount. Particularly if the damage has been thoroughly addressed, a new home-buyer will likely trade a price-cut for a less-than-perfect structure.

Sell to an Investor

Sometimes homeowners with termite-damaged houses feel overwhelmed at the thought of the work required to deal with the problem and to find an amenable buyer. For these individuals, selling to an investor may be the best solution.

Investors such as Houston Capital Home Buyers buy houses in Houston as-is. There is no need for inspections or repairs, and a sale can happen within days. Houston Capital Home Buyers returns offers within 24 hours of a request.

Selling to a home-buying company typically ratchets down the stress level for owners of termite-distressed houses since no cash outlay is required for extermination or damage repair. It can be the ticket to simply letting a house go and starting fresh with a check in hand from the sale.

Houston Capital Home Buyers is a reliable, trustworthy company with over ten years in the home-buying industry and over $26 million of home-purchases under its belt. The company’s experienced buyers are able to walk homeowners through the sale process quickly, thoroughly, and respectfully.

Homeowners with termite-damaged houses can usually sell their homes the traditional way, after removing termite colonies and fixing the damage. Owners who prefer to circumvent these often-lengthy processes should consider simply selling to an investor.

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