Profile picture for Johnzz03

Found termites during home inspection. What shall we do?

The inspector found termites in the garage. He did not check the structural beams as they were covered by the wall. The sellers are supposed to get the termites taken care of, but will this affect the resale value anyway? Should we revise our offer or ask for more credits in addition to the repair cost since it says no termites in the disclosure. We gave our offer based on the disclosure, but obviously the disclosure didn't tell the truth. Any inputs are welcome. Thank you very much!

  • December 31 2013
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Answers (7)

Everything is negotiable if they want to sell the house they can either fix this issue before the close of escrow or credit you monies for the repairs or lower the purchase price to accommodate the cost of the repairs. And if they don't then you have the option to back out and find something else. But it's always in the best interest to the seller to get the issue taken care of because now this information will have to be disclosed to a new buyer if you back out. Always a good idea to get a termite inspection before putting your house on the market but if that didn't happen then definitely during the inspection period. We see this all the time in California I do real estate on the Central Coast very common thing as southern California.
  • January 01 2014
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Profile picture for Johnzz03
Thank you all for your kind comments. I understand the seller probably didn't know about the termites. But had we known there are termites, we would have offered a lower price. This is the reason we want additional credit since this is not an area like south California where almost every house has this problem. I guess we can put this request in our contingency list. If the seller does not agree, we will have to walk away. 
  • January 01 2014
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Profile picture for Bonnie And Melinda
John, we pretty much agree with what has been said in other comments. The Seller may not have known about the termites, and therefore couldn't disclose them. The disclosures are used by the Sellers to disclose any issues they know about the house. But it is not a warranty, and the Sellers likely didn't have a pre-listing inspection done. Regarding what your next steps should be, we assume you are being represented by a Realtor for your purchase? If so, we are not permitted to interfere, and you should discuss the situation with them to see what they recommend. We hope everything ends up for the best.
  • December 31 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
"the disclosure didn't tell the truth".   The disclosure tells you what the owners know at the time it is filled out.  It is not the result of an inspection and usually the words near the signature says something about "best of my knowledge as of this date".   This is the reason you hired an inspector, not to check the truth of the disclosure but to go further.  

Why would you wish to ask for more credits that the repair costs?  Punish them?    This would be a great way for the sellers to wonder what game you are playing and decide not to play any more so the consequences may be something you don't wish to deal with.

Will it affect future sales price?   We don't know about the damage.   Termites happen, they are part of home ownership.   If the repair is good, then you are all set.

  • December 31 2013
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John,

Termite and other insect damage can cause minimal OR major damage to the home.  There's a chance that the same problem could be present in any home.  With the information you provided, it appears the presence of the termites was news to the Sellers and you as Buyers.  This is why you paid for inspections to be done and why the Sellers agreed to allowing you to do inspections.  The Sellers are now taking action to treat the problem.  

The key to treatment in my opinion is confirmation that the damage is not structural (effecting the structural integrity of the framing).  This will probably require that some drywall be removed so the area can be inspected.  You can request that your inspector be present for confirmation that structural integrity of the home was not compromised.  It would then be customary that the Seller have the drywall replaced.  

Now to the question of if you should revise your offer.  The Sellers are making you whole by treating the current problem.  You or any future owner can take steps to minimize the risk that the termites return (move wood piles away from home, be sure that the finished grade around the home is >6", etc..  The thing to realize here is that any future owner of the home will likely want to have regular termite preventative measures done by professionals.  This will have a real recurring (but minimal) cost.  

Here are a few questions to help you crystallize your thoughts and position on the termite problem that is being resolved.  Would you have made the same offer on this home or another home if prior but treated presence of termites had been disclosed?  Answer is probably yes. How many homes have you looked at before this home?  Was it hard for you to find a home as nice as this one?  Can you easily find another one for the same or better price?  Will your mortgage rate increase if you walk from this deal and then try to find another home (yes, rates continue to rise)?

Your Buyer's Broker can make sure you know all of your options.  Bottom line, presence of termites is a problem that's manageable.  Hope this info helps and that you have many years of happiness in your new home.

Greg Hanner, Broker, REALTOR, e-PRO
  • December 31 2013
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My advice would be: On the reply to inspection addendum, ask for a licensed and insured pest control company to treat, repair, and certify all work prior to settlement. You have the right to a follow up inspection with a professional. I would have your inspector (they will charge, but it's worth it), make sure the work has been done and done correctly.

It should not effect resale, and should not hinder a sale, unless there are structural issues that can not be repaired.

Good luck, and enjoy your new home!

  • December 31 2013
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A seller can not disclose what even they do not know. Most sellers would treat for termites IF they knew they had them, it would be foolish not to.The fact is probably that owner did not know and therefor could not disclose it. Your best option is to have the owner treat with a professional pest company that will guarantee their work and you should have treatments yearly when you own the house. Termites are very common in some areas and treating them and keeping the treatments up usually is all that is needed. Once gone things don't get worse, keeping them gone is key!


tim

  • December 31 2013
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