You're looking through a beautiful home for sale and everything seems perfect. Then, you spot it -- the telltale chew marks in the support beams that indicate termite damage. Many potential buyers would shake their heads and cross the home off their list. However, buying a home with termite damage is not always a bad idea. You really have to dig a bit deeper and ask a few questions to assess the severity of the problem and whether or not the home is right for you.
Is the infestation active?
The first thing to consider is whether the termite infestation is still active, or if the damage is left over from an infestation that was taken care of years ago. You can surely ask the homeowner or their realtor about this. You can also do your own investigation and look for signs of an active termite infestation. Common signs include:
- The presence of frass, which are termite feces, along the bases of walls and in grooves; frass is black and looks like tiny, hexagonal-shaped bits.
- Fluffy piles of white or cream-colored termite wings near holes where the bugs have entered the home.
- Moist mud tubes stretching across wooden structures; termites build these "mud tubes" as they travel.
Who treated the infestation?
If the termite infestation has already be taken care of, ask the owner for the name of the pest control company that handled the infestation. You may be able to call them and confirm that the home has been completely eradicated of termites. On the other hand, ff they tell you that they have been battling an active infestation there for years, you might want to move on to a different house.
Do the neighbors have termite problems?
Underground termite colonies can be absolutely huge. If the neighbors are also battling termites, then there is a chance that the same colony is wreaking havoc on all of the homes in the area. Even if the home you're looking at is currently termite-free, there is a good chance the bugs will come back because there is a colony nearby. This may not be the best home to buy unless you want to spend a lot of money on regular preventative pest control.
Once you know the answers to the questions above, you can make a more informed decision about the purchase of a home. A properly dealt-with infestation a long time ago is no reason not to buy, but an active infestation -- or an infestation in a nearby home -- may be. For more advice, contact a professional at agencies like Coldwell Banker Pro West.