Selling your house is like a game of roulette; you never know what problem will land on your lap to prevent you from winning a sale. You could have water damage, structural damage, mold, or all of the above. In your case, the cards you’ve been dealt are termite problems. You’re stuck with having to sell your termite-damaged house.
You’ve done what you can to address the termite issue – a pricey termite treatment by a pest control company at that. Your next hurdle is finding a homebuyer who will buy a house with termite damage.
Play your cards right and follow this how-to guide on selling a house with termite history.
How To Find Out If You Have Termites
Termites are white, ant-like bugs that quietly eat away at wood sidings, cabinets, doors, floors, and supports of both residential and commercial structures. This small, unseen enemy costs Americans an average of five billion dollars per year.
Termite activity is greatest in warm Southern states like Texas and peaks in spring and summer. Texas has the highest concentration of termites in America. Pest control professionals warn that you are bound to have a termite infestation if your Texan home is five years old or older.
Signs Of Termites
These “silent destroyers” leave some clues to their presence. Experts can tell what termite species is present by the signs and damage they leave behind:
- Piles of discarded wings mean that a termite colony is close by;
- Other piles that termites make are the sawdust-like material called frass;
- Termites love staying and making small holes in hard-to-reach wooden structures like those in your crawl spaces and within the walls. Cracks in cornices and ceiling beams are another giveaway;
- Mud tubes along the foundation and basement walls indicate their presence;
- The worst-case scenarios caused by termites are damaged and sagging floors and ceilings, bulging walls, and windows & doors that do not close properly;
- Look for cracks in foundation, paint, and walls;
- Empty or hollow-sounding wood can be an indicator of termite damage;
- Termites can also cause damage to swimming pool liners, books, plaster, insulation, roof tiles, wooden fence posts, and decking.
Types Of Termites
There are three major types of termites: dampwood, drywood, and subterranean termites. One can tell by the names of these termites their ideal habitat and food source. You can find all of these termite types in the southern states.
In Houston, you can see the three major types as well as winged termites such as swarm termites, alates, flying termites, swarm castles, and swarmers. Formosan termites are present in Houston, too. They feed primarily on cellulose, build aerial nests, and hide in wall coverings.
Costs Of Termite Damage
The average Houston homeowner will pay around $214 per year for termite control for a 1,200 square foot home. The price for a 2,000 sq. ft. is closer to $390 yearly.
Average Price Range For Termite Control in Houston, TX:
Termite Damage Repair: $399-$750
Cost To Hire An Insect Control Service: $173
Termite Removal Costs by Termite Type
Drywood Termite Removal: $193-$1500
Subterranean Termite Treatment: $284
Dampwood Termites: $225 to $2,500
Average Cost of Termite Treatment
Chemical Extermination Cost: $3 to $16 per linear foot
Cost to Get Rid of Termites with Bait: $8 to $12 per linear foot
Termite Tenting Cost: $1,200 to $2,500
Termite Fumigation Cost: $1,200 to $2,500
Cost to Tent a House for Heat Extermination: $800 to $2,500
Prevention Methods & Costs
Termite Bond or Contract Costs: $500 to $2,000
Pre-Construction Termite Protection Costs: $225 to $2,500
A termite inspection costs $50 to $280, or $100 on average.
$400-$600 for the quick fixes on your hardwood floor.
Termite treatment is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies.
What To Do If You Find Signs Of Termites
Treat termites the moment you notice them and call for assistance whenever there are new signs of colony activity.
However, if you’re looking into selling your home fast, the timelines are not in your favor. A termite treatment will last one to two years.
Fumigation may need three to five days, while chemical extermination or bait installation can take about one day. While getting rid of termites with bait is effective immediately after installation, it may take a few months to confirm that colony activity has stopped. If a seller didn’t disclose termite damage and treatment, a buyer could sue you for fraud or breach of contract when the termites surface.
Suppose you’re thinking of treating your house for termites yourself with widely available liquid chemical applications. Remember, termite treatment calls for professional knowledge and experience. Without this expertise, you risk your family’s health and damage to your home if you DIY.
As for termite prevention, homeowners can take these steps:
- repair leaking faucets, appliances, and pipes;
- discard rotten wood;
- remove leaves and soil that touch the outside of the home;
- resolve ventilation and moisture issues;
- keep firewood away from the house;
- seal openings and cracks along the exterior and foundation of the home.
Can You Sell A House With Termite History?
Selling a house with termite damage is no easy feat. Potential buyers can turn up their noses at the mere mention of termites. But you have to find a way because life situations, like a quick move to another state, demand it.
Option 1: Fix The Termite Damage And Sell It
The first item on your to-do list is to have a pest inspection. Don’t wait for a homebuyer to initiate a termite inspection. Most termite inspection companies offer current property owners a free initial termite inspection. The inspection will include looking at a home’s exteriors, foundations, and the surrounding grounds for pests.
Professionals will also check the attic, corners of the rooms, door frames, behind appliances, inside cabinets and closets, windows, crawl space, basement, overhead timber, and floors for signs of damage and infestation.
The next step is termite treatment. Request for inspections and written estimates from several pest control companies to ensure that you get value for your money.
Select the best pest control company based on their termite warranty, precautions, chemicals utilized, number of visits, method, and charge for treatment.
Specialists from the termite control company will be able to identify the termite species in your home, the scope of the infestation, and how to get rid of them safely.
After inspection and treatment, you should make the necessary repairs around the house. Here are the estimated repair costs:
Termite Damage Repair Options & Costs
Estimate to repair drywall: $500
Expense to clean and restore a crawl space: $6,000
Price to install attic insulation: $1,900
Cost to repair carpentry framing: $1,050
The final step is putting the home with termite damage on the open market. Prepare for viewings and the volley of negotiations with your real estate agent.
Option 2: Sell The House To Real Estate Investors As Is
Option 1 may seem easy enough – termite inspection, termite treatment, home repairs, and listing of the home, but there are lots of steps, thousands of dollars to spend, and countless days of waiting in between.
Why not sell to a cash buyer? Selling to a cash home buyer has fewer steps, and you can close in as little as 14 days.
Which Is The Best Option?
Would you buy a house with termites? A condo with termites?
Buying a house with minor termite damage might be more feasible. But what about homes with a long and extensive history of termite infestation and damage?
Many homebuyers would be inclined to skip houses like this. They would need to account for the annual reinspection, scheduled treatments, and follow-up inspections after termite treatment. There’s also a termite insurance protection plan fee to pay. Most buyers would rather miss out on buying a home with termite damage.
Fix And Sell Or Sell As Is?
Being that buying a house with termites can be a risky endeavor for buyers, sellers have to consider their market. Rather than braving all the treatments, repairs, and financial and time-related costs, it might be better to sell to a real estate investor. A real estate investor will buy your house with termites as-is with a ready cash offer.