By the time you make an offer on a new or used property, you’ve probably done considerable research on nearby schools, the commute, HOA fees, and much more. With online listings and mandatory disclosures, property buyers and their realtors have near-instant access to a wealth of information about any property. However, all these data points can serve to obscure real red flags about a property—including past or current termite activity. In this article, we’ll review why termites are a significant problem for U.S. property owners and why a professional termite inspection is the way to go.
Termites are a serious issue
The cost of termites is staggering. Cumulatively, termites cause more than $50 billion in property damage every year—more than most other natural disasters combined. In fact, in most U.S. states, termites are the leading cause of property damage, with U.S. property owners annually spending a combined $5 billion either dealing with an infestation or repairing termite damage.
In many communities, this issue is getting worse. By far, subterranean termites are the most destructive species. One invasive species—the Formosan termite—has spread throughout the Sun Belt and is starting to encroach on neighboring states. Formosan termites form incredibly large colonies that can cause severe structural damage to a property in a matter of months. More than ever before, property owners need to be vigilant and regularly check for signs of termite activity.
Who pays for termite damage?
In most cases, you. Many property owners are surprised to learn that their property insurance policy does not cover either termite treatments or repairing termite damage. A majority of policies do not, although some offer separate coverage for an additional charge. For the average U.S. property owner who discovers termite damage in their property, repairs generally cost around $3,000. Again, assuming that your policy does not cover termites, you could be looking at having to pay that out-of-pocket.
What you need to know when buying a property
A new property is probably the most substantial single investment you’ll make in your life. Once you sign the paperwork and get the key, the property is yours. That includes any of its problems. This is why a professional property inspection is so important: you want to know everything there is to know about the property before buying it.
Even if your state or city requires that sellers disclose whether the property has previously had “Wood Destroying Organisms,” schedule a termite inspection. There are situations where the current owner checks no on the disclosure but is unaware there are termites until a prospective buyer has an expert out to take a closer look. A termite inspection is a specialized service that will give you a good view of the past, present, and future of the property.
Depending on where you’re buying a property, a history of termites may not be a deal-breaker. After all, in some parts of the southern U.S., finding a property with no history of termites can be challenging. However, a professional termite inspection can provide you with insight into how extensive that previous infestation was, if the damage was ever repaired and if there’s any current termite activity. Armed with this knowledge, you can be informed about your purchase—and potentially use the information from the inspection to negotiate further treatment or even a lower closing price.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.