In Georgia and other warm, humid states, termite infestations are common. However, buying a house ranks as one of the most significant investments people make, and finding termite damage after the home sale closes can become costly and frustrating. Before closing on a home purchase, consider the following points on handling termite damage if you do not want to walk away from the home purchase.
Answer three questions
Before getting attached to a new home, you must adequately assess the damage from termites and ask yourself three questions. How bad is the potential damage? How much work and money do you estimate it will take to repair? Can you negotiate with the seller to receive compensation for the costs you would incur or will the seller perform the repairs?
It pays to be a skeptic
Termite damage may exist in other parts of the home’s structure that you cannot easily see or access. The extent of the damage could become financially or structurally significant. Request a termite damage inspection from an exterminator. Hire a professional contractor to estimate the cost of any necessary repairs.
If you decide to proceed with the sale after assessing the risks, keep funds available if you find later that the house needs more repair work for termite damage than was discovered earlier. You may also consider specialty homeowners insurance covering any future pest damage.
Negotiate with the seller
If you feel sure you have found your dream home, discuss the damage with the seller and add a home inspection contingency to the sale contract. In a hot residential real estate market, some buyers waive the inspection because they want their offer to stand out, but this is a risky and potentially expensive move.
Consider asking the seller to tent the home and repair the damage. Request copies of all the receipts from the pest company and general contractor performing the repairs. If the seller won’t agree, either walk away or get estimates to do the work yourself and negotiate for cash toward closing costs or a reduced sale price.
Termite damage does not always mean you shouldn’t buy but do everything possible to remedy the problem and reduce risk.