Buying and Building a Home with Damage

Buying, Building, or Selling a House with Termite Damage

Buying a home is a big decision and an even bigger investment. Whether you are purchasing an existing home or buying a newly constructed home, you want to make sure the investment is sound and that the home is well maintained and of good quality.

In addition to hiring an expert home inspector, you also should complete the following two steps during the due diligence period before purchasing a home:

  • Hire a licensed termite inspector from a reputable pest control company to inspect the home for signs of past and present infestations.
  • Ask if the seller will include the transfer of the existing termite prevention and control contract (termite bond) in the contract. If there is not an existing bond, plan to purchase your own agreement.
  • A termite bond (also known as a termite letter) is essentially a guarantee from a pest control company that it will provide retreatment and/or repair damage from future termite infestations for as long as the contract is valid. Guarantee language varies between companies and across state lines, so make sure to read your bond carefully to understand what it does and does not cover.

Buying a House: Termites Disclosure
Home sellers are required by law to disclose known termite activity or damage before closing. However, it is still very important for buyers to hire licensed termite inspectors to check for past and present signs of termite activity. Homeowners may not be aware of an infestation that is hidden beneath walls or around the home's foundation.

Termite damage is not necessarily a sign that a buyer should walk away from a home. A professional termite inspector can help you understand the extent of damage and the control methods that have been used or could be used to manage the infestation.

Building a House: Termite Prevention
When you hire a builder, you should include your requirements for termite prevention in your contract. Licensed termite specialists with knowledge of local termite activity can help you understand which methods of prevention are most effective and cost efficient.

In some states, builders are required to provide a one- to five-year termite protection guarantee. If your builder is not required to offer such a guarantee, you may consider purchasing a bond from a pest control company to help protect your home.