When you’re ready to sell your house but discover that it has termite damage (and maybe also live termites), what do you do? Will the infestation and the damage scare off buyers? Will you be stuck with the house forever?
While the discovery of termites in your house can make your stomach drop to your kneecaps, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell the house. It will make the process longer and more complicated, but the sale can still happen. You may find a traditional buyer, or you may choose to sell to a home-buying company that purchases houses in their existing condition.
Below we look at four steps to take to sell a house with termite damage.
1. Order A Professional Inspection
Get the experts in to do a fine-tooth inspection of your home (wall to wall and attic to crawl space), so you know what those bugs have done. It is better to have all the information pre-emptively rather than have a buyer’s realtor show you their inspection report.
You may think that you can do a termite inspection yourself, but unless that’s your profession, you should hire a pest control company. The experts know what to look for and will see even the subtlest signs of infestation or damage.
There are five kinds of common termites: subterranean, Formosan, dampwood, drywood, and conehead. Signs of live termites or of termite activity include:
- clouds of flying “swarmers;”
- mud tubes the size and shape of pencils that go up a foundation slab from the dirt;
- mud tubes attached to and dropping down from a floor joist;
- beams or supports with the insides chewed out;
- wood with sections that have disintegrated into fragments;
- piles of “mud” (dirt, feces, and saliva);
- piles of wings;
- and buckling paint.
An inspection will show up both the termites and the damage they’re responsible for.
The next step is to exterminate the live bugs.
2. Exterminate Live Termites
For large-scale termite infestations, homeowners may need to have structural fumigation performed. This treatment is when a pest control company covers (“tents”) a house, seals it and pumps in a chemical gas or heat to kill live termites.
When a house has termite damage but no live termites, homeowners should employ barriers or poisons to keep live termites from entering the house and causing more damage. Potential buyers of the home will feel reassured when they see the measures that have been taken to avoid a future problem.
Membrane or sand barriers around a house help to keep termites out. Nematodes in the ground and some fungi discourage termites. The pests can be killed with liquid termiticides applied to the ground or with bait plugs that contain poison.
3. Remove Sources of Food and Moisture
Once live colonies have been eradicated, homeowners should turn their focus to eliminating the sources of food and moisture that will draw new termites.
Is there wood around the bottom of the house that is in contact with the soil? Look at stairs, siding, door frames, stacks of wood, and piles of firewood. Move wood piles away from the bottom of the house. Create a space between the soil below and the wood directly above, like door frames or siding.
Be aware of places around a house that harbor moisture, such as leaf accumulations in downspouts, ac overflow pipes that empty near the home, or leaking sprinkler heads close to an exterior wall. Empty the downspouts, fix the sprinklers, and extend the ac overflow pipe so that it discharges water away from the house.
4. Repair Areas of Termite Damage
Once steps #1-3 have been completed, it is time to address the damage that termites have inflicted on the house. Fixing termite damage requires either shoring up affected areas or removing and replacing disintegrated wood.
The most common treatment is shoring up damaged wood. New planks or timbers are placed in supportive positions beside the damaged joists or beams.
A harder repair is replacing the damaged wood. Care must be taken to thoroughly support the surrounding pieces while the damaged areas are cut out and new pieces of wood are inserted and attached.
Termite damage should usually be repaired by a professional builder. When the areas to be fixed are in load-bearing walls, floor joists, or beams that are integral parts of the building’s support, they should not be regarded as an easy do-it-yourself job. These areas must be fixed properly to restore the structural integrity of the house.
Yes, The House Will Sell
In most cases, a house that has had a termite infestation and termite damage can still sell to the right buyer—if steps #1-4 have been taken. Extensive damage requiring significant repairs will probably slow a sale, but minor damage may cause nothing more than a hiccup in the timeline.
Termite damage usually must be disclosed, and the fact of the damage—even if it has been fixed and no sign of it is present—can scare away some buyers. Sometimes a house with termite damage will not get top dollar and, in fact, must be discounted.
For a segment of potential buyers, a discounted house is just what they need. First-time home-buyers, for example, may look at your home over others because it is in an affordable price range.
Sell It to a Home Buying Company
For some sellers, exterminating termites and repairing damage feels like more than they want to take on. The prospect of a possibly slow and discouraging home selling process is overwhelming. If you are a seller like this, consider selling your home as-is to an investor.
Investors buy houses in all states of repair and disrepair. The condition of yours will likely not surprise an experienced investor.
Premier Austin House Buyers is a home-buying company. We buy houses fast in Austin and other cities in Texas. We return offers within 24 hours, and we buy houses as-is.
We are a longtime Austin investor with over $26 million of home purchases under our belt. We have seen houses with termites and termite damage, and we know what to do about both.
If you want to go the traditional route to a home sale, hire a good realtor, deal with the termite issues, and put your home on the market. If a quick sale with no repairs sounds better, give us a call today. Or use the contact form on https://premieraustinhousebuyers.com.
We look forward to talking with you!