What to do if termites are found during inspection

10 Replies

Hello BiggerPockets community! I'm a newbie who is itching to buy my first small multifamily to house-hack. I have never bought a house before. I am currently renting. I put an offer in on a duplex close to where I live and it was accepted. After the inspection I found out there was termite damage and cockroaches in one of the units. Is this a deal breaker or what should I do from here? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Termites, what kind? how extensive? dry rot, financing type? in West Coast it is found on 98% of the properties. Only a fraction will treat them because of cost. Tenting will kill cockroach and surface termites but not their eggs or sub type several feet under ground. Every 3 month you deal with another batch roaches....

If you are first timer suggest your seller take care them and start looking at others that do not have such problem.

If you are in a due diligence period you can still walk away.  You can negotiate the seller make repairs, or you can close on the deal and make repairs at a later time.  Be weary on the extensiveness of the problem, and listen to the professionals opinion so you can make the most informed decision.  

Thank you for the response, guys.

Sam- I am not sure of the type of termites. I have not gotten the official inspection report, but the inspector told my girlfriend that the termites had tunneled into the carport and most likely into the house. I am definitely still looking around for another deal. 

Trenton- If the seller won't repair, but I can get him to negotiate a lower purchase price, what would be a reasonable number to ask? I'm assuming it depends on the extent of the damage but I'm not sure how much termite treatment costs. 

 Is it possible to get rid of roaches and termites permanently or are they always going to be a problem at this property?

Also, how do you easily find a forum that you posted? I posted this and had to sift through 4 pages of forums after searching "termites"? Thanks again

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Personally, I wouldn't recommend termites for a first time buyer, but that's me.  Then again, I wouldn't buy a termite house at all.  lol  But I'm happy buying once every 1-3 years.  I'm not someone who tries to buy every month.  I can afford to be more picky.

As for the cost of the termite remediation, you need to call a professional.  It will vary area to area, plus the extent of the damage needs to be personally inspected to give a reasonable quote for repairs.  Consider the price of getting rid of them and fixing their damage, whether the owner is willing to take care of them, and your own personal risk tolerance when making the decisions about whether to buy a termite house.

As for roaches, I'm not sure you will always have them.  I moved into a place in Hawaii (fyi, roach heaven) and I was seeing and trying to kill about 5 roaches a day and 15-20 ants a day.  I kept my place clean and killed them whenever I could.  I can't say they were ever 100% gone, but then, I lived under another person and couldn't control what they did upstairs.  Whenever I went to their place, they always had dirty dishes in the sink and when I'd take care of their plants when they were gone, I'd always see a couple of roaches crawling around.  But while they always had roaches, I'd only see 1-2 a month after a while.  It wasn't hard for them to come to my place as I was just renting the basement.  But roaches, much like teens, know where the food is and don't see the point in sticking around where there isn't any.  lol

Good luck!

@John Dellinger you need a pest control person to give you a quote to fix the issue. Then evaluate the deal, finding insects and pests, to me is no big deal, we see it daily here in FL.

Look at the deal and see if you can use this info to get a better deal, if it still makes sense. If the termites have eaten exposed wood for an inspection you will need to treat and repair for insurance purposes, but really not a huge ordeal.

Look at this as an opportunity to get a great property at a discount? Best of luck to you.

Thanks for the advice! You all have been a lot of help. When I heard the "T word" I thought that the property was condemned but I guess that isn't always the case. I am going to talk to the seller on Monday and see if I can get him to take care of both of the issues. If not, I've already found my next deal to pursue. You can't get attached right? They're just properties! Thanks again.

In AZ, we only have 2 types of homes....those that have had termites, and those that will.  We don't do tenting like they do in California, but the companies out here drill sub-terranean holes all around the perimeter of the property.  If there is no flooring, or it's easy to pull up, they will even drill on the inside perimeter.  Since subterranean termites always go back into the ground every 24-48 hours to get back to their "home", they will be killed once they make their return.

The termite treatment company will issue a warranty, so if they return within a given period, they will come back out and spot treat or do full treatments.  You can usually renew the warranty for a reasonable fee annually.

My recommendation would be to call the termite company and ask for an estimate for treatment.  Get a figure before bailing.  Sometimes it isn't that bad, and most of the time, you can get the Seller to pay for it since it is their property, and now that termites have been disclosed, they would have to disclose it to any new Buyer anyway.

@Cara Lonsdale I say that here in St. Louis too! It's a matter of staying ahead of them and keeping up with monitoring.

WE dealw with termites on pretty much any house over 10 years old here in CAlifornia.  Just a matter of getting them remediated.  How old is the house and how much damage has the termite infestation done is the real question.   Sometimes once the remove on outer board, they see much more damage...

Older the home, the more risk you have

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