Termites a deal breaker?

3 Replies

Just got the inspection report back on a property I’m currently under contract on. I do have the inspection contingency in tact. The report came back that termite shelter tubes observed in basement sill plate areas of all three apartments, the entire back wall of the structure. They are recommending the entire structure inside and out be treated for termites and they’re guaranteeing for 2 years.

A little info on this property and my area. I’m in a very unique market. A small town in Central PA where there are a lot of older homes built 1900-1940s and a lot of doubles and multi units. Homes typically range from 80k-200k. This particular property is a 3-unit row home 2bd 1 bath per unit. Rows aren’t very common in my area and it has some cracking in the stucco and mainly cosmetic issues on the exterior as well as an almost flat rubber roof. I think a lot of these things along with the uncertainty with Covid and rent moratoriums/unemployment, the world crashing down etc etc has a lot of investors kind of riding the bench right now. I used this to my advantage and negotiated a deal at 75% of the asking price (listed at 102k and buying at 77k). One units rent would essentially cover the whole mortgage with everything escrowed.

I’d be lying if I said the state of our country and economy doesn’t give me cold feet but I decided if he came down to my price I’d jump and he did. Now it turns out there are termites and I have very little knowledge of how serious this issue could be. Is it easy to mitigate? Will the treatment keep them away for good? How much of a deal breaker is this? Any nightmare stories with termites?

Termite treatment is relatively straightforward and you want a specialist to do. It's the damage they've already done that you really need assessed and fixed. An inspector can typically only see what is exposed or sagging, assuming nothing was opened up. It is possible the entire back wall has damage if they are recommending the whole thing be treated. I think you need to have that assessment done before proceeding.

You should get the seller to pay for all of this. No sense you paying to define and solve someone else's problem for a property you might not buy. You can place the deal on hold pending the full damage analysis, treatment plan and repairs.

Most properties in the midatlantic have termire damage if the property has a yard. In most cases, no big deal....you do a termite treatment every 5 years or so, its about $500.