It's bad enough if you discover a termite infestation in your home and have to call in a pest control company to eradicate those nasty houseguests. However, termite infestations can also have a long-term effect on your home's resale value, especially if you've had more than one infestation. Let's cover a few points for the proactive home seller looking to get the most equity out of a sale.
Damage and Future Risk
If the termites caused a lot of damage to the structure or aesthetic appearance of your home, these factors will definitely affect the sales price of your home. It is probably a good idea to go ahead and have the damage repaired, especially if it is clearly visible or if it could represent a safety concern for the new owners. If you choose to sell the house “as is,” you will need to be upfront about the damage and be willing to accept lower bids. Note: it takes some time, but a two-year history of all WDO reports can be accessed from the Structural Pest Control Board.
Even if the termite damage was minimal or if you repaired it, buyers may still use the home's history of termite infestations as a bargaining chip to try and negotiate down the price. There are things you can do to limit the effectiveness of this negotiating strategy.
Get a Termite Inspection Before Selling
If your home has had more than one termite infestation or a recent infestation, you'll want to show perspective buyers that your home is definitely termite-free. Pay up for a termite inspection just before you put your home on the market. Add this new clean inspection to your previous termite report to help assure buyers that there are no unwanted critters hiding out beneath the floor boards.
Depending on the amount of time your home is on the market and the requirements of the buyer's lender, you may need to perform another termite inspection before a sale is complete. Paying for the first inspection is still a good idea. Inspections usually cost $100 or less, and it is worth it to be able to show perspective buyers right away that your home is termite-free.
Purchase an Extended Warranty
Another way to help assure potential buyers that your home is not at high termite risk is to purchase a termite warranty from your termite control company. Many termite extermination companies offer multi-year warranties that guarantee termites will not return after a treatment. If a termite infestation is discovered, the company will provide extermination services at no cost. When considering whether or not to purchase a termite warranty from your termite control company, make sure the warranty will transfer to the home's next owners if you move while the warranty is still active.
Put Preventative Measures in Place
One last thing you can do to safeguard your home from new termite infestations is to put preventative measures in place. Show that you are proactive by installing tight mesh screening on any accessible vents and have a whole house treatment done for subterranean termites, not just a spot treatment. If any repairs are performed, make sure the painting was done to match the rest of the house.
Disclose Previous Termite Damage
It isn't unheard of for a buyer to purchase their own inspection just to be sure that a seller isn't hiding something. So help make the sale less stressful by disclosing all reports and how any findings have been addressed. Use an updated termite inspection to show that there are no termites in your home. Make sure all the damage is repaired, especially visible damage or any damage that affects the structural integrity of your home. Then wow potential buyers with an extended termite warranty and a list of the preventative measures you've put into place. All of these factors will limit the damage a previous termite infestation can do to your home's resale value. These actions will also take the wind out of the sails of any buyer who may want to use your home's termite history to bargain down your sales price.
Submitted by Jeff Mudd, president of Best-Rate Repair & Termite Co., which has been serving San Diego County for 12 years. Mudd has been a licensed general contractor since 1994 with a master deck-builders certificate. Best-Rate Repair & Termite Co. has had an A+ accreditation with the Better Business Bureau since 2004. Jeff can be reached at 619.229.0116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.