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Termites, Termite Contracts, & Your Home

June 9, 2021

Termites, Termite Contracts, & Your Home
In San Diego it’s not uncommon to see a fumigation tent on a house that’s being sold. I feel like the circus tent itself looks pretty shocking. In my experience, most homes have some sort of termite infestation evidence that appears upon inspection. Many of my clients have Termite Contracts on their homes, paying around $300.00 a year for an annual inspection. These contracts can be problematic when it comes time to treat the home.
We tend to see fumigation tents on homes in escrow because wood destroying pest inspections are standard practice when a home is being sold. We order these termite inspections prior to putting our listings on the market. We like to know what it is going to cost to clear the home of possible infestation and handle any required repairs. Knowing the numbers helps us to negotiate with buyers without having any unknowns. These inspections tend to be offered for a very low price (less than $100), and the cost of the inspection is often waived when the client agrees to do the work.
Not every home that has termites needs to be fumigated. Many times the evidence of termites is only in one portion of the home. In this case, a local treatment can be performed. Fumigations are needed when there is evidence in multiple places throughout the house, or in areas with access challenges. By the way, on average, fumigations cost between $1,800 and $2,500 on an average sized home when working with a reputable company…. keep this is mind as we dive into the contracts. A good rule of thumb is that a home should be fumigated about every 10 years.
Most sellers who agree to a fumigation do it on their way out the door, right before the close of escrow. The real inconvenience is having to spend a few days elsewhere, which is not a big deal if a seller is moving anyways. By the way, It’s perfectly acceptable to have contents in home that is being fumigated. You can even leave food in the home as long as it sealed in bags provided by the fumigation company.
As mentioned, we have many clients with Termite Contracts. Property owners pay for these contracts with the hope that their home will remain free and clear of termites. We tend to see a lot of homes with these contracts come back with massive amounts of termite damage, in addition to active termite infestation. Our clients are left wondering what they have been paying for over all these years.
Contracts tend to state that the termite company will be responsible for active drywood termite infestations in the visible and accessible areas. Visible and accessible are key words. If the investations are later found in areas outside the visible and accessible areas then the treatment and repairs are not covered under the warranty. If the termite company sees a deck board or facia board during their annual inspections they’re likely to inject it and spray, but they’re not providing an inclusive inspection and warranty in these contracts. When a homeowner goes to sell and requests an inclusive inspection from the termite company, who has had the contract, the company tends to find termites in the inaccessible areas. This means the issues are not covered, and the customer has to pay…. and that’s how they get you. The contracts, over the life of them, easily pay for fumigations after only a handful of years. They also tend to charge a ton for repairs, which helps offset the cost of any work they end up doing to treat active infestations on their own dime. Many homeowners tend to ditch the termite company who holds the contact and go with another, and it’s still cheaper with everything covered.
Be careful to read the contracts. The odds are that they’re not covering what you think, and they regularly cost you more money in the end. Reach out to Market Real Estate to be connected with our preferred Wood Destroying Pest Vendor

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