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Termites found after purchase

Termites found after purchase.
ask phyllis a real estate question


Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions previously published in the Crescenta Valley Weekly.

Dear Phyllis,

I appreciate your weekly real estate advice and have a question for you. Eighteen months ago, my son purchased his home. At that time, the seller paid $1600 in termite work. His neighbor works for a large nationwide termite company and told him he noticed a lot of termite droppings at my son’s home. He shared with the neighbor his termite report and clearance from his purchase. The neighbor said the termite company the seller hired did not do a thorough job, as there are way too many droppings. He told my son it would be about $5,000 to fumigate the home. How do you suggest we handle termites found after his purchase?

Dear Jan,

Thank you for being a loyal reader! I don’t know the particulars of your son’s home, but $5,000 for fumigation seems exceptionally high. Assuming your son purchased a starter home of less than 2,000 square feet, typical fumigation would be nearer $2,000.

Termites are very prevalent throughout Southern California. A termite inspection determines the presence and extent of infestations in a home. The purpose is to prevent further damage and destruction by identifying and removing infestations before they can spread. Every inch of his home that meets the soil or is wood must be checked and scrutinized to ensure it has not been infected. Concrete and masonry floors and walls should also be examined for cracks or gaps where termites can enter.

Although some termite companies guarantee their work for up to two years, most guarantee their work for six months or twelve months if there was a fumigation. Your son should first contact the company that performed the work and ask them to reinspect the home.

Assuming termites are found after a purchase, ask if it will be covered under their warranty. I suggest you find another termite company if it isn’t covered under their warranty. Your son’s Realtor should be able to recommend one. I use Tri-Pacific Termite Company, a local family-owned company with a more extended warranty.

It’s prudent for all homeowners to have an annual termite inspection as part of their home’s regular maintenance.

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