Questions About Real Estate? Ask Phyllis!

Termites Found After Purchase

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 for $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 will be about $5,000 to fumigate the home. How do you suggest we handle this?

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

Termites are very prevalent throughout Southern California. A termite inspection determines the presence and extent of infestation in a home. The purpose is to prevent further damage and destruction from occurring, by identifying and removing infestations before they can spread. Every inch of his home which meets the soil, or is wood, must be checked and scrutinized closely to be certain that 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 will guarantee their work up to two years, most guarantee their work for six months or 12 months if there was a fumigation. The first thing your son should do is contact the company who performed the work and ask them to reinspect the home.

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

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