Feasting on Foreclosures – Termite Inspection is the meaningful
The recession has been in complete swing for several years now. Unemployment numbers are frightening. Millions of homes are in foreclosure. And the real estate market has been stagnant. But if you think those homes have been vacant, think again. Guess who moved in. Termites!
The root cause of the problem of course, is neglect. The longer a home has been neglected, the higher the risk for termites. In some situations the homeowner was in financial trouble long before foreclosure. It is a safe bet that termite inspections were never done. Plumbing and roof leaks, also a consequence of neglect, make vacant homes already more attractive to termites.
Experts calculate that the amount of damage caused by termites each year exceeds the damage done by all the tornadoes, hurricanes and wind storms put together. The cost of treating and repairing termite damage is estimated between $1.2 and $5 billion dollars each year in the US alone. Annual termite inspections could prevent much of that damage.
Termite researchers tell us that a typical drywood termite colony consists of 5,000 to 10,000 termites. It takes a colony about four years to mature to the point that they begin to swarm. During that time one colony may develop into multiple colonies.
The normal termite inspection/treatment/repair cycle prior to the recession has been postponed indefinitely for foreclosed houses. Experts are concerned the termite colonies in vacant, uninspected homes could be growing larger than normal. In fact observations by termite control professionals in Florida and California are reporting larger and more active swarms.
edges selling foreclosed homes have typically never seen those homes. They have no knowledge of the condition of the home or of any problems that might exist. No character disclosure report is given to buyers and the homes are sold in “as-is” condition. The buyer does have the right of inspection, however. Savvy buyers will acquire both a termite inspection and a complete home inspection by reputable professionals.
If a termite inspection discloses problems, the bank will not make repairs. Unfortunately, there is no negotiation on this issue. This is the time to get estimates for both termite control and damage repair. Any offer made on the foreclosed character should mirror the value of the character minus termite treatment and repairs.
The bottom line is that homes in foreclosure have typically been neglected, often for years. These similarities have a high risk of termite infestation. The longer the period of neglect, the higher the risk. Before committing to purchasing such a character, a specialized termite inspection should be required. The cost of the inspection and termite control is minimal compared to the cost of future damage.