If you’re getting ready to sell your house, it can be upsetting to find out that there are issues lurking underneath the surface you didn’t even know were there. Structural damage has to be repaired. Mold has to be cleaned thoroughly. And if you find out that there is termite damage to your home, that can create all kinds of problems that you’re going to need to solve if you want to sell your house on the open market.
It’s very possible that extensive termite damage to your house can limit your ability to find a good offer from buyers. These tiny bugs can ruin the stability and integrity of a residence before you even know it. By eating the wood in, around, and under your house, termites create safety hazards that can be extremely expensive to fix. It not only creates problem areas but can also affect the entire structure, especially if you’re living in an older residence that is mostly made out of wood.
However, you have options even if you discover your home has extensive termite damage. There are still ways to sell your house, whether that’s on the open market or to an as-is cash buyer.
How To Sell A House With Termite Damage
Remove the Termites
This probably sounds obvious but it’s also very necessary if you plan on listing the home on the open market. You could certainly try to remove the termites yourself but unless you’re an expert who understands where to look and the specific signs to look for (mud tubes, shed wings, sagging laminate flooring), it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of the entire colony and stop the infestation.
Locate a reputable pest control company or exterminator who can come out and give you a solid quote. It might end up costing you a decent amount of money, potentially over $1,000 depending on the damage, but if the goal is to sell your home on the open market, it’s necessary.
You will have to disclose that the home had termite issues even if you got rid of them, so there’s no use in hiding from that. It’s true that it’s going to scare off some buyers, so that’s what makes it so important to get a second termite inspection from a reputable company after the home has been treated. They’ll provide you with a written report that shows the home is termite-free and gives interested buyers some peace of mind.
These kinds of inspections will usually cost you around $200-$500, depending on where you live. But it’s another necessary part of the process when selling on the open market.
If you really want to go the extra mile to be trustworthy, let the potential seller choose the company to do the secondary inspection. This way it eliminates any conflict of interest and ensures that the inspection will be impartial.
Getting rid of the termites that were already there is good. Ensuring that no termites show up in the future is even better. Aside from any preventative measures your exterminator puts in place, there are steps you can take as well. You can install mesh screenings on external vents, get the house treated for subterranean termites, and fix any cracks left behind that they could crawl into. Basically, you want to make your home as inhospitable as possible for termites and any other pests.
Get a Warranty
A good way to get potential buyers to feel better about the potential for future termite infestation is to buy a termite warranty from the pest control company. Many of them will offer you multi-year warranties based on their work that provide a guarantee that termites will not return following treatment. Then, if termites do return, they will have to come back to take care of it, free of charge. Just make sure you can transfer the warranty to a new homeowner.
Be Upfront & Honest
The truth is that a lot of buyers are going to see that the house suffered termite damage and be wary from the start. That makes it all the more important that you are honest, proactive, and clear about the situation.
When any potential buyer visits the home, make sure you show them the specific places where termite damage happened and how it was fixed. Also, provide them with any paperwork that proves adequate work was done. It also doesn’t hurt to share your experience and pass along any tips that you’ve learned along the way.
That’s why it’s important that you compile every document involved in the termite infestation, extermination, and repair process. You want to be able to back up everything you’ve done with proof. Ask the termite company to send you any reports or receipt copies they have. Not only does it make you look honest but it covers you in case there’s a problem in the future.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to put it in writing that you have shared all of this information and that the buyer understands everything that happened. It doesn’t have to be extensive. You just want a piece of paper that acknowledges everyone is aware of the situation and that you were honest and upfront.
Consider Selling As-Is
Even with all of the treatment, inspections, paperwork, and honesty, the simple truth is that you might not be able to find a buyer on the market willing to buy your house from you. You might be waiting months or years to find a buyer willing to take the chance on your property, even if you’ve done everything right. Dropping the price may not even be enough.
An alternative could be to sell your house to a cash buyer or investor like Cream City Home Buyer willing to purchase it as-is. They’ll make you a fair cash offer and allow you to close on the deal within days. The best part is that you won’t have to deal with all the repairs and the costs involved with getting the home up to par. They’ll take those problems off your hands, get you your money quickly, and free you from the headaches that come with termite damage.