Dealing with Termites: A Guide for Home Sellers

If you’ve noticed wood dust around your home, you may have a pesky critter problem — termites. While termites are annoying for any homeowner, they are especially exasperating if you’re preparing to sell. Don’t find yourself in a bind as you work to evict your uninvited guests! Read this to learn about best practices for dealing with termites.termite-exterminator.jpg

Do you have to disclose a termite problem?

All states are different, but most require disclosure of known termite issues. Moreover, many mortgage lenders will write a contingency into their purchase contract requiring an inspection

Regardless of your state regulations, if you already know your home has a termite problem, disclosure is the wisest choice. Since termites can affect the value, desirability and stability of your home, your buyer should know about your not-so-cuddly “pets” up front. While disclosing the issue may have an effect on their offer, it will also give you room to negotiate any costs that are incurred as you mitigate the issue.

Who Pays for Extermination?

As a gesture of good faith, it’s not a bad idea to cover the costs of extermination (tenting, bait systems, and so forth) for the buyer. This can help to ensure the sale can still proceed. Bundling these costs into closing is also not uncommon.

In some cases, timely disclosure and a friendly negotiating stance can open the door to splitting the costs with the buyer. Depending on the state of the rest of your space, you may also want to consider selling your property “as-is”, which means the buyer will accept the risks accompanying termite damage.

The Bottom Line:

The last thing either party wants is for a deal to fall apart at a critical moment due to a termite problem that’s uncovered late in the process. Be proactive and be prepared to discuss the situation openly for the best possible results.

Termites are a pain, but knowing how to deal with them will help you tackle the situation with confidence.


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