When it comes to selling a house, there are plenty of issues that can trip up your perfect vision of a successful sale. Many of those issues are problems that can be resolved easily, through paying for repairs or figuring out a financial situation. However, when you discover that your house is infested with termites, you may be dealing with an entirely different type of trouble. Not only do you need to eradicate the termite population from the house but you also have to fix any structural issues they’ve caused and it can be hard to know where to find it all.
It’s certainly possible to sell a house with termite damage but extensive issues in the house can limit your ability to find the kind of offer you were hoping for. These tiny insects can ruin the stability and integrity of a home before you even realize it’s happening. By eating the wood around and under your house, termites create hazards that can be very expensive to fix, especially if your house is made mostly out of wood.
You do 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 like Jamie Buys Houses.
How to sell a house with termite damage
Get Rid of the Termites
First things first, the most obvious step is also the most necessary step if you plan on listing the home on the open market. You could try to remove the termites yourself but unless you’re an insect expert who understands where to look and what the specific signs are, you probably won’t be able to get rid of the entire colony. You need to know what mud tubes and shed wings look like and how to spot sagging laminate flooring, just to begin with.
Find a reputable pest control company or exterminator in the area who can give you a fair quote. Be prepared that it may cost a decent amount of money, potentially over $1,000, depending on the termite damage. However, if the goal is to sell your home on the open market, it’s fairly necessary to spend that money.
If you’re going to sell the house to prospective buyers, you will need to disclose that the home had termite issues even after you got rid of them. It’s true that knowing that may scare off some buyers, but you want to make sure you’re staying honest with anyone interested. It’s very important to get a second termite inspection from a different company after the home has been treated. They’ll give you a full written report that proves the home is termite-free and gives interested buyers a little peace of mind. These inspections will usually cost you around $200-$500, depending on where you live and the size of the house. But it’s another necessary part of the process when selling on the open market.
Getting rid of the termites that were damaging the house is good. Ensuring that no termites show up in the future to cause more damage is better. Your exterminator will put some preventative measures in place, but there are a few things you can do as well. First, install some mesh screenings on any external vents so nothing can crawl inside. Then, get the house treated for subterranean termites that can crawl up from underneath your defenses. Finally, fix any cracks left behind that termites could crawl into. Basically, you want to make your home as inhospitable as possible for termites and any other pests. Try to see every hole and opening into your house as a potential place for termites to get back in and then make sure they can’t.
Get a Warranty
Another way to make potential buyers feel better about the potential for future termite infestations is to buy a termite warranty from the pest control company. Many of these companies will offer you multi-year warranties based on their work, which provides a guarantee that termites will not return following treatment. If termites do return, the company will have to come back to take care of it free of charge. Just make sure you can transfer that warranty to the new homeowner before signing.
Be Upfront & Honest
It’s important to remember that many buyers are going to see there was termite damage in your house and be wary. That makes it critical that you are always honest, proactive, and completely clear with them about the current situation.
When any potential buyer visits, make sure you show them the places that were affected by termite damage, what happened, and how it was all fixed. Make sure you give them paperwork that proves the work was done. It also doesn’t hurt to share the tips that you’ve learned along the way, though be sure to make it clear you don’t think they’ll need them here.
This is also why you’ll want to keep every document from the termite infestation, extermination, and repairs. You want to be able to back up everything that you’re claiming. It’s not only good to do but also covers you in case there’s a disagreement later on. 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 what you’ve told them. It can just be a piece of paper that acknowledges everyone is aware of the situation and that you were honest about it.
Consider Selling As-Is
Even if you do everything above by the book, if you get rid of the termites, treat and repair your house, and provide all the necessary documentation, the truth is that buyers on the open market may not want to buy your house. The marketplace is competitive enough with homes that don’t come with termite damage and any major work is bound to scare off some buyers. You may be waiting for months or even years to find a buyer willing to take a chance on your house.
Instead, you sell your house directly to a cash buyer or investor like Jamie Buys Houses, who will buy it as-is. In fact, if you determine your house as termite damage and you don’t want to deal with any of the repairs or rehabs, you can sell it in its current condition and still get cash.
They’ll take a look at the property, make you a fair cash offer, and allow you to close on the deal whenever you want. From there, they’ll deal with all of the termite-related issues. You get your money quickly and can move on from this home and any termite damage that otherwise would have given you plenty of headaches.