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Real Estate Nuggets

Professional Pointers on the Buying or Selling Real Estate

By Matt Heisler | Agent in 01532

TERMITES found at inspection! What Next?

Termites is not what you want to hear after an inspection.  Whether you are selling or buying, news of the little critters is universally depressing.  The good news is that although some termite problems can be severe, most are not, and while never easy to fix, they can be fixed.  We'll walk through some important steps once a termite problem is found.

Alive or Dead?

It's useful to make a determination if the termites are an "active" colony, or a dead one.  Most times on inspection, the termite activity is historical, and the damage just hasn't been fixed.  If it is active, the first step is to make the bugs historical!  Call a profession pest exterminator and wipe them out.  This is definitely not an area for the do-it-yourselfer.  Make sure they are gone, and get a warranty to make sure.

Inspection the Environment

Bugs love the wet wood the most.  If the area where the termites are making entrance is a damp area, do what you can to dry it out, with vapor barriers, increase the grade-to-sill differential, and ventilation.  Try to make sure they won't be back.

Inspect and Repair Damage

Sellers, this one is probably for you. You'll need to get some contractors out to find out how much has been eaten, and replace any damaged or unsafe timbers, then patch up whatever needs patching.  If the bugs have been eating for a stretch, this will get expensive, but hopefully your infestation is young, and the damage minimal.  As before, contractors with experience in termite repair will probably save you money in the long run, as they will minimize the exploratory damage.  Replace sills (at the minimum) with pressure treated wood, or similar "bug not welcome" fixes.

Once it's all fixed, keep your receipts, and disclose the work you've done.  Don't try to pretend it didn't happen, any competent inspector knows what termite repair looks like, and will alert the buyer.  Take the "bite" out of the discovery and tell folks up front.  If you've followed through with these three steps, the impact on the marketability of your property should be minimal.

Matt Heisler is a real-estate professional and owner of Heisler & Mattson Properties.  He has been selling residential real-estate for over 10 years.  He has given several talks on real estate, including presentations on first-time buyer tips & tricks, and profiting in real estate investing in Massachusetts. As a Vanderbilt University alumnus, he is proud to serve the communities of Natick, Framingham, Medfield, Millis, Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough, Westborough, Northborough, Grafton, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Milford, Charlton, Northbridge, Sutton, Hudson, Sudbury, Clinton, Boylston, and West Boylston.  His company website can be found at http://www.bjheisler.com, and his Metrowest Blog can be read at http://HomeSellingInMass.net.  

*All information is posted in good faith and is assumed to be reliable, but may rely on third party information sources.

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