Home Buying in Belmont>Question Details

Molly, Home Buyer in Belmont, MA

How common is termite damage in Belmont? What counts as extensive damage?

Asked by Molly, Belmont, MA Mon Apr 18, 2011

We are first-time home buyers looking to buy a 3 bedroom condo/house in Belmont, MA/Brookline,MA.

We found a condo in a nice location in Belmont that we like. The seller's agent told us that there is termite damage in the right rear sill about 6 feet and one joist that the seller will repair and treat. Does this sound like an extensive problem or something that can be easily fixed? Also, we found out that there is water in the basement (basement is unfinished and the seller has installed a new sump pump).

Our agent does not seem to be concerned about these issues and says termite damage is fairly common in this area. What are the questions we should be asking? Should we wait for the seller to fix the problems before proceeding? Or should we just walk away?

Thank you all!

Help the community by answering this question:


Termites are common in areas with excessive moisture and close ground contact. Of course there are several other conducive conditions that may be attractive to the wood destroying insects. Since the other systems of the house are dependent upon the structure, consider this a significant issue. The structure is typically designed to handle various failures without collapse. Structural repairs should be performed under permit. If the house is recent, meaning a plan is on file, then a Home Improvement Contractor can typically perform a direct replacement of the material without the assistance of a structural engineer. An older house without a plan on file may require a professional engineer to evaluate the structure to ensure an adequate repair.

Most of the agents I have met have extensive experience and may be able to help you understand and evaluate the house in a calm and rationale manner. As you know it only takes 1 bad experience story before you get concerned about an entire profession.

I suggest you ask the questions that are important to you. It sounds like you are relocating from a dry climate to a seasonally moist climate. Excessive moisture in the house may include biological pollutants that may adversely effect your comfort or health. Asthma, sensitive skin, and other conditions may be aggravated with various organic growth.

Frequency of repair may also be important. When conducive conditions to wood destroying insects are not eliminated, then expect the insects to return. There are always trade-offs to consider with each configuration of the house. Some common aethetically appealing renovations, may create a conducive condition for wood destroying insects. This may be an acceptable trade-off for some and unacceptable for others.

Please contact us if you have additional questions or are interested in a Belmont MA Home Inspection.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Like everyone else states, termites are everywhere. The damage can be curred as can a treatment by a licensed professional (cambridge chemical or waltham chemical to name some) will help prevent further issues. 6' is not the issue, if you like the property get it under agreement and have it professionally inspected by a licensed home inspector and then listen to what he says. As to the water in the basement, my question is, do you plan on finishing it? Is it a stone foundation? Where is it coming in from? A sump pump is only a small component of the cure. A "french drain may be needed" Again listen to what the professionals will tell you.

Web Reference: http://www.LouisWolfson.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Your agent is being honest, some sections of Belmont do seem to have termite issues. Even some of the choicest neighborhoods. Whenever you have a seller doing repairs as a condition of a purchase you'll want to have your own contractors review the work to be done, agree on the scope of the job and inspect it afterwards to mak sure it's as expected. You'll probably want your attorney to draft the agreement on the repairs to fully cover you and more than likely the bank/lender will also want to see/check the job as well since it'll also be in their interest.

Extensive is a subjective term you should always rely upon a properly licenced & experienced professional, be it a pest inspector, structural engineer, general contractor for their opinion & advice so you can make the most informed decisions.

Hope that helps & welcome to New England :)
Web Reference: http://www.MedfordHouse.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Hi Molly - On Cape Cod, termites are very common. We always say "if you don't have them now, you will at some point". Prevention is key. Of course, in your case, they already moved in & done some damage. I would say if the seller is willing to rectify the damage & will treat for them, that is acceptable. You can, and should, continue treatment on a yearly plan which you can get more info on from the company the seller has treat the property. Hope this helps.

The Marie Souza Team - Top Selling on Cape Cod
Phone: 508-790-2000 Fax: 508-790-4005
Web Reference: http://www.mariesouza.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Thank you Heidi for the quick answer! Perhaps I should clarify that we are relocating to Boston from an area in the country where termites are not that common (or so we are told) and as first-time buyers, we are very cautious and probably ask questions that may seem trivial to some. Admittedly, this whole process is a bit overwhelming!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
Dear Molly, My biggest concern here is that you do not trust your agent enough to be comfortable with his/her advice. Termites are everywhere, they are not town specific and if the Seller is willing to rectify the problem than there is no problem. As far as water in the basement that too can be easily rectified. I have water in my basement my home was built in 1984. We installed a sump pump and that has worked just fine. Every situation is different but can always be fixed. For more information read my blog entitles :Here we Flow Again" at http://www.metrowesthomesandlife.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 18, 2011
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