Home Buying in San Jose>Question Details

Kwoksmusic@…, Real Estate Pro in Cupertino, CA

It is my understanding that termite infestation is very common in the Bay area because this area used to have a lot of fruit orchards and all

Asked by Kwoksmusic@yahoo.com, Cupertino, CA Wed Sep 26, 2012

that dead wood is in the ground, feeding termites. As there are many places that cannot be seen, there is no way that one can see all the damage done, especially by the subterranean termites. While chemicals can deter future activities, how concerned should a buyer be of old houses in this area since there are possibly many more termite damage areas than an inspector can see. Is one playing Russian roulette with older homes (like in the 60's) then?

Help the community by answering this question:


I would't worry too much about it . If you get a good termite inspection and maintain the house according to their recommendation you should be able to live comfortably in your home.

Each home is different so take each home individually.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2012
I wouldn't be concerned just because a house is old. Subterranean termites tend to be attracted to moisture. A realtively new house with a small undetected plumbing leak can be at bigger risk than an old house kept in good condition.

Drywood termites can be harder to detect but seem to be less common. They can set up home in an attic and slowly eat away undetected.

Whether you buy a new or old house, keep an eye open for plumbing leaks, sprinklers spraying the side of the house or the ground next to the foundation. Ideally your foundation should be exposed before it contacts wood or stucco. You will be better able to spot termite activity and it tends to inhibit them.

Many of the old houses in our area were built using old growth redwood or fir. These woods if kept dry tend to be less appealing to termites.

Juliana Lee, MBA, LLB
Top 3 agent nationwide at Keller Williams
Over 20 years experience
Web Reference: http://www.julianalee.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
Definitely not Russian roulette - buying older home is way less dangerous for your health.

On a more serious note, termites are here and the condition of the house greatly depends on the maintenance and care the former owners provided. Inspection usually will find the larger issues and flag areas with potential for termite infestation. If you don't feel safe buying a particular home - look for another opportunity.
Web Reference: http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2012
Thank you, Irene, for your question:

Yes, here in the bay area we have subterranean termites, many of them from the former orchards in this valley and drywood termites, many of them are from the forests is the hills around us.

Fortunately the termites, both subterranean and drywood do less damage than water damage from leaking showers and leaking toilets.

The damage can be spotted by a good, experienced termite inspector. Most of the damage is easily repaired.

Essentially, water damage from leaking showers and toilets is your greatest source of damage, not termites. The cost to you of repairing termite damage and water damage is less than the cost to you of renting a property. Also, with termite inspections every two years or so you can keep that damage to a minimum, with proper maintenance.

This is certainly not a matter of playing "russian roulette". However, this is a matter that does require good routine maintenance.

For more information, please call me at my cell phone: (408)509-6218

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2012

Thanks for the post.

Personally, termites are here in California because the weather is perfect for their existence--neither too hot nor too cold nor too wet or too dry. Subterranean termites are a problem in many areas of the United States (not just California) because our country was highly wooded at some time in its past. So while I'm sure orchards do add to the allure for termites, there is also a history in our country of big woods and lots of trees.

As for subterranean termite problems, these seem to be some of the easiest forms of infestation for most pest control companies to spot since subterranean termites travel from the ground to the food source (wood) through a series of mud "tubes." These can be seen under the home and the remedy usually calls for removing the tubes and treating the area around the foundation of the home with a pesticide that seeps into the ground and creates a barrier the deters a reinfestation. Obviously, the barrier is not permanent, which is why most forms of termite abatement do require additional treatments at intervals.

The termite that seems to be harder to find, however, is drywood termites. These usually invest a home by "flying" into the structure. Wings, shed from the termite's body, will sometimes litter the ground where the termites have nested or moved into the building. The best way to treat these pests is with a whole house fumigant called "Vikane." This gas would kill everything in a home including, pets, rodents and people, so its strong strong stuff. Once fumitgated, everything in the structure and the walls is dead. This does not prevent reinfestation by drywood termites, so it's a good idea to have the house checked once every couple of years for termites and to take the necessary precautions to remove wood sources (rotting or wet wood) that attract the pests into the home in the first place.

For more information about termites, talk with your Realtor and pest control or termite expert. Each home is different, and brand new homes can be infested with termites, so age is not necessarily a determining factor in finding or having termite damage.

Good luck!

Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer