Home Buying in 10305>Question Details

Jmw709, Home Buyer in Staten Island, NY

Termite Treatment-Who should pay?

Asked by Jmw709, Staten Island, NY Tue Dec 8, 2009

The seller will not sign the contract because we asked them to treat for termites. The inspection report states the house should be treated. Who is responsible for this? What is the point of getting an inspection if the seller isnt going to do what is recommend. We already signed the contract and started the mortgage process. Is it worth backing out now.

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Sally Bowman’s answer
Like with many real estate transactions it can be a local custom as to who pays. Seller's typically pay where I do business. If the buyer walks away, the seller still has the termite problem. It would make better sense to pay for that instead of starting the whole process over with a new buyer. Seller should pay.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 15, 2013
I'm in Texas so I don't know if the customs/processes are different where you are, but generally, the inspection is just for your benefit to know what's wrong with the house. To force repairs (including termite treatment), they have to be known upfront and agreed to at the time you both sign the sales contract. You can't force the seller after the fact to make a repair based on the inspection or use it as a negotiating tool even though that's often what is done. You can use it to request that the repairs are made and the seller MAY agree to it in which case you would have an amendment to the original contract. The seller can always so no. If you agreed to an option period contingency, then you should be able to back out if you're still in the period and just lose the option money. If you're not or you didn't add the option period, then you could lose your earnest money if you back out. Is the termite damage extensive and worth losing your earnest money and the house? You should consult with an attorney as to what to do at this point.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Good old Texas! They have the most common-sense laws in the country.
Flag Wed Jun 13, 2012
Typically the seller will be the one responsible to cover the termite treatment. A large majority of the banks will require a termite certificate in order for them to give the loan. Termite teatment is generally in the range of $800 to treat. If seller is being unreasonable, I would suggest offering to split it with them. Should not be a deal breaker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 19, 2014
I though the seller should cover it as well. If there's a problem now, it's not too late to compromise. Maybe they think the termite treatment will be more expensive than it actually is. You might want to talk to them about possible treatment plans and see what they say. http://www.elitepestcontrol.com.au
Flag Tue Apr 21, 2015
A termite treatment shouldn't cost more than a couple hundred dollars, so that small of an amount should not become a dealbreaker. I feel confident that the sellers should pay for the treatment -- after all, if they don't, termites will continue to munch away on their property. But if they are stubborn enough to refuse payment, then you simply have to pay for it yourself. You don't want a home that hasn't been treated. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 14, 2014
Hi jmw709 the seller is not responsible but hopefully will do agree to keep you happy and continue the purchase process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 14, 2014
The seller should pay for the termite treatment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 15, 2013
If it is not a VA loan it will have to be negotiated in the contract who will pay, if the seller is not obligated to pay it and he will not agree to pay for it, then you may be required to pay it if you still wish to purchase the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011
Depends on the type of loan. If it's VA the seller is required to pay (or I should say anyone other than the buyer). And that's in any state. The termite inspection cannot be paid for by the buyer, per VA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011

Many times buyers and sellers will negotiate some of the recommendations that come up at the engineer inspection. With in my experience the seller is responsible for termite treatment. A buyer will not get a mortgage without a clean termite certificate. The seller should take care of this issue, if they or you back out of the deal the situation will most likely acure on the next transaction. I'm hope you guys can come to a meeting of the minds.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 8, 2010
I would think something like this is should be able to worked out. Talk to your agent who you are working with. It should not be a deal breaker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 12, 2009
Did the inspection uncover live termite infestation or traces that there were termites. If there are live traces then the seller should rid the termites, or if the seller is that set on not doing the treatment, as it was stated before, maybe you and the seller could split the difference. The attorneys and agents should be helping you resolve this issue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 9, 2009
What does your Realtor say? I have been in situations where the Seller pays or that the cost is split between the seller and the buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 9, 2009
Are you working with a realtor?, what advice has your realtor given you?, what advice has your attorney given you?, I do not believe you will be given a mortgage without a termite certificate. In my experience the seller treats for termites, and provides the certificate.
Web Reference: http://www.clovelake.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 9, 2009

Thanks very much for the clarification. I grew up in NY but didn't buy/sell anything there.

JMW709 - I would still submit that you are very much in the driver's seat. What Jean says about keeping your application fee and re-using it on another property is likely correct - just check with your lender to be sure.

Do what's best for you. For sure, regardless. But in this market I wouldn't let some stubborn seller push me around after termites are found. Granted, if I know that I'm making large on a great deal and am willing to eat the remediation, then the bottom line is always the bottom line.

But my inclination would be to be willing to walk away, put out a timeframe, and see where the chips fall. I assure you that both agents involved will freak out, knowing they are both at risk of losing their commissions, and start working to keep the deal alive. Funny how that works!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
While it's probably nor worth backing out of a deal for the house you want because of a $600-$800 termite treatment, typically the seller is the one responsible for delivering the house fre off termites. You may be getting the raw end of the deal as far as this is concerned, but if you love the house, then don't let this be a barrier, pay for it yourself, and get the proper treatment.

Keep in mind, some banks may need a termite certificate in order to give you a mortgage, so you may have to put up the money for the treatment prior to closing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Hi, Jmw709

What is the point of getting an inspection if the seller isnt going to do what is recommend?
answer: Always remember just because you do an inspections when you are buying house it doens't mean Seller always agree to repair, fix, replace all things recommend to be repair, replace in inspections report. You as a Buyer has a time frame(contingency period) at certain time to decide to continue,negociate the deal or backing out from the deal after you do any inspections and if you don't feel comfortable with any major issues that might raise after any inspections(Always remember having inspections means good for your protection "Know What you are Buying") Since every house will have "Minor or Major" issues so you should asked your self first Are you comfortable with all issues on your inspections report? No matter Seller will or will not fix the issues!!! if Yes ....everything still could be negociated within the time frame, if No ...move on look another house and you might only loose your inspections cost...its Fair..

Termite Treatment- Who should pay?
Mostlikely the Seller do the treatment anyway after they know that their house need to be cured, However Seller have a right to refuse to repair, to replace, to fix anything after any inspections.
Its depend on what you agree if you agree to buy it in As-Is conditions, at fairly Price and you feel comfortable. Go for it !!! Fix it.
If not try to consult with your agent/attorney to negociate with Seller to fix it or back out the deal get your deposit back ...move on for other property

No big deal if you already signed and do your mortgage application process you can start over look for another house and ussualy the mortgage broker or lender they don't charge new applications fee if you using the same lender. unless if you already have an appraisal performed that might make you loose your appraisal fee.

Thank you and Good Luck for everything...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Jefferson, in NY, we don't have what you are calling "attorney review period". The contracts are negotiated by attorneys in the downstate area, and once they are signed, what is in the contract goes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009

The responsibility of the termite inspection is typically outlined on your contract. It is usually a inspection that takes place anytime before closing, but would not happen before the contract is fully executed. The termite inspection is an inspection that is paid for by the buyer and then if repairs are needed the seller would pay for those up to a certain cost. This repair amount paid for by the buyer is usually in the amount of $1,000 or $2,000.

There should be a clause in your contact that going into more detail about the termite inspection. Before I could give you my opinion on if you should back out I would recommend you find out the contractual language on your contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
It's part of the prospective purchasers due dilligence just like home inspections and title searches.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Since you are In NY I'm nearly positive that you are working with an attorney, and the 3 day "attorney review" hasn't even started yet - since they haven't signed anything.

The only mistake you've made to this point is perhaps starting the mortgage process (loan application) before the conclusion of attorney review (the deal isn't a deal yet). Not too bad though and don't beat yourself up over it.

You can totally walk out now if you like. The only thing that you'll lose is the money you spent on an inspection. I suppose that you might be out some application fee to the mortgage company but you'd have to check on that.

The seller is in a WEAK position here. No one else is going to step up to buy their home right now anytime soon, and they have the obligation to add to their Sellers Disclosure that they have a known Termite Issue.

Sure you *could* opt to eat the money to take care of the termite remediation. But unless you are buying that home at well under market - why would you? Put the screws to the Seller through your attorney. Your attorney can send them a "time is of the essence" letter about this.

Right now the sellers pride is in the way. It's time to play a bit of hardball and force them to A) Fix it, B) Give you cash at closing so that you fix it C) realize that you will WALK if they continue to not play ball.

Oh ... and don't let your agent start getting in the way now. If he/she isn't fully supportive of your position then they are caring more about losing their commission than their responsibilities to you. In NY and NJ, once the lawyers get involved the agent(s) have very little to do with the process anymore.

Best of luck and please do ask away. Remember - that home is an investment first, and a place to live second! You'll need to sell it someday, and that termite disclosure and subsequent remediation will be yours down the road.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
JMW, did you have an independent termite inspection as well? That may be something you want to do so that you know for sure what the evidence of termites is. Then you will have to decide. If it is only on the wood fence, that is something that would be so common it could be more of a problem for your neighbors than for you. That is sometimes how termites travel from one home to the next. if there is no evidence of termites in the house itself, you still might want to have the house treated for termites, but that would be your option after closing., The entire house doesn't have to be treated by the seller if it is damage to the fence. They should really repair the fence, but you will have to make that decision based on how much you like this house. If they don't sign, and you won't budge, you are out of the deal anyway.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
The seller is refusing to sign however when the inspector was at the house he showed them the damage which is on the wood fence around the house. They are saying the inspector did an insufficient job because he didn't drill any holes. The inspector says he doesn't need to drill because if u break a piece of the wood you can see white powder. There lawyer sent our lawyer a letter stating they would not pay, I thought this could have been discussed verbally in a nicer matter. Is it worth losing the house. Is there somewhere I can find a law or something that says who is really responsible?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
What is your Realtor advising you to do---It is the seller's responsibility to treat the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
Do you have a termite report that says there is evidence of termites? If there are termites, or there is termite damage, the seller is responsible to treat it, and I am assuming that their attorney would advise them of that fact. If there is no evidence of termites, even if your inspection found some old termite damage, they do not necessarily have to treat it. They may have to repair any damage though. I really depends on what the report says. When you buy a house in NY, I say 3 things about it, either you had termites, have them now, or will have them in the future. This is not something that anyone seems to escape.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
The law requires the SELLER to be responsible for any roof leaks or environmental issues. Termites are environmental. They must treat and present a certificate to you that it has been done (usually comes with a year's guarantee).

Speak with your attorney...seller has no choice here.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 8, 2009
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