Home Buying in Teaneck>Question Details

Njbuyer, Home Buyer in New Jersey

Termite damage in sill plate. Home inspector, say got an 'expert' contractor to come in. He discovered

Asked by Njbuyer, New Jersey Tue Oct 5, 2010

As requested by home inspector I got an expert contractor to come in to evaluate. He discovered termites in the fsome loor joist AND sill plate and possible active termite in the crawl space of the home. He said to fix the damage would be about 4K but would need to do an invasive inspection which the home owner would not allow. The sellers are giving back 8k credit at closing. House is being sold below 250K and is 3 BR single fam. I will have to fix the roof, upgrade the electrical and windows plus painting. I am a single mom not sure if i should pursue a property that requires such work. But at my price point I may not find anything else. My attorney says walk away

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Joan Congilose’s answer
Hi NJ Mom
I know you received a lot of answers here & some good advice from many.However, there is one key issue I didn't see mentioned. If you need to get a mortgage in order to close, most lenders will not let you close on a house with active infestation & termite damage until it is corrected & treated. Then the person that treats the house will need to issue a termite/ wood destroying certification for your lender showing that the house was treated.So in reality, even though the seller is giving you a credit at closing they are still not allowing you to get a more extensive inspection & the problems aren't being corrected by them before the closing. None of us can tell you to buy or walk away, but your lawyer knows from experience & has your best interests at hand what is best for you in your financial situation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 7, 2010

As usual John is right on the money...without having seen the house, and the damage that is visible, no one can tell you what to do.
Your attorney is a great source for legal advice, but he/she cannot tell you to walk because of the inspection issues. I have seen many homes in NJ (termite territory), with extensive damage repaired, treated and closed.
The seller will need a clear Wood Destroying Insect Report in order to close the sale. I agree with John and Jeanne, get a second opinion. If the seller wants to sell the home, he/she should be willing to allow this.

If you walk away, they (the sellers) wil either have to repair and treat the damage themselves before putting it back on the market OR disclose to a another potential buyer what your inspection report discovered. Seems counterintuitive that a "bird in the hand"....and it's in the best interest of the seller, who has a ready willing and able buyer NOW, to allow the proper inspections and get the place fixed and sold !!!
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
John's right, this is a decision only you can make. Your attorney is working for you, hopefully you have an agent in the mix you trust, another good resource. I think John's suggestion of a second opinion is a good one as well. If a more thorough inspection is necessary to understand the cost/risk, and the seller will not permit it, then it is a riskier venture.

Nice of John to offer to take a look and offer out his opinion, I'd think about taking him up on the offer...

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
Any of you Realtors listening to yourselves? There are people in Ohio telling this person to walk, another in NJ telling this person that now they may have lead paint, a guy in Florida telling them to walk.. all without seeing the house. ALL WITHOUT SEEING THE HOUSE!

NJbuyer, some people have too much time on their hands. Your attorney will always be in your corner.. but he/she is only reading what someone wrote and defending that. So, unless it is a legal definition problem... take the attorneys advice with a grain of salt.... But, of course if the attorney is also a certified contractor then by all means..., Otherwise Get another person to look at the actual damage. Ask for a referral from someone of a good contractor... 2nd time.. same thing.. then think about your options of moving on.

Please email me the address of the property so I can take a look at what the area is looking at price wise and if you are getting a good deal even with the problems.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
Hi NJ -

As you noted before.. NJ is termite land and if treated the likelyhood of a repeat is slim to none. The 4K sounds like a LOT to me.. that guy may be taking you for a ride also, he could be an expert with a calculator only.. a lot of these guys are slow on work also and they see $, get a second opinion on that front. The treatment is probably about 750. and there would have to be a heck of a lot of termite damage to cover the 4k. in repairs.

I just had a so called "mold expert" give an estimate and this genius thought he saw weakness and wrote a $4,000 cleaning estimate.. yeah, we told him to take a walk and he came back.. the same job.. $800.

You sound as if your head is on correctly, get another person to look at it and imply that you may walk to the seller.. see if that gets you anywhere with getting some more towards the remediation.

Good Luck.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
No Scott, a cheap shot would be someone posting a response with no name.. My point was direct.

“I guess it's not enough that I was a GC for many years and rehabbed homes like this in NJ/Philly with worse damage! No joists, no plumbing, no roofs, fire gutted, and underpinning (which you probably never even heard of let alone performed). " Now I'm just 'a guy in Florida' telling her not to buy. Again, walk away.

Exactly the point Scott. No, it’s not enough.. Your magnifying lens from Florida has no bearing on this house or anything about telling this person to walk away from this.. So Yes, you are just a guy from Florida looking to boost his Trulia score by responding to a question in a state 1500 miles away and hold no credibility to this question.

And now Ken without seeing the house, is implying that it could be a tear down that has lead paint.. And yes, to agree with Ken here given the timeframe of the house being built and the age of the property.. There could be lead paint in the house.

But also note that it could also be the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa because NJ is close to NY and he was around at the time and disappeared in the same general vicinity during the generation that this home was built in… so.. There could be something under the basement floor. - A few hours ago
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
John please read the posts, never was it implied the house was a tear down. Rather the comment was if priced about the same as vacant lot it could be a deal in a worst case scenario as a tear down. I dont know your back ground except what is posted. In the past I have agreed with most of your posts. In this case though I couldnt disagree more. My back ground in addition to that of this profession includes having personally overseen and assisted with the moving and expansion of my 200 year old Nj home (which had areas of termite and powder post beetle damage) complete rehab of a historic Trenton home I own, as well as rennovation of 2 more homes I own. I have overseen well and septic installations and numerous oil tank removals and remediation. If you read NJ post again perhaps you will see that she was advised of possible concealed damage and that the sellers refuse her ability to investigate in an "invasive" way. "seeing "the house as you suggest to determine concealed damage as you suggest ??? Her experts who saw the home had reservations. Why would you second guess them and her attorney who's acting in her best interest? What construction/rennovation experience do you personally have that would give her reason to invest more money against their advice?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
John, read the buyer's posts (2). She's listing in detail all of work that needs to be done on the home. It's all here in black and white. In addition, the seller will not allow her a more thorough inspection. What else is he hiding?

I'm not prepared to tell this single mother to purchase what could turn out to be a potential money-pit and to GC the job on her own. I don't need to be closer than 1500 miles from the home to tell her, either.

I respond to questions from everywhere because people from across the US buy here, too. There's nothing I need to boost on Trulia. My advice would be just as valid in all 50 states.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
Hi everybody. Ken's right and I agree with Ken 110%. I'm the 'guy in Florida' telling NjBuyer to walk. I stand behind my advice. It's a cheap shot insinuating to this buyer that my advice is less than valid because 'I haven't seen the house'. I don't have to see the house. Have you seen it?

I based everything I wrote on what was posted by the person with the question. She's had more than one inspection. She wrote another question under her name separately that goes hand in hand with this question.....but, maybe you missed that one.

Are you agents really gonna go out on a limb and tell this single mom to act as a general contractor and do the scope of work that is involved in this job on her own? Can you with good conscience tell her what's involved in rehabbing a home involving replacing joists, sill plates, extensive termite damage and other structural work?

I guess it's not enough that I was a GC for many years and rehabbed homes like this in NJ/Philly with worse damage! No joists, no plumbing, no roofs, fire gutted, and underpinning (which you probably never even heard of let alone performed).

Now I'm just 'a guy in Florida' telling her not to buy. Again, walk away.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
Sorry I have to disagree with past few posters.
Nj in your related post about this I stated if the property ends up being a tear down (worst case scenario) and the price is still justified (about what a vacant lot would cost) I encouraged you to go for it. (yes without seeing the house) This forum is to give advice based upon the information provided when possible. You have said here you had the place inspected and had an expert contractor also look at the job and that in his expert opinion a more thorough "invasive" inspection should be done. (which I had also suggested in your other thread) and the seller has denied you this. You have indicated this property is at a price point you need to be at. (though it also needs to your knowledge electrical upgrade,windows, roof repairs and painting) Can you afford the place as well as all the known defects you will need to address as well as the time and hassle of completing them. (expect to go over budget as most jobs of this nature do)
I pointed out that depending upon the age of your home you may have lead paint. Hello , this is a required disclosure for old homes. I havent seen the house but I can tell you without doubt this is a risk in older homes and should be on your mind until ruled out.
The seller doesnt need a clear termite cert. The lender may require this. So if you cant get it you may not get financing. Even if municipally required many items can be taken on by buyers. Thats why tear downs close and why they are typically not contingent upon a mortgage.
Listen to the experts you have hired already. Dont throw good money after bad . move on. If you have fallen in love with the place already you've broken Kens #1 rule. (Dont fall in love with a home until you leave closing with the keys)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
I have to agree with the others - in a buyers market there is no need to settle for a house with so many known issues let alone those that may be unknown! Good luck to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
Nj I should have mentioned in earlier post that your lender (if you are getting a mortgage) will likely require a clear certrification re wood boring pests which it sounds as if will not happen. (unless you pay for this prior to close) Also you mention roof and windows are bad. (and electric needs upgrading) These conditions could make the place unqualified for a mortgage. Was the house built prior to 1978? if so that painting could require certified contractors due to possible lead paint. From your postings it sounds as if this house has more wrong with it than is right. Trust your instincts and advice of your attorney and run away!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
Listen to your Attorney!!!! You would have a money pit. Do you want to choose whether to treat the home for termites or buying shoes for your kids? Keep renting until you find another home. Listen to your Attorney!!!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
Hi Nj. I don't like that fact that there's live activity with the termites. NOT good. The homeowner will not allow comprehensive inspection? Say goodbye, sorry. I'm with your attorney on this one.

An undertaking like this project you've outlined is too much for someone that's buying a home like this the first time in this condition. It's simply too much. PLUS the fact that Mr. Seller will not allow full access.....what's that all about? RED FLAG.

I was a general contractor for 14 years in NJ and Philly. I know the scope of the work you're describing. It's not for you.

Listen to Scotty and walk. You'll find another. There's always something better right around the corner.


Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
run away. you are not in position to deal with the known extent. If you still want to persue you could try thermal imaging of house which might show obvious concealed damage (the studs in the wall may have deteriorated to a level where they show up (by transferring more heat) I would agree with your attorney though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 5, 2010
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