Home Buying in New York>Question Details

tolga_temel, Both Buyer and Seller in Bronxville, NY

The inspection found minor termite damage on the wood floors, should we have the ceilings opened up and search for structural damage as buyers?

Asked by tolga_temel, Bronxville, NY Fri Dec 7, 2012

We liked a house, it is in good condition and had it inspected. The inspection found minor termite damage on the wood floors at a single location,but the rest of the inspection was all good and showed solid/cleanresults. We asked the sellers to have the issue treated and give us a clean report including structural damage. They treated the issue locally but the exterminators declined to give a clean report for the structure without opening / closing the ceilings of the basement at our expense. Should wespend the money have the ceilings cut open look for structural damage? Given the small amount of evidence we found on the floors would it mean termites probably did not have time to damage the structure? Is it woth going thru this extensivebinspection? Is there an easier less intrusive way to do this without baking ceilings?

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Tolga, in my opinion, I don't think it's necessary based on the information provided. The findings and treatment are common in Long Island. Typically some termite damage is not anything to over concern yourself about unless it was a situation where the house was totally neglected over many years, and the structural damage is so obvious. If you want to find out if there is structural damage than you should do that at your own expense (unlikely that you will get the seller to do so) otherwise don't walk away from an otherwise ideal home for you. You can, after purchase, set up an annual agreement with a termite company of your choice to check for new termite activity. All the best.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
Depends on how minor the damage was, and your comfort level.....
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
Listen for the voice of reason, not the hype. Here in Key West just about EVERY house has termites and we have to treat most of the houses that go to contract. If we opened up ceilings and floors on every house that had evidence of termite damage, that would mean EVERY house for sale. And there are very few houses here that are falling down due to termite damage (and those would be the ones that have been neglected a very long time!). Termites are a nuisance and can damage your home if not treated, but as Larry says, it takes a lot of bugs a long time to do serious structural damage. If you buy the home, keep an eye out for evidence of further activitiy and treat it if you see it. Here in the heart of termite territory most people carry a termite contract for a few hundred dollars a year that gets you treatment whenever the little pests show their dustpiles. That, in my mind, is the "worst case scenario". Best of luck with your purchase...Jim
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
Despite what the Terminex commercial might lead you to believe termites don't eat up your house overnight. It takes a lot of termites an extended period of time to do sever structural damage.

Based on the information you've shared it seems as if the damage was minimal and I doubt it' would be worth the expense to cut open ceilings.

It's possible you could use something like an ice pick to poke through the ceiling and prod the floor joists above to see if they feel at all damaged, though this isn't fool proof. I would think your home inspector would likely have seen some other signs indication any significant structural damage as well.

Were it me I'd be satisfied, but if you're at all concerned I would open up the ceilings and assure yourself. Speak with your broker perhaps you can negotiate splitting the cost with the Sellers, though this might require you to threaten to terminate your contract.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 11, 2012
Hi, the answer to this question depend son how much you want the home, go with your gut. The professionals should be able to give you an idea of whether you need to take it further or not. It's a tough situation because they have to be careful what they guarantee. NY is a buyer beware state so if you feel strongly about it go ahead but only you can make that decision based on the facts.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 8, 2012
There is no other way to be certain, however if it was such a small amount, and there is no other evidence of termites, then it's unlikely you will have any structural involvement. You could try opening a very small area and take a picture inside with a camera
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 7, 2012
It depends on what you can live with. Maybe having a pest company take a look would but your mind at ease.
Web Reference: http://www.jfivehomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 24, 2013
Depends how bad do you want that house. If this would be me and exterminator can't give me a warranty after treatment I will walk away. Want to take risk? Take it! Yes it is take a long time to get a serious termite damage, but I saw situations where the visible damage was so little but most of the damage WAS NOT visible.

Yuriy Goldstein
All Right Home Inspection
NYS Licensed Home Inspector
NYS Certified Pesticide Technitian
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 24, 2013
what if the seller refused to pay for open up ceiling to verify if there is no structural damage
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 13, 2013
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