As buyer, is there any way to exit contract and getting part of deposit back after removing contigency in Southern CA?

Asked by Greenmoon, Irvine, CA Tue May 22, 2012

I am buying a house in southern CA and it's at the last stage to close the house. The seller's report showed that the termite was cleared by local treatment, so I released the contigency, but later my inspector find there is termite in unaccessible area, is there any way I can exit and get half of the deposit back in CA?

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Anthony Nitz, Agent, Santa Ana, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
My question is why did your agent let you remove the contingency prior to completing your physical inspection?
If you haven't removed ALL contingencies then you should be able to cancel based on outstanding contingency items. If you have removed ALL contingencies then a good listing agent would probably advise their seller of their option to keep the deposit.

That being said, in SoCal, you can fumigate a house for days and within days after removing the tent you can have termites again. Termites are no big deal. They don't go much into dormancy like they probably do in Jersey City in the winter. Just get a pest control contract and have the little buggers blasted every few months.

As far as contingencies, I would have a serious talk with your agent.

PS: Piggybacking on Joe's answer, if termite companies can't be responsible for inaccessible areas, it sounds like your inspector now made the area accessible if he can see evidence of termites. Have the termite company come back!

Anthony Nitz
1 vote
Alex Vargas, Agent, Irvine, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
You can definitley try. You need to ask your agent to ask the listing agent for help. Or just have the seller fixed the issues. Most homes have termites, you just need to treat and continue treating as reccommended

Hope this helps..
If you need more advice please call for hassle free help.


Alex Vargas
Weichert Realtors

(714) 269-8775 Mobile
1 vote
Stephanie Ha…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Wed May 23, 2012
We would really need to know if you removed all contingencies here.
Are you talking about subterranean termites? I would advise you to talk with the termite company and get their opinion on the different treatment options. I have never had a termite company tell me that a treatment isn't available. As the other agents have stated termites are a norm in CA. They are killed off and then they eventually return. It is something you will most likely face w/any property in So Cal.

Stephanie Hart
Forecast Realty
CA DRE 01338444
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed May 23, 2012
I doubt it. I would also caution you againt a knee-jerk reaction like pulling out. Termites are very common in Southern California. It is an ongoing maintenance issue.

Hopefully you can have your agent negotate for a full tenting of the property. By doing that, you can be assured that the termites in all locations have been eradicated.
0 votes
Emily Knell, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
I have more recently discovered after getting 3 different quotes on 1 pre-foreclosure property from 3 different termite companies that the quoted amounts VARY GREATLY & I mean as much as 50% higher / lower from one to the other. I was actually quite surprised.

So, before you freak out that this inaccessible area is going to cost you & arm & 3 legs, get a 2nd opinion. Ask your agent for a referral or shoot me an email..

An inaccessible area is usually a garage, 2 or 3 car, 400-700sqft, just get it fumigated & close. In the long run, I'm sure the deal you're getting at the super low interest rates of today is going to outweigh your cost to deal with it now.

Shoot me an email directly if you'd like to talk to me some more. I don't look back on this same Trulia thread for answers posted after mine.
562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
Main Street Realtors
0 votes
Brian Wilson, Agent, Laguna Beach, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
Hello Greenmoon,

Termites are very common in wood framed homes in the Southern California areas. The dry wood type (ones that fly) more so than the subterranean I believe. I have been told they swarm 2 times a year looking for new places to live (and infest). When a pest company inspects for termites I doubt if there is a company that will find them all due to the inaccessible areas in a house. I believe the inspection report states something about that.

The subterranean termites are not as common in my area but I have come across them a few times. They can be much harder to get rid of and are harder to treat and I would recommend follow up inspections. I believe in the East coast the fear is related to the subterranean type more.

The point I am trying to state is that I do not believe you will be able to find a wood framed house in Southern California totally free of termites.

If you do not want this house because of termites then make sure you realize the next house will likely have termites too. The tenting of a house will kill the dry wood termites and other bugs, spiders, etc, even the ones in inaccessible areas. Regular maintenance and general care of the exposed wood on a home will definitely reduce the risk of wood pests like termites but I don't know if you can eliminate it completely for an extended time period.

If you do not want to continue with the purchase for this or any other reason and if you removed ALL your contingencies you have money at risk. Review your contract, it addresses what the amount could possibly be based on certain factors.

You really need to get your Realtor involved and maybe their broker too. There are many variables here and a lot depends on the sellers.

Good luck,

Brian Wilson, Realtor
DRE# 01321478\
0 votes
Tue May 22, 2012
greenmoon, depending on negotiated contract you have generally 17 days to "satisfy yourself" by taking all info in and reviewing it and also performing your inspections. Most home owners will not want to "tie up" the property they simply want it sold. i would suggest you request a meeting with seller and discuss some sort of arrangement. Most termite companies will disclose to you that they can not treat or be held responsible for inaccessible areas. if the listing agent has any pull with this termite company he will call them up and have them take care of issues, it would not be good for termite company to lose business for dropping the ball on this home. Also is your inspector qualified to assume that there is termite activity? in my opinion this is a easy fix, most homes (unless they are really bad) dont need tenting.

Joe Rodriguez
Real Estate Broker DRE 01406986 MLO 248651
0 votes
Terry Hunter, Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
How much is 1/2 the deposit vs tenting the home?
It would seem that you might be able to spend the money to tent the house vs just leaving 50% to 100% of your deposit behind. Tenting WILL take care of inaccessible areas.
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Todd Foust, Agent, Anaheim, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
whats the termite company saying? you definitely need to call them first and have them find a way to treat it. Its hard to imagine something so inaccessible that a tent won't treat it. Where is it exactly
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0 votes
Thom Colby, Agent, Irvine, CA
Tue May 22, 2012
Did you remove ALL contingencies or only inspection contingency? What does YOUR agent say?
0 votes
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