I am buying a house in Denville, and the home inspector found sign of carpenter ants (saw dust like stuff in

Asked by John Blake, Denville, NJ Sun Mar 2, 2008

the basement). As far as the inspector can tell, it is localized to one place, although he is not able to tell where exactly is the damage due to lack of access. My question:

-- What should I do? Should this is be a cause to move-on?
-- Would you buy a house like this (assume everything else is fine).
-- How common is this problem in homes in this area (10%? 5% of homes?)
-- If I buy this house, would this affect its resale value/prospect in the future?

Appreciate your response!

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Ian A. Wolf, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Mon Mar 3, 2008
Without knowing the details of your report it is hard to give you advice specific to your prospective home. That being said, carpenter ants are very common. They usually don't cause much destruction because they don't eat wood, they only borrow in it. Depending on the extent of the damage it is usually easy to replace any wood that has been structurally compromised due to excessive infestation. I don't know how common they are in our areabased on a percentage, but I would venture to say that almost everyone has found a carpenter ant in their home. They are small and come in looking for food. Subsequently, if the damage is minimal it shouldn't effect value. I would suggest calling a number of local pest control companies and ask their opinion as to the pervasiveness locally and how to remedy. You'll get some good info that way. I found a website that I thought was informative, I am not intending to endorse this company, but they had what I thought was the most useful information on carpenter ants. I hope that helps.
1 vote
Inspector Ge…, , Chicago, IL
Fri Apr 4, 2008
-- What should I do? Should this is be a cause to move-on?

The home inspector's job is to identify that a problem may exist. You need to investigate further. Were there just a few and where are they living? Certain times of the year, they go out and explore for new diggs. Seeing ants alone does not always indicate a serious problem. Investigate further. If they are indeed infesting your dwelling, A contractor or structural engineer can tell you how to fix it and what it will cost.

If you have carpenter ants, that means you have a moisture problem. Carpenter ants will move on if the water problem is fixed. You need to hire a contractor to fix the water problem and also fix any damage caused by the ants. The ant damage may be minor or great depending how long they have been active. Carpenter ants eat rotten wood, wood rots because of moisture and mold.

Move on if the seller will not give you further access to the problem or will not certify the problems have been properly fixed by a qualified engineer or contractor.

"-- Would you buy a house like this (assume everything else is fine). "

This would not, in my opinion, be the single reason to buy or not to buy a home. You now know you have a problem, and you need to find out what the detrimental value is. Work with the owners to identify and resolve the problem.

-- If I buy this house, would this affect its resale value/prospect in the future?

It has already affected the resale value. If the water and ant problem is not dealt with, it will likely get worse and continue to negatively effect the property.
Web Reference:  http://www.inspexpro.com/
0 votes
Christopher…, , 07834
Thu Apr 3, 2008
Right on, Kim... correct answers,
0 votes
Kim Kulpeksa, Agent, Mt Arlington, NJ
Tue Apr 1, 2008
Hi. Many homes have carpenter ants and most do not not have structural damage from them but they do need to be treated and your home inspector should be able to tell you if any wood needs replacement. Most lenders want a wood destroying insect report and will want proof of treatment if there is active infestation. Ask the sellers to do this. They should do it for whoever buys the house. I wouldn't worry to much about this. It will not effect the resale value and it is a very common problem.
0 votes
Jeffrey Halp…, Agent, Hopatcong, NJ
Tue Mar 11, 2008
Welcome to Denville, neighbor.
No cause for alarm just request that the seller remedy the problem.
Living in Denville as in any cmmunity in NJ, you will find "something". I cannot tell you the % of carpenter ants in Denville, but termites are prevelant and curable. It will not affect resale in the least.
If that is the only thing, be thankful and start your life in this wonderful town. I hope I run into you at Denville Dairy.
Good luck.
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Mar 3, 2008
You should have a pest control person examine the area to determine if the damage is localized or not. I'm not a pest control expert, so this isn't expert advice. However...

I had a carpenter ant problem in a rental house of mine. And it was no big deal. I had the house treated, and the area inspected for structural problems (there weren't any). A pest control person can also tell you what to do, in addition to treating the house, to minimize the likelihood of the problem recurring. For instance, trees that overhang the house provide a way for carpenter ants to get to the house.

To answer your specific questions:

What should you do? As noted above, get a pest control expert in to examine the situation.

Should this be a cause to move on? No. In fact, even if there's structural damage, you determine how much it is, then have the seller pay for it.

Would I buy a house like this, assuming everything else is fine? Yes.

How common is this problem? I don't know. But it's not uncommon.

If you buy the house, would it affect the resale value? It shouldn't. At worst, there would be structural damage which would be fully repaired. But, again, that's very unlikely. Most likely, there's no structural damage and, frankly, little visible damage.

So, get a competent pest control person out to take a look at it. But, really, don't worry about it.

Hope that helps.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Denville Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more