Alhambranewb…, Home Buyer in 91801

I am purchasing a condo. There's evidence of drywood termites at the ceiling joists. Is the locally treatment enough to solve the it?

Asked by Alhambranewbie, 91801 Tue Oct 4, 2011

I am going to purchase a condo. The seller is not going to provide the termite report, so i ask my agent to find someone to inspect it. and the report find out that there's termites at the ceiling joist.
FINDING - Evidence of drywood termites noted at the ceiling joist(s).
RECOMMENDATION - Locally treat for the control of drywood termites. Remove or cover the drywood termite fecal pellets in
accessible areas. Infested portions will be treated with Tim-bor(Active Ingredient-Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate, EPA Reg.
No.64405-8),CY-KICK((Active Ingredient-Cyfluthrin,EPA Reg.No.499-470).

My question is that: Is the locally treatment enough to solve this problem? and the report doesn't tell how severe the damage to the joists. My agent will only pay $380 to do the treatment. should i continue to buy this condo?

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Paul Rinde, Agent, Menifee, CA
Tue Oct 4, 2011
Only you can decide if you want the condo or not. That is what your inspection contingency time frame is for. To give you the time to decide. As far as whether the trearment will evict those little criters or not is another matter. Usually if the treatment is done by a reputable company there should be no further concern. However you might want to get a second inspection done to verify the first inspection. And if you do go ahead with the purchase you will want a follow up inspection with in a year just to make sure they are gone.

Good Luck
1 vote
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Wed Oct 5, 2011
Steve pretty much summed it up as did Melissa. They both have very valid points. Dealing with a condo on that type of issue can be somewhat of a challenge at best. Whether the condo development is flush in the piggy bank or struggling like a lot of HOA and Condo associations today will give you an indication of what could or could not be done.

If you're still in your due diligence and contingency phase I would definitely find out how solvent the HOA is and just how pervasive the termite issue is. This could be a deal breaker if the HOA won't or can't deal with the problem. Good luck.
0 votes
Melissa Zava…, Agent, Escondido, CA
Tue Oct 4, 2011
Have you and/or your agent contacted the homeowner's association for the condo complex? Usually, they take care of pest control work of this nature (unless I misread or misunderstood the issue).
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Tue Oct 4, 2011

“Is the locally treatment enough to solve this problem? and the report doesn't tell how severe the damage to the joists.”

There are two primary types of termites that I am aware of here in CA: Drywood, which colonize WITHIN the wood members of the building and Subterranean, which colonize in the ground and construct mud tubes to gain access to the wood members of the structure.

Drywood termites are typically addressed by tenting the COMPLETE STRUCTURE. In my opinion, spot treating for Drywoods makes little sense due to the fact these termites colonize within the wood members and “Drywood Termite X-ray Vision Glasses” are not commercially available ;-) [Subterranean termites are normally addressed by destroying their mud tubes followed by injecting the soil around the dwelling with a chemical barrier.]

“My agent will only pay $380 to do the treatment. should i continue to buy this condo?”

I think you have some homework before YOU decide whether to move forward with the purchase. I don’t think a “spot treatment” will successfully eradicate the Drywood issue. Tenting the entire property is the reasonable move if one seeks to address the issue prudently.

Typically, when it comes to termite repair, I recommend my Buyers request the correction be performed by the Sellers to reduce liability exposure. The fact is that you really do not know how serious the infestation is until you start tearing out the damage. Visually, a wood member can look fine, but then a poke with a screwdriver demonstrates otherwise.

In the case of a Condo or other attached home with Drywood termites you may not even have the luxury of tenting the unit you are buying since you cannot tent a single unit (subterranean termite treatment can be applied individually). In these cases, it would be typical that the HOA has responsibility and the HOA will control when the work takes place since all affected owners would need to vacate for about 72 hours. The underlying question is how long it will take the HOA to address the corrective action required….

Your primary task at this point, and one of the toughest things to do when purchasing a Condo/Townhome, is to obtain a clear definition of the "line of demarcation" between HOA and Owner responsibility. Meaning, from what specific point in the construction of the Condo does responsibility / liability end for the HOA and begin for the Owner.

For example, I have had instances where exterior walls are under the HOA, but interior walls are the condo owner's responsibility. In other cases, it has started at the interior face of the drywall. You need a definitive definition, in writing, in order to make your decision. In my experience, CC&Rs predominately do not provide enough clarity in this regard so you (your agent) may have to send multiple emails until you obtain a clear answer and can make your final decision.

My assumption is that the HOA would have responsibility; however, it’s your job to find out if they actually do! Also, if this is true, try to find out when the HOA is planning to tent the structures and whether this treatment has already been budgeted.

Best, Steve
0 votes
Elena Piedra, Agent, Northridge, CA
Tue Oct 4, 2011
Hello Mr. Alhambra:
As much as I agree with all my colleagues, I just want to add that even a termite expert getting rid of that problem, you don't know if your next door neighbors have the same problem and you will have "those critters" back sooner than what you expected.
Some HOA Association are very good in keeping up with any problems they might face, but some others just don't care.
If you should buy or not is only up to you but if it is a good deal, take it, call the expert and get rid of the problem and finally, check it once a year.
Good luck from Alhambra (and welcome!)
0 votes
Matthew Bart…, Agent, Glendora, CA
Tue Oct 4, 2011
Hello Alhambranewb,

I recommend that you speak with the inspector that carried out the termite inspection. Bring these questions to their attention. Once you have the answers to your questions you will be able to make the decision if you wish to complete the purchase of the home. Good luck!

Warmest Regards,

0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Tue Oct 4, 2011
That is not usually sufficient as they live in the ground, come up to eat and then go back in the ground. If it is a condo , the condo association should be responsible, i would at least ask them to treat it professionally and correctly. You also need to have checked vy a contractor for structural issues due to the termites
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