Termite letter?

Asked by Jim, Atlanta, GA Thu Jan 31, 2008

We will be listing our home soon, and I am wondering how important a termite letter is. The house is 50 years old. To the best of my knowledge, there is no problem. (We have had walls removed, redone, so I have seen behind the walls.)

Is it worth paying for a termite contract in advance?

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Bill Piper, , Atlanta, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
There are 2 kinds of houses in Georgia - those that have termites, and those that will have termites.
1 vote
Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
Keith, you are correct for the most part; however, some lenders are doing away with requiring a termite letter here locally including FHA. I am not so sure that is a good thing!

The Georgia contract now makes it the buyers responsibility to obtain a clear letter as it is their loan that requires it; however, buyers who have the proper representation will be having termite inspections during their due diligence period to ensure a good purchase.
1 vote
Sally English, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed Feb 10, 2010
Best bet is to go ahead and contact a Pest control company and get them to do a "free" inspection. Then you will know the costs of any termite related issues with your home. Everything is negotiable in real estate these days. Good fortune comes to the prepared. Try Active Pest control.

Let me also put in a plug for having your home pre-inspected by a Home Inspection company. The inspection report will help you identify issues that need to be addressed before you put the home on the market. You can then display the report along with the "fixes" as a part of your marketing presentation for Buyers. Serious buyers do not want to deal with inspection and house maintenance problems in todays competitive real estate market,
Web Reference:  http://sallyenglishblog.com/
0 votes
Melissa Grig…, Agent, Conyers, GA
Mon Jun 23, 2008
In the State of Georgia, it is now the responsibility of the Buyer to get the termite letter for the Lender...not the Seller.

Hope this helps.
0 votes
Donald Spr…, , 85219
Sat May 31, 2008
A letter from a termite company certifying that the home is termite free might help you sell your home. Then again it might not. I myself would wait until i had a buyer for the home.
Sometimes the buyer will pay for the inspection. If not then you will ave to get the inspection done at your cost. Just remember to get a reliable termite company to do the inspection.
I don't know where you live, but where i live out here in the south west part of Arizona we have a lot fly by night termite company's.If you have to get a termite company check them out with the better business bureau and what not before you sign a contract with them.
0 votes
Jim, Both Buyer And Seller, Atlanta, GA
Sat Feb 9, 2008
Thanks everyone. I have an appointment next week to have th home inspected. I believe it will come back clean. But I will also be having it treated. For a cost of just ubder $300, it will be one more thing this home will having going for it.
0 votes
What company??
Flag Wed Oct 3, 2012
Vicki Masell…, Agent, Duluth, GA
Fri Feb 8, 2008
Great question,Jim. Although I typically encourage my listing clients or sellers to educate themselves and obtain as much knowledge about their home through inspections and appraisals prior to placing a home on the market, obtaining a termite clearance letter or purchasing a termite protection policy is completely optional and your choice.

Until recently, Sellers were required to pay for and deliver to the buyer at closing a termite clearance letter. Some pest control companies would not issue said letter unless you treated the home and purchased a termite policy (typically ranging from several hundred up to a couple of thousand dollars). As Joshua pointed out, there are still reputable companies out there that will conduct an honest inspection and furnish you with a letter for a reasonable charge, if you so choose.

The Georgia Association of Realtors 2007 Purchase and Sale Agreement implemented numerous new changes, one of which included placing the requirement for obtaining a termite clearance letter onto the shoulders of the Buyer (not the Seller). Further changes for 2008 place even more responsibilites on the buyer to perform their "Due Diligence" or accept the property "As-is" including all faults, repairs and potentially issues related to termites or other wood destroying organisms.

Because of the age of your home, voluntarily conducting home & termite inspections and making such results available to prospective buyers could give you an added-value edge on your nearby competition. Buyers will likely appreciate it because you are sharing important information with them, saving them money, and, by doing so, they be more comfortable and willing to make an offer and enter into a contract to purchase. Best wishes with your sale and next purchase - Ted
Web Reference:  http://MyGeorgiaHomes.com
0 votes
Greg Ruis, , Atlanta, GA
Fri Feb 8, 2008
Oh the good old days of Chlordane and DDT. Both were thought to be the "silver bullet", offering 30 years or more of protection that is until they found out it was a bad thing for much more than bugs/termites and also that residuals in the ground lasted a little longer than 30 years. Not good for the environment, humans, pets, you get the picture. Of course these are the same folks that thought "duck and cover" would save you from a nuclear blast too. If your house is 50 years old, on average it was pre-treated with one of these "magical" products. Of course, I am not sure that it was, but just an educated guess. I would suggest going ahead an getting a Termite Bond or at best a Georgia Wood Infestation Inspection Report(aka, Termite Letter).
I would also suggest a pre-list inspection as well and address any repairs. Anything you are willing to do to make it "easy" for the buyer to buy your house is best in this market. Buyers are quite aware of the large inventory, so if you get one under contract on your house, you want to keep them that way. Any more questions?
Web Reference:  http://www.iknowatlanta.com
0 votes
Realtor, ,
Sun Feb 3, 2008
If paying a termite inspector $125 will allow a prospective buyer to buy your home in AS IS condition, then do it. Once you get the results of the report you will know how to properly price your home. The buyer will be happy and will be more likely to place an offer while knowing ahead of time what they are buying.
0 votes
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Sun Feb 3, 2008

Is this the only concern that you have prior to listing?

Is everything else absolutely ready?

Are you going to be a part of the 84% or the 16%?

16% of metro Atlanta sellers attract an offer based on their original list price. The rest either fail to sell or they reduce their price and sell after a while longer.

Are you assuredly ready? There is a solid talent pool here at Trulia Voices who will advise on other subjects too.

Who is your listing agent?

Are you interviewing one or two of us face to face?
0 votes
Joshua Jarvis, Agent, Duluth, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
You can get a FREE Termite inspection from my termite guy (they do it for me). If you need the letter to close, it'll only cost you $30-$45 after you have a contract.

If you don't have a "bond" on your home, you absolutely need to get an inspection! Homes either have had termites or will have - at least that's the saying.

Call Allen McRoberts at American Pest Control at 770-527-1954 for a FREE inspection and more importantly an HONEST one.

You don't necessarily always need the letter for the closing. However, if I bring my buyers to your home I'm demanding a clear termite letter and if you're my seller, I'll either ask you to get one or get one for you for your protection!
Web Reference:  http://www.jrjarvis.com
0 votes
William M "M…, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
Hi Jim. Answering your question from a purely legal perspective, It is the buyers responsibility to obtain a termite inspection along with any other inspections that they desire. From the standpoint of what will make a buyer feel more at ease with purchasing an older home, go ahead and have the inspection done. If there are problems it is better for you to address them before the fact rather than after. Picture it this way, if you have the inspection done and termites are found you can go ahead and have the treatment performed and get a clear letter. Many agents will tell their clients that it is just a matter of time before a home in Atlanta gets termites and recommend that the buyer have a repair and re treatment bond on any property they purchase. I have worked out a special arrangement with one of the largest pest control companies in Metro Atlanta for my clients.

Another item you may want to provide to any buyer is a CLUE report for the home. The more information that you provide prospective buyers regarding the stability of your home the better off you will be in the long run. After all you are providing piece of mind. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
I am in California, so perhaps I am off base because I do not know Georgia customs.
In California one cannot obtain financing without a wood destroying pest inspection, report, (and usually, repairs).
0 votes
Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
Jim, Have you interviewed agents? I would recommend that you interview some Atlanta agents here on Trulia at your home. Agents here on Trulia understand the importance of the internet when selling a home. We are on top of the market. And we know how to sell homes in this market.

You would be surprised how many agents have not embraced the internet and technology.
0 votes
Diane Menard, Agent, Marietta, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008

I am taking this as you have no termite bait system in place. If that is correct and the house is 50 years old, then I would suggest going ahead and getting the inspection done so that later when you get an offer that does not become an issue. Although it is a buyers responsibility, this makes you as the seller look good that you took the initiative to correct any problem in advance. Again, if you do find a problem it does have to be disclosed to any potential buyers. The buyer does not have to do a termite inspection if they do not want to, but if I was representing the buyer I would highly suggest one on any home in Georgia.

Hope this helps!
0 votes
Bill Wills, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008

I would recommend an inspection especially if you are not under a service contract now or a warranty. It is cheaper to address this at this time than when the buyer has it inspected and finds some problems, they will naturally wonder, well what else is going on with this house. Avoiding doubt is your goal.
Also, you should give consideration to having a home inspector come in and giving you an evaluation. Again addressing anything that might be found later by a buyer.
If a buyer finds them then it is going to cost you more in repairs as you are under a limited time to get them attended to and now you have another party involved. The worst thing would be the buyer decides they don't want the house because of the fear of finding issues.

I live in a 70 year old home.

Best of luck with your home sell and if I can be of service please give me a call.
Web Reference:  http://www.hudgins-wills.com
0 votes
Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
Jim...as an agent in the Atlanta area I deal with this question a lot. There are two different types of homes in Georgia...homes that have had termites and homes that will. A termite bond is preventative and it is an insurance policy that if you do get termites the company holding the bond will correct the situation. It is very important to use a reputable company. You want a Repair and Retreatment Bond, not a Retreat only.

We are in a buyers market. You want your home to give buyers peace of mind and you want to eliminate any potential issues so that you have a smooth transaction that keeps the buyer engaged into your home. If you do not want to pay upfront for a bond, have the home inspected by a reputable termite company to obtain a Wood Infestation Clearance Letter. This will only cost you about $50 dollars and it will let the buyers looking at your home that you are a pro-active seller and that gives peace of mind.

Keep in mind that the contracts for 2008 are different and new. The buyer is going to have a due diligence period. If they have a good agent they will be having a termite inspection, a home inspection, and any other inspections during this period that they feel necessary or that their home inspector recommends which could be a lead base paint, a mold test, a radon test, a roof inspection, an HVAC inspection etc. You need a great agent in this market to advise you and to represent your interest... an agent that will fight for your buyer.

A home that has already been inspected for termites etc gives peace of mind to the buyer and gives peace of mind to the seller. Wouldn't you rather know upfront so you can negotiate with ease knowing that there will not be surprises during the inspection that will cost you more and more money. Give the buyers a home that is hard to resist.
0 votes
Lee Adkins, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
As of February 07, it is now the buyer's responsibilty to do the termite inspection in GA, BUT it would be good to know if you are clear - BUT be advised that you will have to disclose any infestation if it is found.

You can get a $100 termite inspection and clearance letter (if it is termite free).

Good luck!!
Web Reference:  http://www.leeadkins.net
0 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Thu Jan 31, 2008
Absolutely, especially when your house is 50 years old and has not have termite inspection for a while.

Unless you know how to detect termite and you have been see the house inside and out and are very sure there is no problem, it is advisable to pay for professional inspectors who are trained to perform the task - termites can be anywhere and difficult to find.

The advantage is if you should any major problem, you can remedy the situation before hand; at your own possibly lower cost (you can get a few estimates) if needed; this will also not be a show stopper should there be any major problem - don't need to have anything hinder the sale, especially in this buyers market.

0 votes
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