Who is responsible for treating a prior termite infestation? Seller or buyer?

Asked by Rick Haefner, Arnold, MD Sat Jun 7, 2008

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Carol Wilsey, Agent, Naples, FL
Sat Jun 7, 2008
Dear Rick,
Although my colleagues answer (Mitchell's below) is normally the case, you always need to go back first to the contract and its terms. Lately, contracts have been drafted in some states (and I am not familiar with yours) where the buyers essentially get what is sometimes called "a free look" -- a euphemism for "if you don't like what you see in the inspection, either you or the seller can walk if the seller doesn't want to fix or remediate."
I will say it is not usually the case if there has been "prior" infestation, because that should have been disclosed, and the company who had done the prior treatment could be pressed to come back and treat again. Unfortunately, it always "depends" on what the paperwork says.
All that said, if your realtor is persistent and assertive, usually that pays off and the seller will fix it, especially in today's market, so I would strongly urge you to have your broker go to the seller or the seller's broker or attorney and push to get it taken care of. They just need to make sure they are armed with as much knowledge as possible.
Good luck. I hope this helps.
Carol T. Wilsey,
Exceptional Properties of SW Florida
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Mitchell Sim…, , 48334
Sat Jun 7, 2008
Discovery of prior termite infestation during inspection is the same as discovery of any other defect. Under the terms of most Purchase Agreements, the Buyer has the right to back out of the deal for cause. However, the Buyer cannot force the Seller to cure the situation. Hopefully, the parties can work out an agreement. The Seller should be aware of the fact that this will be a recurring issue with other potential Buyers if this deal falls through.
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