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Buying a Home? Look out for Termites

March 13th, 2017

Finding a house with the features you need, in a location you want, at a price you can afford is often like finding a needle in a haystack. If you’ve been house hunting for months and have finally found what looks like your dream home, you might be tempted to sign on the dotted line and be done with it.

Not so fast! Before making an offer, it’s crucial to schedule a termite inspection in your prospective home, particularly if you see signs of termite damage.

Be on the lookout for termites, like this, when house hunting

Signs of Termite Damage

What should you look for during the open house? Termites can be difficult to detect, as they live mostly underground and inside the walls of a home. Still, they sometimes leave a few tell-tale signs of their presence. These signs may differ depending on the kind of termite.

If you see any of the following, request an inspection by a local pest control company.

Discarded wings (particularly in spring): One caste of termites known as Alates or swarmers shed their wings. You may find termite wings near windows, doors, and other areas that lead into the home. Termite wings are whitish in color and all the same size (unlike ant wings, which are larger in the front and smaller in the back).

Mud tubes: These tunnels indicate that termites are present and likely active. Mud tubes are about the width of a pencil and may be found outside, leading toward the home. Mud tubes may also be found indoors on drywall, wood beams, etc.

Wood damage: Termite damage may not be noticeably visible, but there are a few signs including sagging floors or ceilings and hollow wood. When touring a home, pay special attention to how level the floor is, and consider (carefully!) tapping the walls to hear if any are hollow.

You should look for these signs regardless of the location, age, or material of the house. You might think that a new house or a brick house couldn’t possibly have termites—but these are common misconceptions. Termites are common throughout the United States, and they’ll take up residence wherever there is wood, including the floors and walls of a new house. Brick homes can be susceptible to termites in a unique way: cracks in bricks and mortar can serve as a useful entryway and good hiding place for termites.

Although an inspection is particularly important if you see signs of termites, it is never a bad idea to request one. Termites are hard to spot, and, if left unchecked, they can do serious damage to a home. You definitely don’t want to buy the “perfect” house only to wind up with a nasty surprise!

Are Termites a Deal-Breaker?

Given how widespread termites are, it can seem like few houses are untouched by the pest. If you truly love a potential home that has termites, you might be wondering if it’s wise to still purchase it. The answer to this question will vary.

An inspection done by a qualified pest control professional may help you answer this question. He or she will be able to tell you if there are termites present, what kind of termites have invaded, and how bad the infestation appears to be. Keep in mind that a pest control professional will not be able tell you the full extent of the termite damage because a lot of the damage will not be visible without opening up the walls.

If you catch a termite infestation early, it’s likely that much of the damage can be repaired for a reasonable cost. If the damage cannot be repaired and the wood must be replaced, however, you are looking at a pretty penny in renovation expenses. This is why it’s so important to have an inspection done before you close the deal on a new home. If you have an inspection done before closing, you may be able to negotiate with the sellers. You may ask, for example, for the sellers to fix the damage before you move in or request that they lower the asking price to compensate for the repair costs. 

A home is one of the largest, most significant investments you will ever make. Don’t get stuck in a termite-ridden money pit!

Unfortunately, termites aren't the only pest you have to be on the lookout for when house hunting. Here are other signs of pests when house hunting.

Concerned that the home you're looking at has termites? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We've been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Authored By: Eric Scherzinger

Quality ProNational Pest Management AssociationOPMABetter Business BureauAngies List Super Service Award

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