Advice for Selling a House with Termite Damage
There is never a good time to learn that your home is infested with termites. But, when you need to sell your house fast because your new orders came through and you’re relocating, or a recently inherited property is too expensive to maintain, the news can be devastating. Arranging for movers, packing up your belongings or your loved ones’, or searching for a new house to call home is stressful enough.
Now, on top of everything else, you have to think about selling a house with termite damage. You know it’s possible, but doubt that it’s simple—not without hassling with extensive repairs, anyway. And, you really don’t want to sink more time and money into a home that you’re leaving, especially if it’s likely that the history of termite infestation could still impact how quickly the sale of your house goes through or how much you get for it.
So, what should you do? Well, we’re here to help you figure that out.
Selling a House with Termite Damage
According to estimates, termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage every year in the United States alone. Most of that damage is property damage, too. It’s not just the wood structures and support systems that termites destroy in a house, either. A large enough colony will get into your home’s insulation, stored documents and books, and even your pool-liner in search for food.
Even an average-sized colony—one that only reaches one million in number—can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. It can cost you the quick sale of your home as well.
Unfortunately, by the time you’ve noticed signs of a potential infestation, the problem has likely existed for at least several months. In fact, years can go by before colonies are discovered.
Most of the damage that termites inflict happens out of sight, under the flooring and behind the walls. So, unless you can see or feel where the wood in your home has gotten noticeably weaker—or recognize their droppings, discarded wings, and mud tubes outside—you won’t necessarily know you’ve got a problem. That is until a lot of damage has been done or your home inspector discovers them when it’s time to sell.
At this point, you’ve really only got two options: treat and repair the house before marketing it or try to sell it as-is.
Option #1: Treat and Repair the House
Since selling a house with termite damage may lower the value of your home, it may be worth it to treat the infestation and perform repairs before putting it on the market.
Costs of Repairs
Depending on the extent of the infestation, the size of the home, and the number of treatments required, exterminating the termites will cost anywhere between $500 and $2,500 on average. If you’re lucky, it may only take a day for a professional exterminator to chemically treat the house. If the home needs to be tented for fumigation, however, you’re looking at three to five days.
Determining the costs to perform repairs once the home has been treated is a little harder to do. Your potential investment of money and time will depend on what has been damaged and whether repairs can be performed or if some structures, like door frames and cabinetry, have to be replaced entirely.
Replacing insulation in the attic, for example, can cost upwards of $2,000, whereas repairing a section of drywall may only cost $500.
Crawlspaces, on the other hand, can set you back as much as $6,000 if the damage is severe (or if termites were attracted there to begin with because of other issues like water damage).
And, repairs always take longer than you expect them to. A couple of days often extend into several weeks. A few weeks can stretch into months.
The benefit of this option is that a termite-free home that is structurally sound could yield a higher selling price. At best, you may be able to leave with more money in your pocket. At worst, you should be able to recoup your extermination and repair costs. You won’t, however, be able to get back your investment of time. But the trade-off may be that your home actually sells—and at a faster rate than if you’d tried to market it as-is.
Option #2: Sell the House As-Is
Of course, since there is never a guarantee that performing repairs will attract higher offers, there is always a risk you’ll end up wasting your money and your time. Most exterminators only provide a 30-day guarantee after treating an infestation, too. So, unless you purchase an extended warranty and implement an ongoing treatment plan, the termites could return before your house is even sold.
That can make trying to sell a house with termite damage as-is the less risky chance to take.
This route comes with a few potential snags of its own, however, that are important to bear in mind. First, even when termite damage isn’t obvious, you still have to disclose its existence. This holds true even in an as-is sale where you expressly state that the buyer is responsible for all repairs. Unfortunately, disclosing the presence of termites may prompt buyers to expect big discounts. Or, it could turn them off from offering at all. Withholding information comes at a cost, too. In fact, in some states, you could even get sued.
Benefits of an As-Is Sale
Still, the benefits of an as-is sale extend beyond cleanly walking away from a termite-infested house.
When you sell your home as-is, you don’t have to make any repairs.
That means you don’t have to fix the plumbing, update the wiring, or bother painting the house before selling. You don’t even necessarily have to clean or clear away clutter. As-is buyers, who are usually investors, are typically willing to handle it all. They’ll often give you cash to take an infested house of your hands, too.
So, you’ll want to make sure you connect with a cash buyer you can trust—someone who will review how each of these options will affect you personally. And, there aren’t many investors who also work as real estate advisors. The team that does, however, will not only help you leave termites and the stress of selling behind, they’ll help you move forward as fast as you can.
Leave the Termites and the Stress of Selling Behind
Veteran-owned Sell Your House Direct knows how important it is to move fast when the orders come through or some other life-changing event occurs. We also know how difficult it is selling a house with termite damage at any time. So, whether you’re relocating for work or just wanting to pack up and pick a new town, the home-buying specialists at SYHD will help you do it—putting cash in your hand in as few as seven days if you decide you want to sell your home as-is.
Of course, if after speaking with your advisor, it’s clear that treating, then repairing the house and putting it on the open market will be a better deal, you are free to take it. The SYHD team will never obligate you to sell to us or any of our partners.
We only want what’s best for you and your family, which is why we’ll help you make the right choice—especially when there is a sense of urgency.
We don’t charge for this service, either. In fact, the only thing you might lose by giving us a call is the stress of having to sell a termite-infested house on your own.