Having the Termite Talk

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More Adventures in Homeownership….

No philosophical rants or big life transitions to consider today. Time to get down to the nitty gritty of an issue that literally “bugs” the heck out of everyone in real estate.  I’m referring to termites of course.

Those nasty little pests who (if you buy into their bad press) are probably feasting on your siding, routing out your rafters and undermining your foundation as we speak.  Or not.  After 30 years of looking at homes, inspection reports and all things termites…I’ve got my own thoughts.

Here are a few:

-The termite industry has a great lobby. They’re the only ones licensed to tent houses.  Fumigations are their biggest revenue source. And those special tents? Most are owned by the same company out of Salinas.

-There’s no requirement for tenting at time of sale. That’s an urban myth from the old days.

-There’s nothing about fumigation that insures termites won’t be back again. They fly and form new colonies all the time. Fumigations only kill the termites there at the time.

-In Santa Cruz, active termites are the rule rather than the exception. If an inspector finds even a few, the recommendation will be tenting. If someone requests, they may provide a “spot” treatment estimate.

-Something’s not right, when an inspector is also bidding on work. It’s an invitation to inflate problems or find non-existent ones.

-There’s a reason why tents typically only go on houses during the sale process:  Very few people notice or worry about termites until they buy a house.

-Fungus damage (dry rot) can cause way more damage  much quicker than termites can.

-Termite inspections are actually Wood Destroying Pests and Organism Reports. That includes termites, carpenter ants, bees, wood-boring beetles and fungus (dryrot) And there are different kinds of termites – mostly drywoods and subterraneans in this area.

-There’s a reason why some termite companies offer 2yr warranties …if termites re-infest the next day, it takes around 2yrs for their pellets to reappear. And those regular monthly service contracts? Don’t get me started….

-Estimates termite companies give for carpentry work are often 40% higher than others charge.They subcontract the work and add on a premium.  And also inflate estimates to cover any additional damage found. 

-If a house has roof work years after a termite fumigation, it is difficult to tell whether the pellets in the attic are new or if all the banging knocked old evidence out of the rafters. 

That’s it for today folks. There’s lots more to the termite story of course.  Call me if you have questions.

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