How a 2nd Termite Report Saved My Buyer Thousands

Real Estate Agent with Hunter-Broker

It seems that virtually EVERY ONE of my transactions have similar, smaller issues…but this one is MAJOR!

a 2nd termite inspection saved a buyer thousands of dollarsMy typical procedure in my transactions is to ALWAYS get a 2nd opinion for termite clearance when the seller provides one. 

Here's exactly why….

Transaction Situation: Seller's agent delivered a clear termite report (in California, that means free from drywood termite, subterranean termites, and dryrot).  According to my normal procedures of "trust everyone, but cut the deck" :-) , I had my own trusted inspector check it out. He found evidence of ALL of the Big Three... dryrot, drywood termites and subs... Wow! A grand slam!

Cost to my buyer, if I had just assumed that the seller-provided report was accurate? It appeared that the MINIMUM cost involved will have exceeded $10,000. Maybe someday my buyers would have found out (hopefully before even more hidden damage). Maybe someday my buyers would have been able to go after the termite inspector, assuming that the termite company were still in business, and assuming that the statute of limitations hadn’t run out. But at what cost in time and legal costs for my buyers?

Meanwhile, TODAY, my buyer is $10,000 ahead from where they would have been without the 2nd opinion. The inspection cost the buyer $85… a pretty good return, I’d say!

Some agents are incensed that I “bring my own”, but I come from the “old school” that puts my fiduciary responsibilities to my buyer clients above “going along to get along”. It is regrettable for the seller that HIS property has termite problems (and no cap on repair costs in the contract with my buyer). However, it would be MORE regrettable if the problems had been shifted to my buyer by my lack of diligence!

It amazes me that most agents would never dream of relying on a physical inspection done by the seller’s chosen inspector (gee whizz… perhaps a clogged dishwasher might be missed :-), but accept termite reports (where the BIG money is) done the same way, and accept them without a quiver.
My answer to one agent who exasperatedly asked me why in the world I wanted my own inspection, when she already had one was a two-part answer to her.  The first part of the answer was verbal “… Why don’t YOU?  And, the second part came when my termite inspector found 15 slats with dryrot in the patio cover, slats that were replaced at the seller’s expense.

‘Nuff said…

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Terry Hunter, MS Economics
Owner/Broker ePro
Mobile: 949-278-1595
DRE License # 00573681

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Carla Harbert - Avon, OH
RE/MAX Omega: Lorain-Medina County Area

Did you have suspicions that there were problems? Or you always have a 2nd opinion? Here, it is common practice for the buyer to hire their own inspector, pay for the inspection. This happened to my son a few years back. The home he was purchasing, had SO much damage underneath from termites, he got out from under the contract to look for a more solid home.

Dec 01, 2010 10:17 AM #1
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

In our market the buyers pay for a termite inspection, as well.  Though I'm sure that most folks are honest, I can't imagine relying on a seller supplied report... of any kind.  Buyer beware.  And a job well done.

Dec 01, 2010 10:44 AM #2
Terry Hunter
Hunter-Broker - Newport Coast, CA
MS Economics


I always get a 2nd opinion. 

Actually, some agent get exasperated with me, thinking I am just "over the top".
I just do it anyway, and it seems that EVERY seller-provided report is wrong.

Smart move on your part/your son's part, BTW.

Dec 01, 2010 05:09 PM #3
Terry Hunter
Hunter-Broker - Newport Coast, CA
MS Economics


Thanks for the kind words.  Here, most agents just accept whatever report the seller dishes out.  Not only buyer beware, but non-thorough buyer agent beware! :-)

Dec 01, 2010 05:13 PM #4
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Terry Hunter

MS Economics
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