Of course, if the house is made of wood. The real question should be, “How bad is the termite problem”? If you’re buying a house the next question will be, “Who is paying to get rid of them”?
The first question can be answered by obtaining a professional termite report. An inspector walks around the property and classifies the termite damage into two categories: Section 1 clearance, and Section 2. I won’t get into the differences between section 1 and 2 I’ll just say you don’t want to see, or pay for section 2. In many cases these termite reports are free if you agree to consider using the termite company which provided the report to help you terminate the infestations.
Who pays for the extermination? Like everything else in Real Estate, it’s negotiable but generally the seller will pay for any section 1 clearance. Lately we’ve seen many Bank owned homes, listings in Aliso Viejo, and short sale properties being listed “As Is” and stating up front that they will not entertain the idea of helping clear termite infestations. In cases where I have a bank owned listing I try to furnish all interested parties with a termite report before they make an offer because I want them to know the scope of repairs the property needs before committing to a price.
I don’t worry about termites like most people. I’ve never seen, or even heard about a house falling in on itself because of termites. My family and I lived on the beach in a wood house built in 1908 and we used to joke that the termites were holding the place together. Most homes are sold every 5 years and with each sale we tend to see a termite clearance report so it’s rare to see a real bad issue. I put termites into the “Maintenance” section of home ownership, just like painting or roof replacement. You need a professional to help every so often, so you don’t lay awake at night wondering if little bugs are eating your house.