Report Found Termites! Um NO! Don't Just Blindly Agree!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc

Termite companies are having a hard time, so they EXAGGERATE TO GET BUSINESS.

Business is down. They charge a measly $20 to do an inspection. Probably losing $50 per inspection in hopes of finding stuff... So what do they do? They find stuff. This "stuff" is nothing, yet they can exaggerate enough to get a job out of it, and then they overcharge.

I am now 3 for 3 and it is pissing me off.

1) I was the listing agent. A vague report comes in stating "Termite in stump." Note the technicality. It doesn't state "Termites in Stump" or "Formerly termites in stump" or "Inactive termites." I had my friends over at take a look. The termites hadn't been there for years. And the standard practice is that if it isn't within X feet, no harm to the house, no activity, nothing is needed. Yet the $20 inspector "recommended" around the house treatment for $465 and a $95 annual insurance. The result $0 and a PAIN getting the inspector to submit the report (he doesn't have the time to lose $50 and send yuo a report that is "all clear").

ALSO READ YOUR CONTRACT. It doesn't matter what the termite company recommends. Our contract says something like active termites or damage to the home. Neither was the case here. Result $0. Savings $465

2) Again the listing agent. They found carpenter bees.  "Treat and fill 2 carpenter bee holes, front of home above bedroom window. Need 40' ladder, 2 men". Cost=$365. I had AffordablePest come out and they did it for $225.

3) Again the listing agent. "Shelter Tubes Staining in Garage" is all it says. Nothing else. Very vague. Affordable Pest said an "indication" of presence of termite tubes might be significant but "staining" is obsure language. Recommendation from the $20 cheapos: Treat the entire house and detached garage for $750.

However since the garage is detached, it is treated like a shed. And HUD does not require inactive pest  evidence in a detached garage to be reported. IE , NO TREATMENT IS NEEDED. Savings $750.

So this month Affordable Pest, a Termite exterminator company saved my clients over $1,200. So I thought I'd give them a shout out, and maybe some biz. Ask for Jason, he owns the place and won't screw you.

So don't just trust those reports that come in. Too frequently, they are just crap.

(FYI, his inspections cost $75, but your "$20" loss leader high school kid inspections are causing unnecessary problems, is it worth the savings?)


- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA Broker


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Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Why didn't you have 'affordable pest' come out the first time?  Buyers choice and you can't suggest?  Irritating isn't it........:-( like some mechanics.......

May 27, 2008 05:03 PM #1
Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty
Leolinda Realty - Surprise, AZ
Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona

Unscrupulous behavior occurs when people/business revenues start to deplete.  Sad because character and ethics just go out the window.

May 27, 2008 05:05 PM #2
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Hey Liz,

Yep, standard is the buyer agent picked the company, and they pick the cheapest.

I am VERY tempted to run a report BEFORE the listing is even put into the MLS. Most banks require a 30 day recent report, so maybe I'll get a touch up re-report done for less.

May 27, 2008 05:09 PM #3
Ron Parise - Cape Coral, FL

Its not just termite companies that will do this.

I had a septic system inspector report that said I needed a new drain field and submitted a bid for $5000. and promised to get the work done before settlement.   What he didnt know was that in a previous life I worked for a State Environmental Dept and as part of my job,  inspected failing septic systems.  Long story--short,; I didnt need a new system

Im sure this stuff happens all the time, Its one reason why I dont recommend home inspections to my buyers

May 27, 2008 05:14 PM #4
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

Excellent commentary. It IS necessary to do business with a vendor who understands the obligations per the contract.

May 27, 2008 05:22 PM #5
FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc - Arlington, VA

Hey Ron, Tell me more about you not recommending home inspections. That is very interesting. I have never heard of that before.

May 27, 2008 05:27 PM #6
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

In California, how the contract is completed determines who selects the pest company. Most of the time it is the sellers option, because they are the ones that pay for it.  Our pest reports run from $75 to $140, so maybe you got what you paid for.  I would say that 99% of our escrows have a buyer paying for and getting a home inspection. We almost always have a pest inspection done prior to getting an offer, so we know what we are dealing with. With the exception of "flip" houses, clearances on section 1 items are the norm. Our lenders only care about what is in the contract, so if no clearance or report is asked for, then the lender doesn't want one either. (This varies when it comes to FHA.)

We did have this happen with a plumbing company that specializes in a "trenchless" system that replaces the main sewer line without trenching. They ran a camera to see if there was a problem...came back and said yep - the whole system needs replacing. The hitch? The buyers agent recognized the video he showed was from another house that the agent had been involved in!  Another company ran a camera - it was clean!

May 27, 2008 05:42 PM #7
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

Frank - thanks for the warning.  Something to think about.  The question is... how do you find someone you trust?

May 27, 2008 11:20 PM #8
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

$20 inspections? Wow. We do not  have it hear, at least, i did not hear that before.

May 28, 2008 02:11 AM #9
Ron Parise - Cape Coral, FL



The contracts we use state that the buyer "may have warranted items inspected..."  I neither recommend for or against doing an inspection. I simply advise that if they intend on doing one that it has to be done by a certain date; and if they intend on using the inspection report to re-open negotiations on the property they need to restrict themselves to only the warranted items spelled out in the contract.


If you think that I have been burned personally and professionally by botched inspections you are exactly right


May 28, 2008 04:37 AM #10
Jason Fields


Thanks for the mention.  This is definitely an area that everyone could use a little education.  The guidelines for these inspections are constantly being updated but the information flow from the lenders has never really been there.

Thanks again!


May 29, 2008 05:49 AM #11
Sabrina M. Weeks
Realtor - Pricipal Broker/Owner

Thanks for the info,I am going to pay a lot more attention, this has happened to me several times also.

May 29, 2008 05:57 AM #12
Tina Merritt
Nest Realty - Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Real Estate

If you have time, Google "My Terminix Nighmare" - makes for good reading!!!!  Great post, as usual!

Tina in Virginia

May 29, 2008 07:43 AM #13
Lizette Fitzpatrick
Lizette Realty - Richmond KY - Lexington, KY
Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes

I guess some companies are just desperate for business. in the 5 years I have been working full time in real estate I haven't had a closing go south because of terimites. I hope my luck holds out. No bugs so far!

Jun 09, 2008 04:35 PM #14
Denise Allen
Resh Realty Group - Chesapeake, VA
Realtor@ Chesapeake, Hampton Roads

I try to have my buyers do the termite when I am on their side and the seller when I am the listing agent.  Our contracts are very strict.  The company that does the termite letter has to do the repairs.

Jun 10, 2008 09:40 AM #15
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