Termite Damage And Real Estate

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Bleuze

Termite Damage And Real Estate

Termites are the greatest economic pest in the United States and can cause billions of dollars in damage to homes, historical structures and other buildings. They eat wood as well as books, documents and photographs. They are a social insect and live in colonies. They can live for a decade or more and produce huge colonies with literally thousands of offspring.

When termites have infested a home, it is never a good sign. A home must be inspected for possible termite invasion when a real estate transaction is eminent, and if it is found, it may seriously affect the transaction. The buyer should be told that the seller must fix the damage and remove the infestation, but it is no easy task to get rid of termites or repair the damage that they might have caused.

Although the task of cleaning up after a termite invasion may seem simple, it is not. There may be structural damage that can cost a hundred times more than the actual cost of treating the termites. If the structure is damaged, you better think twice about making the purchase, because although the seller might be willing to cover the cost of the treatment and any visual damage, what can't be seen is probably where the real (almost unrepairable damage) has taken place. In some cases, center beams in homes have literally been eaten away, and floors will show visible signs that termites are eating their way through the wood. Depending on the time of year, when infestations are bad, termite eggs can be seen in windowpanes and other damp places. If the problem isn't treated, the house can be literally eaten away.

To really know how badly termites have damaged the structure of a home, everything in the home should be removed. To uncover latent damage, carpets should be taken up, walls and ceilings should be opened and, in some cases, excavation should be done. This is the only way to find out how much damage has been done and how much it will cost to repair.  This type of inspection is called invasive and destructive testing and requires further evaluation by experienced contractors and specialists to define the extent and cost of any necessary repairs. Most homeowners don't want this done because it is costly and can get quite messy. A prospective buyer should ask for written documentation from an expert to determine the extent of termite damage that has occurred, as well as a treatment and repair history from the owner. If there is no damage, that should be documented as well.


Richard sells real estate in the San Gabriel Valley which is about 12 miles South of Los Angeles.  For more information, visit his website at