Why Obtain a Pest Inspection Before Listing Your Home?

by Sylvia on September 17, 2013

termite_damage-225x300The word pest makes most people think of mice, rats, ants, spiders and the odd gopher. But what is commonly known as a “termite inspection report” is officially called a WOOD DESTROYING PESTS AND ORGANISMS REPORT.

The  licensed company you hire to detect termite damage at your property also checks for dryrot, which is a fungus damaging wood.

Why should sellers obtain a pest inspection before putting their home on the market?

It is customary for sellers to pay for a report and repairs of active infestation damage when selling a home. The home must be free of active infestation prior to closing escrow in the case of most sales. Although this contract clause can also be negotiable, a seller can really only negotiate effectively if the COST of the repair is known. Consider the scenario below, which is a true story:

The seller accepted an offer on her home, and according to contract terms, proceeded to have the pest inspection performed. The hilltop home has a very large wrap-around patio, most of it was covered with a wood patio cover. The contract stipulated that the seller pay for repairs of termite and dryrot damage. The inspection report showed extensive dryrot on the large patio cover: Repair/replace estimate of approximately $ 18,000. Clearly the seller had not expected this news and now tried to get out of having the patio cover replaced. Not doing the repair would have been a breach of contract, so after much attorney counseling and hand-wringing, the owner was forced to spend the $ 18,000 and repair the damage as stipulated in the purchase contract or get sued for breach.

How can a seller avoid such a scenario?

If the inspection had revealed such significant damage before the home was on the market, the seller could have opted to remove the patio cover at a lesser cost. What is not there on the day a buyer sees the home and buys it is no longer part of the purchase and so does not need to be repaired. Obviously this is only an option for patio covers and non-essential sheds or tree houses, not structural features like facia boards, doors and other supporting woodwork which are no optional.

Knowledge is power. Knowing upfront what to expect during the sales process and what the condition of their home is helps sellers make decisions which assure the best possible sales outcome in the end.

As your Buyer's Agent, I can help you find the perfect house for you, and as your Listing Agent, I'll get top dollar for your property. Call me, Orange County's Real Estate Expert, at (714) 856-7003. I can help you make the decision that gets the outcome you want.

Email Me: Homes@SylviaJonathan.com
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