Selling a House with Active Termites or Past Termite Damage



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If your home has termite damage, you could have a big problem on your hands. Not only is it challenging to sell a house with a termite problem, but it could also be unsafe to live in.

To get rid of termites and fix the damage caused can turn into a costly construction job, especially if having to replace support beams, walls, wood floors, and more if needed.

If termites have been discovered at your home, learn more below on this pricey, “pest-y” problem and what your options are for selling your home.

Key points from this article:

  • Termite Infestations – Termites can cause significant damage to homes, making it challenging and potentially unsafe to live in or sell the house. They can eat through wood structures, leading to costly repairs.
  • Termite Treatment – Treatment methods include soil treatment, wood treatment, and bait systems to eliminate existing termite colonies and prevent future infestations.
  • Cost Implications – Treating termites and repairing the damage can be expensive, with costs varying based on the extent of infestation and the treatment method chosen.
  • Selling a Termite-Affected Home – It's possible to sell a home with termite issues, but disclosure is required in Texas. Treatment before sale and providing documentation of treatment can help maintain the home's value.

Disclaimer – The information on this page is intended for general informational purposes only and not to provide legal advice.

How AMI Home Buyers can help if your home has a termite infestation and/or damage caused by termites

We buy homes in any price range and in any condition, even if there is an existing or past termite problem and damage caused by termites. We can make you a cash offer, allowing you to sell your home quickly, forgo having to pay for pest control treatments and repairs, and we cover all closing costs usually paid by the Seller.

FAQs for Termites

You'll find a list of the frequently asked questions we receive from homeowners that are termite-specific below.

What are termites?

Termites are wood-eating bugs that can eat away at the structure of your home. According to the USDA, termites cause nearly $40 billion in damage globally each year and destroy parts of more than 600,000 homes yearly in the U.S. alone.

The actual amount of wood termites can destroy depends on the type of termite, size of the colony, wood type and condition, what other food sources are available, and the temperature. For instance, termites are less active in colder temperatures, although they are active year-round in most states.

Formosan termite colonies are typically larger and cause more damage at a faster rate, than other types such as subterranean, drywood or dampwood termite colonies. A Formosan termite colony can cause extensive damage to a home in less than six months in a location with ideal conditions and climate. If a Formosan termite infestation goes unnoticed and untreated in a hot, humid climate, a home can have significant damage in approximately two to three years.

What is a termite swarm?

A termite swarm is a group of termites looking to start their own new colony. This usually happens at the beginning of spring, after a rain event, when the weather is getting warmer.

As a colony matures, it begins to produce alate nymphs that develop into swarmers, which have wings that allow them to fly from the colony to pair up with a mate as they search for a location to start a new colony. The female in each of these new partnerships becomes the queen of her new colony and can lay a million eggs in her lifetime.

If you find winged insects swarming in your home, call a pest control expert to accurately identify the insect and the extent of the problem, whether it's termite season or not.

What causes termites?

All termites are attracted to wood, but each type has its specific preferences. As their names imply, dampwood termites seek out moist woods, while drywood termites prefer the opposite – dry wood.

Subterranean termites must have moist soil close by and infest wood that is in contact with the ground. Subterranean termites will also construct mud tubes which they use to move from the soil to wood. Mud tubes become a “link” for the termites to use for protection against dehydration and as a route to wood that may be located above ground.

Homeowners might unknowingly bring termites inside their home through firewood or untreated lumber.

Termites are also drawn inside the home by moisture, wood in contact with house foundations, and cracks in building exteriors. Different combinations of these factors can attract different species.

Geographic location also plays a role in the likelihood of infestations. Warm weather and high humidity make residents in the South more vulnerable to termite activity.

What are some signs you might have termites in your home?

Termites often live on your property or inside your home for a long time before being detected. Drywood termites burrow deep within wooden structures, and subterranean termites are typically found underground, so both are not visible.

To help keep damage to a minimum, it’s essential to look for signs, including:

  • Piles of wings left behind after swarms
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped
  • Floor tiles loosening from the added moisture termites can bring in
  • Discolored or drooping drywall
  • Small, pin-size holes in drywall
  • Peeling paint that looks like water damage
  • Buckling wooden or laminate floorboards
  • Excessively squeaky floorboards
  • Crumbling, damaged wood
  • Stuck windows or doors
  • Maze-like patterns in furniture, floorboards or walls
  • Mounds of drywood termite pellets, often resembling small piles of salt or pepper
  • Mud tubes climbing the foundation of your home
  • Flying termite swarms anywhere on your property

How much is a termite inspection?

The cost to get rid of termites and repair any damage caused can quickly amount to several thousand dollars. That's why getting a termite inspection if you see any of the signs listed above should be done immediately. This will help minimize more damage which can happen over time.

The average cost of a termite inspection in Texas is about $100-$150 but can vary based on the size of the home.

What kind of damage can untreated termites do?

Termites can eat through a lot of wood in a short time. They also make tunnels inside the wood to help foster and grow their colonies, each which contains about 60,000 termites. When eating the wood that provides the structure of your home, it creates a very unsafe environment.

Once the home structure has been compromised, water may enter through the termite tunnels causing additional damage. Not only can termites cause structural damage, but they can also cause odor from their fecal pellets, which lead to discoloration and blisters on your walls. Termites can also cause damage to your ceiling and laminate flooring as well.

How long does it take termites to destroy a house?

The length of time it will take for termites to damage a house will vary based on the home's construction, the type of termites, and the size of the colony or infestation.

Experts estimate that it can take around three years for a home with an untreated termite infestation to have noticeable damage. In as little as eight years, an untreated and enormous colony can destroy the wood components in their entirety. The longer you let a termite colony go untreated, the more damage they will do, and the more expensive the treatment and repair costs will be.

How are termites treated?

If a termite problem exists, there are three standard methods for treatment:

  • Soil Treatment: As subterranean termites live in soil, the surrounding soil is treated to act as a barrier. A trench is dug around the foundation, the soil is treated with a termiticide, then the trench is refilled. This helps to prevent future termite infestations and kills any termites in the house as they have to return to the soil to nest.
  • Wood Treatment: There are a variety of different wood treatments that help kill existing termite colonies and prevent future ones from forming. These treatments include surface sprays, injected sprays and foams, and borate-treated wood, which is also used in homes to avoid termite infestations. Preventative wood treatments include surface applications during the home building construction phrase and wood injections and foams after a house is built.
  • Bait Systems: Bait treatment systems are effective for destroying termite colonies. Bait stations are installed around the home's perimeter and are monitored on a set frequency to make sure the house is protected from current and future infestations.

How much do termite treatment and damage repairs cost?

Limited application termite treatments in Texas can range from $221 and $868, or $3 to $16 per linear foot. The total expense depends on the home's linear footprint and size of the infestation. This is based on chemical treatments and bait systems only, which often do not require service for the entire home.

Treatment for the entire home ranges from $1,200 to $2,500 or more and often requires tenting the house. Prices may be set as a flat rate or by size, around $5 to $20 per linear foot. However, since tenting only targets the home structure, it might not be effective against underground termite infestations.

After treatment, when termite infestation is no longer active, having to repair the damage can be an even more substantial expense. Repair costs depend on the size, location, and accessibility of the infestation, as well as a home's construction.

Some damage is so minimal that homeowners choose not to repair it at all, after controlling the infestation. Sometimes, termite damage can cost thousands of dollars. In rare cases, homes are demolished because the termite damage is so extensive.

Estimated repair costs for a mid-amount of termite damage can include:

  • Carpentry framing: $1,050
  • Attic insulation installation: $1,900
  • Clean and repair a crawl space: $6,000
  • Repair drywall: $500

How common is termite damage?

Termite damages affects over 600,000 homes annually in the US and costs homeowners over 5 billion dollars in treatments and repairs each year. Termite infestations are more likely to occur in southeastern states.

Is termite damage covered by homeowner's insurance?

No, homeowners insurance doesn't usually cover termite removal or damage. That's because termite infestations can generally be prevented through routine home maintenance, which homeowners are responsible for.

Do you have to disclose termites when selling a house?

Yes, seller disclosures in Texas are governed by the Texas Property Code, which is very specific about the information that home sellers must disclose to prospective home buyers, including if there is a history of termite infestations. It is not illegal to sell a house with termites, but you are required to disclose it.

Even if you had treated the termites previously, if termites return after the house is sold to the new buyer – which is possible – the buyer can sue you for breach of contract or fraud.

Also, if you do not disclose the termite infestation history before the contract is signed, and the buyer hires their own inspector who discovers the termites, you lose the buyer's trust who may try to back out of the contract.

Therefore, not only is it required to disclose a history of termite infestation, but it is also in the seller's best interest to do so.

What’s the difference between active termites vs. history of termites?

Active termites mean there's current termite activity on the property. A history of termites is a previous infestation that has already been treated. Qualified termite inspectors can recognize the difference between active termites and past termite activity, and provide a guarantee or written statement of such.

If your house has been previously treated for termites and you want to sell your home, you should be able to provide documentation of past termite treatment and any structural repairs that have been made or may be needed, to fix any damage caused by termites.

Can you sell a house with active termites?

Yes, you can sell your home, even if it has a current or past termite problem. But it comes with a cost. You'll need to disclose the termite situation with prospective buyers, and it will likely reduce your pool of buyers.

If you can, it's best to treat the termites before putting your home on the market and keep a record of all treatment plans. Make sure you are working with a licensed pest control expert who can transfer your treatment plan warranty over to the new buyer.

If you choose not to invest in termite treatment, you can expect your home to be on the market for a long time with very few, if any, interested buyers. And the longer your home sits with no buyer, the more damage to the house the termites can cause.

If your house has untreated termite problems and/or termite damage, you can expect potential buyers to submit offers much lower than your listing price.

Can you sell a house with termite damage?

Yes, you can sell a home with termite damage, but depending on how extensive the damage is, it will almost certainly affect your home's value and the likelihood of if it will actually sell. Termite damage certainly presents a buyer beware situation.

Is it hard to sell a house that has had termites?

This answer will depend on a variety of factors. How long ago the home had termites, how extensive the damage was, and whether you repaired the damage caused can all factor into the equation.

If the house had termites ten years ago, you fixed the damage, and the home has not had an issue since, it is unlikely that the termite history will affect the sale of the house. If the termites were six months ago and you never repaired the damage, then it could lower the pool of buyers interested in your home. A lower number of buyers interested in the house could affect your ability to sell or devalue the home and negatively affect the house value versus if your home had not had any termite damage.

If you’re currently facing a termite problem, AMI can help

We buy homes “as is” – in any price range and any condition. Even those with active termites or significant termite damage. This means we can make you a cash offer, close within ten days – sometimes sooner – and help you avoid having to pay for termite treatments and repairs by purchasing the home as it currently is. We also cover all closing costs, and there are no fees. You can request a free, no-obligation, cash offer for your home here.

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Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman is the owner of AMI House Buyers and a seasoned real estate investor with a heavy focus on the Houston & Katy, Texas areas. She has done numerous flips, has owned multiple rental properties, and is also a licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas. She is heavily experienced in the areas of foreclosures, water damaged properties, burnouts, and inherited properties, and works with distressed homeowners in all types of situations to help them understand their options and find potential solutions.


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