As someone who has moved five times in the last ten years, I am very familiar with home inspections and the concern that every seller has when an inspection report shows some evidence of termite damage. Normally a home inspector is not qualified or trained to look for extended termite damage beyond what the untrained eye can see. Unfortunately for some buyers, this visual termite damage can be just the tip of the iceberg as far as termite damage to their potential new home.
If the home inspection had termite damage noted in the inspection report you need to protect your future investment by hiring a trained professional to inspect the extent of the termite damage. The evidence of termite infestation can be seen in what is called Shelter tubes. Shelter tubes are ‘tubes’ that run from the dirt to the above ground wood. Once the wood has been exhausted, the will move to other structures in the home.
To figure out the extent of the termite damage, your best bet is to cut away a piece of wood at the home, if possible. Now, most sellers are not going to allow you to do this, but if you own this home already, it is the best way to find out the extent of your damage.
If you are reading this, you may be thinking “I have a termite contract, I’m covered.” This type of thinking can end up costing you the structural integrity of your home. Companies like Terminix, Guardian and Orkin have termite contracts on millions of homes across the country and when a homeowner makes a claim alleging that their home, that was supposed to be protected by termites now has termite damage, it is up to the homeowner to make sure that these pest control companies fully investigate the extent of the damage.
Just like any other insurance company, pest control companies are going to try and pay the least amount possible to repair termite damage. They are not going to dig into the damage and track where the damage may be spreading, because this could end up costing them thousands of dollars. The only way to protect your home is by asking questions and documenting the work that the pest control company did or didn’t do at your home.
At the end of the day, your home is your single largest investment and it is up to you to protect it from not only termites, but from shoddy repairs by your pest control company. If you have made a claim for termite repair and months later you are having additional termite problems pop up all over your home, you need to speak to an attorney to protect your rights.