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Selling a house with termite history - what to consider

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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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Selling a home with a prior termite issue can be a tricky challenge for both sellers and buyers of a property. 

It involves multiple considerations, from understanding the scope of the previous infestation to outlining the steps taken to rectify and prevent future occurrences. 

It’s a kind of situation that demands honesty, transparency, and a clear understanding of how to navigate potential concerns to ensure a smooth sale.  

In this guide, we'll delve into the complexities of selling a house with a termite history, exploring disclosure strategies, mitigation steps, and methods to instil confidence in prospective buyers, all while preserving the property's value and integrity.

Can you sell a house with termite history? 

The short answer is yes. You typically can sell a house with evident termite damage. However, you should disclose this information to the buyer in order to save yourself from future troubles such as potential lawsuits. 

In some Australian states, disclosing termite damage is required by law. Despite this, it’s good practice to inform buyers of these sorts of things, regardless of whether it is legally required. 

While a past termite problem doesn’t necessarily prevent a sale, it's essential to provide detailed information about the prior infestation, treatments performed, and any preventive measures taken to assure buyers of the property's current condition and to instil confidence in their purchase.

Fixing termite house damage before selling 

If you’ve got the funds to repair damages from a prior termite infestation before selling, this might be a worthwhile investment.

Rather than selling the property with unresolved damages, fixing damages first could potentially help the property sell faster or even help you sell your property for a higher amount. 

Typical termite damage repairs can include:

  • Wooden frames: termites often target wooden framing members in the structure of the house, including wall studs, ceiling joists, floor beams, and rafters.
  • Flooring and subflooring: wooden floors and underlying subflooring can be subject to termite damage, leading to warping, sagging, or hollow-sounding areas.
  • Doors and windows: wooden door frames, window sills, and surrounding structures are attractive to termites and might show signs of infestation.
  • Furniture: wooden furniture pieces, especially those made of untreated or less durable wood, could be damaged by termites if infested.
  • Wooden fixtures: wooden fixtures such as staircases, handrails, cabinets and decorative wooden elements are also susceptible to termite infestation.
  • Supporting beams: wooden support beams in basements or crawl spaces may also fall victim to termite damage.
  • Outdoor structures: termites can also target wooden fences, decks, sheds, or other wooden structures outside the house.

How much does termite treatment cost? 

The cost of termite treatment can vary depending on the severity of the damage.

Minor repairs could cost you anywhere between $250 and $1000, with more substantial fixes costing anywhere up to $3000. 

Read more about these costs here

That’s why it’s important to detect the signs of a termite infestation as soon as possible in order to minimise the cost of treatment. 

What if my house has failed a termite inspection? 

A failed inspection doesn't automatically mean you’ve got a termite infestation in your home. It might signify specific areas needing attention to meet the required standards for passing or the presence of conditions that are conducive to termite activity.

To treat or prevent an infestation and ultimately pass a termite inspection, it's highly recommended to employ the help of a termite treatment expert.

Termite treatment can cost anywhere between $250 to $3500 depending on the severity of the infestations. However, this is definitely worth it as most treatments have a lifespan of 5-8 years. 
Read more about building inspections here.