Whether you discover termite damage in a home your client wants to sell or buy, it will change the way you approach the buying or selling process. As a real estate agent, your client will depend on you for advice on how to deal with the termite damage in their home or how to bid on a home where termite damage has been found. (Want to know where to look for termite damage? Check out this blog post)
Termite Damage In A Home You Are Selling
If you find termite damage in a home your client is selling, the easiest thing to do is bring in a professional termite company to determine the extent of the damage and to get rid of the termites. If the damage is extensive, it is probably in the best interest of your client to get the termite damage repaired before putting the house on the market. Having obvious structural damage will not only negatively affect the price your client could ask, it could turn away prospective buyers altogether.
As you know, this is a buyer’s market. There is a lot of competition out there, and you don’t want to give prospective buyers any reason to turn down your client’s house.
Termite Damage In A Home Your Client Is Interested In Buying
If your client falls in love with a home with obvious termite damage, the buyer’s market will work in your favor. The seller will probably be eager to make a fair deal in order to sell the house. This puts you in a strong position.
The easiest solution is to request that the seller eliminate the termites and repair the damage during escrow. You may also assess the potential cost of repairs and request a deduction to the overall selling price of the house. This tactic may be a little risky. If your client takes on the responsibility for repairing the damage, they may find that it is more extensive (and therefore more costly) than originally assumed.
If the seller does agree to the repair before escrow closes, I recommend requiring that you and your client review the repair before any papers are signed. A seller trying to get out of a house is primarily motivated by cost rather than quality. They may try to cut corners or bring in someone who is less than an expert to fix the damage.
It is also in your client’s best interest to ask the seller for an extended warranty from the termite company. If the seller is very eager to complete the deal, they will probably not object to the cost, and this could be a nifty little bonus for your client. Trust me from experience, when a warranty is purchased, the termite company will usually do a much better and more thorough job of eliminating the termites, and your client can rest easy knowing that their new sanctuary will be protected from termites for several years to come.