For Real Estate Agents: How To Find Termite Damage

Clients looking to buy or sell a home rely on the expertise of their real estate agent to help them fairly price their home and to determine what to bid on homes of interest.

Making a good pricing assessment on a client’s home or a home a client may be interested in buying requires real estate agents to take many different factors into consideration. It is easy for an agent to see how many bedrooms and bathrooms a home offers, but sometimes damage to the structure of the home can be hidden or difficult to find though it has a huge impact on price.

As a termite expert, I know that termite damage can sometimes be hard to see, even when the damage is extensive. An agent who is adept at discovering termite damage could provide significant added value when helping their client price or bid on a home.

When doing a basic sweep for termite damage, an agent should always look for two things: wood and moisture. Where these two components meet, termites are likely to thrive. The two types of termites you need to worry most about in San Diego are Subterranean Termites and Dry Wood Termites.

Subterranean Termites
A big clue that a home might be playing host to a colony of Subterranean Termites is if you notice mud tubes or mud protruding from cracks between wooden boards or beams. You may also find hard dirt stains on concrete in the garage. This happens with Subterranean Termites eat through cardboard boxes and leave mud tubes that stick to the concrete after the box has been moved.

If you find dirt inside a house where it shouldn’t be, probe the surrounding wood with a knife or flat screwdriver. If the wood is hollow, you’ve got company of the termite variety.

Dry Wood Termites
The calling card of the Dry Wood Termite is a sawdust-like powder near doors, windows or the garage. Don’t touch this stuff. It is actually fecal pellets kicked out of the colony by the workers as they chomp through wooden structures.

Another sure sign of Dry Wood Termites are tiny holes on a wood surface or on the outside of the home. When Dry Wood Termites are attacking painted wood, the paint may start to bubble outward.

Dry Wood Termites have windows, which workers shed when they settle at a new feeding ground. You may notice stray wings near doors, window ledges, in the garage or in the attic. You may also see flying termites (freaky, I know) near sources of light (which is ironic, because termites hate the sun. There are not very smart bugs).

If you notice any of these signs inside a home your client is interested in selling or buying, it’s likely that the home has a termite problem that will definitely affect its selling price. When you suspect termites, it is always a good idea to call in a termite inspector to assess the full damage.

What happens when you find termite damage in your client’s home or a home your client wants to sell? That’s the topic of my next blog post. Check back soon for that post!


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6 Responses to For Real Estate Agents: How To Find Termite Damage

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