If you have termites or suspect you might, you could be concerned about selling a house with termite damage. Here are 7 great tips and sources of key knowledge you’ll need to help you make your house-selling decision easier.
Can I have Termites in Utah?
The quick answer is yes. Termites do thrive throughout the state of Utah and are active in more than three-quarters of the state. If you live in the northeastern part of the state you’re in luck, termites are less likely to infest homes there. The Southern half of Utah is in Zone #2 for termites, this means the infestation probability is in the moderate to heavy zone with a potential for significant termite damage.
What Types of Termites Thrive in Utah
In Utah you have the potential for two different types of termites to cause trouble. The first are subterranean termites. These pests build their colonies in the dirt and create underground pathways to underground wood structures, or wood on the ground surface. Wood above the soil isn’t safe as the termites make their way through their mud tubes to any wood above ground. These termites need a moist underground environment so they aren’t as common in our dry state. If they lack moisture the colony will die off.
Another type found in Utah is the Drywood termites. This type of termite builds their nest in solid or non-decayed wood and doesn’t need contact with the soil. Drywood termites are most often found in attics, wood framing, doors and even furniture.
Signs you Might Have Termites
Spotting termite damage can be tricky until the damage is well underway. While termites live in massive colonies — from a few thousand to even millions — they are about the size of an ant and make their home underground or in your wood (literally, they eat it from the inside out). An early warning sign to look for is obvious sign of the insects themselves. You can capture the bugs to have them identified by a pest control specialist if you aren’t sure.
Be on the lookout for any trouble spots like areas where wood might stay damp near your ground surface. If you’ve had recent issues with flooding then watch the areas where wood might have received water damage for any signs.
Look for mud tubes or tunnels left by Subterranean termites. The tubes are cylindrical tunnels that appear to be made of mud but are actually both dirt and termite waste and you’ll see them along the surface of structures with termites.
Drywood termites leave behind small pies of sawdust-looking material called frass — a waste that they push out from their tunnel digging. If you see these small pies of what appears to be sawdust in your home that is a big clue.
If your problem is serious you’ll know because you’ll see evidence of visibly damaged wood. The wood could appear discolored or warped or swollen. There could be small holes visible on the surface of the wood.
Since termites swarm in large colonies you are actually able to hear a surprisingly loud chewing noise in your walls. The sounds have been mistaken for those of small rodents!
Diagnosing the Problem
If you have seen any of the signs above and you suspect you might have termites the best solution is to call a professional. There are home sprays and remedies for dealing with termites but a specialist can diagnose the extent of the problem and take steps to ensure you don’t end up with a reinfestation of the home wreckers.
Is it Safe to Live in a House with Termites or Termite Damage?
Termites are a problem that should be addressed right away. The pesky insects will literally eat your house around you–including your wood furniture– if you don’t take action at the first sign of insects. If the damage isn’t extensive there is no problem with continuing to live in or sell your home with termite damage, but you’ll need to be on the lookout for a return of a swarm and to prepare against any future infestations. A pest inspector professional can give you an idea about the extent of the termite damage so you can bring in a contractor or other repair professionals.
How to Get Rid of Termites
Outside of hiring a professional pest control company there are some steps you can take to help defend against further termite problems.
- Keep your roof in top condition. Any broken or missing tiles can let in moisture, creating an opportunity for termites to move in.
- Check the wood around your house during the warm seasons. Simply testing the wood for strength and tapping on it (damaged wood will be brittle and hollow) is an easy way to stay ahead of the swarm.
- If you have a window unit for air conditioning keep an eye on any dripping moisture. Water dripping can create that moist wood environment that subterranean termites like so much.
- Watch how you store boxes, wood and even clothing piles. Termites love cardboard boxes so consider storing your items in plastic tubs instead. Stacks of firewood should be kept away from the side of the house and clothing piles should be maintained and stored properly.
- Watch for excess moisture build-ups around your home. Keep your drains sending water away from the house and fix any leaky pipes or sprinkler problems near your home.
- Keep a lookout for the suspicious sawdust piles inside and out, near wooden structures and furniture.
- Seal up your windows and doors. Termite swarms can get inside your house through a broken screen or a door that isn’t properly sealed.
Can I Sell My Home with Termite Damage?
So you’re hoping to sell. Maybe you’ve just discovered the termites or you’ve had some damage that hasn’t been addressed yet. The question is, can I sell my home with termite damage? For starters, get a home inspection report, a qualified home inspector can lay out the severity of the problem for you. Be proactive and contact a contractor to get quotes on selling the house — it will most likely save you money in the long run to fix the damage yourself and list the home, problem-free. Selling a house with termite damage though scares off many potential buyers so spending the money upfront for proper termite diagnosis and repair could be worth if for you.
If the termite damage is more extensive it can cost thousands of dollars to repair the home. In scenarios like this it can be difficult to impossible to sell your home to a traditional buyer. Another option for selling your home with termite damage is to reach out to us, your local Utah house buying company. We will make you a cash offer and take care of the repair and costs, saving you the hassle.
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