Looking to sell or buy a home? Don't overlook the pests.
The housing market has been the subject of intense scrutiny over the past few months. According to the National Association of Realtors, there are currently 3.8 million homes "on the market." Certainly homeowners recognize that a house is a major investment and if they ever have to sell - even in a difficult economy - it must be in great shape without any major issues.
But often there is one crucial matter that both home owners and buyers often overlook: underlying pest issues. Every year, damage caused by pest infestations costs homeowners billions of dollars in repairs. Termites alone cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year, and can threaten the structure of a home. Another little known fact is that property damage caused by wood-boring insects such as termites, carpenter ants and powder post beetles is not covered by homeowner's insurance policies and that expensive repairs come out of the homeowner's wallet.
Just last month, The University of Georgia conducted a survey of Georgia residents to assess perceptions and knowledge of issues facing residents in the state, and termites and wood-destroying pests affecting home sales was one of the top categories. Ninety-seven percent of respondents said if they were to purchase a new home, they would like it to have been inspected for termites and other wood-destroying pests, yet more than half of all respondents disagreed with the statement that all homes are currently inspected for termites at the time of the sale.
Last year Realtors in the state of Georgia reversed the need for home sellers to have a "Termite" letter in order to sell their home. But for anyone hoping to sell and looking for ways to make it stand out, they should consider having a pest inspection to obtain the termite letter - it could be key differentiator and help move the home from "on the market" to "sold."