When it comes to buying or selling a home, there are numerous considerations, and one often overlooked factor is the presence of termites. These tiny, wood-eating pests can cause significant damage to a property, leading to potential legal issues if not properly addressed.
In the world of real estate, both buyers and sellers should understand the legal implications and required disclosures related to termite infestations.
In October 2023, 479 new houses sold according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Depending on the state you live in, and the documents signed prior to closing, the sellers of these homes could have the responsibility of disclosing any known termite infestations or damage. In many jurisdictions, the law states that sellers need to provide a comprehensive disclosure about the property’s condition. This disclosure includes information about past termite issues, treatments and repairs.
In some cases, buyers may pursue legal action for nondisclosure. They may claim that they were not made aware of potential issues that could affect the property’s value.
Buyer’s due diligence
Buyers should do their due diligence before finalizing a real estate transaction. A professional home inspection by a reputable termite company is an important step in this process. While it may be tempting to skip this step to save time or money, discovering a termite problem after the sale can be financially devastating.
Buyers should ensure that the home inspection includes a comprehensive examination for signs of termite activity. If the inspector discovers termites, buyers can negotiate repairs or treatment with the seller before closing the deal. Buyers should document any agreements in writing to avoid potential disputes down the line.
The legal implications of termite-related issues underscore the importance of transparency in real estate transactions. Buyers and sellers should be forthright about termite history to protect both parties and maintain the integrity of the real estate market.