Recently a couple of my clients have tried to buy or sell a home with termites. Almost every buyer out there conducts termite inspections, and if you don’t – you should! Per our standard contracts, if active termites or past untreated infestation is found, then the seller is contractually obligated to have a pest control company treat. I don’t know what kind of chemicals they use, but I guess that works very well to eradicate them.
You can pretty much see in advance if a home is at risk for having termites – and most of the time they can be prevented. For example, if you go to the garden store and buy a truckload of mulch and pile it up next to your house, you are just inviting the termites. They love wood, and they love mulch. Also, if the mulch is touching your siding – they are just going to start eating your siding too. Also, don’t lean anything up against your house – they will just use it as a ladder to get from the ground to your delicious house.
Treatments range in price from the “value” treatment which makes me nervous for about $400 up to $1000, but I’m pretty sure you can get a good treatment for about $700-800, with a reputable company that you will feel comfortable with.
Don’t be freaked out if they find termites – it is a part of nature. Half the houses I see have been treated for termites at some point – even mine. However, if they are found, you do need to evaluate the extent of the damage. Did the just eat on the outside siding, or have they gotten into your house? The walls? The framing? I have never seen anything that bad, but I hear horror stories now and then.