Buying A Home?
Three Costly Mistakes That Home Buyers Frequently Make!
If You’re Looking To Buy A Home, Don’t Even Think About Laying Out Your Hard Earned Money Until You’ve Read This Special Report!
Costly Mistake #1: Not Reading All Termite Reports Before Making The Decision To Buy A Home!
In my experience, most home buyers never take the time to read termite inspection reports. Let me ask you two questions; “If there was a major problem with a home that you were going to buy, wouldn’t you want to know about it before you laid out your hard earned money? But, if you don’t read termite reports, how are you going to know about these problems until it’s too late?”
Here a are a few potential landmines that can knock new home buyers flat on their back if they don’t read termite inspection reports:
1. Defective Construction: No, I’m not a licensed contractor and I usually don’t comment on a home’s construction. But, when a construction defect is causing or may lead to future termite and dryrot problems, I am required to note those facts in my report. Here are just a few of the common construction defects that I’ve seen;
a. Room additions that are not built to code or installed properly: Many of these have foundations with faulty grade levels and/or earth to wood contacts. Correcting these conditions can mean a major overhaul, not to mention a lot of money!
b. Concrete sidewalks and patios improperly installed above the level of the home’s foundation, thus creating the potential for “nightmarish” termite and moisture problems.
c. Wood patio covers and decks that are not built to code or that are placed directly in contact with the ground. NOTE: If wood decks are in direct contact with the ground, even for a short period of time, problems with dryrot and termites are almost guaranteed. Complete replacement may be required in order to correct construction defects and/or termite and dryrot problems (Mucho $$$$).
2. Drywood termite infestations that extend into inaccessible areas. How could the average home buyer ever never know about this unless he or she took the time to read their termite inspection report? What does it mean to you if your home has termites extending into inaccessible areas? To put it real simple, it means that the inspector saw termites extending into an area that can’t be reached for a local/spot treatment without having to tear the house apart. This is where we recommend a whole house tent fumigation. WARNING: I’ve written reports that clearly stated that there were drywood termite infestations extending into inaccessible areas and that the entire home would need to be fumigated. But, many of these homes were sold and only had bogus spot treatments performed(How did they get away with that?). Protect yourself, read all reports and pay attention to Structural Pest Conrol Board guidelines. Look closely for differences in opinions and don’t hesitate to call the inspectors if you have questions.
3. How many termite inspection reports have been done on the home that you want to buy during the past three years? Did you receive a copy of all of these reports? This can be a very critical question for you to ask. Let’s face it, some termite reports have a way of “disappearing” – especially those reports that say negative things about a house;
TRUE STORY: Did a home inspection not long ago. I noted drywood termites, termite damage and the home really did need to be fumigated. But, the homeowner wanted to get off cheap, so he hired a handyman. They patched, painted and covered up the damaged areas. Then he called another termite company to do an inspection. The other termite inspector didn’t know about my inspection and of course he didn’t see all the damage I did. The house was sold and it never did get fumigated! The buyer of this house got ripped off!
HOT TIP: Look for inspection tags posted by other termite companies. We are required to post inspection tags and you’ll usually find them posted in the attic or garage. We are also required to note inspection tags posted by other termite companies (during the past 3 years) on our inspection reports. But, keep in mind that inspection tags can also “mysteriously disappear and no one ever seems to know why”.
I strongly recommend that you call the California Structural Pest Control Board and ask for copies of all reports done during the past three years. May cost you a couple of dollars, but it’s cheap insurance!
4. If you have two or more termite inspection reports, take your time and compare what they have to say! ATTENTION POTENTIAL HOME BUYERS: You’ll be absolutely amazed if you take the time to read all of your reports. Some of them are so different from one another that you won’t even believe that they are talking about the same house! That can be quite alarming to a potential buyer. The solution: Call the inspectors and ask for them to explain the differences!
“Termite” Terry’s BONUS OFFER: If you have two or more reports and you want to see the differences with your own eyes – CALL ME!!!! Bring your note pad, I’ll loan you a flashlight and we’ll look at your home TOGETHER! I have done this with many a home buyer and had great results. Schedule your inspection by calling me at 949-631-7348 or click here for our online order form. This may be the best move you’ve ever made!
Costly Mistake #2: Not Finding Out If The House Really Needs A Fumigation!
In Southern California, we have a big problem with drywood termites – Especially along our coastal areas. Some home sellers try to get off cheap, they don’t want to fumigate their homes and they attempt to skate by with a “bogus spot treatment”. You need to pay extra attention to this matter so that you don’t get stuck with the additional expenses later.
The California Structural Pest Control Board tells us in their literature that not all homes with drywood termites need to be fumigated. If an infestation is contained in a small area(s), the drywood termites may be eliminated by local applications. If treatments other than fumigation are recommended, you should be aware that localized treatments will not provide eradication of other hidden infestations in the building.
Local or spot treatments include the use of pesticides, electric current, extreme cold, localized heat or microwave energy. These methods are intended for a specific targeted area only, leaving open the possibility of other undetected infestations within the structure. These treatments are NOT designed for whole-house eradication. They also tell us that any pest control company that claims whole-house results with local or spot control methods is guilty of false advertising and should be reported.
The Structural Pest Control Board tells us that there are currently two methods for total or whole-house eradication of drywood termites – fumigation and heat. Fumigations are where the house is enclosed in a tent. For the heat method, the house is also enclosed in a tent. But, instead of using a lethal gas, the house is heated until the inside temperature reaches 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Please note that this procedure may not be practical for structures that cannot be heated evenly.
NOTE: MUCH OF THE INFORMATION ABOVE IS FROM A CALIFORNIA STATE DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS “STRUCTURAL PEST CONTROL FACT SHEET”, DATED JULY 1998. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE INFORMATION IN MY REPORTS IS ACCURATE AND WHAT BETTER SOURCE IS THERE THAN TO GET IT STRAIGHT FROM THE SOURCE THAT REGULATES OUR INDUSTRY!
BOTTOM LINE: If the home you’re buying is more than ten years old, it has more than just a few spots of drywood termites, you have no record of the home being fumigated recently and a localized/spot treatment is recommended, I strongly suggest that you talk to the inspector about this. Another inspection/second opinion may be necessary. Call me at 949-631-7348 to schedule your inspection or click here for our online order form . Remember, it’s your neck and it’s your money that’s on the line!
Costly Mistake #3: Not Taking The Time To Find Out How The Repair Work Is Going To Be Done!
I know that it is popular for some of our elected officials to “play dumb” and pretend that they really didn’t know what was happening at a time they were supposed to be doing their jobs. A lot of home buyers are like that, too. Rather than doing their job and investigating how repairs are being done on the home they’re buying, they simply “play dumb” and hope that “everything turns out happily every after”. This can be a very costly mistake! Here are a couple of great examples of what you need to be on the lookout for:
a. “Bondo Bandits”! Watch out for these guys! Rather than remove the damaged wood and do the job right, “Bondo Bandits” simply put big globs of “Bondo” or wood putty over the damaged areas to cover things up. They do this because it’s cheap, quick and easy. In fact, it’s so easy that you don’t even need experienced carpenters – Anyone can do this!
Why should you worry about this? A great analogy would be if you had a wooden step ladder with a broken step. Yes, you could put a big glob of wood putty over the damaged step and if you took the time to sand it down and paint it, the ladder would look pretty good. But, as soon as you tried climbing the ladder, the damaged step would probably break in half! What good is a ladder like that? Can you see why you wouldn’t want your house repaired like that? You sure wouldn’t want to be in a house like that when there’s a big earth quake, wood you?
TRUE STORY: Not long ago, I did an estimate and I told the owner that his home would need over $2,500.00 worth of wood repairs. The wood alone cost over 500.00! The owner thought my price was too high so he got another estimate. The guy he hired did the job for $600.00 and replaced almost no wood at all! Basically, this “Bondo Bandit” came in with a can of wood putty and patched up the entire house! (Would you want to buy a house like this?)
Not all wood has to be replaced when you find damage. If all you have is minor termite damage, treat the termite infestation, repair the damage with a quality wood filler and it should work just fine. But the Structural Pest Control Board is pretty specific when they say, “Replace or reinforce structural members which appear to be structurally weakened by wood destroying pest or organisms”. They also say, “Wood structurally weakened by wood by fungus shall be replaced and that we are to correct adverse moisture conditions”.
I looked pretty close and I didn’t see anywhere in the rules and regulations that said, “If you are lazy, broke or if you just want to get off cheap, the entire house may be repaired with a can of wood putty!”.
b. “Patch Adams”! This is the kind of guy that will take out the damaged portions and replace them. But, instead of replacing the entire wood member, he will simply stick in a small block of wood to fill in the gap. You can get this kind of work done pretty cheap because they don’t use as much in materials and the guys that do that kind of work do not demand an/or deserve high salaries. But, this “scab work” usually weakens the structure and it makes the house look like “#@%&*%”!
While there are times when a small block is all that’s needed to do a repair job the right way, I usually prefer to replace the full length. Let’s say for example that a home’s facia board is twelve feet long and it is damaged on one end. Yes, I know that I could cut off about four feet and “scab” in a small piece. But the job will look so much better if I replace the entire twelve foot piece. Besides, if the facia is made of 2 x 6 Douglas Fir, you’re only talking an extra four or five dollars in material cost. And, you know what else? – A good carpenter can often replace the entire twelve foot piece in the same time it would take to “scab” in a four foot piece!”(A lot of this has to do with how the carpenter thinks. If the carpenter is lazy, he’s always trying to take short-cuts. But if you’ll step back and watch these lazy carpenters, you’ll see that their short cuts often take more time than if they would have just did it right the first time!).
Another common “Patch Work Adams” job you’ll see a lot of is on door jambs where the bottom is rotted out. Instead of replacing the entire jamb leg from top to bottom, they’ll “scab” in a small block at the bottom. And from that day on, everyone that goes through the door will see that the house looks like “#@%&*%”! For aesthetic purposes, I prefer to replace the full length of the jamb. It’s a little more work but it’s not that bad if you know what you’re doing.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s you’re job to find out what will and won’t be replaced when the home you’re buying is repaired. If you see something that doesn’t look right or you’re simply not sure about it, get a second opinion by calling me at 949-631-7348 or click here for our online order form. Remember, there’s no special award for home buyers that are “Dumb or Dumber”.