Part of the process of selling a home involves an inspection of the property before the buyer and seller can finalize the sale. Termites and roof leaks are two maintenance musts that can really impact the value of a property if not addressed. We have written articles before about how to manage this step, but with the recent unusual amount of rain this summer two issues that can jeopardize a sale have come to light. These do not go away on their own. While we are at it, let’s add rodents to the list.
We have seen inspections where there is evidence of a roof leak or even possible termite or rodent invasion. The $64,000 question is: is this NEW damage, or was it there before and the necessary steps have been taken to remediate the situation? The agents look to past receipts of repairs and treatments, along with the recollection of the seller’s history of the property. But does this answer the question?
Here is the scenario: There is a round brown spot on the ceiling in the living room. Evidence that there is a roof leak somewhere. Call the roofer! The roofer finds a breach on the flat roof and fixes the leak, or so he thought. Oh no! A termite tube is found on the stem wall by the patio, or rodent droppings. Call the exterminator! He comes out and treats the area. Four months later you put your house on the market. The buyer notices that there is a spot on the ceiling and a tube on the stem wall. The buyer and the inspector cannot rule out that there is an active leak and termite activity. You fight back and claim you had the area fixed, and you even have receipts. Still, how do you prove that the leak is not due to new damage or roofer error, and there is another infestation of pests beyond what you treated?
The quick easy fix and insurance that you will know if damage is old or new is to repair the previous damage caused by a leak, termites or rodents. We do not in any way want you to think that we are encouraging sellers to hide evidence of potential damage to a property. We are bound by law to disclose anything that could affect the material value of a property.
- If you have a leak that left a spot, clean up and paint the spot after the repair.
- After a few weeks and the termite chemicals have stopped the activity on your home, clean up and if needed paint the area where the tubes and their stains were on the wall.
- Rodents gone then clean up their droppings.
Now you will be able to know if any evidence of leaks or pests that could be new have returned to the same area.
All homeowners should do this even if you have no intention of selling in the foreseeable future. It helps you to know if there is something going on that is a new problem. Even an obscure stain on the garage ceiling that has been repaired needs to be cleaned up and painted to give you the peace of mind that your home is secure.