By Owen Jones

It does not matter what the circumstances are, the news of termite damage is never good, even if you caught it before any severe damage occurred and even if you have already fixed it. This is because it demonstrates that your house is in danger of further attack.

This is very bad news indeed if you are trying to sell your home, because the estate agent's inspection of your property will expose the truth and that will worry a lot of potential purchasers. When termites are discovered by the estate agent and the vendor did not even know, it is common practice for the vendor to offer to destroy the termites and repair the damage.

However, this is frequently not sufficient to save either the sale of the property or its original selling price. You may have to take a hefty cut in the selling price. This is because the pest controllers can give a deposition that the termites have been wiped out and the estate agent can give a statement that the visible damage has been repaired, but who is going to give such a report on the general structure of the house?

Structural damage is not always visible to the naked eye and some termites are even subterranean. Some termites will even eat concrete! If there is structural damage, the costs can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.

Forty or fifty thousand is not an exaggeration. Therefore, the only way to assuage a prospective purchaser, or indeed, yourself, that your house is structurally sound, is to call in a structural engineer.

Do not be concerned yet, that does not inevitably have to cost a lot. It depends on what the engineer finds and what he has to uncover to satisfy himself that the structure is sound. You can help lessen the costs by clearing out some or all of your rooms and making certain that appliances can be moved if necessary.

If you have an attic or and a basement, now is a very good time for a clean-out. The garage too. Completely empty the attic, basement and garage so that the engineer can see what is going on and make sure that there is adequate strong lighting for him to see by. If he has to bring in workers to do all this essential work for you, your bill will go up considerably.

In the same way, if he says that the footings have to be uncovered, offer to do the digging yourself. Better still, have some friends and family on hand to do it there and then if you can so that he does not have to come back again. They charge by the hour and by the visit and you pay for travelling time.

Lastly, whether you are buying, selling or staying, get depositions and warranties for all the work carried out and keep those reports with the other vital papers relating to your home.

A potential purchaser will definitely be more impressed by these reports and guarantees and so will your insurance company. Just bear in mind that, you would not want to live where there is serious termite damage and neither does anyone else.

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