Termites In The Attic!

Well... maybe not bats in the belfry, but certainly Termites in The Attic
This story has two morals...

1.   NEVER rely on another buyer's inspection report...
NEVER rely on an inspection company recommended by the Seller

Termites... Ya gotta love the little buggers!!  (THERE ARE SEVERAL PHOTOS AND ADOBE PDF LINKS TO VIEW BELOW)

Buyer #1 entered into an agreement to purchase the home under an Arizona Residential Sales Contract.  The transaction did not close because Buyer #1 could not qualify for financing.

Enter Buyer #2

Buyer #2 entered into an agreement to purchase the home under an Arizona Residential Sales Contract.

The Seller offered Buyer #2 a copy of the home and termite inspection report, left over from the Buyer #1 transaction.  The Buyer's Agent for Buyer #2, counseled Buyer #2 against taking advantage of both documents.  In deference to the Buyer's Agent's advice, Buyer #2 initially took advantage of the offer of the first home inspection report but not the termite report.  The Buyer's agent explained that Buyer #2's lender might not allow use of the prior termite inspection report.  The biggest incentive for using the previous home inspection (for the Buyer) was being able to evade the expense of a home inspection, a cost of between $225 and $300.

Enter The SPDS (Seller's Property Disclosure Statement)

The Seller provided a copy of the SPDS to the Buyer.  The SPDS did not make any notice of past or present termite infestation.  The Buyer accepted the content of the SPDS as factual and accurate.

The Examination of The Home Inspection provided from the first failed transaction

After reviewing The Buyer #1 inspection report, Buyer #2 found nothing objectionable with the property. (The Buyer's agent continued to try to encourage the Buyer to take advantage of the contractual "Inspection Period" and engage the services of a home inspector, selected by Buyer #2, but Buyer #2 continued to decline his Buyer Agent's counsel.)

Enter The Termite Inspector

It is absolutely essential that your termite inspector and home inspector enter the attic (and crawl spaces if they exist under the property).  Be sure to insist on a thorough examination of the property, not simply the "Flashlight Scan".

Keep in mind that the first termite inspection did not report any infestation or structural damage.

The Termite Inspector entered the attic and found not only an infestation, but structural damage so severe that the structure/house was actually unsafe.  The images below demonstrate just how much damage had taken place.

After Buyer #2 gained his composure from the revelation of the termite infestation and subsequent damage, Buyer #2 took his Buyer Agent's council and hired a home inspector.  The home inspection lead to an exhaustive examination of the structural integrity of the property by a (PSE) State Certified Physical Structural Engineer.

The PSE determined that the laminated support beams had been seriously compromised.  The termites had been present for a very long time and hollowed out the six inch beam in four places.  The only remedy for this damage was to replace the support beam.  The entire roof structure would have to be lifted/jacked up from the bearing walls so the damaged beam could be removed.  Then a new beam would need to be inserted in place of the old beam.  The cost for this effort was estimated between $10,000.00 and $30,000.00;  (the sales price of the  home was only $130,000)... Oh yes... No!  The home owners insurance would not cover the damage.

The Failure Of The Transaction

Interestingly enough, Buyer #2 was willing to proceed with the transaction if the Seller would have the repairs made in a fashion consistent with the recommendations of the PSE and the General Contractor who had examined the damaged structure.  The Seller refused and the transaction was terminated with all earnest money returned to the Buyer.

Moral #1!

Never use inspection reports prepared by any inspector, other than those hired by you and/or reviewed by your Representative!  To do so is similar to using someone else's homework... never a good idea :o)

Moral #2!

Always hire your own vendors to conduct all of your inspections.

Once again... this is a graphic example of some of the items that can go wrong during the escrow period of your closing.

Your Own Home Inspection, conducted by an inspector selected by you, perhaps with the assistance of your Representative, is ESSENTIAL if you wish to protect your investment.  Who is going to look out for your interests and perhaps the most important investment of your life!!

Click to image to enlarge Click to image to enlarge Click to image to enlarge Click to image to enlarge
Click to view a PDF file of
Large Photo of Termite Damage
Click to view a PDF file of
Large Photo of Termite Damage
Click to view a PDF file of
Large Photo of Termite Damage
Click to view a PDF file of
Changes in Termite Inspection Law
  Click to image to enlarge  
Click to Play Video
 Read a little information about Termites
Click to Play Video

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