Termites with No Termite Bond: What You Need to Do Right Now
Before you even buy your house, you’ll have a home inspection that can help uncover any existing termite damage, especially if you use an inspector with termite experience. But what happens if you get termites after you already bought the house and you don’t have a termite bond?
First thing's first, though. What can termite damage do to your property? And how do you even tell if the problem you're dealing with is the result of termites, or some other issue altogether?
Termite damage signs
Termites can cause quite a bit of damage to the wood on your property if you don't get control of them quickly. Be on the lookout for a few of these select termite damage signs, and have your exterminator on speed dial if you encounter any of these when doing a personal inspection of your property:
- Piles of frass - Termite dung, called frass, is usually found in piles of what appears to be coarse, clumpy sand; if you see these around your home, you should be on high alert, as you probably have termites
- Cracks on walls both interior and exterior - These could mean that termites are present and are boring into the walls of your property in order to make their homes
- Spongy, sagging floorboards - Termites' boring practices tend to leave wood hollow, or structurally weak/unstable; be vigilant with your floorboards, as these can be hazardous if left untended to
Know for a fact you've got termites? Call an exterminator ASAP
First thing's first. Get them out of your house. Call an exterminator who specializes in termites. The good news here is you have a little bit of time because termites don’t cause damage quickly. So get a couple estimates and shop around before you hire anyone.
Termites have a bad habit of coming back years after they were exterminated. So, at this point, it might be worth it to get a termite bond. What is that, exactly?
What is a termite bond?
A termite bond is a contract entered into between a homeowner and a pest control expert and/or extermination company.
The bond is basically a retainer that ensures routine home inspections, on a quarterly or an annual basis, by a pest control expert from the company in question. This is conducted in order to make sure that there are no termites present (and thus wreaking havoc) on the property.
If a pest control expert does encounter termites on your property during one of these inspections, there is almost always a stipulation in the termite bond that ensures immediate treatment and remediation in order to get the infestation under control and inhibit further damage.
Payment for these hypothetical treatments is usually included in the price of the bond, so you won't be required to pay any additional money for this dimension of the service.
How long is a termite bond good for?
The typical termite bond is generally good for a few years or more. The exact length of the contract varies from circumstance to circumstance, so be sure to clarify how long you'll be under the bond when you first meet with a pest control company representative.
Call a contractor
Fixing termite damage definitely isn’t a DIY project. You’ll need a professional contractor to come and assess the damage. Termites can cause structural damage, and if that’s not taken care of you’ll have a serious, long-term problem on your hands.
Once you know what you’re working with, you’ll need to figure out how to pay for it. Hopefully, it’s only a couple hundred dollars. But you might have to end up taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or an FHA Home Improvement loan to fix the damage.
You should also check to see if your homeowner's insurance covers termite damage.
Prevent it from happening again
Remove moisture by fixing leaky faucets. Get rid of brush and mulch piles. There are plenty of things you can do to discourage termites from getting near your house. Your exterminator will have some tips, so make sure to ask.
And if you're buying a house with wood siding? Ask about the termite bond. If they don't have one, you may be able to negotiate it in the sale.