It always amazes me when I list homes that most sellers do not do the one thing annually to protect themselves from hefty costs at selling time…and it only has to be done once a year and costs very little.
If you guessed “termite inspection” you are correct! Here in California termites are pretty common due to our climate. Most termite companies charge about $75-85 for an inspection, and you only need one once a year – this is a small price to pay to prevent wood repairs and tenting when you go to sell the home. Even if you don’t plan on selling for a long time, termite maintenance only gets worse with time, so ignoring it will cost you.
Every home I have sold this year has had termite damage, AND not one of the sellers had regular inspections. A few of those sellers ended up paying thousands of dollars prior to closing escrow on wood repairs and tenting. Had those sellers had annual inspections they would have saved lots of money.
I have a termite inspection every year on my own home. Thankfully they have never found termites, but several neighbors have had termites. One home I sold in the neighborhood had the “worst infestation” in their attic that the inspector had ever seen (and he had been in the industry for many years). The owner had NEVER had an inspection and had owned the home over 10 years.
One caveat when selecting a termite company: they are not all the same. There are quite a few companies out there whose goal is to tent your home, as they make the most money doing so (and it costs YOU the most as well). Make sure to do your research when selecting a company. I have high standards, so I fully trust my preferred company, but as an agent I have had issues with other companies (when the seller selected). I recommend speaking to friends and neighbors to get referrals, or asking a local, seasoned real estate agent in your area.
Owing a home requires a great deal of maintenance, but annual termite reports are one thing you can do that doesn’t cost much. If you do have wood damage most companies can provide an estimate for repair, but oftentimes you can get cheaper estimates from contractors or handymen, so look around. Make yourself an annual reminder to have a termite inspection and you will save yourself a lot of money down the road!