When we experience a setback with a client, we like to educate others on what and why it happened. We see bizarre things in this business, and sharing those with our audience will help everyone learn and avoid problems in the future.
Today I am going to give you the unfortunate proof that concrete block houses and termites are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, termites destroyed our buyer’s dream concrete block house.
I repeat - no, this house is not wood frame. It is a solid CONCRETE BLOCK house.
I can see it on your face. You’re thinking, “wait a minute… that’s not possible. Concrete block houses can’t get termites. They are concrete!” If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard someone say that to me I would be RICH!
Like sipping a Pina Colada on Sanibel beach and never have to work again - rich.
Well, unfortunately one of our buyers recently inspected a home they want to purchase, and their story is here to squash this very common misconception.
Let me explain….
Every so often we come across a house in our line of work that knocks our socks off. Imagine a cute and quaint home in an awesome location near the Fort Myers waterfront. Priced great, awesome street, and *gasp* it’s already been remodeled! Quartz countertops gleaming at you, and stainless steel appliances so bright they hurt your eyes.
This house is perfect! What could possible go wrong…?!
You see, termites are sneaky little things. They like water & wood (and we have plenty of that here in Florida!). They burrow themselves into the tiniest of holes and devour every last piece of your hopes and dreams if you give them enough time. To avoid this grotesque pest, you decide to buy only a concrete house - those don’t get termites, remember?
You see, every concrete block house still has studs inside the drywall…
…that are made of wood.
And every concrete block house also has a roof truss system…
…that is made of wood.
So while your exterior walls might be made of concrete block, and your siding might be stucco, your truss system and your studs are still fair game. In fact, they are more than just fair game. That wood in your concrete block house is a 5-star Michelin chef meal waiting to be devoured by these tiny tyrants. By the time it’s all said in done, a beam inside your roof’s truss system will take a screw driver right through the middle of it like a stick of butter. Next thing you know you’ll need the house tented - but that still doesn’t fix the damage to you roof truss system.
Back to this cute remodeled house that our buyers wanted to buy and had inspected.
It was perfect in many ways. And yes - it did pose less of a risk of having termites because it is concrete block. However, from time to time we still see concrete block houses with termites. That is why we recommend a termite inspection on any home.
Most importantly, our buyers won't lose any money other than the money they are out for the home inspection that uncovered these termites. That’s because we wrote their purchase contract in a way that would allow them to back out and be returned all of their earnest money deposits if any inspection issues arises - which was clearly the case.
Other than hiring a knowledgeable REALTOR® that can save you from being forced to buy a termite damaged house by ensuring your are contractually protected, there are a few other things you can do to protect yourself from termites:
1. Hire a licensed inspector to inspect the house you want to buy for termites
Just like my post last week on specialized inspections you need when buying a waterfront home in Florida, termite inspections are a necessity! They are less than $100, and can save you tens of thousands on potential repairs down the road.
2. Purchase a subterranean termite protection plan
This often consists of bait stations that are buried around your home, and are routinely checked for activity by your pest control company.
2. Purchase a dry-wood termite protection plan
The dry-wood termite is the swarming kind that gets into your attic, and starts making a healthy snack out of your truss system. In order to be protected from this specific kind of pest, you will need an additional treatment service through your local pest control service. It will include a preventative attic treatment. Both of these “termite bonds” are renewed annually.
We truly hope you never, ever have to deal with termites. They can cause a lot of damage, and worse they scare away buyers. Don't blindly believe what you may have heard others repeat over and over again:
Concrete block homes and termites are NOT mutually exclusive.