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Selling a House With Termite Damage

If you've recently discovered termites in your home, there's no telling how much damage they'll leave behind. Depending on how extensive the damage is, termites may affect your home's value and the likelihood of selling.

Fortunately, selling a house with termite damage is possible, and you do have options! Find out how to get rid of termites and what your options are for selling property with termite damage here.

Do I Have to Disclose Termite Damage in Tennessee?

It is required for you to disclose your home has termite damage to prospective buyers when you're selling your house in Tennessee. Whether there's an active termite infestation or a previous one you already fixed the damage from, the seller is required to disclose termite damage.

Luckily, this doesn't mean you can't sell a house with termite damage. There are just a few steps you have to take before you're able to do so.

What Are Termites?

Termites are wood-eating insects that can damage the structure of your home.

According to the USDA, termites destroy more than 600,000 houses throughout the country annually. Typically, termites are less active in colder temperatures. However, termites are active year-round in most states, including Tennessee.

Most termite colonies contain around 60,000 termites, which means termites devour a lot of wood in a short time. If your home's structure is compromised, this could create an unsafe living environment and require expensive repairs.

The extent of damage termites cause depends on several factors, including:

  • Type of termite
  • Size of the termite colony
  • Condition of the house
  • Type of wood
  • Other food sources
  • Temperature

Not only can termites cause structural damage, but water may enter your home through termite tunnels, leading to discoloration and blisters on the walls. Additionally, termites can damage your property's laminate floors and ceilings.

What Causes Termites?

Termites are attracted to wood. However, certain termites can be more (or less) attracted to specific types of wood. Some termites thrive in humid environments, while others prefer dry wood.

There are also subterranean termites that prefer to live in soil, burrowing in any wood nearby. This type of termite builds mud tubes, which you can usually see outside on the ground or on the exterior of the home.

The state you live in plays a role in the likelihood of an infestation. Tennessee's warm weather and high humidity make houses more susceptible to termite activity and damage.

Generally, termites are attracted to the following:

  • Wood
  • Wood in contact with house foundations
  • Exterior cracks
  • Leaky pipes
  • Poor airflow
  • Improper drainage

Homeowners might also bring termites into their homes through firewood or untreated lumber.

How Do You Know If Your House Has Termites?

Termites can live inside your home for a while before being noticed. Some termites form tunnels underground, while others burrow deep within wooden structures.

If you're trying to sell a house with accrued water damage or foundation issues, keep an eye out for the following signs of termite activity, including:

  • Flying termite swarms anywhere on the property
  • Termite wings
  • Mud tubes climbing the exterior of your home
  • Discolored or sagging drywall
  • Tiny holes in drywall
  • Peeling paint that resembles water damage
  • Extra-squeaky floorboards
  • Crumbling, damaged wood or laminate floorboards
  • Hollow sounding wood (knock on wood to see if it sounds sturdy or hollow)

The longer you leave termites untreated, the more damage they will cause, and the more expensive treatment and repairs will be.

If you're getting your house appraised, one part of the appraisal process is to check for termite damage. If the appraiser notices any signs of termites, you'll have to get a termite inspector to give their full analysis. This way, you'll know the extent of the damage and the type of repairs required before you're able to sell your home.

How Long Does It Take Termites to Destroy a House?

How long it takes for termites to destroy a house depends on the type of termites and the size of the termite colony.

It usually takes around three years for termite damage to be noticeable. If termites are left untreated, and the colony is large enough, all wooden parts of a house may be destroyed within eight years.

How Much Does Termite Damage Affect Home Value?

Depending on the severity of your home's termite damage, the selling price could be affected by 20% or more.

Even worse - potential buyers will not be approved for an FHA loan to buy a home with termite damage until the seller fixes the issues. So, in addition to decreasing the overall selling price, the buyer pool could be severely limited due to loan restrictions.

Active Termites vs. History of Termites

When it comes to selling a house with termite damage, it's important to note whether the home has active termites, or a history of termites but no current activity:

  • Active termites mean there's existing termite activity on a property.
  • A history of termites denotes a past termite infestation that was treated.

Termite inspectors can determine if a property has active termites or a history of termites, and provide a written statement.

If you're selling a home that was previously treated for termites, you should have documentation of your last termite treatment and any necessary repairs.

How to Sell a House with Termites

1. Repair Termite Damage and List Your Home

You can sell your home with an active or past termite problem, but it can come at a cost. You'll need to disclose termites to prospective buyers, which may reduce your selling options. 

If possible, it's recommended you treat your home for termites before listing - as mentioned above, it's mandatory for termite damage to be repaired if your buyer will be purchasing your home with an FHA loan. You should also keep a record of any treatment plans.

How Are Termites Treated?

There are a few standard methods of treating termites, each with its own benefits, including:

  • Chemical Treatments -Chemical treatments are liquid soil treatments applied to trenches around the home that get rid of subterranean termites. This method is best for treating infestations that haven't invaded the entire home. Chemical treatments cost anywhere between $3 to $16 per foot and are necessary until termite activity is gone.
  • Bait Systems - Bait systems are great for eliminating termite colonies. With a bait system, holes are dug around your home and bait stations are placed. Bait systems cost $8 to $12 per foot. This technique isn't as precise as chemical treatment and may require more visits.
  • Tenting Treatments - Tenting treatments are recommended for large termite infestations as they cover more ground than chemical or bait systems. This is the best treatment for getting rid of termites in your home, but it's not the most effective for destroying underground infestations. Tenting treatments are priced at a flat rate between $1,200 to $2,500 or $5 to $20 per foot.

If you don't invest in termite treatment, your house may remain on the market for a long time with few buyers in sight. Keep in mind, the longer a house sits, the more damage termites can cause. Additionally, even if you have interested buyers, expect offers much lower than your asking price. 

Termite Damage

In addition to treating the termites to remove the termite infestation, your house still may have termite damage to fix as well. Termites attack wood closest to the ground and create holes in the wood that make it structurally unsound. Typically areas that see issues are floor joists, sill plates, and subfloors on the first level of a home, especially homes with a crawl space. Repairing these issues will require the assistance from a skilled carpenter and may involve the removal and replacement of the flooring above. Depending on the severity of the issues, repairing termite damage can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000 or more!

2. Sell the House As-Is

Even with termite treatment and seller honestly, you might not find a buyer willing to purchase your home. And, in many cases, dropping the price of the house still isn't enough. 

In this case, your best option is to sell to a cash buyer who is willing to buy your house as-is, like Reliant Home Buyers of TN. 

As a Knoxville native, and a local real estate expert, our owner Justin can make you a fair cash offer and help you close in days. The best part is you won't have to pay for termite treatments or costly repairs. 

Selling to a trustworthy home buyer ensures you'll receive cash for your home quickly, without the headache that comes with listing.

We Buy Houses With Termite Damage

Whether you're selling a house with active termites or significant termite damage, we can help! At Reliant Home Buyers of TN, we buy houses as-is, including properties in any price range or condition. 

Request a FREE, no-obligation offer for your house today! We'll call back to schedule a walk-through of your home as quickly as possible. After that, our home buyers will help determine the best solution for your situation - whether that's consulting you on next steps or buying your house! 

Here are a few reasons you should sell us your house with termite damage: 

  • Zero obligation to sell - We will never pressure you into signing with us. We'll answer any questions you have throughout the home buying process, so you can decide what's best for your situation. 
  • No closing costs or fees - Selling to Reliant Home Buyers of TN means there are no agent fees or open houses! If we're interested in buying your home, we'll make you a WIN-WIN proposal - just like that! Our easy, one-page contract includes moving and closing dates and a cash selling price. 

There's no need for repairs - With us, you're not required to make repairs or upgrades before selling! Whether you're selling a house with unpermitted work or code violations, our cash offers are based on the condition and location of your home!

Need to Sell a House With Termite Damage in East Tennessee?

If you live in East Tennessee, contact Reliant Home Buyers of TN today! With nearly two decades of experience, we understand the complexities of buying houses with termite damage and can help you sell fast! 

Contact us today if you plan on selling a house within the Greater Knoxville area, including: 

For more information on selling a house with termite damage, call 865-567-6391.


Serving Knox, Blount, Loudon, Anderson, Roane, Sevier, Union, Jefferson, Hamblen, Cumberland, Monroe, and McMinn Counties.

Reliant Home Buyers Of TN, Real Estate, Knoxville, TN