Termites in New Orleans
We’re getting close to that time of year when the termites start swarming in New Orleans. If you haven’t experienced swarm season, you’re in for a treat (that’s sarcasm, for the new folks).
There’s nothing quite like having to turn off all of your exterior lights to avoid attracting the little darlings during their mating season and then finding tiny termite corpses scattered everywhere the next day. Repeat for a couple of weeks and you’ll get an idea of why termites are always part of the conversation when we talk about New Orleans real estate.
The damage that termites can do is nothing to take lightly. You think that everything is fine while they are hiding behind the walls, happily dining on your studs and framing, weakening the structure of your house. If they do enough damage, you might find yourself like one of our clients, whose hand went right through a wall that had no evidence of a problem.
Because these pests can do so much damage, we get asked a lot of questions about termite contracts, certificates and treatments. Here’s your guide to what your agent is talking about.
What is a termite contract?
The termite contract is between the homeowner and a licensed pest control company. It includes annual inspections of your property for any signs of activity. Most companies will also do an on-demand inspection if you suspect a problem during the term of the contract. The average annual renewal fee is around $100.
The most important things to know about your termite contract are if damages are covered and the cost of any deductible.
What is a termite certificate?
Unless you are paying cash for your house, your mortgage lender will likely require you to get a termite certificate. Technically, there’s no such thing as a “termite certificate”. What you’ll need is an inspection and a Wood Destroying Insect Report, that documents any evidence of current or past insect activity. While inspectors do their best, it’s only a visual inspection. No one can see behind your walls to know what’s going on there.
What is a termite treatment?
A treatment is when the pest control company applies the chemicals to deter termite activity. The treatment is done both around the perimeter of the house and, in slab homes, by drilling into the foundation and the cost is dependent on the size of the property. Expect to pay upwards of $750 for the full treatment, more if you are installing a baiting system. However, full treatments only need to be performed every 4-5 years, because the chemicals they use are long lasting – with some exceptions. Floods? You’ll need to retreat. If you break the barrier by digging around the foundation of your house? You’ll need to retreat.
What if active termites are found?
Treatment options will depend on how extensive the infestation has become. Have you ever seen those houses that look like they are covered in circus tents? They are being tented – the biggest and most expensive way to eradicate pests. Most homes won’t need anything quite this drastic.
Do I need a termite contract?
Here’s where you get down to brass tacks.
Are you selling your home? Then you will more than likely need to have a termite contract in place before selling due to lender requirements.
Are you buying a home? More than likely, you’ll get a termite contract from the seller. When it’s time for the annual renewal, you will have to decide if saving that annual renewal fee is worth the risk of damages that will cost you money out of pocket.
We say it’s worth it.