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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  14 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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Where buyers termite inspector finds no live ermites and no

Resolved Question:

Where buyers' termite inspector finds no live ermites and no active infestitation but, because of evidence of old termite damage, recommends a treatment program costing $1,825. Their contract is silent on this issue. Do the sellers owe any part of the cost of a treatment program.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Do the sellers owe any part of the cost of a treatment program.
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If the contract doesn't specifically address the cost of a preventative treatment then the caselaw is all over the place on this issue. But from a contractual viewpoint if the contract only states that the seller is responsible for treatment if active termites are discovered, then I would opine that the buyer can't hold seller responsible for a preventative treatment. But if it states that the seller is liable for treatment if "evidence of termites" is discovered, then they could likely hold seller responsible.
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So a lot of it depends on what the language in the contract specifically states about termites. If you are using a standard KREC purchase contract under paragraph 7c it specifically only refers to "visible evidence of active wood destroying insects" so seller wouldn't be obligated to pay for preventative treatment based on past infestations.
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They could hold seller liable for the cost of any repairs from the previous infestation though.
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As an aside I have also been a Realtor for over 13 years...
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Thanks
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 24582
Experience: 14 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
Barrister and 4 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I have had this happen twice in a row. This is the third time, and my own agent insists I owe up to $2,000, referring to a provision of the standard contract which, I believe, is designed for a situation where the parties determine that the house is termite-riddled and the cost of repair is prohibitive. Then the seller can rescind the contract, but, of course, that has nothing to do with our situation.


 


Since you are in real estate, how do I get her to seek the opinion of someone else? She is a friend of my wife, and my wife is very upset.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Under that same clause I noted earlier, it goes on to state that if there is previous damage, the seller has to make repairs not exceeding 1% of the sales price. If repairs exceed that, buyer and seller have to negotiate in good faith to resolve it. But if they can't reach an agreement in 3 days then either party can terminate the contract and buyer gets their deposit back.
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So in this situation, you might want to get an estimate of what it would cost to repair any existing damage and if it exceeds $1,825, then it would be better to just agree to pay the treatment costs. If it is 1% of purchase price or less, then buyer can force you to make the repairs or give them a credit against them.
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As for convincing the buyer to get another opinion, if you can figure that out, tell me. In my experience buyers tend to dig in on this issue and aren't easily swayed.
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Thanks
Barrister

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