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Article posted on September 11, 2018

Termites Found After Moving in with Clear Building & Pest Inspection

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South Brisbane resident, Lesley asks

“We’ve recently purchased a house that had a clear pest and building inspection, and we’ve just moved in, and we found termite damage. Who is to blame?”


danny kelly pest imageSorry to hear of your troubles Lesley, unfortunately this happens all to often. Here’s some advice that might be of help to you.

Pre-purchase pest and building inspections are one of the highest sued professions in our industry. It should be made clear when buying a property, homeowners are sent a pre-inspection agreement that explains to the buyer that this is a visual inspection only. In other words, we are visibly inspecting the house in its current condition.

Back to your concern, in situations like this, there are two important things to consider: Firstly, what’s the nature of the problem? Is it an active infestation, or is it simply damage from a previous infestation. Secondly, was the property furnished or unfurnished during an inspection?

Active termites can cause damage quickly. Once they get inside a house, damage can be done in as little as 30 days. If you find active termites, it’s always best to give us a call right away so we can inspect the property and take the necessary action. In most cases with a live infestation, we’ll treat the nest using Termidor, in conjunction with bait stations.

Thorough inspections by professionals is a must

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This industry is full of self proclaimed “termite experts” who simply walk around a property with a tapping stick, performing 5 minute inspections and providing home owners with useless reports. We use the latest technology to ensure we perform the most comprehensive and thorough inspections possible.

For example, when performing an inspection, we use a number of tools, one of which is a Tramex moisture meter. This is a handheld device that picks up humidity and moisture behind walls, voids, and cavities that we can’t access or see into.

Active termites will essentially eat any material that is cellulose-based, such as timbers, wallpaper, and cardboard, and leave behind what is essentially wet mud.  If we do detect moisture within the walls or structure, we ’ll then use our Flir thermal imaging camera to inspect further.

When performing a pre-purchase pest and building inspection, we not only look for signs of live termites, we also try and find any previous activity. We’ll have a good look around in areas of interest, such as previous renovations, areas like bathrooms – we’ll even lift insulation or move things to try and find traces of previous damage.

Termites leave a staining on the timber and it becomes visible. And as I mentioned,  we are visibly inspecting the house in its current condition. If the house had termites in the back of the bathroom five years ago, and they put a new sheet of plaster on the back, a new skirting board, painted it up – fixed most of it – this isn’t going to be detected or seen during a pre-purchase inspection, because we can’t physically see through walls, and see inactive termite damage.

Sellers often try to hide problem areas

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We’ve had instances where homeowners have tried to cover up termite damage during the sale of their property. They’ll place a huge wall unit or a lounge suite directly in front of the affected area in a way that prevents us from having unobstructed access when performing the inspection.

Finding inactive termite damage is where most problems arise because inspectors are not necessarily allowed to move furnishings within the home.

Last week, for example, we were inspection a property and the homeowners were getting ready to move out,. They had three rooms with boxes stacked as high as the ceiling, so we couldn’t get into the rooms for inspection. Photos of the rooms were taken to put in our report, as a limitation. The report read, “These rooms are difficult to inspect for pests or termites because they’re not accessible. Access should be gained to this room, as it may contain visible evidence of termite attack or damage.”

We often see situations like this – people try to offload potentially infected homes by stuffing the home with furnishings or other objects to prevent access.

Naturally, if the new homeowner moves in regardless, then they find active termites in one of the three mentioned rooms, then it would be obvious that we weren’t able to access those rooms because they were full of furnishings, stored goods, and boxes. Occasionally we will move furnishing, just enough to be able to perform an inspection and often we’ll find bad water damage or even severe termite damage.

It does happen.

This is quite complicated, but as I said, the biggest things are: Are they active? If they’re not, then it’s old damage. Was that old damage accessible and visible to the inspector during the visual inspection? Was it included in the report?

Be thorough with your assessments

If you are looking to buy a house, it is important to read the pre-inspection agreement from the pest and building company, and it’s equally important to read the report. The report will alert you if anything needs a second look. As I mentioned above, there will be photos and narrative about why a certain area of the house weren’t included in the inspection.

When you are equipped with the reports from the inspectors, you can make the right decision as to whether or not to extend the contract and enable the inspectors access to those areas in question after they are emptied. Nothing beats having a clear conscience about having purchased a home, after all, it is an investment.

At Pest-Ex we prefer (when possible) to have the homeowners present during the inspection so we can explain the process, and answer any questions they might have. It’s much easier for us to go through our findings with them once the inspection has been completed, and go over the most suitable solutions.

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About to buy a property? Give us a call

If you’re about to buy a property, or you’d like a second opinion, give us a call and we’ll come out and perform a pre-purchase pest inspection on your behalf. We service all areas of Logan City, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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5 Star Google reviews from both Gold Coast & Brisbane locations

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Kent Bailey
11 months ago
Just had my home barrier treatment for termites by Pest Ex. In every way a brilliant job and fantastic friendly service unlike...read more anything else I have struck on the Gold Coast. This is a very professional company and every person involved was excellent in every way. Strongly recommend them to all who read this review because you won't do better.
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Christie McCabe
a year ago
On time. Efficient. Friendly. Informative. Well priced. Our experience with Pest-Ex was easy from the moment Reception answered our call. Our routine...read more pest inspection could be done the next day (a Saturday which is most convenient for full time workers). Karl arrived at 7am with a smile to complete the service and carried out the work efficiently informing us of the process where required. Thanks team.
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Chris Burt
2 years ago
Very professional and able to identify our pest problem on the spot. Was on time and great communication with admin girls via...read more phone. Very conscious of keeping our pet safe after the treatment which was a classy touch. Highly recommend!
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6 months ago
Great people and always helpful and providing a good service.
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Lorrie Cruickshanks
a year ago
Thank you to Garyn who first identified the issues, he was extremely thorough and prompt and then to John and Janine and...read more the team who treated and area and placed the baits. The process was fully explained and they were extremely courteous and very professional. Thank you to all the team. The office also kept us up to date with when their representatives would be visiting and this is very much appreciated. Great work.
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Donna Hamerton
a year ago
After reading reviews, I'm glad that I chose Pest-Ex. Maria in the office was more than understanding to accommodate me and times....read more I was able to get a booking the same day I made the enquiry. Garyn my technician was even able to come earlier. When he arrived he was happy to explain everything that was going to happen and how to work around my pets and children. Need pest control done - hire these guys.
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Phoebe Worth
2 years ago
Impressed with the service. The technician Steve was on time, friendly and thorough - you could tell he was not rushing the...read more job. Will be using Pest-Ex again. Thanks guys!
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Mickey Ketch
a year ago
This company actually investigates the problem instead of just spraying your place and leaving. Very HIGH knowledge and experience in what they...read more do. They took the time to investigate the cause, the source of the problem and elimnated it completely which included going through every cupboard, cracks hiding spots the lot. We had a cochroach problem in our apartment for 3 months and we had 4 different companies come out and NONE of them investigated they only sprayed. After we called PestEx, Mr. Phillips was very knowledgeable and experienced eliminating our problem entirely. We also use PestEx in our shop and both Mr Phillips and Marty are EXCELLENT in resolving and maintaining pest problems. HIGHLY RECOMMEND PEST EX. BEST I'VE SEEN IN QUEENSLAND.