Many property investors tend to stay away from properties infested with termites, but professional builder and licensed property inspector Andrew Mackie Smith said that termite damage is often minor and can be repaired and treated for a small cost through different termite management systems.
There are different types of termite barriers that property investors can use to reduce the risk of infestation.
“A common termite management systems is a chemical barrier, and that's still a gold standard and the most reliable way, in my opinion, to protect a property. That's basically a treated zone of soil that's put around a property,” Andrew said.
According to him, termites like to travel on the top layer of the soil so treating the soil surrounding the area can repel the termites or even kill them in contact.
He explained: “That treated soil will either repel the termites, will kill them on contact, or they will ingest some of the poison and take it back to the nest, and then that's fed to the queen and then she'll be poisoned and stop producing eggs—that's colony control and will actually wipe out the whole termite nest. They work in different ways, depending on how the chemical's formulated.”
The other types of termite protection for properties are physical barriers, where “the barriers are built into the walls, typically in and around pipes,” and monitoring bait stations, where “they have a plastic tube or box in the ground” with a bait inside.
Managing a property’s termite risk in the best way depends on the relationship established between the property investor and the property inspector. Andrew believes that the work he can do, both as a builder and an inspector, is only as good as the cooperation that the investor is willing to give.
“Taking actions on those reports is what's necessary… Many times, I've read inspection reports where they've recommended those risks that we've discussed to be mitigated, and no action was taken, and then I come in to do a pre-purchase inspection, and — bingo — termites have come in in that very spot,” he said.
The property professional concluded: “[Pests are] definitely not reasons to pull out of the contract straight away. It's a reason to get more information, ask more questions, perhaps get some quotes, and understand your costs, and then, you can make a good, informed decision.”
Tune in to Andrew Mackie-Smith’s bonus episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about potential red flags in pest and building inspections and the ways in which investors can tackle these issues head-on.