Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Raleigh.

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Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Raleigh.

Postby tidalwave10 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:21 am

I've owned my home (purchased new, in the Raleigh, NC area) for about 6 years. The home was given a standard termite treatment when built. And I payed the builder-selected pest control vendor $95/yr for a termite inspection. Seemed like a small price to pay. This year, they wanted $400 for a re-treatment. Funny, I thought they'd told me that every X years (thought it was 5) that they'd do a re-treatment gratis.

They hemmed and hawed (no real attempt to keep my business), then said they could still do the inspection for $95. But I'd no longer be covered by their termite insurance protection--or some such thing. Funny, I thought that's what homeowner's insurance was for. And I'd never heard that either my mortgage holder or homeowner's insurance company required an annual termite inspection (doesn't mean it's not advisable in my area--just don't know, really). And who knows if their so-called insurance protection would pay on a claim. It may or may not. I have no info on that.

Long story short, I feel I'm being punished by sticking with the builder-selected vendor for this sort of service, being taken for granted at best, and fleeced at worst. And that I'm now paying dearly for my inattention. Some questions:

1) In central NC, how often should a home be re-treated for termite prevention? My house has no basement, just a crawlspace with a dirt "floor".

2) Is it even necessary to pay around $100/yr to have a termite inspection? Or is it advisable to have one performed every other year? Don't want to step over dollars to pick up pennies here. Also don't want to be taken to the cleaners for my ignorance.

3) In the Raleigh, NC area, can anyone recommend an honest vendor with reasonable prices? Should I go with a local or a national company? Would nice to get a retreatment gratis as a new customer incentive. But not holding my breath there.

4) How much should I expect to pay for a preventative termite re-treatment? Is $400 reasonable? It was also unclear from the vendor if they wanted to charge me $400/yr going forward to stay current with their termite insurance / protection guarantee.

Any other general advice for keeping my home termite free in the Raleigh, NC area? So far I've never had a problem with termites.

Finally, I'm starting to question builder-provided vendors like HVAC. When I've had trouble with AC (seems like once per summer), I've reflexively gone with the vendor listed conveniently on my thermostat. But now feel remorse that I haven't looked for the best / a better provider in my area on its own merits.

I like to think I drive a good, if not hard, bargain and research things sufficiently to favor me economically--and not be on auto-pilot. But I want to rectify the situation. So I'd also be interested in recommendations for HVAC companies in the Raleigh, NC area.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby cheese_breath » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:35 am

tidalwave10 wrote:I've owned my home (purchased new, in the Raleigh, NC area) for about 6 years. The home was given a standard termite treatment when built. And I payed the builder-selected pest control vendor $95/yr for a termite inspection. Seemed like a small price to pay. This year, they wanted $400 for a re-treatment. Funny, I thought they'd told me that every X years (thought it was 5) that they'd do a re-treatment gratis.

If you don't have it in writing it doesn't matter what they told you.
The surest way to know the future is when it's the past.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby johnep » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:53 am

I live in Charlotte area and annual termit inspections are recommended in NC because termites are very prevalent in our area. Our house has a crawl space too and we had termites about 25 years ago and used a good local company to treat our house. I used their annual inspection for many years thereafter but let it lapse for a few years and had to go through the treatment again for that reason. I use Killo who are very reputable locally. I do not know if they service other cities or not. But based upon my experience, I do not think you should have to do re-treatment every 5 years. I have a 2+ acre heavily wooded lot which requires greater care for termites than average residential lot.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby ndchamp » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:29 am

tidalwave10 wrote:I've owned my home (purchased new, in the Raleigh, NC area) for about 6 years. The home was given a standard termite treatment when built. And I payed the builder-selected pest control vendor $95/yr for a termite inspection. Seemed like a small price to pay. This year, they wanted $400 for a re-treatment. Funny, I thought they'd told me that every X years (thought it was 5) that they'd do a re-treatment gratis.

They hemmed and hawed (no real attempt to keep my business), then said they could still do the inspection for $95. But I'd no longer be covered by their termite insurance protection--or some such thing. Funny, I thought that's what homeowner's insurance was for. And I'd never heard that either my mortgage holder or homeowner's insurance company required an annual termite inspection (doesn't mean it's not advisable in my area--just don't know, really). And who knows if their so-called insurance protection would pay on a claim. It may or may not. I have no info on that.


Somewhere, in that stack of paperwork you got at the Closing, there should be a copy of the contract with the termite folks.
While you are not required to have a termite inspection, when, or if, you resell your home, one of the first things needed is a copy of the termite inspections. You may want to call a few companies to see how much an inspection and guarantee will cost you.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby tidalwave10 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:37 am

ndchamp wrote:Somewhere, in that stack of paperwork you got at the Closing, there should be a copy of the contract with the termite folks.
While you are not required to have a termite inspection, when, or if, you resell your home, one of the first things needed is a copy of the termite inspections. You may want to call a few companies to see how much an inspection and guarantee will cost you.


Thanks to all. @Ndchamp, will have to go fishing through the Closing docs.

I may be selling my home in 2 to 5 years. So I'll be expected to have proof of annual termite inspections for each year, with no gaps, from the time I moved in to the time of putting the house up for sale?

If anyone's from the Triangle area, can you recommend, or advise against, a termite control provider? I could randomly call a few local companies and a few national providers. But would rather have recommendations from Bogleheads if possible. Is there a NC Triangle-area Bogleheads group forum I could ask in, or cross-link from there to this post? Don't want to run afoul of forum rules.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby Default User BR » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:05 am

Are you sure your homeowner's insurance covers termite damage? That would be pretty unusual.


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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby soaring » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:04 am

So I'll be expected to have proof of annual termite inspections for each year, with no gaps, from the time I moved in to the time of putting the house up for sale?


No, there is no requirement at all in this regard. I've sold over a dozen homes in my years in numerous states and not one buyer questioned anything about termites.

Yes, a termite inspection is required IF there is financing or the buyer wants one. Several homes had previously had termites and were treated. That proof is a needed but only the current termite (usually within 30 days of the contract) inspection for financing is REQUIRED.

At least that was the case in all the purchases and sales I've been involved.

If you buy a policy that fixes termite damage with treatment I would only buy from national company in the hopes they are still around when/if you need repairs.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby tidalwave10 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:36 pm

Thanks to all.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby Iorek » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:42 pm

My sense is that it does make sense to get an annual inspection. I also think that 5 years is a typical period of time for termite treatment to be guaranteed, but that it can often last longer than that. I would not treat every five years without some evidence of termite presence--I would just have them keep an eye on things (included in the annual inspection fee for us is a promise to treat if termites are found).
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby Rupert » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:15 pm

Is NC practice typical? On the Gulf Coast where I live, you cannot sell a house without a termite bond. The bank has demanded proof of a bond in every closing I've ever participated in. The cost of bond renewal and inspection runs about $200/year here.

Edited to note that my homeowner's insurance definitely does not cover termite damage. I wonder if some states require that it be covered by homeowner's policies. That would explain why termite bonds are not standard practice in those states. Just curious if anyone knows.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby tidalwave10 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:28 am

These two vendors have good reviews on Google+. Anyone here used them? Or use someone else that services the greater Raleigh area they'd recommend?

https://plus.google.com/100314336125744282338/about?gl=us&hl=en

https://plus.google.com/104549422094280944129/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

EDIT: hmm, not sure why the links aren't becoming active. Is this functionality disabled?
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby tidalwave10 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:16 pm

Haven't chosen a termite inspection / re-treatment company / service yet. Any other recommendations for companies doing business in the Central North Carolina area?
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby meebers » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:47 pm

What kind of treatment are you being offered. A liquid chemical spray around the perimeter of the house? or other. I switched to bait treatment (sentricon always active) spaced about 6' around the perimeter. But, no house or treatment is %100 guaranteed against termites. What really matters is the warranty and the company behind it for repairs..."the Bond"
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby GeauxBR » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:04 pm

I own a Pest/Termite company in Louisiana so maybe I can be of some help here. Keep in mind though that regulations and contract language varies from state to state.

When an house is built the contractor contacts a termite company to do the "pre-treatment". Basically a soil treatment before the concrete/foundation is poured. In LA, we (the company) have 1 year from that date to allow for the completion of construction to come back and retreat the outside of the finished structure. At that point the routine inspections (renewals) begin.

Before we go any further it is important to know which type of contract you have. In LA we have 2 types: a Retreat-Only, and a Damage Warranty. It sounds similar to what you are being told as well.

With a retreat-only contract it's just that..if you are paying the yearly renewal fees and keeping your contract up then if you get termites the company is required to come out and retreat at no cost to stop the termites. If there is any damage to the structure you will be out of pocket as it isn't covered by homeowners insurance.

With a damage warranty contract the company is still obligated to come and retreat at no cost but the damages will also be covered. NOTE: the amount of coverage (limits), if there is/isn't a deductible for you to pay, and if there is an arbitration clause in the damage warranty (construction error or homeowner negligence is causing the termites) are all very common and vary from company to company.

Now back to them requesting a re-treatment.

Not every company does it this way (we do), but in the original contract paperwork there should be a "property will be retreated in year XXXX " so the owner knows it's coming. We write ours into the original contract so there is none of this confusion when the due date arrives. We also begin reminding them about 6 months out in case they need to set aside cash for it. Not everyone puts it in writing though. However..6 years seems fair. A lot of it depends on which chemical they used originally. Some are rated at 5 years, some 10. We use one rated for 10, but we write our re-treatments in for 9 years to be safe. The chemical only lasts so long.

The re-treatments help minimize the chances that something happens (and our liability) and help ensure your chemical is up to date. If you do flowerbed work and disturb the soil along the base of the house or have areas that hold water and stay damp, that breaks down the chemical faster than it normally would.

As far as them "pulling" the damage warranty if you don't retreat: also common. Try to remember that a termite contract is a mutual agreement. A company can cancel it when the yearly renewal comes around just like you can. If they feel that there is too much risk (without a re-treatment) to cover the house for damages they can pull the warranty as long as you are notified, or they can choose to not renew at all. Your $100-150 a year isn't worth the cost of a claim, trust me. Ideally you feel comfortable enough with them and understand that someone isn't trying to fleece you out of cash, but that you need to work together for both parties' piece of mind.

Pricing: Varies so much...small to large company, which chemical, if there are any parts of the job that will be an absolute pain in the rear all affect price. A 1500sq ft house on a slab might start around $500 down here. If it's raised on piers try starting at 750. It's a harder job and takes longer. Chemical cost can be huge too. for me to make 100gallons of Talstar I'm looking at ~$100. Termidor (best stuff there is and I recommend it) I'm looking at $275 just in chemical.

RE: Builder provided people..being a small business (family owned, 4 employees) we have a hard time getting in with builders because the nationwide's can offer things a lot cheaper to get a foot in the door. When it comes to the termite business we tell folks it IS cheaper to stay with the original company UNTIL they hit you up for a re-treatment. At that point you will be out the money regardless so you might as well shop it around and find someone you can trust and afford.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby tidalwave10 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:14 am

Thanks so much Geaux.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby tidalwave10 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:02 am

Getting ready to start calling for treatment + guarantee termite quotes.
I've identified two companies to call in the Raleigh area:

* Triangle Pest Control
* Capital Pest Services

Looking for two more vendors to call for estimates. What others would Raleigh-area Bogleheads recommend--or advise against.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby nodenuff2 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:07 am

Just a neighborly warning . Homeowners insurance does not and can not cover termite damage. No endorsement can add to that. Basic exclusion in every HO policy I have ever looked at. Long time in the business.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby soccerdad12 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:43 pm

Try: www.etheridgepestservices.com/

I think they cover from Clayton to Chapel Hill.

Guy in my office used them and said they were fantastic and very thorough.

They are the #1 rated provider on Angies List in the Raleigh area too.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby Macmungo » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:05 pm

Also in the Triangle NC area. Five-year retreatment for termite control done a few weeks ago. Two-story house with crawl space, attached two-car garage on slab. Heavily wooded on two sides. Cost $824. Annual inspection $107.50, years ago was $85. Termidor was used. Crew took a long time, looked very thorough. No termites in twelve years. The prices look similar to those in Louisiana cited above. I'd try to get more comments than you have as of now.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby jimkinny » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm

GeauxBR, nice response, very educational

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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby derosa » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:19 pm

THis will depend on the type of house and how it is built. Termites like moist damp wood. In a dark place.

If you have a wood house and there is soil in contact with the house (framing or siding or footings) - you can have some serious problems!

If you have a brick house on slab or pilings and there is no wood in contact with the soil? - there is nothing for a terminte to eat.

Termites will swarm each year. It may look like they are 'attacking' your house. As long as they don't have a friendly place to land - no problem.
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Re: Annual termite inspection / retreatment. Stumped in Rale

Postby khollister » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:30 pm

I'm in FL and have had a termite bond with Orkin for over 20 years. I am having my home retreated tomorrow actually at a cost of $1300 (subterranean and dry-wood) and a new consolidated damage repair bond established. Why?, because my present sub+dry wood bonds are about $580/yr (2800 sq ft frame house) that was last treated for sub 20 years ago. After the retreat, my combined bond payments go down to $235/yr. I also have the option to prepay for 5 years to freeze the annual rate (annual increases are the norm here). I'm getting about $300 back as a prorated refund on the old bond and the first new bond payment is not due until 1 yr after treatment. Short story is I pay for the re-treat in 3 years and then I'm about $350/yr ahead. I also get the home treated, since my goal is not to have to use the insurance/bond.

My theory in using a large, national firm like Orkin is I want the underwriter to be in business and solvent to cover a future claim. There a number of local/regional companies that would be a little cheaper, but one of those (who was well known i the area) recently went out of business.

My Orkin bonds never "expire", so I am not required to ever pay for a retreat. However, the older the bond is (yrs after treatment), the steeper the cost increases are to cover the risk to the company. It's not iike the old days when chlordane had a half-life of 20-30 years. The new chemicals are safer, but probably not as persistent, I'm told.

Personally, I would not consider going without termite treatment & a bond in the south. Louisiana is really fun - I understand they are having trouble with Formosan termites in NO that actually go through concrete!
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