November 11, 2018

Here’s a top threat to housing that doesn’t make the news reports


This isn’t a Halloween story, but it’s about as scary as it gets for homeowners.

Aaron Taylor
2018 NETAR President

Now that the leaves have turned, and nights are cooler legions of things that crawl, hop and slither are looking for a warmer place to live. And this year’s wet summer was prime for critters – especially termites.  As annoying as other pests are, they pale in comparison to termites. Of all the household pests termites are one of the single biggest threats to a home. They do the damage you don’t read about or watch on TV. The National Pest Management Foundation says they cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage a year in the United States.

   Termites are sometimes called the "silent destroyers and 24/ pests" They earned the silent destroyer moniker because when you see the signs of infestation, they have already done their damage silently chomping on your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That's why preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure they don't eat a chunk out of your investment. 

    When termites devour dead trees in forests, they help recycle nutrients and make space for new plant life. But once they start to eat the wood in your home, it's a whole new story.  

    Termites may take up residence in a home for years - even decades - before they're noticed. All the time they're chomping away at the structure from the inside out - an average subterranean termite colony can consume a two-by-four per year.

   Older homes – like many of those in the Tri-Cities - where it's more likely that the foundation may have cracked, are especially prone to risk. But new homes aren't immune if pretreatments during construction aren't done correctly. When that happens termite swarms can take hold was quickly as five years.

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development lists Tennessee in a moderate to heavy Termite Infestation Probability Zone. You can read the full HUD document on this zone and treatments by pointing your browser to:

    For a buyer, a termite inspection is insurance against the unexpected. Buyers should also check to see if the sellers already have a termite protection program in place - many do.

     For homeowners, inspections and preventative maintenance are important steps to ensure the safety and value of a home and its resale value. Many choose the annual pest control protection against uninvited guests as a good time the check for signs of termites.

   Here's a checklist that many home owners use to keep critters at bay:

    - Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, mosquitoes and termites, are attracted to moisture.

    - Keep tree branches cut back. Sometimes pests use these branches to get into your home.

    - Make sure that there are no cracks or little openings around the bottom of your house. Sometimes pests use these to get into your home.

    - Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood.

    You can find more information about termites, pest control and myriad other items and issues of interest to homeowners at  It's a consumer service of local and national REALTORS® intended to demonstrate that homeowner-REALTOR® relationship extends beyond the core areas of buying and selling real estate.