Building Inspection Found Old Termite Activity in House under Offer

We have put in an offer on a house in western Melbourne.

The building inspector said the property is structurally sound and requires little maintaining.
That said, he did find old termite activity which was treated by owner ten plus years ago. This appears to had penetrated the ensuite but was addressed.

The inspector said this isn't a big concern but strongly recommends re-treating the house.

Having read the horror stories, I am not sure what to do or how alarming is it? Is it a frequent finding by inspections?

We still have a bit of cooling off period left.

Please help guide us.

Thank you!


  • I had the exact same report back from my termite inspection, I think the important part is that it was treated.

    Anyways that was 11 years ago and I haven't had any reason to suspect they are back and the house hasn't fallen down.

    But thanks for the reminder! I think I will book another inspection early NY.

  • +1

    I had previous termite activity on my 50yo house (3 seperate beams) they pulled up carpets upstairs looked through the man hole etc and still going strong, purchased it and still no problems two years on, if they did do damage there would be sagging, door frames out of shape etc

    It can be very common on older houses

    Are you sure it's not dodgy waterproofing that's causing the timber to rot ?

  • +1

    You can ask to adjust the price, but many houses have termite damage. Inspector is correct for retreating.

  • +1

    Renegotiate price minus the cost to retreat the house.

    • What if seller doesn't agree to renegotiate? Give up the 0.25% deposit or go ahead anyway?

      • They won't lose the deposit, the contract should have the clause subject to clear building inspection

  • how much is the treatment ? if no signs of recent damage , then 1 treatment every 10 years or so is probably not going to be a major issue/cost.

    and how bad is the damage ? there are so many degrees of damage , if the inspector has caught onto it and says that its not a big deal and just recommends to re apply treatment after 10 years…

  • The bigger question is why you made an offer before getting the house inspected. Was a deposit paid?

    Also, the real estate agent was supposed to disclose this fact as you said the owner knew that they got it treated 10 years ago. Check your contract if you have it, it may be in there already, but you didn't see it. Edit: the rules may be different in Victoria compared to NSW.

    Either way, retreatment is on you if previous termite damage is disclosed in your contract. It might not be a deal breaker if nothing critical is affected.

    • +3

      The bigger question is why you made an offer before getting the house inspected.

      I've done it before. It's not a big deal. Just put in a clause "Subject to building inspection (and any other subject to you need to add)" It makes little sense to pay for the building inspection if the offer isn't accepted, but then again, you can put in an offer with $0 deposit. Every time I've bought a place, that's what I've done and haven't had issues.

      • Just put in a clause "Subject to building inspection (and any other subject to you need to add)"

        And the seller might have no issue gazumping you.

        • And the seller might have no issue gazumping you.

          Well obviously, the seller will accept the deal that suits them best. This is the way.

          • @TheBird: I'm pointing out that the comments suggesting subject to building inspection, etc. give the buyer and advantage is simplistic. It might reduce some risk, but increase others. There are no free lunches in life … this is the way.

  • +2

    Termites are ever present and a matter of luck if they come by your way.

    It's more important that they are detected and dealt with properly….it becomes a non issue after that.

    If timber damage was detected, fix it with reinforcements or cut out and replace will do it.

    10 years plus is a long time and no evidence now is good sign.

  • Ok termites prefer softwood, prolly got into newer framing leaving the hardwood.

    I had my 2 story 5 bed house recently treated with a termidoor product (drilled holes every 15cm in concrete) plus as i had some termites that used my skirting boards as a highway he drilled a small 6mm hole every 2m and put more product in the walls.

    Cost $2500

    We found the nest and the termite nest was against the hardwood was not even touched. As my house was built in alot of skirting was damaged and some door frames, they move dam quick noticed the activity and the few weeks it took to get a guy there 2 door frames were damaged.

    Since removed 1 wall and resheeted, all skirtings and 2 doorways fixed was $2000.

    If you tap the walls and can hear them there the good softwood eating termites.

    All in all they suck but long as main house frames are hardwood you should be laughing. Ask for 5k off or request a more intensive examination. A thermal imager works a treat.

Login or Join to leave a comment