Advice from estate agents seems to be taking hold. In the past five years, the Gold Coast has seen higher rainfall levels and temperatures. The weather and accompanying humidity have created ideal conditions for termites to thrive. It’s also caused the notorious Giant Termite to broaden its territory and infiltrate suburbs where it previously wasn’t found. This is why property experts on the Gold Coast have been pleading with homeowners to schedule a pre-sale pest inspection. Similarly, pest control services have highlighted the benefits of pre-property inspections.
Pre-inspection pays off
It’s now estimated that Gold Coast property buyers are spending $5m per year on pest control. A proportion of this is spent on pre-inspection pest control. Headline hitting cases over the past couple of years have seen new owners saddled with horrific repair bills when they discover termite infestations on their new properties. Reports from pest control teams on the Gold Coast indicate that as many as one in three houses inspected have signs of termite damage. The average cost of repairs is $10,000.
A recent case on the Gold Coast highlighted the risks. A new owner called on pest control services after the lounge sofa fell through the wooden floor. The brick and timber home was bought on auction, and there had been no pre-purchase pest and building inspection performed before bidding. It meant that when the termite damage was revealed, the owner had no comebacks and was liable for all the significant structural damage.
A pest inspection would have picked up apparent signs of a termite infestation such as soft flooring, termite trails and mud tubes entering the home and crumbling hardwood joists. On further inspection, the true devastation was revealed. In a bathroom, a vanity fell away from the wall as it was devoured from within by termites. The final cost of repairs to the house was over $600,000. Termite damage is not covered by home insurance, which sets the stakes particularly high.
In light of this, a pre-purchase termite pest inspection is considered to be a small investment to make when purchasing a home. If extensive damage isn’t done already, the buyers choose to invest in professional pest control services to eliminate the termite infestations for good. It requires a pest inspection, where high-tech tools such as thermal imaging and motion detectors are used to locate live termites in inaccessible places in homes.
The coast is known as a high-risk zone for termites, and awareness is spreading for vigilance. Termites have been known to destroy a home in just a couple of months. This is why annual pest inspections are recommended for all homeowners – and sellers.
Sellers are also urged to get a pre-sale report they can show potential buyers. It puts them in control of the process but also clarifies the condition of the home so they can market it accordingly. They can also address issues or schedule repairs before they put the house on the market. It could save them the distress and waste of time of a contract falling through.
Hot spots on the coast
Those buying or selling in certain suburbs are warned to take extra precautions, particularly in November through to April when humidity peaks and termites do their colonizing flights. Higher rainfall also drives termite activity, which leads to more damage. Puddles and damp conditions, and rotting wood in attics or basements, also create ideal conditions for species such as subterranean and damp wood termites to thrive.
Hot spots include Worongary where the large plots, heat, humidity, and dry clay soil have seen a rise in infestations of coptotermes, schedorhinotermes intermedius, natsutitermes fumigatus, and natsutitermes walker termites. In suburbs such as Coomera and Robina development is driving the spread. That’s because bulldozed plots are left with rotting trees in the soil which feed termites, which then invade the homes once they are built.
Broadbeach Waters, Mermaid Waters, Helensvale and Currumbin Waters are also facing rising termite infestations. Other factors fuelling this are that many homes are built on hills or near bushland. Split level homes and timber pole construction lead to high-risk conditions. Homes at high risk are also those on slabs constructed between 1995 and 2002.
Protecting your investment
Homeowners that invest in annual termite inspections are safeguarding their properties from damage, but there’s more that can be done, say pest control experts in the area. They recommend investigating live termite baiting too. It includes the installation of in-ground termite baiting stations. Monthly monitoring and baiting will continue for 12 months. The in-ground termite bait system eliminates a colony in three months but is also essential in order to prevent new termite attacks of the home. Containing the early signs of termite activity, before it spirals in a full-on infestation, is recommended.