A spate of homeowners selling their houses through non-traditional channels has created issues for a pest control company in Mornington, an investor turned vigilante has found.
Millicent Weber combs classifieds websites for house listings, with the saving on agents’ fees translating to lower property prices. However, she has found over ten promising properties, which, when she went to inspect, were overrun by termites.
“Most of these houses were so far gone that even I could see the signs of termites,” she said.
“There was one that I was in the final stages of buying when I organised a termite inspection on a whim, and even that one was infested.”
Ms Weber suspects that classified real estate sellers list their houses online because reputable agents would not sell houses with a high level of termite damage.
In a happy ending for Ms Weber, the house she most recently inspected was given the all-clear by termite inspectors, and she reached settlement earlier this week.
Those purchasing houses are advised to arrange for a comprehensive termite inspection, Mornington has one the highest rates of termites in the country so foreign buyers should be particularly careful.
Charles Lee, an investor who moved from China last year, lost his fortune by unwittingly purchasing three termite ridden houses. The former millionaire now lives in a squalid apartment on a diet of instant ramen noodles, following a property investment gone bad.
“I thought buying a block of units was a good way to secure my money and watch it grow, but instead I have watched the building fall to termites,” he said. The infestation was so bad that the building was deemed unsafe for human habitation. “Now the only value is in the land, and I do not have the money to rebuild. If I sell the land I will make a huge loss, but I am beginning to run out of options.” Investors and homebuyers are advised to always get a thorough inspection before putting on offer on a property.