Valley experts warn of termite scam as you're buying or selling a home

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 10:36:31-04

Buying or selling a home can be stressful enough, but some Valley families have had to go through the process while a termite company tried to scam them. 

A house in Gilbert became a home for the Imundi family. But it almost didn't happen, because of a small mark on the wall in the garage.  

"If it was confirmed the house had termites, we probably would not have purchased the home," John Imundi said.

During the inspection, the termite company said the small mark on the wall was proof the house was infested with termites. 

"Get another opinion," said realtor Pam Goodmansen. "You can't just go with what they say."

Goodmansen says she has been through this same situation three times.  

"Termite companies have come in and given a false report," Goodmansen said. 

"And so then, I'll have another termite company come out. And in each case, they've said, 'No. There's no termites here.'"

The Imundi family had two additional companies come in. Both said the house was termite free. 

"For me, it's sad to think that there are people out there who are attempting to take advantage of people just to make some money," Imundi said.

Goodmansen says she's had to threaten companies with the Arizona Department of Agriculture, which oversees pest control companies. 

And Vince Craig, associate director of the department, says they see a lot of unlicensed people operating. 

"It is a huge problem," Craig said. 

"As of today, we have a little over 1,230 companies. There are just as many ads online. Not all those ads are for licensed pest control companies."

But buyers and sellers can call the state, and they can tell you if the company is legitimate. 

A little extra work, but worth it, when it's the place you may call home.  

"We love this house," Imundi said. "I don't think we could imagine being anywhere else."

Craig says to make sure to never take a verbal or simple written report from a termite company. 

If the company says a home has termites, it has to be filed on the state's official form, the Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Report.