Inspecting an old house

I am checking out an old house that has been boarded up for a year with the plan to be sure it's in livable condition again and eventually sell it. I don't want to put a lot of money into it - just fix the basics. In this area, the new owner will likely come in and do some major remodeling.
Anyway... here's what I have found so far.....
1. Termite damage -- don't see any live bugs, just a lot of old droppings. Mostly in the garage, where the damage is obvious. Also around one of the doors, there are a few tiny termite holes in the wood flooring. The floor is solid all over except about a 2 x 4 foot area which gives a little when walking on it.
Question - what type of company should I call to come and check out the damage and price the repairs?
2. Possibly mold -- there is a water heater in a closet inside the house that has leaked. I was told this happened about a year ago. No water or mold visible in or around the closet but there is a musty smell coming from the floor outside the closet.
Question - same as before - who would be the one to come and access the damage here?
Also, should we contact the insurance company? This house is insured and has been continuously insured for years. The question here is -- would having an inspector come out cause the premium to increase?
I'll stop here. Any opinions of how to proceed on either of these would be greatly appreciated. I am handy around the house and with minor construction, but don't have a clue as to deal with termite or water damage.
Thanks in advance.
Pete
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plan to be sure it's in livable condition again and eventually sell it. I don't want to put a lot of money into it - just fix the basics. In this area, the new owner will likely come in and do some major remodeling.

Mostly in the garage, where the damage is obvious. Also around one of the doors, there are a few tiny termite holes in the wood flooring. The floor is solid all over except about a 2 x 4 foot area which gives a little when walking on it.

has leaked. I was told this happened about a year ago. No water or mold visible in or around the closet but there is a musty smell coming from the floor outside the closet.

been continuously insured for years. The question here is -- would having an inspector come out cause the premium to increase?

greatly appreciated. I am handy around the house and with minor construction, but don't have a clue as to deal with termite or water damage.

You really need to look at your state laws In Florida all house transfers need to be accompanied by a termite and mold inspection by licensed professionals in those disciplines. The termite inspection usually comes with a treatment and a guarantee. YMMV on mold but I bet if they see some you will be paying them for remediation too.
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wrote:

Thanks for the advice. I'm not planning to sell the house until all the repairs are made -- all legal and on the up-and-up. Termite tenting is required by banks here prior to closing. Mold testing is not required by banks or the state.
There are no live termites in the building -- already know that. My experience with both termite and mold companies is that they operate on insurance money and always find something. I don't need that kind of "help." I'm looking for someone honest who can find basic problems and do the repairs without involving the insurance company. Insurance company has told me flat out that my premium would double for any kind of mold problem.
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On 12/19/2012 5:36 AM, Pete wrote:

plan to be sure it's in livable condition again and eventually sell it. I don't want to put a lot of money into it - just fix the basics. In this area, the new owner will likely come in and do some major remodeling.

Mostly in the garage, where the damage is obvious. Also around one of the doors, there are a few tiny termite holes in the wood flooring. The floor is solid all over except about a 2 x 4 foot area which gives a little when walking on it.

that has leaked. I was told this happened about a year ago. No water or mold visible in or around the closet but there is a musty smell coming from the floor outside the closet.

has been continuously insured for years. The question here is -- would having an inspector come out cause the premium to increase?

be greatly appreciated. I am handy around the house and with minor construction, but don't have a clue as to deal with termite or water damage.

repairs are made -- all legal and on the up-and-up. Termite tenting is required by banks here prior to closing. Mold testing is not required by banks or the state.

You may also want to check typical sales problems. A number of friends were executors of estates where say a relative lived in a nice old house that never really had any extensive remodeling. So the buyer usually seeks some sort of government mortgage assistance and the inspectors show up. To sum it up in one line "house built in 1950 not up to 2010 code standards." They produce a list of the "issues" which include stuff like not enough outlets, window size not proper for egress, stair pitch off by 1"4" etc. The usual result is that it just makes sense to tear the building down and sell the lot.

experience with both termite and mold companies is that they operate on insurance money and always find something. I don't need that kind of "help." I'm looking for someone honest who can find basic problems and do the repairs without involving the insurance company. Insurance company has told me flat out that my premium would double for any kind of mold problem.

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Curious about how you can know that. Even professional termite inspection can only find so much and often misses them. You say you "don't see any live bugs". Which doesn't mean much.

Not my experience with termite companies at all. I've had termite inspections done that didn't find any. And I've had cases where they did and then treated it. The one time that occured, insurance had nothing to do with it. In fact, I've never seen a homeowner's insurance that would cover termite damage. I do have a termite service contract where I pay $100 a year which includes an annual inspection and treatment if necessary.
I don't need that kind of "help." I'm looking for someone honest who can find basic problems and do the repairs without involving the insurance company. Insurance company has told me flat out that my premium would double for any kind of mold problem.- Hide quoted text -

It seems rather odd to rule out termite inspection/treatment companies since they are the pros most experienced with finding out if you have them, giving you some idea of the possible extent of the problem, treating for them, etc. Then the next step, depending on the results, is to start further examination which usually requires opening up walls, pulling off siding, etc. That process could be anything from DIY to a general contactor. And you don't know what you're going to find, particularly in a house that you have no history with. It could be some very limited damage or it could be extensive.
Regarding the mold, what is under that floor area? Basement? Crawl space? Slab? Anyone look underneath if that's possible? It sounds relatively minor, so I don't see why anyone would want to involve an insurance company, at least initially. I'd find out the extent of the problem first. If it's just a localized problem, it's probably within the deductible. And again could be DIY, to a handyman, to a GC.
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As a former PCO I am compelled to ask what method you used to learn this which you purport to know...?

I have yet to see an insurance policy that covers termite treatments, or damage.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/homeowners-insurance-cover-termites-7057.html
http://tinyurl.com/cy58lmu -----
- gpsman
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On 12/19/2012 12:56 AM, Pete wrote:

plan to be sure it's in livable condition again and eventually sell it. I don't want to put a lot of money into it - just fix the basics. In this area, the new owner will likely come in and do some major remodeling.

Mostly in the garage, where the damage is obvious. Also around one of the doors, there are a few tiny termite holes in the wood flooring. The floor is solid all over except about a 2 x 4 foot area which gives a little when walking on it.

has leaked. I was told this happened about a year ago. No water or mold visible in or around the closet but there is a musty smell coming from the floor outside the closet.

been continuously insured for years. The question here is -- would having an inspector come out cause the premium to increase?

greatly appreciated. I am handy around the house and with minor construction, but don't have a clue as to deal with termite or water damage.

If you are in warm climate, especially Florida, you can expect to have termites at some point. For the termite issue, I'd get two good licensed contractors to inspect the home. There may be good, small companies, and my experience has been with Terminix. That said, you can learn to do an inspection as well as the licensed pest control contractors, short of IDing the specific variety of bug. You've already found tunnels, so tap around those, in the mushy areas, around doors and windows, attics and crawl spaces to look for hollow-sounding wood. Wallboard might have wrinkly surface from termites eating the paper coating. This is just for preparation and confirmation of what contractor finds :o) Need to look for mud tubes inside and outside of basement or crawl. Is there structural wood below grade? Uncaulked gaps around doors and windows? Inspect the areas radiating out from where you have found tunnels.
How old is the home? Well maintained prior to the year of vacancy? Frame construction? Slab? For repairs, I would want a contractor experienced in small (hopefully) remediation, and with good references from people I know. My condo in Florida was tented twice for drywood termites, poorly maintained before I moved there, and most owners not especially concerned about the issue; during remodeling of one unit, I saw pretty extensive invasion of wall studs; unit below that did need repair of bathroom wall. It is still standing :o)
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If the house has not been lived in for a year , some insurance companies may not actually be covering it. When I moved out of a house and into another, I had to get some special insurance company to cover it.
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