Australia Markets closed

'I didn't think it would happen': Woman's warning to homeowners after losing $80k overnight

For most of us, the family home is our pride and joy - not to mention our biggest asset.

But an Adelaide woman was shattered to learn her long-term investment lost a third of its value overnight.

Bronwyn Frank worked hard to achieve her property dream, so imagine her horror when she discovered termites had eaten away at her three bedroom Morphett Vale home.

Termites caused significant financial damage to an Adelaide home. Picture: Today Tonight

The termites had surreptitiously caused substantial damage to three separate walls inside the house. The home-owner's hard-earned asset was suddenly worth $80,000 less than the day before.

"When I found out I was extremely shocked. I was angry and I was devastated," she told Today Tonight.

“'I'd been working all my life to have this as a nest egg, and it's been taken from me... The house is what I'd been working for all my working life."

“I did not think it would ever happen to me, I thought it would happen to somebody else, like you see on the TV.”

Bronwyn Frank's hard-earned asset was suddenly worth $80,000 less than the day before. Picture: Today Tonight

To make matters worse, Mr Frank had just put her property on the market and had just received an attractive offer.

Her agent Simon Paterson accepted a $280,000 bid on her behalf, but the sale was subject to a building and pest inspection.

"The report came back to us stating there were some major issues," the agent said.

"We're certainly not as agents aware of the structural integrity of the home, whether there is or isn't pests and a lot of the homeowners aren't either."

It came as a devastating blow when Ms Frank's agent broke the news.

Bronwyn Frank's major asset was literally eaten from under her. Picture: Today Tonight

"He just said look, I've got bad news, there's termites in the house and the young fella who was going to buy your house has pulled out'."

The homewoner said she was "extremely disappointed" she hadn't realised before putting the home one the market.

Ms Frank said she became complacent after getting a termite inspection when she moved in, then every two years after that for about 12 years, with the results always coming back negative.

"I just decided that it hadn't happened and I didn't think it was going to happen,"she said.

Learning from her expensive oversight, Ms Frank offers advice to others.

The value of the property greatly diminished. Picture: Today Tonight

"Whether you're living in it, renting it, whether you're buying it, selling it, just get a regular termite inspection done. Saves a lot of heartache at the end," she said.

Termite expert Neil Raw, who inspected the damage, said "They've come straight up one of the door frames, into the top plates. They've travelled in three different directions."

While it's not the worst termite problem he's seen, Mr Raw said the main living area will need serious repair.

But building inspector Fred Centofanti says renovating might not be worth it.

Real estate agent Simon Paterson accepted a $280,000 bid on her behalf, but the sale was subject to a building and pest inspection. Picture: Today Tonight

"Clearly the amount of money you would spend on a building would depend on where the building is, the value of the building, the age of the building, the character of the building.'

Mr Centofanti said without carrying out a destructive inspection of the property, the full extent of the damage may not be revealed.

"It'd be very difficult for any building inspector or even a builder to come along and tell you how much the remedial work would be worth, because they'd be giving you a price and then when they start the work it's possible they'll find more damage."

It appears demolition may be the best option, but with the value of the property greatly diminished.

But the 560sq m property must be sold. With the agent taking an honest approach, someone could come away with a real bargain at auction.

"The bidders can fight it out amongst themselves and we'll see what it makes on the day," Mr Paterson said.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trade on the ASX on Friday, October 19.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Strong earnings powers rebound on Wall St

    Early trading has seen stocks bounce back on Wall Street, boosted by strong corporate earnings from the likes of Procter & Gamble and PayPal.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trade on the ASX on Friday, October 19.

  • Banks, energy lift but ASX in the red
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Banks, energy lift but ASX in the red

    Australian shares are down but the market regained ground as the banks turned around a poor morning.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    High Court refuses $46m cartel fine appeal

    A Japanese car parts company ordered to pay a record $46 million fine for colluding with a competitor has been denied leave to appeal by the High Court.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Wall St slides as Saudi, Italy add to woes

    US stocks have slid as the EU warning on Italy's budget and possibility of strained relations between US and Saudi Arabia added to investor woes.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    AAP Markets Report October 19

    Movements on overseas markets.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trade on the ASX on Thursday, October 18.

  • Buoyant banks lead Australian market rally
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Buoyant banks lead Australian market rally

    The ASX was flat after a choppy overnight session on Wall Street, with mining and energy stocks weighing on trade.

  • Unemployment rate hits six-year low
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Unemployment rate hits six-year low

    The unemployment rate dropped 0.3 per cent to a six-year low of 5.0 per cent in September, with the number of people with jobs growing by 5,600.

  • 'Heartbroken' Roger David menswear closing
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    'Heartbroken' Roger David menswear closing

    Menswear chain Roger David is in administration after the retailer collapsed in the face of competition from international and online rivals.

  • Woodside Petroleum Q3 revenue rises 25%
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Woodside Petroleum Q3 revenue rises 25%

    Woodside Petroleum's third-quarter revenue has risen about 25 per cent on the back of higher oil and LNG prices and rising output at its Wheatstone project.

  • Santos Q3 revenue up, achieves debt target
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Santos Q3 revenue up, achieves debt target

    Gas producer Santos has achieved its debt target more than a year ahead of plan, while also seeing its third quarter revenue jump on higher oil and LNG prices.

  • South32 Q1 coking coal production triples
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    South32 Q1 coking coal production triples

    Robust production at South32's Appin and Dendrobium collieries has seen the miner's first quarter coking coal production triple.

  • BHP sees no impact from trade tensions
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    BHP sees no impact from trade tensions

    BHP Billiton says it has not seen a material impact from current global trade tensions.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Wall St falls as investors eye hawkish Fed

    US stock markets have closed lower after minutes showed US Federal Reserve policymakers were unanimous on the need to raise interest rates further.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    AAP Markets Report October 18

    Movements on overseas markets.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trade on the ASX on Wednesday, October 17.

  • Traditional owners protest Origin fracking
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Traditional owners protest Origin fracking

    Hundreds of signatures were presented to the Origin Energy's executives at its annual general meeting on Wednesday calling for a review into fracking in NT.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trade on the ASX on Wednesday, October 17.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Banks drive Aust shares to four-month high

    Early gains for financial, healthcare and infotech stocks have pushed the local bourse higher on Wednesday.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Bank bosses personally accountable: APRA

    APRA says top banking executives will be held to a higher standard of personal accountability under new rules.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Optus faces $10m fine over premium content

    Optus faces a $10 million penalty after the consumer watchdog commenced court proceedings against the mobile firm for misleading customers.

  • First strike for Tabcorp on exec bonuses
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    First strike for Tabcorp on exec bonuses

    Tabcorp has been hit with a first strike from shareholders despite moves to soothe angst over proposed management bonuses.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    CSL chairman hoses down share split talk

    CSL says there are no plans for a share split to boost liquidity and affordability of its sky-high stock, with the investor base already increased.