A termite infestation can absolutely destroy the value and livability of a property, so it's vital that you do not inadvertently get trapped in a new home purchase that has a termite problem. When purchasing a home, it's always best to hire a professional to do a home inspection. This should include inspecting for signs of termites. However, you should also do your part to look for termites.
Here are two types of termites to look for:
Drywood termites. These tiny insects are some of the worst kinds of termites to have in your home. They reside in small colonies within the wood that they're eating. This makes them difficult to locate. They also enjoy dryer climates. Fortunately, the small size of their colonies can be the saving grace as the home might not be doomed. The colonies also grow slower. Most have approximately 10,000 termites. That said, if a drywood colony has had years to wreak havoc on a residence, the problems can be just a severe.
Subterranean Termites. Subterranean termites are much worse than drywood termites. That's because they don't actually live in your home. They use mud tubes to enter your residence from underneath the soil where they live. These insects require moist areas to survive. They have massive colonies upwards of a million insects and can cause catastrophic damage to your property. Many believe that these termites cause more damage than fires and storms.
If you've found termites in a piece of real estate you purchased, it's not the end of the world. You may be able to negotiate legal arrangements with the homeowner to pay for termite eradication and repairs.