VA Loan Termite Inspection: The Process
Ashley Kilroy5-minute read
February 13, 2023
Termites are small yet mighty, wreaking havoc in and around your home. In fact, according to Orkin, termites damage about 600,000 homes each year. Homeowners spend roughly $5 billion annually to fight off these nasty creatures and protect their haven. That’s why many mortgage lenders, including VA lenders, require a termite inspection before purchasing a home. VA loan termite inspections are required in many states where infestations are common. So, if you’re using a VA home loan, let’s break down the process and requirements of what you can expect from a termite inspection.
How Do Pest Inspections For VA Loans Work?
If you’re planning on using a VA loan to finance your new house, you will need to complete a VA loan termite inspection. Inspection requirements depend on the state and county you live in. To determine what states and locations require termite inspections, the VA uses the Termite Infestation Probability Map, which you can find published on the Council of American Building Officials (CABO). This map outlines areas of common termite infestations. Areas with heavy or moderate infestations will likely require an inspection.
Keep in mind that a few states and certain counties don’t require home buyers to conduct a pest inspection for this type of mortgage.
With a VA Streamline refinance or IRRRL (interest rate reduction refinance loan), a homeowner isn’t required to have an inspection unless your appraiser believes there may be a pest problem.
It's important to point out that pest inspections for a VA loan typically are performed around the same time as your appraisal or home inspection.
Conduct An In-Depth Inspection
If the appraiser believes an inspection is necessary, your independent VA appraiser will do a detailed and careful inspection for any infestation. Your professional inspector will look for all critters that may cause concern to your property. Critters can include:
- Carpenter ants
The inspector will also look for any damages to the wood in and around your home, such as baseboards and siding.
Offer A Complete Report Of All Findings
After the inspection is complete, the inspector will give the appraiser a detailed pest inspection report. Depending on your state, there may be different forms due to the climate and types of pests they look for during the inspection.
That said, there are commonalities to the reports. Each form describes a general overview of what pests were found, if any, where they were found, and if there was any damage as a result. They will recommend any treatments necessary to remedy the issues discovered.
Provide Detailed Remedies For Damage And Pets Found
If they find damage from a previous infestation or a current infestation is present, they may require a second pest inspection to follow up on the issue. In most instances, you must treat and resolve any problem in the report. All remedies must adhere to the VA loan guidelines. A secondary inspection will verify everything has been taken care of and meets current living standards.
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Who Pays For The Termite Inspection?
The buyer, seller, or lender can pay for any inspection with most home loans. However, VA loans are slightly different since guidelines state buyers cannot pay for the pest inspection. Because of this condition, sellers may view a VA loan offer as less appealing than a conventional loan or non-VA loan offer. Usually, a pest inspection costs $50 – $280, according to Home Advisor. The cost varies by the size of the home and the areas the inspector looks at. In some cases, you could receive a discount if you complete a regular home inspection with your pest inspection. The Department of Veterans Affairs loosened its guidelines in some states since this seemed to cause concern for some buyers. The states that allow veteran buyers to pay for their inspections include:
If a veteran or current service member uses a VA loan for their mortgage and lives in any other state that's not mentioned above, the veteran cannot pay for the inspection. Instead, the seller must pay for the inspection. Or, if the homeowner is refinancing a VA loan, the lender will cover the pest inspection costs.A pest inspection is the only inspection that the VA may require to be covered by the seller. Other inspections that may be needed, for example, septic system, roof, etc., can be paid by the veteran or anyone involved in the home buying transaction.Although VA buyers cannot pay for the pest inspection in most states, they might be able to pay for any treatment to get rid of them. VA lenders may even let buyers pay for termite damage repairs in some cases.
VA Loan Termite Inspection Requirements By State
The VA loan is a government loan, so the termite inspection requirements vary from state to state. A few states are called “discretionary” states, where an inspection is only required if the VA appraiser mentions an issue during the process. Also, in certain states, the need for a pest inspection depends on your county or parish. The discretionary states are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
But, even if a pest inspection is not a requirement in your state, you don’t want tiny squatters taking up space or destroying your home. For this reason, it’s wise to conduct a pest inspection, so there are no surprises later on. In addition, a pest inspection will give you peace of mind that your home is bug-free. And, if it’s not, you can decide about moving forward with the purchase of the home or making repairs and treating the infestation.
How Long Is A Termite Inspection Good For A VA Loan?
Regarding this non-conforming loan, termite inspections are good for at least 90 days. This amount of time guarantees that a new homeowner has plenty of time to move in and complete the closing process.
Keep in mind this time frame is simply a VA lending requirement. Just because the inspection is good for 90 days doesn't necessarily mean the home will remain pest free during that time.
The Bottom Line: Pest Inspections With VA Loans Vary State To State
A pest inspection helps ease your mind by ensuring no unwanted creepy crawly guests are in or damaging your home. While a VA termite inspection is a requirement (in some states) to qualify for a VA mortgage, it can also give you comfort knowing your home is clean, safe and not falling apart due to pests.
The requirements for VA loan termite inspections vary from state to state, as does who pays for the inspection. Therefore, it’s vital that you do your research before having an inspection; that way, you know what to expect during this process. Also, it’s helpful to get familiar with the different requirements for your county or parish. For more information on VA loans, check out Rocket Mortgage® Loan Type Resources.
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