Termites and what the VA labels "wood-destroying pests" can be a serious problem for homeowners, buyers and sellers. House hunters often worry about the condition of older homes when it comes to these pests, and in most cases, rightfully so.
To the untrained observer, termite infestations are very difficult to spot unless there is obvious damage. Fortunately, VA loan rules are designed to protect the buyer and the property the VA borrower wants to purchase.
Termite inspections are required for existing properties if it is located in an area where the probability of termite infestation is “very heavy” or “moderate to heavy.” Use the Termite Infestation Probability Map or check with a lender or your VA Regional Loan Center to see if a pest inspection is required where you plan to purchase a home.
In areas where termite activity is low or uncommon, there is no requirement to undergo a termite inspection when buying a home. However, borrowers who want to ensure the condition of the property can arrange for a home inspection or seek guidance from the VA.
Here are the basic requirements for termite inspections for VA home loans:
Since VA loans are government-backed, termite requirements vary from state to state. In some states, an inspection is only required if the VA appraiser mentions an issue during the process. These include:
*Pest inspections are required for some counties within the state. Make sure you check with your lender to see if your county is required.
While a pest inspection may be optional in these states, it's wise to get one if you think the property could have any termite damage to avoid future problems.
As of June 2022, Veteran homebuyers may cover the cost of a termite inspection when it's required to meet VA minimum property requirements. The cost typically ranges from $100-$200 and is often a point of negotiation between buyers and sellers prior to closing.
A termite inspection for VA loans is typically valid for 90 days from the date of the inspection. If the inspection report is more than 90 days old, the VA may require a new inspection to be conducted to ensure that the property is free from any current or potential termite infestations.
However, it's important to note that the validity period of a VA termite inspection may vary depending on the lender's policies and requirements. Some lenders may require a more recent termite inspection, while others may accept an inspection that is older than 90 days.
VA loan rules for termite inspections are different for condo projects. According to the VA, "A wood-destroying insect inspection is required in low-rise and high-rise units only when the fee appraiser observes a potential problem." There are some situations that allow the termite inspection to be waived in second-story or higher condo units.
Before starting your house hunt, it’s smart to speak with your VA lender or the nearest VA Regional Loan Center to learn if your area requires termite inspections.