The VA requires a wood-destroying pest inspection for much of the U.S. Learn which states require a termite inspection and who pays.
The VA home loan program focuses on getting service members, Veterans and military families into "move-in ready" homes that are safe, sound and sanitary. It's not as flashy, but we should add "termite-free" to that list.
The VA requires a wood-destroying pest inspection in certain parts of the country and in low-rise and high-rise condo units when the VA appraiser observes a potential pest problem.
According to pest control company Orkin, termites damage more than 600,000 homes each, year and U.S. homeowners spend about $5 billion annually fighting them. The VA wants to prevent Veterans using their VA loan benefits from becoming part of that statistic where termites are common.
Termites are more prevalent in some places than others. More than 30 states require a pest inspection before a home loan closes. They're discretionary in others, although there's a handful of states where individual counties mandate an inspection.
While termite and pest inspections can be required, the VA, in most cases, does not allow the borrower to pay for it in all but nine states. That may change in the coming years, but for now, it's a consideration that lenders, real estate agents, and home sellers contend with, usually with little fuss.
One of the first questions for VA borrowers is, "Will I have to get a termite inspection?" Unless you're pursuing a VA Streamline refinance, the answer is an unequivocal yes if the property is in one of these states:
In other states, you'll need to get a pest inspection only if the independent VA appraiser notes an issue during the appraisal process. Pest inspections are merely discretionary in these states:
Professional pest inspectors will scour potential entry points around the house, both inside and out, looking for telltale signs of termite infestation. Damaged wood is obviously a dead giveaway, but there are other indicators that might signal a problem. Any issues will need to be cleared up before you can move forward with your VA home loan.
Many buyers found learning about the VA's Minimum Property Requirements helpful while preparing for a pest inspection.
VA lenders will often require an invoice that shows who paid for the termite inspection. VA borrowers aren't allowed to pay for the inspection on a home purchase in all but nine states. Both home sellers and real estate agents have historically expressed concern over this limitation, which almost always results in the seller covering this cost.
The nine states where VA buyers can currently pay for a pest inspection are:
While paying for the inspection is off the table in most states, VA buyers everywhere may be able to pay for termite treatment. Some lenders, including Veterans United, allow buyers to cover repairs in some cases, even with issues noted on the Notice of Value.
VA loans allow Veterans to have a co-borrower on the loan. Here we break down co-borrower requirements and provide common scenarios around co-borrowing and joint VA loans.
Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) verifies you meet the military service requirements for a VA loan. However, not everyone knows there are multiple ways to obtain your COE – some easier than others.