Spring is one of the most popular times to buy a home. With mortgage rates as crazy low as they are right now, a VA mortgage is a great option, especially with all of its benefits – like no down payment.
If you’re in the market for a new home and you are or have been a U.S. service member or you’re a veteran’s surviving spouse, you’re eligible for a VA loan.
This loan was created as part of President Roosevelt’s G.I. Bill in 1944 and is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
While VA loans have more relaxed guidelines than other mortgages, there are some requirements that are specific to VA loans, like wood-boring pest inspections. Unless you’re getting a VA streamline refinance, pest inspections are required in all states except Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
However, the rules are different for condos. If you are purchasing a mid- or high-rise condo, pest inspections are not required unless the appraiser notices evidence of wood-destroying pests. First floor condo units are subject to the same pest requirements as a single-family home.
If you do live in an area where pest inspections are required, it’s helpful to know what the inspector will be looking for.
How the Inspection Works
This inspection looks for infestation/damage to the home from wood-boring insects. The inspector will usually be working off of a Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Report, often called a termite letter. It specifies the inspection guidelines and will show the inspector’s findings.
The pest inspector looks at every accessible area of the home, including attics and crawlspaces, for signs of pest infestation like shelter tubes, exit holes and staining. He or she will also look for damaged wood and other materials.
Previous Extermination Treatments
Along with current damage, the inspector has to report if the home owner has had any prior pest treatments. Some states actually require that the seller discloses whatever measures they took to get rid of the termites.
When the VA inspector finds that the home is infested, or still has significant evidence of a previous infestation, he/she will probably recommend that the home owner treat the home to exterminate the pests. The seller is required to pay for a VA pest inspection, but anyone can pay for repairs if they’re needed. So, the cost for treating a home for termites is a negotiable item that you’ll deal with as part of your purchase agreement. I talked a little bit about negotiating costs in a previous post on homes for sale by owner.
For example, maybe you as the buyer cover the treatment cost in return for other repairs or a lower purchase price or the seller might cover the cost instead of lowering the price of the home.
If you’re selling your home to a veteran, especially if you know you have termite problems, proactively preparing for the inspection and consequential treatments should help move the process along.
If you’re the buyer, you don’t have to immediately discount a home infested with pests, but you do need to educate yourself about the drawbacks and be aware of what you’re getting into before you sign the purchase agreement.
If you have any questions or additional knowledge about VA pest inspections, don’t hesitate to speak up!