Pest Inspections For VA Loans: What’s Required And How They Work
One of the benefits of a VA loan is that you’re guaranteed for it to be move-in-ready. In other words, you’re not going to face unexpected leaks, sparks or surprises when you move in. Additionally, you’ll also be guaranteed that your home is pest-free.
In more than 30 states, you’re required to get a VA pest inspection on the home you’re buying before you’re allowed to close. If you’re refinancing your home with a VA Streamline, a pest inspection won’t be required unless the appraiser makes note of any wood-destroying organism or pest problems.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into their requirements for pest inspections, and what to expect during this part of the home buying process.
VA Pest Inspection States: What Are The Requirements?
Pest inspections are required in all states, except the following:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
These are considered discretionary states, meaning an inspection is needed only if the VA appraiser notes an issue during the appraisal process. It’s worth noting that, in certain states, whether a pest inspection is needed is also based on what county or parish you live in.
In addition to a pest inspection, a VA loan will require a detailed VA appraisal in non-discretionary states, as well as ensuring there is safe access to the property, a leak-free roof and more. Be sure to check with your state’s guidelines so that you’ll have a clear understanding of the property’s requirements in addition to a pest/termite inspection.
How The VA Pest Inspection Works
The independent VA appraiser will do a thorough inspection and look for any pest or termite infestation, along with any damage to the home from all wood-boring insects.
If the inspector finds that the home is infested or still has damage from a previous infestation, a follow-up inspection may be required. While the VA doesn’t specify who is responsible for paying for treatment of termite damage or pest control, some states and lenders require the seller to pay for repairs up to a certain dollar amount.
Does The Seller Or Buyer Pay For The Pest Inspection?
One of the common pain points for many buyers and sellers is that the home buyer isn’t allowed to pay for the inspection if they have a VA loan. This could mean their offer is seen as less favorable in comparison to conventional or other non-VA loan offers because of the additional cost to the seller. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs has relaxed its guidelines to allow veteran buyers to be able to pay for their pest inspections in the following states (for both home purchases and refinances):
If a veteran or service member is buying a home with a VA loan and they live in a state other than those listed above, the inspection can’t be paid for by the veteran. It’s either paid by the seller (or the lender, in the case of refinances).
The pest inspection is the only inspection the VA sometimes requires that the seller pay for. Any other inspections that might be necessary, such as those for a roof or septic system, can be paid for by anyone who is involved in the transaction.
Please keep in mind that this doesn’t change the requirements for needing an inspection – you’ll likely still need to get one. But what these new developments do is allow you, as a veteran or service member, to speed up the home buying process by paying for it yourself rather than waiting for someone else.
How Long Is The Inspection Good For?
The VA recognizes a Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection for up to 90 days. This gives you that time to finish the closing process and move into your new home. It’s important to note that the purpose of this validity period is only for VA lending purposes; it does not guarantee your home will stay pest-free for those 90 days.
The Bottom Line: A Pest Inspection Will Ensure You’re Getting A Safe Home With Your VA Loan
In short, every state has its own requirements as to whether a pest inspection is required and who pays for it. It’s important to do your own research beforehand to know what you can expect when going through the process, as well as if your county or parish has their own requirements.
Ready to buy your first home with a VA loan? Check out our guide on VA home loans so you can be fully prepared for the process ahead and begin your search!