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.
As of June 2022, the VA recognized the growing prevalence of termite infestations. VA loans now require a termite pest inspection for homes located in areas where the probability of infestation is considered "Moderate to Heavy" or "Very Heavy."
The cost of a termite pest inspection varies. Homebuyers should expect to pay $100-$200 on average, though sellers are often willing to cover this fee after negotiation.
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.
Historically, most VA loan borrowers weren't allowed to pay for termite inspections as part of their home purchase. However, in June 2022, the VA updated its regulations to allow all borrowers to cover termite inspection reports when the inspection is required.
VA borrowers can also cover the cost if repairs are needed to ensure compliance with VA minimum property requirements.