Termites strike fear into the hearts of property owners for good reason. While these pests are small in size, their destructive power is huge. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, termites cause billions of dollars worth of property damage each year. And according to American Pest, the average cost to repair termite damage is $3,300. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that homebuyers need to think carefully about scheduling a pest inspection before purchasing property. In fact, many lenders and loan programs insist on these inspections. What do you need to know about pest inspections for VA loans?
Pest Inspections for VA Loans
When trying to sort through the facts about pest inspections for VA loans, it helps to know what to expect during a pest inspection. You’ll also need to know when the Department of Veterans Affairs requires pest inspections for properties purchased with VA loans, how to find out whether your property will need a pest inspection, and who pays for it.
What to Expect from a Pest Inspection
As HomeAdvisor points out, there are roughly 45 distinct species of termites active in the United States, and different species have different habits and appetites. To make matters worse, termites aren’t the only insects known to cause property damage. Carpenter ants, carpenter bees, old house borers, powder post beetles, and other bugs can also harm a property. When you request a pest inspection, which is more formally known as a wood-destroying insect inspection, the inspector will look for signs of prior damage as well as indications of an active infestation of one or more wood-destroying insects. After the inspection, they’ll provide a report detailing their findings.
Pests and the Property Requirements for a VA Loan
Any property purchased with a VA Loan must meet the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). Intended to ensure that buyers are purchasing a property that is safe, sanitary, and structurally sound, these requirements cover a wide range of issues, including pests. To comply with the MPRs and qualify for purchase with a VA loan, a property must be free of infestations. That means that any seller whose property has an active termite problem will have to correct the issue before they can sell it to a buyer using a VA loan.
Does the VA Require a Pest Inspection for the Property That You’re Purchasing?
While the VA does insist that any property purchased with a VA loan should be free of a pest infestation, it doesn’t always require buyers to get a pest inspection. Instead, it requires buyers who are purchasing properties in areas where the probability of termite infestation is rated as “moderate to heavy” or “very heavy” on The Council of American Building Officials’ Termite Infestation Probability Map to have an inspection completed by a pest control professional who meets all the requirements of the state where the property is located.
What about buyers purchasing homes in places where termite damage is less common? In these areas, inspections are generally optional unless the VA appraiser notes evidence of past damage or a possible infestation. In that situation, a requirement for a pest inspection is added to the list. Buyers who aren’t sure whether a pest inspection is necessary or not can contact their local VA office to find out the specific requirements for their area.
Paying for Pest Inspections When Buying with a VA Loan
As Terminix points out, pest inspections are fairly affordable. When they’re being done for a real estate transaction, pest inspections generally cost between $50 and $150. However, buyers using a VA loan don’t have to worry about the expense. In most states (including Kansas), the VA forbids buyers from paying for the inspection. Instead, the seller typically pays for the inspection. The lender must have a copy of the invoice that shows who paid for the inspection as part of the loan paperwork.
With 100-percent financing, competitive interest rates, and relaxed credit requirements, VA loans can be a fantastic choice for qualifying homebuyers. At PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas, we’re committed to offering first-class service to those who have served our country. If you’re interested in learning more about VA loans and how to maximize your housing benefits, contact us today.