At Terminix, we are the experts in termites and other household pests, not home loans and mortgages. We included a list of additional resources at the bottom of this page for more information regarding the interplay between pest control and home loans.
Typically, before agreeing to buy a home, you have the option to have any number of home inspections done, including a general inspection, radon inspection, pest inspection and more. Keep in mind that what many people refer to as a "pest inspection" is actually a termite inspection.
If you are using a VA (Veteran Affairs) loan to purchase a property or refinance an existing mortgage, the VA may require that the property have a termite inspection for the mortgage process.
Any property purchased with a VA (Veterans Affairs) loan must meet the VA's minimum property requirements. These requirements are intended to ensure the buyer is purchasing a safe, sanitary and structurally sound property. If the property you want to buy using a VA loan is in an area where the probability of termite infestation is rated as moderate to heavy or very heavy, the VA requires that the property be inspected by a termite control professional who meets all the requirements of the state where the property is located.
You can find a list of VA loan termite inspection requirements for VA home loans by the state on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
What pests does the VA loan inspection cover?
Most states require a wood-destroying insect and organism report (WDIOR) or wood-destroying insect report (WDIR). The name of the report can vary by state. This report is created after an inspection of the home for active termites or other wood-destroying insects.
Wood-destroying insects can be a home's worst enemy. A termite inspection for a VA loan may uncover an existing infestation or damage from past infestations. It may also provide insight into conditions that could be vulnerable to pests.
While termites often come to mind when discussing wood-destroying insects, they are one of several types of wood-destroying insects and organisms that can cause considerable damage to the wood in a home. A professional termite inspection will include examining the interior and exterior of the home to look for wood damage and to help identify the cause.
Depending on where the home is located in the U.S., the termite inspector may look for termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, old-house borers, powderpost beetles and more.
Who pays for a VA loan pest inspection?
VA guidelines indicate that the VA loan pest inspection (which again is actually a termite inspection) may not be paid by the buyer for a first mortgage in most states. For a refinance, VA borrowers can pay this fee.
For a first mortgage, the lender will require a copy of the termite inspection invoice to show who paid for the inspection as part of the loan paperwork. The lender, the realtor or even the seller can pay the cost. Consult the VA Regional Loan Center in the area where the home is located to learn about exceptions related to paying for the pest inspection.
What does a pest inspector look for?
During the termite inspection for a VA loan, a termite control professional will look at the exterior and all accessible areas of the home's interior, including the attic and/or crawl space. The inspection will include looking for the actual pests, as well as their tell-tale signs, such as damaged wood and insect droppings, or discarded wings and mud tubes. Different signs of termites can help identify the species of termites as well.
Related > The Top 5 Signs of Termites
Once the inspection is completed, the termite control professional will provide a report or certificate that outlines infestation or damage. The form will also outline recommended treatments and the limits of the inspection.
Do VA loan termite inspections expire?
The VA considers the termite inspection to be valid for 90 days. This period is to satisfy the pest or termite inspection requirements for the VA loan. It is not a warranty or guarantee that the home is free from wood-destroying insects during that time or that an infestation cannot occur after that.
Are there requirements for new construction homes?
If you are using a VA loan to purchase new construction, depending on the state the property may still require a termite inspection and/or a New Construction Subterranean Termite Soil Treatment Record. This record verifies that there was a pre-treatment for subterranean termites performed, which helps reduce the risk of a subterranean termite infestation. Wood-destroying insects like termites are not limited to older homes. While the building materials used in constructing a new home may not have any pests, conditions outside — like mulch or different soil types — can be home to these insects. It may be only a matter of time before they find their way to the new wood in a home.
Related > Does Mulch Attract Termites?
A professional termite inspection may be able to identify potential termite troubles and help you protect your investment. If you're planning to purchase a new home, get in touch with Terminix® to schedule a termite inspection.
Sources / Additional Information
US Department of Veterans Affairs
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
Veterans United: House Hunting & Property Guidelines
Veterans United: VA Termite Inspections By State
National Pest Management Association: Suggested Guidelines for Completing the Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Report
Quicken Loans: Pest Inspection for VA Loans