Ultimate Guide to VA Loan Termite Inspections
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presents an attractive financing option for veterans and their families looking to purchase a home. However, there are specific standards and procedures that must be met to ensure the quality and safety of the property being purchased. Unfortunately, the VA’s guidelines and a lender’s criteria can make VA loans for first-time home buyers even more confusing.
Among the VA’s stringent requirements are the Minimum Property Requirements (MPR), which are established to protect the buyer and ensure the home they’re investing in is safe, sound, and free from potential hazards or significant defects.
Pest inspections, specifically termite inspections, are a significant aspect of these MPRs. Termites, though tiny, can cause extensive damage to the structural integrity of homes, leading to hefty repair costs in the long run. The VA recognizes the potential risks associated with these pests and requires thorough inspections before approving loans.
Keep reading to learn more about the VA loan termite inspection requirements and how they might impact your home loan process.
- The VA has specific Minimum Property Requirements (MPR) to ensure homes purchased with VA loans are structurally sound and safe.
- One significant VA requirement is the termite inspection to address potential damages these pests may cause.
- Not all VA loans require a termite inspection; they’re typically only mandated in regions with a high probability of infestation.
- If a home fails the termite inspection, the seller must treat the infestation and repair any damages before the VA will consider approving the loan.
The Role of VA Loan Termite Inspections
The VA termite inspection is an evaluation of the property to detect the presence of termites or other wood-destroying insects. As part of the VA inspection requirements, qualified professionals will examine the home’s interior and exterior, including crawl spaces, basements, and the foundation. These individuals look for signs of active termite infestations, past damages, and conditions that may make a house more susceptible to infestations, such as moisture accumulation or wood-to-ground contact.
The purpose behind the termite inspection for a VA home loan is to ensure the safety of the potential homeowner. Since termites can compromise the structural integrity of a property, they can turn it into a potential hazard.
At the same time, this inspection ensures a sound investment. A termite-infested home may require significant, costly repairs. Detecting these issues early on prevents potential buyers from spending money on a property that may not be worth it.
Are Termite Inspections Required for VA Home Loans?
The termite inspection is designed to protect the VA’s, lender’s, and borrower’s investment and ensure the safety of the property for the buyer. But is a termite inspection required for a VA loan?
Typically, the VA uses the Termite Infestation Probability Map to determine if a termite inspection is required for a VA home loan. The VA doesn’t mandate termite inspections for every loan application. However, termite inspections are explicitly required in areas with a high likelihood of infestation. In these regions, termites are often a regular concern and potentially jeopardize a home’s structural integrity, diminishing its value.
Some states that require termite inspections include:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
In some cases, VA termite inspections are only required in specific counties or regions. The VA will notify you if you’re required to get an inspection.
That said, even if you’re not required to get a termite inspection by the VA, your lender might still need it. It’s always a good idea to discuss the specifics with your lender to understand what’s required.
Who Pays for a Termite Inspection on a VA Loan?
In previous years, the VA required the seller or lender to pay for the inspection. But now, the responsibility can shift depending on the state or deal negotiated between the buyer and the seller.
The homebuyer can often pay for the termite inspection as part of their closing costs. If they can’t, the seller or another party must cover the expense. There are also limits on the fees charged to VA loan borrowers to protect them from excessive charges and ensure the responsibility doesn’t become a burden for them. Using tools like a VA loan calculator can help prospective homeowners understand their potential monthly payments and overall loan costs.
If the property is located where the borrower can pay for the inspection, the buyer and seller can negotiate who handles the cost. The payment could be the seller’s responsibility, especially in a strong buyers’ market, or if the termite inspection is a condition set by the buyer during the negotiation phase.
Alternatively, if the property has multiple interested buyers, the veteran might pay for the inspection to facilitate the purchase process and give them more negotiating power.
In cases where the VA doesn’t allow the buyer to pay for the termite inspection, the seller usually pays. If they refuse, another party, such as the lender or real estate agent, can cover the cost.
Keep in mind that no matter who pays, the purpose of the VA termite inspection is to protect the investment and guarantee the safety and longevity of the home. Both the buyer and seller are interested in ensuring the property is free from termite damage, so it’s beneficial for all parties to cooperate.
Resolving a Failed VA Termite Inspection
A failed VA termite inspection can initially be a cause for concern. However, understanding what happens next can lead to an efficient resolution. While the VA and lender can deny your loan if the home fails inspection, there are steps you can take to secure your investment, such as:
- Treatment and repairs: The most immediate step after a failed termite inspection is for the seller to address the infestation by contacting a professional exterminator and treating the property. In addition, any damage must be repaired before the VA considers approving the loan.
- Reinspection: After treatment and repairs, a reinspection will ensure the termites have been eradicated and all damages addressed. The VA will not approve the loan if there are still signs of an active termite infestation or untreated damage.
- Negotiations: Depending on the severity of the termite damage, the buyer and seller may need to negotiate terms regarding repair costs. Sometimes, the seller agrees to cover all costs, but there may be situations where expenses are divided or responsibilities are shifted based on negotiations.
Once termite issues are addressed, the loan process can proceed. However, the VA may require additional documentation or evidence that the termite problem has been resolved before giving final approval.
Termite inspections are valid for 90 days from the date of the inspection. Ideally, the loan application process should be completed within this timeframe. If the closing process is delayed, a new inspection may be required.
Secure Your Property Investment With a VA Loan Termite Inspection
Securing a property with a VA loan goes beyond the financial aspects to ensure the longevity and safety of your home. In some states, termite inspections are mandated by the VA and play a crucial role in loan approval. These inspections protect your investment by ensuring your property isn’t compromised by wood-destroying pests.
Along with passing a termite inspection, you’ll need to meet credit and income requirements in order to get approved for a VA loan and receive a favorable interest rate. To better prepare yourself financially for the VA loan application process, consider downloading the Griffin Gold app. Our all-in-one financial wellness app allows you to monitor your credit, customize your budget, browse real estate listings, and much more.
As a premier VA loan lender, Griffin Funding understands the importance of adhering to all VA regulations, including the termite inspection. We’re dedicated to helping veterans navigate the VA loan process with ease, ensuring all requirements are met to the highest standards. Apply for a VA loan today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you waive termite inspection requirements for VA home loans?
These strict requirements are in place to protect VA loan borrowers from potential structural damage and associated costs in the future.
How long is a VA termite inspection good for?
What paperwork do I need for a VA termite inspection?
The appraiser who performs the other inspections for the VA will also evaluate the property's overall condition and ensure the NPMA-33 report aligns with the VA's requirements.
Additionally, it's beneficial to keep previous treatment records or warranties, which you can use as supportive documents in the VA loan process to showcase that the property has been maintained and is free from infestations.
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