Buying an existing home, no matter how old, should have you concerned about termite infestation. This is why the VA requires a loan pest inspection in many areas. It is an act that protects the buyer, lender, and the VA in the long run as pest infestation can be very detrimental to the value of a home, not to mention extremely expensive to repair if there is significant damage.
Who does the VA Require to Have a Pest Inspection?
The first thing to note is that not every VA borrower has to have a pest inspection performed on the home they wish to purchase. The determining factor is where the home is located. If the home is located in an area where there is heavy or moderate to heavy termite infestation, an inspection is required even if there is no evidence of damage. The level of infestation is determined by the Termite Infestation Probability map. The map categorizes termite infestation as none to slight; slim to moderate; moderate to heavy; and heavy.
If the home you wish to purchase is located within one of the above danger zones, a termite inspection is required. If the home you plan to purchase is in a light area, the inspection is optional. It is to your best interest to have an inspection completed; however, so that you can make sure that the home is safe and sound and will not cost you a large amount of money down the road as termite infestation can even leave you without a home to live in while the damage is repaired.
The Appraisal’s Input
In some cases, a pest inspection will not be required because of the boundaries the home lies within, but the appraisal will tell a different story. If the appraisal report comes back with evidence of termite damage in or around the home, an inspection will be required regardless of where the home is located. This is to help you understand the level of damage and what type of treatment will be necessary to fix the home’s damage.
The Areas Inspected
If there is a need for a termite inspection, whether there is evidence of termite damage or the home lies within an area that has reported infestations, the inspector will check the following areas:
- All accessible areas that termites could get into
- All interior areas
- All exterior areas
Making a Decision
Once you know whether or not the home has termite damage, you can decide if you still want to purchase the home. A positive report for termite damage does not automatically knock your chances of securing a VA loan out of the water. However, you do have to have the damage repaired before you can close on the loan. There are no guidelines referencing who should be liable for the repairs, but typically the seller is responsible. The only exception to this rule is if there is extreme damage to the home, in which case, the VA will be unable to insure the home for VA funding.
It is in your best interest to have a pest inspection performed on the home you wish to purchase as it gives you a sense of security regarding the value and structure of the home. Typically the VA will only insure homes that are safe, sound, and sanitary, but if your home were to slip through the cracks because a termite inspection was not required, you might miss the signs that there is damage. Paying for the inspection will help you to know that you are making the right decision in your home purchase.