Are you a service member, veteran, or part of a military family seeking a safe, sound, and sanitary home through the VA home loan program? Ensuring your prospective property is termite-free is as crucial as meeting other essential homeownership requirements. Join us as we explore VA termite inspections by state, discovering where these inspections are mandatory and who bears the responsibility.
Why VA Termite Inspections Are Vital
The VA understands the significant impact termites can have on homeowners. In the United States alone, termites cause damage to over 600,000 homes each year, costing homeowners approximately $5 billion annually. As part of their commitment to veterans, the VA aims to protect those utilizing VA loan benefits from falling victim to termite-related issues prevalent in certain regions.
Understanding When VA Termite Inspections Are Required
Termites thrive in specific locations across the country; however, some areas more than others can become infested. Over 30 states mandate termite inspections before finalizing a home loan, while others grant discretion to the parties involved. In some states, individual counties enforce their own specific termite inspection requirements. To keep up with the growing termite infestation, the VA implemented changes in June 2022, making termite inspections mandatory for properties in areas classified as "Moderate to Heavy" or "Very Heavy" infestation zones.
Who Pays for VA Termite Inspections?
The cost of a termite inspection can vary, with an average range of $100-$200. Negotiations between buyers and sellers often lead to sellers covering this fee so be sure to ask your realtor about including a provision in the contract regarding who is responsible for the cost of the inspection. In the interest of ensuring a termite-free home, sellers may recognize the benefit of the inspection, and facilitating a smooth VA loan process.
VA Termite Inspection Requirements by State
After embarking on your VA home loan journey, the primary question is whether you need a termite inspection. For the following states, the answer is an unequivocal yes:
Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C.
In other states, a termite inspection is only required if an independent VA appraiser identifies possible termite related damage during the appraisal process. The need for termite inspections in these states remains discretionary:
Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan (required in counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Hillsdale, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Mason, Monroe, Muskegon, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa, St. Clair, St. Joseph, VanBuren, Washtenaw, and Wayne), Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire (required in counties: Cheshire, Sullivan, Merrimack, Rockingham, Belknap, Hillsborough, and Strafford), New York (required in counties: Bronx, Broome, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester), North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont (required in counties: Bennington and Windham), Washington, Wisconsin (required in counties: Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha), and Wyoming.
The Importance of Professional Termite Inspections
To identify any signs of termite infestation, professional inspectors will diligently examine possible entry points, both inside and outside the home. While damaged wood serves as an obvious indicator, other telltale signs may warrant additional attention. Addressing any identified issues becomes imperative before finalizing your VA home loan.
VA Loan Termite Inspection Costs
In the past, VA loan borrowers were not permitted to pay for termite inspections during the home loan process. Previously, termite inspections were typically excluded from the expenses borne by VA loan borrowers during home purchases. Yet, in June 2022, the VA revised its regulations, permitting all borrowers the option to bear the cost associated with termite inspection reports, particularly when the inspection is mandatory. Additionally, VA borrowers can handle the costs of necessary repairs to meet the VA's minimum property requirements.