Updated: Apr 20
Whether you are taking out a brand-new VA Loan or refinancing, all VA lenders require a Wood Destroying Insect Report. This became a requirement in 2020 in several Wisconsin counties (Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha). The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has released a new two-page form for existing residential real estate transactions called the NPMA-33. Anyone completing this form for you also has to be certified in wood destroying insect inspection and treatment.
Most often lenders and realtors refer to these inspections as termite inspections. Our certified technicians at Safeway Pest Management are also inspecting for carpenter ants, carpenter bees and wood-boring beetles in addition to termites. They are looking for live activity, evidence of past pest activity, signs of previous termite treatments, areas conducive to subterranean termites, and moisture. Not all evidence of any of these pests is visible to the naked eye on the surface which is why our technicians use all resources available to ensure your home is free of these wood destroying insects.
Our technicians inspect all surfaces of your interior and exterior walls, floors, and ceilings. Besides the main level of your home, the technician may need access to basements, crawl spaces, attic, garage, porches and any additions. If the technician cannot get access to one or more of these areas, he will note this on his report. If there are additional buildings or structures on your property, please mention them at the time of scheduling. This allows the technician to have enough scheduled time to inspect all structures and accurately, complete the inspection and the report. This is also important so you are given an accurate quote for the inspection ahead of the scheduled appointment. Additional structures may incur additional charges. Technicians want to ensure that you are purchasing a home that is pest free.
Aside from time and their visual observations, there are plenty of tools our technicians use to inspect as thoroughly as possible. Some of these tools include a rubber mallet, probe, stethoscope, optic and digital camera. In addition, Safeway’s certified technicians also use a moisture meter which will target key hospitable areas for pests, where they can grow and thrive without human interaction. As moisture-affected wood often hosts these pest species, it is important for home inspectors to identify all areas susceptible to infestations as well. As one of our expert’s states, “If an area of moisture is detected, I will tap the area with a mallet and probe the wood to ensure it is not being eaten. For example, if I tap on a wall with carpenter ants within the wall, I can hear them click their mandibles in protest.” He later explained how a stethoscope is also an excellent way to hear activity behind a surface before probing or tapping the surface. The inspection does not include concealed areas, mold, mildew or non-insect wood destroying organisms.
VA lenders will often require an invoice that shows who paid for the termite inspection and a lien waiver. VA borrowers aren't allowed to pay for the inspection on a home purchase, which is important to note. It is technically the seller who is responsible for all costs associated with the inspection. The only exception to the requirement is a VA Interest Rate Reduction Loan (VA IRRRL). VA IRRRL’s do not require a termite report. While a Veteran is not allowed to pay for the inspection on a purchase, they can pay for the pest inspection on a VA refinance loan. The reason is that the Veteran already owns the house.
VA loan rules for termite inspections are different for condo projects. According to the VA, "A wood destroying insect inspection is required in low-rise and high-rise units only when the fee appraiser observes a potential problem." There are some situations that allow the termite inspection to be waived in second-story or higher condo units. Before starting your house hunt, speak with your nearest VA Regional Loan Center to learn if your area requires termite inspections.
With this requirement being new to our area, the buyer or the realtor doesn’t necessarily know about the requirement for this inspection report and we get a call at the last minute to schedule. We are hoping to spread the word to Veterans and Realty professionals that this requirement is now in place. We hope to help everyone become an expert on this topic and to give enough time in advance to get their inspection scheduled without a panicked rush on the day before closing. Once the inspection is completed, how long does it last? Many lenders state the termite inspection expires after 30 days, but check with your lender to confirm this time frame. To make this process as easy as possible for the Veteran, we hand them the report on site after the technician has completed the inspection. In addition, we scan this report the same day and email it to you to make it easy to forward it to the lender the same day.
Keep in mind that each inspection report may be different. Therefore, requirements and remedies vary as well. Besides lender and Veteran’s Administration requirements, it is key that you, the Veteran and their representatives, are happy with the findings and corrections if necessary. Make sure that your inspection is completed by a certified technician who is completing the NPMA-33 form. Confirm your appointment is not more than 30 days from the closing but allow yourself and the pest company enough time to schedule your inspection. Don’t forget to have an invoice showing that it is paid, as the lender will be looking for that. Lastly, request a lien waiver, typically we see it requested by the lender more than half of the time. The loan process can be lengthy, and we at Safeway Pest Management want to help you make this part as easy as possible to allow you to enjoy the next chapter that's ahead.
By: Shannon Maass
Office Manager at Safeway Pest Management
Sources: https://www.veteransunited.com/valoans/va-termite-pest-inspections/, https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/appraiser_cv_local_req.asp, https://www.valoans.com/articles/termite-inspections/, https://www.ovmfinancial.com/va-termite-inspection/. https://www.vahomeloanspcs.com/the-va-termite-inspection-what-you-need-to-know/