Four-point inspection vs. Full-home inspection

Different Home Inspections From A Realtor’s Perspective…

Every homeowners insurance company requires either a four-point inspection or a full-home inspection before issuing an insurance policy to the new homeowner. These inspections are designed to protect both the insurance company as well as the buyer by exposing any existing issues or damages prior to the sale of the property.

The four- point inspection focuses on four main areas of interest in a house

  *  HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

  *  Electrical wiring and panels

  *  Plumbing connections and fixtures

  *  Roof

The reason why homeowner insurance companies require a 4 point inspection is to make sure that major components of the house are in good condition before they agree to insure it. This is especially true for older homes [25 yrs or more] since the chances of an older home having problems is much greater than a newer home. It’s for this reason that insurance companies have become increasingly reluctant to issue homeowner insurance policies. A good example of this would be a roof nearing the end of its life expectancy. Even though the roof isn’t leaking, you know just by how old it is that it won’t be long before it starts having problems.

 In this situation, the Insurance company would probably require the roof to be replaced before issuing the new homeowner a policy so that they can reduce their risk of liability that comes with a worn out roof. The same holds true for the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. If either of these items are in bad shape or poorly installed, then they could easily cause a fire or severe water damage to the house putting the insurance company at risk for having to pay for the repairs to be made to make it livable again.

The full-home inspection is a more complete inspection

A Typical Full-Home inspection includes:

*  Roofing- sheathing, shingles, flashing, vents, , trusses, etc.

*  Exterior/Interior – roof coverings, soffit, fascia, finishes, etc

*  Heating and Air Conditioning – ducts, temperatures, filters,

*  Electrical System – safety, GFI, wiring, breakers, receptacles, etc

*  Plumbing – supply, fixtures, water leaks, waste, etc

*  Appliances – Hot water heater, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc,

As you can see from this list, a full-home inspection is a much more in-depth process than the four-point. The inspector basically goes through the entire house with a fined tooth comb and reports anything that either may have a problem or which may cause a potential problem in the near future.  A good example of this is if there is evidence of past water damage, the inspector must determine if the proper repairs have been made or if the problem still exists.

The inspector should also check for potential safety issues like a  loose handrail, an electrical outlet installed to close to a sink, defective appliances, etc. This type of an inspection can sometimes take up to four hours or more to complete because of the amount of work that’s involved. Some defects are an easy fix, and once discovered, can be fixed before purchasing the home. However, when major issues are found, the buyer will usually try to get the seller to make the repairs prior to the closing.

After a home inspection in Florida, a written report is provided to the home buyer, lender, and seller. Minor or cosmetic defects might be overlooked by all.

It’s my duty as an Orlando realtor  to look out for my client’s best interest which is why I always try to encourage my buyers to order the full inspection as opposed to a four-point inspection. Sure, a full-inspection will cost more money but it could potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs by detecting any problems with the house before signing a purchase contract.

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