Selling an older home can be difficult. Many homeowners see them as a money pit needing a lot of attention to bring the home up to code and make it suitable for living in. They oftentimes find it hard to overlook old trends and styles, so renovations are needed. There are those who are not too afraid to take on the challenge, but the insurance company may still be fearful, that’s where a 4-Point Inspection can help.
What is a 4-Point Inspection?
A 4-Point Inspection is a less thorough and invasive inspection of the home that covers four main components. The components covered in a 4-Point Inspection are the roof, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical system.
A 4-Point Inspection can help prove to your insurance company that the home you intend to buy is a sound investment. This proof can help lower your monthly premiums, saving you money in the long run.
Due to varying prices from state to state and by each insurance company, it’s safe to estimate that you will pay anywhere from $50 – $150 to have a 4-point inspection completed on your home.
Some states require a 4-Point Inspection and others don’t, but there are several benefits to having one done anyways:
- It’s fast, easy, and cost-effective – 4-Point Inspections are easy to book and can be completed in a short time. Since it is a less comprehensive and time-consuming inspection, they are also known for being relatively inexpensive.
- Helps you avoid future headaches – This inspection focuses on the four main components of the house so you can fix issues early on.
- Know the condition of your home - A 4-Point Inspection is not only beneficial for homebuyers and insurance companies, but also for home sellers. If you're thinking of selling your home, this inspection will help you understand the current condition of your home and know what needs to be fixed before you can find a buyer.
4-Point Inspection vs. Full Home Inspection
A 4-Point Inspection is typically faster, less thorough, and focuses on the four main systems within your home: roof, electrical panels and wiring, HVAC, and plumbing connections and fixtures. This inspection is usually used for new or changing insurance providers, as it is a way for the insurance provider to understand the risks involved with the home before they agree to insure it.
On the other hand, a Full Home Inspection is much more detailed than a 4-Point Inspection. A complete home inspection is an excellent tool for those looking to buy a new home as it assesses everything in your home and helps you understand any potential risks or concerns before purchasing a home.
A Full Home Inspection looks at 300 items including the following:
- Structural integrity, including the walls, floors, roof, and supporting structures
- Electrical systems such as outlets, wires, and panels
- Plumbing fixtures, pipes, and drainage
- Doors and windows
- Site conditions in and around your home
What Are Inspectors Looking For in a 4-Point Inspection?
HVAC System - Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is one of the most important systems in your home as it helps regulate climate control. If your HVAC is outdated and not well maintained, it can accumulate a lot of dust, which leads to problems with air circulation and air quality which can also pose a slew of serious health hazards.
What does a professional home inspector look at when inspecting an HVAC unit?
- Age and condition: Although it’s not a primary determining factor, a qualified inspector will look at how old your HVAC is as well as its current condition. These factors help predict the expectations of the system and determine how well-maintained it is.
- Functionality: For the HVAC system to function properly, it needs to be suitably sized for the home and perform the cooling and heating functions well. Window AC units, fireplaces, and oil furnaces don’t qualify as essential home heating and cooling units because of safety concerns.
Electrical System: Home inspectors check to see that the electrical systems are up to code and are size-appropriate for the home. They ensure all circuits are properly grounded and all wires are insulated and free from fraying and other damage.
Electrical fires are one of the most common and costly insurance risks, which means inspectors are also on the lookout for anything that might pose a safety risk.
Plumbing System: The third system your inspector will assess during a 4-point inspection is the plumbing. If your plumbing is compromised, it can lead to severe damage to your home. For instance, if a pipe bursts or your toilet malfunctions, you could experience severe water damage that can least to costly repairs like a floor replacement.
Your inspector will look for leaks and cracks in the plumbing to make sure everything is up to code. They may also look at your water heater to make sure the safety features are accessible and that your water has an emergency shut-off valve.
Roofing: The last and most crucial part of your 4-point inspection is the roof. It is essential as it keeps the weather and elements out of your home.
During your inspection, the inspector will check:
- Age: Like other house components, roofing should be replaced every 20 years. Aged roofs will show cracks, curls, and missing roof shingles.
- Leakage: A leaking roof is a sign of deterioration. Leaking will cause even more costly issues in your home.
- Shape: Unknown to many, roof shaping affects the house’s ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. As an example, if you live in an area with high winds, hip roofs would be the best shape.
- Signs of deterioration: A poorly designed or older roof has a harder time dispelling water properly and will likely have water damage because water pools on the surface. Inspectors will be on the lookout for such signs as they could lead to health and safety hazards.
Why are Florida Homeowners Required to Get a 4-Point Inspection?
Homeowners in Florida are required to get 4-Point Inspections to maintain their property value and ensure its safety. Due to the humid climate and risk of hurricanes, 4-Point Inspections are important to have done every two years to ensure that the home is structurally safe and sound.
Now that we are out of hurricane season, it’s a perfect time to schedule a 4-Point Inspection to make sure your home is ready and safe for next year.
How To Prepare for a 4-Point Inspection
You should prepare your home beforehand by checking for any obvious issues like:
- Testing to see if your HVAC is functioning well.
- Watching for any leakages, pipe deterioration, and water damage.
- Fixing or replacing ungrounded and exposed wiring, which are fire hazards.
- Hiring a roofing expert to come and evaluate the condition of your roof, replacing or fixing any missing roofing shingles as well as resolving signs of water damage and holes.
What Causes a House to Fail a 4-Point inspection?
Unfortunately, not every home passes a 4-Point Inspection. Here are a few of the most common reasons why a home may not pass:
- Old roofs: A roof that is older than a particular age may be immediately disqualified as they are prone to leaks and other damage.
- Lack of central air: Central air conditioning is required in Florida homes.
- Outdated electrical panels: Outdated electrical panels can cause electrical issues and other hazards.
- Faulty wiring: If left unattended for a long time, faulty wiring can result in structural damage and dangers such as fires.
- Missing roof pieces: Over time, missing roof pieces may cause leaks and other damage.
- Old plumbing system: Old plumbing systems can cause serious leaks and pipe damage.
- Electrical system brand and condition: An insurance company's opinion of your inspection may depend on specific brands and their current condition.
- Leaks in plumbing: If there’s an existing leak in the plumbing, the inspection will fail.
What Should I Do if My Home Fails Its 4-Point Inspection?
If your home fails its 4-Point Inspection there are a few things you can do. First, understand the reasons why the home failed and talk openly with your real estate agent about the situation. Then, you can discuss your options, if any, with the seller. Some sellers may lower the asking price, contribute money toward the repairs or make some of the necessary repairs before closing.
Calculate the estimated cost of repairs needed by working with a trusted contractor. If you don’t know one, consider getting multiple quotes to check for accuracy. Once you are aware of the cost of repairs:
- Talk to the seller and discuss your options.
- Look for an insurance agency that doesn’t require a 4-point inspection report, understanding that your premiums may be higher, or coverage may be limited.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Some insurers may accept a failed inspection or give you 30 to 60 days to fix the issues.
In most cases, insurers are willing to work with the home buyer and give temporary insurance coverage while the home is being repaired.
4-Point Inspections are essential, especially for Florida homeowners, to ensure the major systems of your home are in good working condition. WIN Home Inspection is here to help you and be your trusted inspector for 4-Point Inspections. Visit us online or call us at (800) 309-6753 to schedule your inspection.