Differences Between Four-Point and Full-Home Inspection
Before issuing an insurance policy to the new homeowner or rental property owner, every homeowner’s insurance company requires an inspection. Any investor or home purchaser must have the property inspected. It can either be a four-point inspection or a full-home inspection. These inspections help protect not only the insurance company but also the buyer as well.
What Is A Four-Point Inspection?
A four-point inspection is a tool that insurance companies have come to rely upon when assessing insurance risk for older homes. It’s conducted by a qualified building code or home inspector, building contractor, registered architect or a civil engineer.
The inspection involves a visual evaluation of the roof, plumbing systems, HVAC systems and electrical systems. Insurance companies require that each of these components are in working order.
Most insurance companies especially require a four-point inspection for homes that are 25 years or older. This is because many older homes either have systems nearing the end of their lifespan or don’t meet current building codes.
A good example of this would be a roof nearing the end of its lifespan. On the surface, it may look great. However, problems may soon begin to show up. In this case, a homeowner’s insurance company may require that a new roof to be installed before offering any insurance cover.
This way, the insurance company is able to minimize the liability that may ensue from a roof that is worn out. The same concept is true for HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems.
Poor installation of these systems could lead to significant liabilities for the insurance company. For example, poor electrical systems installation could cause a fire.
What Is A Full-home Inspection?
Also known as a buyer’s inspection, a full inspection is a lot more thorough. When you are a first-time homebuyer or about to settle down into your dream home, a full-home inspection is a must for you and your family.
A good home inspector will examine every nook and cranny in your potential house. Not all inspectors are created equal, though. Therefore, you need to do your homework first. This means that, checking that they have the necessary equipment, training, and experience.
You could ask your inspector the following questions:
• “Can I attend the inspection?”
Most inspectors will allow you. However, if they don’t, it’s an automatic red flag.
• “How long will the inspection take?”
Generally, home inspections take 2 to 3 hours on average and take longer if you’re moving into a larger home. If your inspector says that your inspection will last less than an hour, you are working with the wrong professional.
• “What is your background and experience?”
If you are buying a fixer-upper, it’s advisable to find an inspector who has experience working with similar properties. Essentially, you want to work with an inspector who has the basics of local building codes and requirements down to a tee.
• “Are you a member of a professional inspection organization?”
The most reputable inspectors should be a member of either The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, The American Society of Home Inspectors, or The National Association of Home Inspectors.
A full-home inspection involves testing every major system and structure in the house to make sure it’s functioning properly.
Factors Involved in a Full-Home Inspection
A home inspection checklist is a lengthy rundown of features throughout your house that might be faulty or needs fixing. However, as thorough as it may be, it won’t include things like septic systems, hot tubs, or underground pipes.
Ideally, prepare yourself for the upcoming professional inspection during your initial tour of the home. If you notice anything unusual, note it down. On the inspection day, give the notes to your inspector so that they can specially attend to them.
As you inspect the home, look for the following things:
Check if the home has a smell. Check if you can detect the source or the cause of the odor and if it could be fixed. If the odor is musty, chances are the basement is wet.
• Heating or cooling system
Inspect if the heating or cooling system is working well. Check how old the furnace is. If converted, check if the old systems are still in place.
If these are included, check the age and condition of the stove, dishwasher, or refrigerator.
Check for any unusual noises or malfunctions. Inspect if the sewer line been scoped to check for potential cracks.
Check if the switches work. Check if there any obvious malfunctions. Ensure that the outlets been grounded.
Check if there are any signs of dampness. Check if there’s an adequate insulation.
• Interior evidence of leaks
Check the ceilings and areas around the windows in each room.
Check how the interior of the roof structure looks. Look for any signs of leakages.
Check if the house looks like it will need repairs or repainting soon. Look for any loose boards or dangling wires. Inspect to ensure that the gutters and downspouts firmly attached.
Check if there are obvious cracks or apparent shifts in the foundation.
Because of its thoroughness, buyers are recommended to get their potential home fully inspected. The cost involved is pennies on the dollar considering the huge financial undertaking involved in buying the home.