4 Point Inspection
Understanding 4-Point Inspections In Florida – What You Need To Know
If you live in Florida, and you’ve recently purchased a home, you may be wondering what “4-point inspection” is, and why you need it. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics about 4-point inspections – what they are, what is included, and what you need to do if any issues are found with your home. Let’s get started now.
What Is A 4-Point Inspection?
A 4-point inspection is a type of home inspection that is required in Florida, either to obtain or maintain insurance coverage. This inspection was designed by home insurance companies to help them get a more comprehensive understanding of the buildings that they are insuring.
This is especially important if you have an older home. Older homes are more likely to be in disrepair, or to have had multiple repairs and additions that may not be up to modern standards. The insurance company must be aware of these things, to ensure that the home is eligible for coverage under their existing underwriting coverage.
For example, older homes often use fuse boxes with screw-in fuses – which was normal (and standard) in homes built in the 1950s. However, some insurance carriers have rules that prevent them from knowingly insuring any home with these kinds of outdated circuit breakers panels.
Most insurance companies will only request a 4-point inspection after the home reaches a certain age. Some others will require any newly-purchased home to have a 4-point inspection performed. This varies, based on your insurance company and their underwriting rules.
What Is Included In A 4-Point Inspection?
The 4-point inspection includes a visual-only examination of the following four systems, as the name suggests.
● HVAC systems
● The roof and related systems
● Electrical systems
These four “points” are responsible for the vast majority of insurance issues and risks, which is why they are chosen for this inspection.
Do I Need A 4-Point Inspection?
This depends on the age of your home, and your insurer. Most insurers in Florida require a 4-point inspection in homes older than 40 years, or rentals older than 30 years. Make sure to ask your insurer about their policy, to understand if you need an inspection.
What If I Fail A 4-Point Inspection?
There are many things that can cause your home to fail a 4-point inspection, such as shingle roofs that are over 19 years old, roof damage, knob-and-tube electrical wiring, a hot water heater over 18 years old, and other such problems.
Some insurance companies will not insure you at all if you do not fix the problem. Others will insure you – but add an exclusion for the faulty system. For example, if your home has knob-and-tube wiring, it may be insured – but any electrical issues will not be covered.
In most cases, the best thing to do is to replace the faulty system. This may be expensive – but it’s better than risking home damage that is excluded from your insurance policy.
Get A 4-Point Inspection Now In Florida!
If your insurance company is asking for a 4-point inspection, don’t wait. Use our website’s online scheduler to make an appointment now, and ensure that your home is in good shape, and will be covered by your insurance company.
Information courtesy of Wendy Griffis, Realtor at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Lifestyles Realty of Jacksonville, Florida.
Agents, Your Job Just Got Easier
Introducing the Repair Request Builder from Inside & Out Property Inspectors
Our Repair Request Builder allows our real estate agent partners to quickly select which of our recommendations to include in a custom report to send to the listing agent.
You get an HTML and PDF document that includes our language and allows you to enter in a requested credit amount and custom comments.
Here is How it Works
From our HTML report, click on the Agent Tools button and on Repair Request Builder
Select which recommendations you want to include in the report and add the credit amount requested or a comment.
Click preview to see what the document will look like. The running total for credits requested will appear at the top right of the Repair Request Builder.
Click Create to get the link to copy/paste into your own email or send directly through the system!
And You’re Done!
At Inside & Out Property Inspectors, we truly value your partnership and want to do everything we can to service our mutual clients while making your job a little easier. Let us know if you have any questions!
Below is a video of how this works for those that prefer visuals.
When you purchase a home in the Sunshine State, it helps to do your homework. First, you shouldn’t buy any property without exploring its potential problems. Obtaining a certified home inspection from a professional who is licensed to practice in Florida will help prospective buyers to better understand any work that a home might require in the near future.
Understanding these anticipated costs may, in rare cases, change their purchasing decision. Such projected expenses may be a negotiating point that buyers can use as leverage. Buyers may wish to negotiate a lower selling price or get the sellers to pay for some closing costs.
Ultimately, knowing a property’s condition protects buyers by making sure you understand the investment you’re about to make.
1. What kind of inspection do you need in Florida?
Many prospective buyers seek an inspector who performs a “Four Point Inspection,” which includes a review of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the electrical panels and wiring, the plumbing fixtures and connections, and the roof. Expect a report that only covers these four areas, while not addressing other aspects of the property. This is not recommended in place of a full home inspection. These inspections generally are for insurance purposes when the home is 25 years or older.
2. Do you need more than a 4-point inspection?
If you will make a large investment in a home and plan to occupy it within the foreseeable future, you need something more. However, there could be many potential issues in a home to be discovered inside and outside of the structure. This inspection type is recommended for insurance only.
3. Do you need information on Wind Mitigation in the inspector’s report?
Some property inspectors specialize in Wind Mitigation Reports. They help consumers understand how a structure’s roof might perform (in its present state) during hurricane-force winds. Some buyers obtain two home inspections, one from a 4-point inspector and one from a wind mitigation expert. This the only inspection that can reduce your home owners insurance. Generally a good idea when a newer roof has been installed.
4. How long will the inspection process take?
A typical inspection lasts 2 to 3 hours. While you’re encouraged to be at the inspection and ask questions, you also want to give the inspector an opportunity to focus on the home and their findings!
5. When will you get the report?
Some home inspectors use modern reporting technology and deliver the report within 24 hours and in some cases shortly after the inspection. A good inspector will also walk through a summary of the findings with you after the inspection.
Digital reports with lots of photos are a plus!
6. What is Errors and Omissions Insurance?
Inspectors use this kind of professional liability coverage to insure professional mistakes they might make on the job. They don’t want to be sued for omitting important facts from their report. Buyers and sellers could bring false claims against them or assert that they should have discovered a property’s specific issue. Most home inspectors do not carry this due to the cost. Inside & Out Property Inspectors carries 1 million in coverage.
7. Should you get more than one inspection?
If you only need a certificate to give your property insurance company, then a 4-point inspection might suffice. If you want to live in the home without making too many repairs after taking residence, you will want to understand the structure’s integrity. You will want to locate common problems like termites, mold, and Chinese drywall.
8. Should you let the same inspector fix the home’s problems?
In Florida, it is illegal (and a huge conflict of interest) for home inspectors to call out issues on your home and also remedy them. The only exception is WDO (Wood Destroying Organisms) Inspections & Remediation. Some inspectors also have Pest Control businesses. Beware of home inspectors that say they can do repairs.
9. Can you take the property inspector’s word for it?
The inspector has no emotional investment in the inspection process. He or she will give you the straight facts about the home’s condition. You decide how much action (or reaction) to take in response to the expert’s report. Your inspector should have the communication skills to talk you through various findings.
10. What if there are lots of recommendations or defects?
It’s a home inspectors job to point out maintenance items, regular defects and safety hazards. Every home has common issues, so just because a home has a lot of items on the home inspection report doesn’t mean it’s a money pit!
Work with your agent to determine what are priority items that would impact your quality of life. The reality is most homes are safe and ok to live in. Each one will have varying levels of TLC that need to be put in it. Remember, buying a house includes routine maintenance that comes with the responsibility of being a home owner!
When working with clients who are buying or selling a home, you want to provide them with the best service possible. From showing them the houses that will fit their lifestyle and budget to getting a professional and accurate inspection, every step of the way counts. Home inspections are a necessary and significant part of the process. With the many inspectors vying for your client’s work, you want to be sure to point them in the right direction. Protect your client by recommending an inspector with these important characteristics.
Finding an inspector with a wealth of experience will ensure your clients get an accurate and thorough inspection. An inspector who has diversified experience that relates to the industry is best as opposed to someone who has primarily done only inspection work. Ideally, you’d like to find an inspector who has spent time in the construction industry. The inspector who has built homes will have an eye for the intricate details of a house. Couple that with many years in the field and you have the start to the ideal candidate.
Credentials & Certifications
In the home inspection industry, credentials matter. Some associations and certifications have high standards and formal training that requires diligence and competence. Being certified through the State of Florida and being a member of InterNACHI (The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) are essential to staying current on the home inspection industry and technology trends.
The Home Inspection Report
Part of protecting your client is making sure they (and you) get a home inspection report that is clear, concise, and easy-to-understand. This is how you will get the information you need to negotiate with the seller. A modern home inspection report should allow you to quickly get the information you need in a visual, clean format. A 50-page PDF takes more of your time to sift through the report and potential miss something.
Nothing speaks louder than customers do. Whether they are happy or upset, you can learn a lot from the reviews you read about a home inspection contractor. You want to refer your clients to inspectors that have an impeccable record with clients. As you read the reviews, look for such comments about:
- Available for questions
- Explains everything to the client
Errors & Omissions Insurance
Inspectors need to have errors and omissions insurance. This type of insurance is professional liability insurance. It ensures that any errors or omissions discovered by the homeowner will be covered. Check to find out how much the coverage the inspector carries for this type of insurance.
Worker’s Compensation Coverage
It’s relevant that your inspector has worker’s compensation insurance as well. This shows responsibility and provides an extra layer of protection. In addition, contractors in Florida who have more than four employees are required by state law to carry worker’s compensation.
Vetted by Local Realtor Groups
The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors (NEFAR) vets home inspectors for you so that you don’t need to do the work. Check out their database of inspectors who have been background checked and know you are referring your clients to reputable contractors.
Certified Master Inspector
When you recommend your clients to a certified master inspector, then you are truly referring them to the top inspectors in the country. This certification is only given to those who meet strict guidelines. The certification is awarded by the Master Inspector Certification Board and means you gain an experienced, established, and professional inspector. In order to meet the requirements, inspectors must meet the following criteria:
- Completed a minimum of 1,000 hours of inspections or training/education or a combination of both.
- Finished professional education requirements.
- Passed periodic criminal background checks (this can happen at any time and is ongoing).
- Must have been in business a minimum of three years.
- Abides by the Master Inspector Certification Board’s code of ethics.
Helping your client experience a smooth transaction selling or buying that home is a win for both sides. Find an inspector with the necessary credentials, work ethic, and testimonials and you will be helping your client. Anything less than the best will be a hindrance to the process.
At Inside & Out Property Inspectors, you can expect to get superior work for your clients. With over 20 years in the construction industry building homes, they understand the intricacies of homes. In addition, they have a certified master inspector available. Find out more information today.