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Surviving 4-Point Inspections

There are many reasons you might need to request a 4-point inspection. Perhaps you are purchasing a new home and want to ensure the property is safe and fully functional. Or maybe you are switching insurance companies, and this inspection is required to secure a lower premium. Whatever the reason, hiring a trustworthy and reliable home inspector is essential to surviving this process.

Home inspectors are independent contractors hired by homeowners. A 4-point inspection takes about an hour, and the official report is usually issued within 24 hours of the completed inspection. These reports determine the age, type, and condition of your electrical wiring, plumbing, air conditioner, and roof. Fortunately, each 4-point inspection is good for 5 years.

What is a 4-Point Inspection, and Why Do You Need One?

A 4-point inspection examines the current condition of a house or condominium, reviewing four major systems:

  1. Roofing

  2. Plumbing

  3. Electrical

  4. HVAC

Insurance providers utilize the results of a 4-point inspection to understand the financial risk when insuring a new or current policy.

Most Florida insurance companies request this inspection before someone can renew or be eligible for their desired homeowner's coverage plan. More recently, insurance companies have hesitated to provide coverage to homes over 20 years old due to their increased liability. For example, someone seeking coverage for a home that is 30 years old may have electrical or HVAC system issues that could arise within the next few years, resulting in insured homeowners seeking reimbursement for such issues, thus costing insurers more in the long run.

Homebuyers can also use this as a tool to gauge whether the prospective property is worth the investment before fully committing financially to a mortgage.

Noticeable issues in the home’s four major systems can tell if future headaches are on the horizon.

Top Three 4-Point Benefits for Homeowners and Homebuyers:

  1. Fast and inexpensive: These inspections are known for being inexpensive and are performed by a trained, licensed professional within a few hours.

  2. Evaluates the condition of your real estate: If you’re considering selling, this inspection can allow you to see what issues must be addressed before proceeding.

  3. Avoid future headaches: Evade unexpected issues by proactively checking on the condition of the major systems in your home.

How to Prepare for a 4-Point Inspection

The roof inspection includes a visual and pictorial review focused mainly on the age and condition of your shingles. Before the inspection, it is always a good idea to have the roof and gutters clear of limbs, leaves, pine needles, etc. These items hold moisture and can shorten the life of your roof.

The plumbing inspection includes a visual and pictorial audit of your water and drain pipes under sinks and behind toilets. It is wise to remove the items under the sinks so that pictures clearly show no leaks or signs of leaks. Water heater pictures are also required, so ensure your water heater is accessible.

The electrical inspection consists of a visual and pictorial review of the electrical panel. Ensure the inspector has clear access to the panel by removing items that may be stored in front of the panel.

The HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) inspection requires a visual and pictorial review to include nameplate data from the condensing unit. It is recommended that the area around the compressor unit outdoors is mowed and free of grass and debris around the unit. Additionally, having this system serviced before the 4-point inspection or knowing the most recent service date is essential.

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