If you are looking for an inspection of your home, you might have heard something called a four-point inspection. The four-point is an inspection that covers a lot of the essential elements of your home.
A four-point inspection goal is to make sure that your home is safe and that the utilities in your home are working efficiently.
Why Is a Four-Point Inspection Necessary?
The inspection will cover:
- Your home’s HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
- Your home’s electrical system along with the panels
- Your plumbing system, its connections, and its fixtures
- The roof of your home
After the four-point inspection, you will receive a report describing the condition and the age of these elements.
Now, it is time to go into detail about a four-point inspection.
There are a few reasons why a four-point inspection is a good idea; however, the biggest reason this inspection is required has to do with homeowner’s insurance.
Many insurance companies have become increasingly reliant on four-point inspection when it comes to calculating insurance premiums on homes that are 25 years of age or older.
The insurance company is worried that there might be something wrong with the older home that might increase the chances that a homeowner ends up filing a claim. Some of the possible concerns include:
- Perhaps the roof is weak, or there are signs of disrepair that the company might not have noticed. If the roof develops a leak or falls apart, this could lead to a sizeable claim for which the insurance company could be held responsible.
- If the electrical system is not up to code, there might be a higher chance of a house fire developing. This risk would also lead to a significant claim that the insurance company would be responsible for covering.
- If the plumbing system has signs of damage or corrosion, then there is a higher chance that a leak might develop. Or, a pipe could burst. If the house floods, this could lead to a significant homeowner’s insurance claim.
- If the HVAC system is older, there is a higher chance that it might end up overheating. Overheating could also lead to a house fire, which is a significant bill.
These concerns are common issues for home insurance companies. That is why the insurance company might ask for a four-point inspection.
Then, if there are uncovered issues, the insurance company might request that the homeowner fix the problems before they provide coverage.
If the home is newer, then the insurance company might assume that it does not have these issues.
As a result, the insurance company might decide to forgo a four-point inspection on a newer home.
What does a Four-Point Inspection Cover?
A four-point inspection is going to cover the roof, the HVAC system, the electrical system, and the plumbing system.
Thus, the name is appropriate. The specific components that the four-point inspection will cover include:
- The inspector is going to look at the age and condition of the roof
- The inspector will also check to see if the shingles are still correctly attached to the roof
- The inspector will also look at the roof for signs of leakage
The HVAC System
- The inspection is going to cover the health and safety of the central heating and air conditioning if this is present
- Then, the inspection will include the individual components of the HVAC unit itself
- Finally, the inspection will check for any signs of leaks coming from these components
The Electrical System
- The inspector is going to take a look inside the electrical panel, and look at the types of wiring present in the home
- If there are any damaged, bent, or poorly maintained wires, these could lead to significant home issues
- The inspector will highlight these issues, if they are present, and ask the homeowner to get them repaired
The Plumbing System
- The home inspection is going to look at the type of pipe that is present in the home, which might include CPVC, copper, lead, or polybutene
- If there are issues related to the types of pipes present, the inspector might recommend getting them updated
- If there are any signs of bursts or leaks, the inspector will point them out and ask that the homeowner get them repaired
This overview includes what is usually covered on a four-point inspection. The inspector will provide the homeowner with a comprehensive report and might also send a copy to the homeowner’s insurance company.
Comparing a Four Point Inspection to a Full Home Inspection
Many people think that a four-point inspection is the same as a full home inspection. The confusion arises when someone has a home under contract, and there is a clause allowing the buyer to get a complete home inspection.
In this case, the seller might think that this is a four-point inspection; however, this is not true.
The point of this inspection is that if it uncovers something that makes the buyers uncomfortable, they can void the contract and get their earnest money back.
A four-point inspection only looks at the four points mentioned above.
Therefore, it does not legally satisfy this clause.
As a result, if the four-point inspection reveals a roofing problem, this might not be enough to get the buyers out of the contract.
That is why buyers should ask for a full home inspection instead.
Most buyers request full inspection when writing the purchase agreement offer.
A full home inspection is an inspection of the entire home. Some of the other points that a thorough home inspection will cover include:
- The exterior of the house including the walls and foundation
- The state of the appliances
- The condition of the floors
- The overall structural integrity of the home
- The status of the garage
- The grading of the site, which can impact drainage
- The state of the siding, if present
- The presence of rotted fascia
A full home inspection covers much more than a four-point inspection. These are issues that are not usually covered by a four-point inspection.
On the other hand, a four-point inspection is cheaper and quicker, so this might be a better option for homeowners in certain situations.
There are a few questions that might come up if you are considering a four-point inspection.
Some of the most common questions include:
Is there a standard form used?
When it comes to four-point inspections and real estate inspections, there is not a standard form. Usually, the insurance company provides a form that the inspector is supposed to fill out.
On the other hand, if the inspector provides his or her own form, this is usually enough to satisfy the needs of the insurance company.
Usually, homeowners also get a copy of this report. Sometimes, the insurance company will expect you to send the form. In other cases, the company might want it to come directly from the inspector.
Can I fill out the form on my own?
No. Insurance companies often view this as a conflict of interest. That is why most companies are going to ask for the form to be filled out by qualified individuals with the right training.
This individual might include a roofing contractor, a general contractor, a trained electrician, or a professional engineer. Even if you have this type of experience, the insurance company wants someone unbiased to fill out the form.
If I just purchased the home, can I send the full home inspection to the company instead?
No. Insurance companies do not want to pick through the other information. They only care about the four points included on the four-point inspection.
That is why they ask specifically for this.
A full home inspection looks more like a book. In some cases, a four-point inspection will fit on a single page. Furthermore, you don’t want the insurance company to pick up on other issues uncovered by the home inspection.
This might be a reason for them to drive up your premium.
A Four Point Inspection Is a Common and Helpful Tool
This is a short overview of a four-point inspection. If someone asks you for a four-point inspection, you need to know what is covered by this inspection.
If the four-point inspection uncovers a severe issue, you need to get this addressed before it poses a threat to your home’s safety.
It might help you avoid a major repair.