A full home inspection is almost always necessary for completing the sale of a home. There are times when a less detailed inspection is required, referred to as a 4-point inspection. Properly trained and certified inspectors will perform both types.
An in-depth home inspection will generate a lengthy report that is many pages. This can take several hours. The items included in a whole house inspection are:
- The structural integrity of the house: foundation and framing
- Exterior envelope: roof and siding
- Windows, doors, and insulation
- Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC
- Appliances and fixtures
- Site grading, drainage, and retaining walls
- Driveway and patios
A less detailed 4-point inspection might be required for a change in your homeowners insurance policy. This type of inspection focuses only on four major areas of the house.
What Does a 4-Point Inspection Cover?
Similar to a full home inspection, a 4-point inspection is performed by a third-party inspector. However, the inspection is limited to specific areas and systems in the house. This type of inspection is often ordered for homes that are at least 25 years old or older. The areas that are addressed in a 4-point inspection include:
- A roof inspection to check for age, condition of roofing material and flashings, and evidence of any leaks
- Electrical system inspection to determine the condition and age of wiring, and to check the circuit breakers or fuses and panels
- Plumbing system inspection of piping materials, water heater age and condition, visible leaks, and plumbing fixtures
- Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems inspection to check the age and condition of the boiler, furnace, air handler, condenser, radiators, and ducts that supply the home with heating and cooling
You might be wondering why insurance companies are most concerned with these areas. The roof and major systems are the most valuable components of residential homes; all are necessary and all are costly to repair or replace. While your home may have other issues that require attention, this inspection provides important information to the insurance company so they can determine whether they’ll issue a policy.
Final Thoughts on 4-Point Inspections
If you are looking for a more affordable homeowners insurance policy or wanting to refinance your home, a 4-point inspection may be required. The insurance company requesting the inspection will only accept a report from a licensed home inspector.