What goes into a home inspection?

Multiple inspection types

From buying or selling, to claims and damages, or even for insurance purposes, there are multiple reasons to get your home inspected. However, every inspection may differ as to what is necessary. We’re going to take a look at a basic form of home inspections. With Four Site, there are many ways to make these inspections more customized for your own specific purposes.

Four Point Inspection

Throughout the home insurance industry, it’s a common rule of thumb to pay extra attention to homes that are older than 30 years old. Over time the conditions of multiple systems begin to deteriorate, giving cause for concern as it can lead to injury, or property damage. Some insurance companies will not insure homes over a certain age, and most will only insure it via the seal of approval through a four point inspection, named after the four basic systems in a home, usually labeled as:

  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Roofing

While there are other systems in a building structure, these main four systems are crucial to the overall health of the home. To begin, the inspector will get an overall assessment of the roof, taking pictures of the roof exterior, checking for damaged roof covering, or other causes for concern. This assessment will typically be coupled with permit information from the county. This allows the inspector to make a rough guess as to the remaining useful years of a roof.

The inspector will then be checking plumbing, specifically what type of pipes are used throughout the house (e.g., copper, PVC, CPVC, etc.). Also the inspector will be looking at main systems connected to the plumbing, including the water heater’s age and functionality.

The next system to be checked would be the electrical. While it’s not an intensive inspection, a four point will usually consist of removing the dead panel from the main electrical box, to check the interior wiring. While there may be other unseen electrical wiring issues, the inspector will usually have an overall accurate assessment of the electrical condition of a structure through the main panel. The inspector will be on the lookout for things like double tapping, incorrect wire sizes, single strand aluminum wiring, nicked and exposed wiring, unapproved panel brands or types, etc. 

Finally, the inspector will check the air conditioning units, both interior and exterior, as well as any heating elements present in the house. An ineffective HVAC system can lead to poor ventilation in a home, or increased humidity, which can increase the chances for mold growth and other forms of deterioration.

Uniform Mitigation or Wind Mitigation

If you live in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, or any other state that has a potential for high velocity wind events, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, you may be familiar with a wind mitigation report. Plainly stated, this report determines the resistance to impact and high wind speeds. Almost all insurance companies in the states mentioned above will require this kind of inspection before agreeing to insure the home.

The inspector will take a look at every window and door, whether glazed (glass) or solid, to determine it’s impact rating. Many insurance companies will not give any credit to a structure that has even one vulnerable opening of any kind. The inspector will be looking for certified impact rating stickers, laser etchings, or will need to make personal assessments based on experience.

The inspector will then check the roof coverings, looking for any signs of exterior/interior damage or deterioration, as well as the connections between the rafters and the wall structure. This is typically only verifiable through the attic/crawlspace.

All of this information will then be verified and attached with any permit information provided by the county permit office.