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What You Need To Know About 4 Point Inspections
Dated: January 24 2022
What You Need to Know About 4-Point Inspections
Buying or Selling a Home?
Whether you are buying or selling a home in the Tampa Bay area, a 4-point inspection is a type of home inspection that is often required on homes in the State of Florida in order to obtain homeowner’s insurance coverage. There is simply no way to avoid this in order to obtain or renew homeowner’s insurance on most homes, but especially on older homes.
Before you buy or sell a home, it’s important to understand what will be inspected during a 4-point inspection and what some of the main concerns can be in a home when trying to obtain insurance (Note: Homeowner’s insurance is often REQUIRED by lenders if you are purchasing a home with a mortgage).
To get started, the name ‘4-point inspection,’ comes from that fact that there are 4 major areas of a home that must be inspected and reviewed:
Roof- Must have 3-5 years of useful life remaining. NO VISIBLE damage or leaks. NOTE: In Florida, insurance companies are beginning to require that homeowners replace older roofs, even if a 4-point inspection determines there is 3-5 years of life left. Check out this article for more details on that.
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioner (HVAC)- The HVAC system must be properly cooling AND heating the home. The date of the last service date, if present, must be noted (i.e. When was the last time that condensate line was cleaned out?).
Electrical- ALL electrical systems must be in good working order. Inspectors will check all outlets and pop covers to see what’s going on behind the scenes. No single strand aluminum wiring, no cloth wiring, no open splices, or exposed wiring will pass the inspection. Some brands of panels are not accepted as well (we can provide a list of those common brands if requested).
Plumbing- Must be in good working order throughout the home. No visible leaks. All plumbing fixtures will be inspected. When we say all, we mean ALL. Toilets, sinks, shower, tubs, water heater, dishwasher, washing machine, water line to fridge, etc. Basically, anywhere there is water, that will be inspected.
As the inspection is conducted, pictures and notes about the home will be taken. After the inspection, the insurance company will review the detailed inspection and decide if the home is insurable.
Remember, most homes are insurable. However, for every deficiency noted on the 4-point inspection, insurance rates tend to increase. According to Quigley Inspection Services (www.quigleyinspections.com), most home buyers will not be able to obtain or afford insurance if the 4-point report notes several deficiencies.
As a Home Buyer or Seller, the Above Points are Important for Several Reasons:
When selling a home, it will be important to make sure electrical panels are accessible, that branches are not hanging onto your roof, windows have been properly caulked and sealed, and that your HVAC has been regularly serviced, among other things.
When buying a home, it will be important for you and your real estate agent to identify a home that is less likely to have major deficiencies in the 4-point report. Be sure your real estate agent knows to ask how old the HVAC system is, prior to writing an offer. Find out if the seller has had it regularly serviced. When visiting a potential home to buy, note the condition of the roof…are the gutters full of leaves? Are branches dragging on the roof shingles? Look for leaking hose bibs and drip stains on tubs and faucets. Another big item is stains on the ceiling. Visible stains can be signs that a roof or A/C system is actively leaking. If the home does appear to have major deficiencies, be prepared to negotiate what will and won’t be repaired at the seller’s cost in the event something comes up on the 4-point inspection.
**If You Haven't Purchased or Sold a Home in While, It's Important to Note that 4-Point Inspection Requirements in Florida Changed on September 1st, 2018. Find Out What Changed by Clicking HERE.
As always, an experienced Realtor will be able to help you navigate the steps to buying or selling a home. For additional questions about inspections, the purchase contract, or obtaining homeowner’s insurance, give us a call at (727) 400-3315. We’re here to help you with all your real estate needs in the Tampa Bay area.
Andrea is the Managing Partner of The Sandy Hartmann Group and runs the team alongside Sandy Hartmann. She would love to talk to you about real estate! Andrea was born and raised in the Tampa Bay a....
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