There are two main reasons to get a home inspection:
- To ensure the property meets your standards (no major defects) – a, “full inspection”.
- Obtain the necessary paperwork required for homeowner’s insurance. Both reasons depend on what year the house was built and what type of property you are dealing with. – a “4 point” and “wind-mitigation” inspection.
A “full inspection” is when a home inspector comes out and examines every part of the house, from the roof to the electrical outlets. This inspection would cover possible damage and the cost to repair these deficiencies. Additionally, this report would point out any “red flags” that might cause you to back out of the purchase. Usually, during purchase transactions, you get a 7-15 day inspection period where you can back out of the transaction for essentially any reason. So, if you did not want to stay under contract due to repairs brought forward by a home inspector you could back out with no risk to your initial escrow deposit.
The Full Inspection:
During a, “full inspection” an inspector will go through the house and check the basic functionality of the home. First, a check of all windows and doors is done, checking for integrity making sure each one can open and close properly. An electric receptacle tester is placed in all the outlets to verify power is properly following to each, an additional check is done to make sure GFCI outlets are used in all the areas that need them. The roof and attic are then inspected to make sure there is no damage and that the roofs structural integrity is sound. The outside A/C unit and the air handler also get checked to make sure everything is functional and that there is no damage or dirt/dust back up. A temperature meter is used to make sure the A/C unit is properly putting out the correct temperature air, and every AC vent in the house is tested to make sure all rooms are getting cooled air properly. All sinks, showers and bathtubs are checked to make sure water is flowing properly and that hot water is being provided by a water heater. The water heater is also checked and given an estimated life span depending on the year and make. Plumbing in the house is inspected to see if it was updated or if it is the original piping and the pipes are also inspected to see if there are any active leaks. The electrical panels will be checked along with the wiring to make sure there are no present hazards, and the inspector will make sure the correct amps are being brought through the house. This electrical check also verifies nothing has been tampered with, and that no hazardous wiring is in place. All the appliances will be checked to make sure they operate properly, stoves and ovens will be checked to make sure they are heating properly and the actual temperatures will be checked, refrigerators and freezers will be tested, and even the ice maker will be checked to make sure it’s producing ice. The exterior of the property is thoroughly checked as well to make sure there or no deficiencies, and that no wood or fascia board is damaged or rotting.
Mold & Termites:
A big question always asked is “does a home inspector check for mold, or check for termites?”, and the answer is, “maybe”. A home inspector who does not have these qualifications (mold inspection license and a termite inspection license) will not be able to accurately comment on these things, but if mold or termite residue is spotted a home inspector without these licenses will normally advise you to get separate inspections by termite or mold specialist to further access the scene.
A wind mitigation inspection is intended to verify how a property will withstand a hurricane. This inspection covers all the glass (glazed) openings and checks to see if they can withstand 110mph winds or if the home has the appropriate hurricane shutters to withstand those winds. This inspection also verifies the doors, checking for the same thing. The inspector will also check the roof and verify the strength of trusses (how it’s head down), how many nails per inch are attaching the roof to the structure and what type of nails were used. They check how old the roof is and when it was last updated through research with the city. These factors will determine what your insurance quote will look like or if the property can even be insured. Some insurance carries do not require this inspection if the property was built recently. But it’s still recommended to obtain this report because if the house has impact covering you could get a better insurance quote then if you did not get the inspection.
A 4-point inspection and roof certification is an inspection and certification that covers all the plumbing, electrical, roof, determines the remaining life of the roof, A/C unit and water heater. This inspection documents the last time of updated, the integrity of the units themselves, making sure there are no deficiencies or hazards present. They also give an estimated proposed remaining lifetime on the items inspected. For newer homes you would not be required to get this for an inspection due to the change in building codes, but for older homes this report is a for insurance carriers.
Additionally, unpermitted work on a roof cannot be counted towards insurance inspections. This means if a previous owner did repair or replace the roof a few years prior, but it was not permitted, the inspector cannot use these changes on the report and has to go off the last documented repair and this will most likely affect the insurance premiums.