Four Point Vs Full Home Inspection

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Are you planning to get a homeowner’s insurance? All the companies require you to get a home inspection completed before issuing a new policy. There are two major types of inspections:

  • The four-point inspection
  • The full-home inspection

Both inspections serve the interests of both buyers and insurance companies. The aim of these procedures is to uncover any damage or notable issues before the property gets sold.

Regardless of being an investor or a home purchaser, the property faces a mandatory inspection in order to obtain an insurance policy, explains REMAX Infinity.

In this article, we'll go over the main similarities and differences between the two main types of home inspection. After reading this, you'll know better what to expect from either of these inspections.

What is a four-point inspection?

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Four-point inspections focus on the major components of the house. These are as follows:

  • Electrical panels and wiring
  • The HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing situation

These four areas are the biggest concern for insurers. Any serious faults in these components of the house could result in formidable expenses. The downside of this approach is obvious. Any other areas of the house receive less attention or none at all.

In most cases, insurance companies order a four-point inspection for homes over 20 years old. Some scenarios involve using this type of inspection for homes that are only a few years old. This is a typical approach when the house has been sitting vacant for some time.

What is a full-home inspection?

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A full-home inspection is also called a buyer's inspection, or simply a full inspection. Compared to four-point inspections, this type of procedure is more thorough.

These are the typical areas inspected during a full-home inspection:

  • Appliances: dishwasher, heaters, washing machine
  • Electrical system: wiring, receptacles, breakers
  • HVAC system: filters, efficiency, ducts
  • Interior and exterior: fascia, roof coverings, finishes
  • Plumbing: water leaks, fixtures, wear and tear
  • Roofing: vents, shingles, trusses

Additionally, the inspector examines structural integrity, moisture intrusion, and grading of the site. Depending on the service provider and terms of the contract, there can be other aspects under scrutiny as well.

Even buyer's inspections may fail to cover certain areas of the home. You likely have to hire a separate professional for the following areas:

  • Any surfaces inside the walls
  • Structures accompanying the main house, such as sheds and wells
  • Septic tanks

As a buyer, you should always request an inspection report. Visiting a property is only part of a home inspector's job. The person responsible for your buyer's inspection has to report all the relevant findings in a written form. Professional inspectors will attach photos of damages and issues to the written report.

What is the main difference between these inspections?

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What sets four-point inspections apart from the full inspections is the focus and extent of the procedure. The four-point approach focuses on the key components of a house. Buyers and insurance companies need to make sure these are in working order.

The four-point inspection is a popular pick for homes that are at least 20-25 years old. That's because many older houses have issues with exactly these four components.

In many cases, the HVAC system or electrical solutions in older homes are on the edge of their lifespan. The support systems of these homes may fail to meet the current building codes. Focusing on these systems is a cost-effective way to lower the risk of offering homeowner’s insurance or making a house purchase.

Depending on the results, a company offering homeowners insurance may set additional requirements. For example, a home with a faulty electrical system may need a complete replacement of the wiring. This would serve as a prerequisite to obtaining an insurance policy.

The bottom line: Four Point vs Full Home Inspection

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Insurance companies use both four-point and full-home inspections. These inspections protect the interests of buyers and insurers.

The biggest difference between these inspections is the depth. Full-home inspections take a longer time compared to four-point inspection. The latter focuses only on the key areas.

Full inspections cover most, if not all, components of a home. This includes appliances, structural integrity, and grading.

Does your insurance company require a four-point inspection? Keep in mind that this type of inspection won't replace a full-home inspection.

As a buyer, it's always a smart idea to hire a professional home inspector who performs a full inspection before you sign a purchase agreement.