Everything You Need To Know About Your Home Inspection

By September 1, 2020September 16th, 2020Home Buying, Home Inspection
Everything you need to know about the home inspection

Hi! If you are new to our blogs, my name is Aaron. I am the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida and I am the marketing manager at Waypoint Property Inspection.

While I am posting this on our regular blog/podcast feed, you might be reading this after you have entered a request for a quote. If that is you, thank you for connecting with us and I HIGHLY recommend you read EVERYTHING HERE! 😁

We do a lot of home inspections throughout Florida, and with that we receive a lot of questions. So, I have created this article in hopes to answer all of your questions and make the process go much smoother for everyone!

Let’s get started with everything you need to know about your upcoming home inspection!

What Is A Home Inspection?

While this may seem basic, I always find it important to cover.

Basically, a home inspection is a limited, non-invasive inspection of a home.

Most home inspectors will look at the following:

  • Foundation, Grading, Driveway
  • Exterior
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Garage
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • A/C & Heating
  • Interior including kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

Home inspectors will look for everything they can see in the home and give their professional opinion in a report.

We also get a lot of questions or misconceptions about the inspection, so I find it important to cover what a home inspection is not.

A Home Inspection Is Not

A home inspection is not permanent.

This means it is just a snapshot in time of the home’s condition while we are there. So while the A/C might be working at the time of inspection, it could stop working for any number of reasons by the time you move into the home. That being said, in our report we will note if the A/C is older, needs servicing, etc.

A home inspection is not technically exhaustive.

We will not move seller’s personal belongings to get to certain items (we move small things if we can, and we do our very best to let all parties know to remove belongings in front of key home components).

Moreover home inspectors are not required to: scope drain lines (technically exhaustive, unless you purchase a sewer scope inspection), take apart the A/C to find the exact issue (technically exhaustive), or report on the location of every defected outlet when there a few broken (an electrician should be called to evaluate the system in this case, anyway).

A home inspection is not at the risk of the inspector’s safety.

While this may seem like common sense, here are a few examples:

  • If there is standing water in a crawlspace, we will not crawl it.
  • If there is an electrical hazard, we will just report an electrician is needed.
  • If an attic’s access is inaccessible, we will not try to fit.

Read more about the limitations of a home inspection on InterNACHI.

Now that you know what a home inspection is and isn’t, let’s talk about what a home inspection covers!

Additional Home Inspection Add Ons and Considerations

Additional Home Inspection Needs & Some Considerations

As mentioned earlier, we try to cover everything about the home in the home inspection, but there may be limits for items that are technically exhaustive.

Furthermore, there are certain types of inspections/reports you may need for insurance, mortgage loans, health reasons, etc.

I want to cover those items so you are getting everything you absolutely need. Additionally, I want to talk about items that might be right for you.

If your Realtor has not covered any of these items with you, show them this article and ask for their opinion because I am telling you 99% of Realtors out there will agree with me.

Florida Wind Mitigation Requirements

The Wind Mitigation

This is by far the most common need with your home inspection and I highly recommend it.

The State of Florida actually requires insurance companies to give you discounts based on this inspection. Let’s find out how…

First, this inspection report is 7 questions and each question is an available discount for your home insurance. Each question asks about a specific component of your home that will help the home withstand high wind events (hurricanes).

As an example, if you have a newer roof then boom, you just received a discount on your insurance premium.

It is seriously a no brainer to do this inspection since most people save way more per year on their insurance premium than the inspection cost.

If you don’t get any discounts from the wind mitigation (highly unlikely), then we will just refund you the wind mitigation amount.

If you want to read more about the wind mitigation, here’s a good article.

The Termite Inspection (or Wood Destroying Organism Inspection)

This is another super common add-on service to the home inspection, especially in Florida. It is also required by some home loans, like a VA loan.

In short, in Florida we have A LOT of termites. More specifically:

It’s estimated that termites cause over $5 billion in damage to homes annually… damage that insurance companies won’t cover in Florida.

Source

Termites eat wood and guess what, homes are made out of wood. Even block homes get termites. I have seen block homes get termites more often actually because people think they’re invincible to termites, but it’s not true.

I digress.

In Florida it’s not if you will get termites, it’s when. I always highly recommend this inspection to find out if there is any evidence of termites.

We work with reputable third-party companies to get this inspection completed with your home inspection, so I truly believe that you will benefit from this inspection.

Four Point Inspection Tampa FL

The Four Point Inspection

This is another insurance inspection specific to Florida (Florida is fun when it comes to insurance inspections 😄).

But, the four point has a trick. It can be required by insurance companies and it may work against you. **Insert Sad Noises Here**

BUT NOT TO FRET! Aaron is here to tell you everything you need to know so you can be prepared! 😁

When Is It Required?

The four point is typically required after a home reaches 30 years old, however, some insurance companies require it as soon as 10 years old (cough, cough StateFarm).

Ask your insurance company if you need the four point report. If they say you do, you need to get it to get insurance. If your insurance company says you do not need it, then, you do not need it.

What Is It?

The four point covers the main four points of the home: roof, electrical, plumbing, and A/C/Heating.

Home inspectors fill out general questions about the system and it is more limited than a general home inspection.

In a general sense, the inspection asks questions like:

  • It is working?
  • It is damaged?
  • How old is it?
  • Is it safe?

Problems With Four Point Inspections

If something on the four point is marked as unsafe, not working, etc, in most cases, insurance companies will ask for that to be fixed before they insure. However, this is not always the case because they can be creative in your insurance premium, so check with them first.

With that, the four point can lead to some inspection contingencies you and your agent will need to work through.

ATTENTION: SUPER IMPORTANT INFORMATION INCOMING

While issues that arise from the four point will be up to you and your agent to work through, we can be there to assist.

You will need to get a re-inspection completed by us after repairs have been made in order for us to change the four point.

We do not accept receipts or pictures alone to change four point inspection reports. It’s happened many times where we are told repairs have been made, and when we go back to the home for the re-inspection nothing has been fixed or new issues have been caused by the repair person.

Furthermore, we have to be able to look at items on our own to change reports that we sign off on with our licensing.

Concluding Four Point Inspections

If you have to get a four point inspection, stay on top of your timelines and work with your agent.

Be prepared to pay for a re-inspection if repairs are required by insurance.

For more information about four point inspections, read my blog here.

Mold Testing

Mold Testing & Air Quality Testing

This is one of those things you MIGHT need…

Let me first start off by saying, every home contains mold. Mold is everywhere. But large amounts of mold can live in homes which may cause problems to your health and to your home. Both of which can be expensive to fix.

So, if there is a reason to, we can conduct mold testing by swabbing surfaces or by trapping air spores to a slide and sending them off to a lab.

This will tell us if the home contains a significant amount of mold.

When Do I Recommend It?

There are a few reasons when I recommend purchasing air quality testing or mold swabbing when purchasing a home. Let’s check out my list, and if any of these fit you, you should inquire about mold testing.

  • If you or someone in your family is sensitive to mold.
  • If the home has been sitting vacant.
  • If the home has had water intrusion issues (roof leaks, window leaks, high humidity).
  • If you can see mold.
  • If the A/C broke down.
  • If the home has had plumbing issues or leaks.

In essence, mold is caused by high moisture, so if there is any chance moisture is not controlled then there is a high chance for mold.

Curious for more information? Guess what, there’s a blog about it.

Radon Testing in Florida

Radon Testing

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and other materials. It is most commonly found in northern parts of the country.

The problem with radon gas is that it’s toxic in high amounts and is undetectable without special equipment. Radon gas rises from the ground and enters your home through cracks in the foundation (or crawlspace). Over time the radon gas can build up and potentially lead to health issues.

Although radon gas is not as common in Florida as it is up north, there are still pockets of it. Therefore, I highly recommend checking out this map of where high levels of Radon have been found in Florida.

First, go here. http://www.city-data.com/radon-zones/Florida/Florida.html

Once there, search for your county followed by city or zip code of where you are moving to.

Then, check the tables to find how many homes have been tested for Radon and the percentage of high levels of Radon gas (the EPA says that levels greater than 4 P/Ci L need to be remediated).

Here’s a portion of the table from Hillsborough County. From the table, it looks like there’s a 41% chance of high radon in zip code 33510 in Brandon, FL.

radon levels in Hillsborough county

If your home is one of the highlighted areas, you might want to get a Radon Test.

Guess what, I have written more about Radon here.

Dock Inspections Sarasota, Tampa Bay, & Clearwater

Dock & Seawall Inspections

The last one I want to mention is more self-explanatory.

If you have a dock or a seawall you really need a dock and seawall inspection.

Dock and seawalls are really expensive so purchasing a home that is connected to water means you will become financially responsible for the dock/seawall.

Read about the importance of dock inspections or seawalls inspections.

Summing Up Additional Home Inspection Needs

Honestly, I did not tell you all of this information to scare you. I share this information because I want you to go into your new home purchase informed.

Waypoint has always been about educating and we continue to live by that. So, read everything you can to make informed decisions.

Home Inspection Expectations for Buyers

During The Home Inspection

We highly recommend you attend the home inspection so you can meet the inspector, ask questions, and get a summary of findings from the inspector. Here’s why you should attend the inspection.

If you have any questions about what to expect, our reporting, or how long it takes, I highly recommend you look into our home inspection category.

But, I will answer a few of those here.

The inspection process will take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 5 hours, depending on square footage. On average, they take 2.5 hours so feel free to show up at the end to ask your questions and speak with the inspector. You may also ask our office when you should arrive to know a better time.

Our reports will include all the pictures we took and are very detailed. Here’s a sample report in case you missed this on our website.

You can also check our FAQ’s or comment below!

Home Inspection Expectations for Sellers

What Happens After The Home Inspection?

If you work with us, you will receive you report the same day (later that evening).

Then, you and your agent can read the report.

Next, you and your agent may come up with a list of what you would like to request to be fixed. Keep in mind, sometimes the seller will not fix anything. Here’s my guide to negotiating after the home inspection.

Finally, if you need any re-inspections please reach out to us. Here are my tips to reinspections.

Concluding

Waypoint’s goal is to arm you with as much information as possible about your home and the home buying process.

I hope I was able to accomplish that with this blog. You should be more aware about what the inspection includes, what it included or what you should add to it, and the process after the home inspection.

As a reminder, we will always be here for you even after the inspection and you move in.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office or comment down below!

See you at the inspection!

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

More posts by Aaron Shishilla

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