Four Point vs Full Home Inspection

I’ve always wondered why someone would take a short cut in the home buying arena. Today was a perfect example. I had been hired to perform an inspection for a previous client whom I had done an inspection 4 months earlier. I asked what happened to the last property and she told me based on the report I had given her, it was too much work and money for her, so she backed out using my report. So, here we are 4 months later, and another inspection.

As I approached the home, the owner came out and was leaving. She had informed me that the rear bedroom window was leaking, not from the roof, but from around a window. Ok, good start and an honest home owner. I proceeded to do my usual questioning and found she had bought this last September and had no issues back then. I asked if she had a home inspection and is it available for review? Yes, it’s on the counter and the Inspector said the roof was good for another 8 to 10 years.

I proceeded to grab my ladder to go look at the roof. As I climbed the ladder (heavy rain) I immediately noticed 2 layers of shingles. Then, an area above the window had been holding water in a depression and plenty of roof tar at the edge of shingles, (to seal against rain, I guess) and at the gutter clips. The sheathing under the shingles had deteriorated and water is entering the structure.

Getting to the point, or as my friends would say, Wayne, land the plane already. At this point I turned and asked the realtor for the “Home Inspection report” the owners had done in September. There it was, just as I expected. I was handed a 4 point Insurance inspection. I wasn’t surprised, at all.

People, a 4 point Insurance Inspection is just that, 4 point. A 4 point inspection only covers the 4 major items in the home and structure isn’t one of them. A 4 point is the visual assessment of the HVAC, Roof, Plumbing and Electrical systems only. Again, visual only. These reports are not in place nor should they replace a full home inspection. What happened here was the Inspector did his job, although his perception of roof age was off, (less than 3 years left but leaking now) he was hired to do just that, a visual of the four components. Had there been a full inspection as a purchase He may have noted interior wall anomalies which would have red flagged the past leaks. Regardless, I was able to help the client and get her out of the contract with the inspection report and it’s issues.

My advice going forward with a home purchase? Get yourself a full Inspection by a licensed home inspector who will go from roof ridge to slab and everything in between. Realtors will advise their clients that some homes are sold as is, so just get the 4 point, it will suffice. NOT! A 4 point will not help break a contract. A 4 point does not cover ceilings, windows, walls, floors, doors, structure or appliances. It doesn’t cover exterior issues such as drainage, tree root damage etc..

Note: I also found out since the September purchase the current owner had to repair a leak at a front window. He tore the roof back and improperly repaired it as well as the wall area above and around the window which was still soft and not properly supported. Buyer beware, Inspect the uninspected.

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