Inspecting Your Future
Inspecting Your Future
Buying a new home may be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Although the process is very exciting it quickly becomes overwhelming. While the home you have selected may appear to be just what you’re looking for, how can you be sure there aren’t potentially serious unknown defects which can make your investment in your future a costly one?
Inspection Services Available
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a visual inspection of the structure and components of a home to find items that are not performing correctly or items that are unsafe. If a problem or a symptom of a problem is found the home inspector will include a description of the problem in a written report and may recommend further evaluation.
Why is a home inspection important?
Home Buyers: Emotion often affects the buyer and makes it hard to imagine any problems with
their new home. A buyer needs a home inspection to find out the problems /defects with the
home before moving in.
Home Sellers: More and more sellers are choosing to have a thorough inspection before
or when they first list their home. First and foremost, you should have a home inspection
for full disclosure. You will have demonstrated that you did all you could do to reveal any
defects within the home. Second, you will save money and hassle by knowing now what your
defects are, not after you have already negotiated a price and are faced with costly repairs
discovered on the buyer’s inspection. Defects found before the buyer comes along allow you
to shop aroundfor a contractor and not deal with inflated estimates that a buyer will present.
What if the report reveals problems?
All homes (even new construction) have problems. Every problem has a solution. Solutions vary from a simple fix of the component to adjusting the purchase price. Having a home inspection allows the problem to be addressed before the sale closes.
What does a home inspection include?
A proper and comprehensive home inspection will review the accessible and visible condition of the home from the basement to the roof, which includes the following systems and areas: Structural, Roofing, Exterior of Building, Electrical, Heating, Cooling / Air Conditioning (temperature permitting), Plumbing, Interior of Building, Functioning Permanently Installed Kitchen Appliances, and Fireplace Hearth. Many inspectors will also offer additional services not included in a typical home inspection, such as termite, mold, radon, septic, water testing, etc…
What should I NOT expect from a home inspection?
A home inspection is not protection against future failures. Stuff happens! Components like air conditioners and Heat Systems can and will break down. A home inspection tells you the condition of the component at the time the component was inspected. For protection from future failure you may want to consider a home warranty.
A home inspection is not an appraisal that determines the value of a home. Nor will a home inspector tell you if you should buy this home or what to pay for this home.
A home inspection is not a code inspection, which verifies local building code compliance. A home inspector will not pass or fail a house. Homes built before code revisions are not obligated to comply with the code for homes built today. Home inspectors will report findings when it comes to safety concerns that may be in the current code such as ungrounded outlets above sinks. A home inspector thinks "Safety" not "Code" when performing a home inspection.
Should I attend the home inspection?
It is often helpful to be there so the home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have. This is an excellent way to learn about your new home even if no problems are found. But be sure to give the home inspector time and space to concentrate and focus so he can do the best job possible for you.
Are we licensed? If so by Who?
Absolutely, FHIE is fully licensed in the state of Florida by none other than InterNACHI. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the world’s largest inspection trade association. Based in the United States, InterNACHI is both non-profit and federally tax-exempt, and operates in 65 different countries and nine languages. InterNACHI is the inspection industry’s largest provider of education and training. InterNACHI has been awarded more than 1,400 governmental approvals and accreditations. For more info visit their website: https://www.nachi.org/
Where can I read the complete scope of a Home Inspection?
We at FHIE, have been professionally trained and licensed to follow InterNACHI's Standards of Practice. You may read the links provided to get a better understanding of what a Pre-Purchase Home Inspection consists of: https://www.nachi.org/sop.htm and https://www.nachi.org/documents2012/InterNACHI%20SOP%20and%20COE-Dec%202015.pdf
What's a Wind Mitigation & how can it reduce my homeowners insurance?
If you live in a coastal state, you’ve probably heard of Wind Mitigation Inspection. If you’re a Florida resident, especially. And if you’re not, you might want to reconsider the significant savings a home inspection may offer, should nature’s fury unleash.
Many property owners receive wind mitigation inspections to assess the preparedness of their homes and businesses in resisting the effects of windstorm damage or loss. Interestingly, even in Florida, wind mitigation inspections are not required by insurance companies or mortgage lenders – it’s totally optional, unlike some derivative of the four-point home inspection (which assesses the status of a property’s electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems plus the roofing) or a more intensive roof condition inspection. So why would someone want to order an extra inspection if it isn’t 100% needed? Because it could save you money!
That’s right – SAVE YOU MONEY. Wind Mitigation Insurance is the only inspection that is
almost guaranteed to result in some level of insurance discount on your insurance premium.
Here’s a rundown on why - Following an intensely active tropical storm season and resulting
all-out battery on the US, a handful of insurance companies not-surprisingly went bankrupt
over mounting claim and reparation costs. Officials in states like Florida and Louisiana, hard
hit by strong storms saw an exodus of insurance companies and homeowners left high and
not-so dry. They knew they needed to do something to help property owners and insurance
companies alike… FAST.
Their solution: Incentivizing wind mitigation inspections as a means of properly safeguarding
properties in targeted areas, in the hopes that insurance companies increase their odds of
insuring more secure, less damage-susceptible properties.
In 2006, Florida became the first state in the nation to mandate that insurance companies offer some reduction insurance costs if a wind mitigation inspection is sought and certified upon review by a qualified inspector with the Multiple other coastal states including Lousiana, followed similar suit.
So you’re wondering – Do I just get an inspection and save on insurance? And how much could a person stand to save?
Well, that all depends on the features of your property. An inspector will evaluate the wind-mitigating characteristics of your home or business. Post-inspection, that inspector will make recommendations for any improvements or repairs the property owner could make on their home to enhance its sustainability against windstorm damage. He or she then submits a state-standard inspection report to your insurance agency. The report is viewed as a benchmark of your home's ability to withstand storm damage, and an appropriate discount is then applied – in Florida, an average discount of 30% is typical, saving a few hundred to over $1000 annually on your insurance premium.
Every state can vary on what safety features inspectors look for. As an example, Florida looks at 8 key categories, described below:
1.Roof Covering: inspectors want to know when the roof was installed and does if it
meets building codes. In Florida, the code standard was updated in 2001.
2.Roof Deck Attachment: inspectors will determine what type of roof decking is
used and how it’s attached to the underlying structure, like if it’s nailed or stapled
down. If nails are used, nail length and spacing between each will also be noted.
3.Roof to Wall Attachment: the roof attachments become the focus here: are
trusses attached with nails or hurricane clips? Are the wraps single or double?
The more secure your roof, the better impact on your wallet!
4.Roof Geometry: is your roof hip or not? Nope, the inspector won’t care how
cool it is, just how it’s shaped - a hip roof resembles that of a pyramid, and is
a definite qualifier for a discount.
5.Gable End Bracing: if the roof is a gable style, an inspector will review if the
gable ends are braced to Florida Building Code standards. Gable ends
measuring more than 48 inches tall should be braced for reinforcement,
and inspectors will be checking for this qualification for discount.
6.Wall Construction Type: Inspectors will review the construction materials used on your
home for framing, reinforcement, and outer fascia, and at what percentages. Steel reinforced
concrete block homes may yield a better discount than one with a plywood-only frame and plastic siding.
7.Secondary Water Barrier: This is a newer item for roofs. If your roof was installed or upgraded before 2008, it’s fairly unlikely you’ll have this sort of barrier. As with most newer features, photo documentation, at a minimum, will be required for a discount in this area.
8.Opening Protection: Here, inspectors are looking for shutters and installed-protection devices from wind-born debris for doors and windows. They will also be checking the rating of the devices, if you have them (as in- are they hurricane-rated?). 100% of all openings need to be covered with Hurricane rated protection to qualify for this discount.
In the end, investing in a wind mitigation inspection is at your own discretion. The potential cost-savings per year could easily outweigh the cost. If you live in a coastal region, avoiding a wind mitigation inspection is at your own peril. For more detailed information visit: https://www.nachi.org/wind-mitigation.htm
What is a Four Point Inspection & Why is it needed?
The 4-Point Inspection is often a required inspection in order to obtain (or maintain) insurance coverage. The inspection requirements were designed by insurance companies in order to get a better understanding of the structure they are insuring.
This is especially pertinent when insuring an older home. Older homes have had more time in which to have systems repaired or replaced or for things to potentially fall in to disrepair. Older homes also may have used construction techniques or materials that were normal at the time, but were subsequently phased out in favor of more modern practices. These are all things that are interesting and important for the insurance company to be aware of, since it helps them determine if the home is eligible for coverage under their underwriting policies.
For example, a home from 1958 would have been built with a fuse box and screw-in fuses, as was standard practice at the time. Many of those fuse boxes are still in existence and replacement fuses can be purchased as needed. Nevertheless, many carriers have underwriting rules that prohibit them from knowingly ensuring any home that has old-style fuses rather than the more modern breakers that became the standard panel in the 1960’s. The 4-point inspection is what lets the carrier know what it is they are insuring. Since they don’t know until they get the inspection, the 4-point is often required when a home is of a certain age (usually 30 years or more), so the carrier can be sure about some of the important features of the home that it is insuring.
4-Points can also be requested in a wide variety of other situations not directly related to the age of the home. Some insurance companies perform one on all or virtually all of the policies they insure.
The reason for the inspection’s name relates to the fact that the inspector is going to look at four of the most important systems in your home that historically are the most likely areas to cause an insurance claim. For each of the 4 items, the inspection is limited to the visible parts of each system. These systems are:
1.) The Visible HVAC System
2.) Visible Roof System
3.) Visible Plumbing System
4.) Visible Electrical System
First of all they will want to know the condition of each system: are they new, used, and are they in relatively good shape? Is there any evidence of repairs that have been made? If so, do the repairs look like they were professionally done? If any damage or deficiencies are noted, it’s possible you will have to correct them in order to obtain or maintain your insurance policy.
The second thing that they are going to be looking at is the age of the components. If you are purchasing an older home there is a chance that the age of one feature or another will be beyond the maximum age allowed by a particular carrier’s underwriting rules, even if the condition of the component in question appears to be fine.
If the Four Point Inspection Reports a Possible Deficiency, Dont Panic!
A properly-completed 4-point is designed to capture all possible items that may fall afoul of any insurance company’s underwriting guidelines. In order for the 4-point to be useful and accepted by all insurance companies operating in Florida, the insurers have to be confident that the inspection will give them the information they need to make their underwriting decision.
As a result, many conditions that are reported on a 4-point inspection may be a problem for some insurance carrier, but may NOT be a problem for YOUR insurance carrier. This is where the expertise of your insurance agent is so important. It’s your trusted insurance agent that can help confirm and clarify whether or not a system needs to be repaired, updated, or replaced, or if after reviewing a reputable 4-point inspection, perhaps you should be placed with a different insurance company with underwriting guidelines that better fit your situation. The inspection company should always be happy to walk you through their findings, but it’s your trusted insurance agent that can take those findings and make sure you’re in the right policy with the right coverage, insured by the right carrier.
A Word of Caution
Notice that everything about the 4-point inspection is related to obtaining or retaining homeowner’s insurance, period. It’s a limited scope inspection that only takes 20-30 minutes in most cases. It’s focused on insurance and has nothing to do with the type of home inspection one should get if they are deciding whether or not to buy a home. For that, you would need a Comprehensive Pre-Purchase (or Real Estate) Home Inspection. That type of inspection often takes 2-4 hours and takes an in-depth look at (and documents) hundreds of features throughout a home. Exclusively or primarily using a 4-point insurance inspection in order to decide whether or not to buy a home would be completely inappropriate.
Commercial Pre-Purchase Inspections
Our highly trained team of inspectors employ a broad spectrum of commercial and multi-family inspection experience. Utilizing cutting-edge equipment and expertise to provide you a detailed, easy-to-read report for your office, retail, industrial, strip mall, warehouse or stand-alone commercial building. When you invest in a commercial property you are making a very important investment that requires a comprehensive view of the entire asset you are acquiring. The team at Florida Inspection Services understands this is a very important decision that requires more than just price negotiation. Our team is dedicated to providing you with a sound understanding and overview of the structure, operating components as well as compliance standards of the building you are investing in.
Elevation (Flood) Certificates
The Flood Elevation Certificate is an important tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is used to certify building elevations and determine if the building is located in a SFHA in order to: Determine the proper flood insurance premium rate for the building or home.
Roof Condition Certificates
The roof is one of the most critical components of a residential structure. Regardless of the climate, you need peace of mind knowing that your roof can endure harsh weather conditions to protect your family and your belongings. This inspection report can also be used for homeowner's insurance purposes.
Sampling & Lab Testing
The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), the world's leading home inspection association, is pleased to announce its new venture with PRO-LAB, one of the world's leading environmental testing laboratories. Our FHIE staff has been fully trained and certified to perform a number of essential Lab analysis and is always striving to provide you with the precise information and peace of mind for your future well-being.
What’s Wrong With Real Estate Agents Recommending Home Inspectors To Prospective Home Buyers?
Most real estate agencies work on an average commission of 5% paid by the seller of the property. A house selling for $350,000 has a potential commission of $17,500. (FYI, real estate commissions are negotiable.) Sometimes a selling agent will recommend particular home inspectors to a prospective buyer, sometimes a list of three is given out. How did these inspectors “qualify” to get on the “approved” list? Is the agent recommending a thorough non-bias inspector or is the agent recommending someone who will help protect the potential $17,500 commission?
Do prospective home buyers have the right to use an inspector of their own choosing?
If a real estate agent tells you that you cannot use an inspector of your choosing, or insists that you use one of their “recommended” or “approved” inspectors, you should contact your attorney. A real estate agent who tries to get you to use an inspector of the agent’s choice is trying to control the home inspector selection process. Prospective home buyers must keep in mind that real estate agents who receive a commission from the property seller, are working in the best interest of their client, (the seller.) As the prospective home buyer, you are a customer of the agent, not a client. As the prospective home buyer, the inspector you’re paying for should be working in your best interest.