When you are in the process of purchasing your new home, you want peace of mind that you are making the right and best decision for you and your family, and that you are getting the most for your money. There is always some risk involved when making such a big investment, however, hiring a professional home inspector will significantly reduce the risks and help make the entire home buying process easier and less stressful.
A Home Inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by the Standards of Practice of the International Association of Certified Home Inspections (InterNACHI) that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. the scope of the work may be modified by the client and inspector prior to the inspection process.
At Blue Ocean Home Inspector, we know that choosing the right company can be difficult. Ultimately, a thorough inspection depends heavily on the company’s and the individual inspector’s qualifications and effort. All of our inspectors are formally trained and tested to meet the present requirements of a licensed home inspector for the state of Florida.
Our residential home inspection services include single-family homes, multi-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, duplexes, and more.
Our Full Home Inspections include:
- Roofs, vents, flashings, and trim
- Gutters and downspouts
- Skylight, chimney, and other roof penetrations
- Decks, stoops, porches, walkways and railings
- Eaves, soffits, and fascia
- Basements, foundations and crawlspaces
- Water penetration and foundation movement
- Heating systems
- Cooling systems
- Main water shut-off valves
- Water heating system
- Interior plumbing fixtures and faucets
- Irrigation systems
- Electrical service line and meter box
- Main disconnect and service amperage
- Electrical panel’s breakers and fuses
- Grounding and bonding
- GFCI’s and AFCI
- Fireplace damper door and hearth
- Insulation and ventilation
- Garage doors, safety sensors and openers
- Docks and seawalls
The 4 Points of a “4 Point Inspection”
- Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
A Four Point Inspection is specific to insurance companies to determine if the home has four main systems in good condition before they bind a policy on a given structure. Many insurance companies are hesitant to bind coverage on older homes, around 20+ years, due to the fact that many of the main systems are near or at their serviceable limit. For example, if a home is 20 years old and still has its original roof, odds are that the roof has substantial wear and near or beyond its serviceable life. Conversely, they also want to know if any of the four services have been updated. An insurance company wants to know if it will be on the line for potential repairs in the immediate future based on the condition of the current four systems.
The insurance company is only interested in the fact that these systems are currently working as intended and no defects exist that may cause a claim in the near future.
A Four Point Inspection should not be confused with a Home Inspection. It is only limited to those four systems and does not take into consideration the rest of the home’s components. In most cases, the insurance company will ask that a Four Point Inspection be done when you call for rates and will provide a form to be complete when your Home Inspection is scheduled.
Who can perform a Four Point Home Inspection?
We receive many questions about the requirements of the person(s) doing this type of home inspection. Many homeowners wonder if they can complete the forms themselves. It takes the combined efforts of a licensed roofing contractor, an electrical contractor, an engineer inspector, and a home inspector, who many times, is required to sign forms certifying homes of a specific age. Not only does Blue Ocean Home Inspection Association have contacts with trades people in these fields, but we also have ongoing, working relationships.
This means a quicker and more cost effective Four Point Home Inspection for you!
Additionally, we use streamlined forms that have been developed from our expertise in such home inspections. They satisfy the requirements of most insurance companies and mean a more organized and faster home inspection process for you.
Wind mitigation is the implementation of certain building techniques in order to limit damage caused by wind.
A Few Facts About Windstorms and Wind Insurance:
- In 2006, Citizens Insurance, one of the largest property insurers in Florida, requested a 45% rate increase for wind insurance. Other insurers took similar actions.
- In Florida, the portion of a homeowner’s premium covering wind damage can be up to 70% of the total, depending on the location.
- Wind mitigation benefits homeowners, private insurers, and all levels of government.
Incentives for Wind Mitigation:
In some states, homeowners can benefit from reduced insurance premiums. The Gulf Coast states, which are most prone to windstorm damage from hurricanes, have each considered mandating incentives to mitigate damage due to wind. Mississippi and Texas currently do not have such legislation, although Florida has been successful. Following Hurricane Andrew, Florida passed a law requiring insurance companies to offer their customers discounts and credits for existing building features and home improvements that reduce damage and loss from wind. In order to qualify for this discount, homes must undergo a certified home wind inspection. However, many Floridians do not know of this law.
Those with windstorm insurance can avoid a costly deductible. Deductibles for homes in hurricane prone areas can exceed $20,000, meaning that mild to moderate wind damage might not be covered by insurance at all. If proper wind mitigation techniques have been used, these expenses can be avoided altogether.
Wind mitigation helps protect the home from damage. Even if a home is insured, it is always costly when a house is damaged, both for the homeowner and the insurer. repairs can take months, especially during material shortages that follow massive destruction to entire communities, as was the case after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana.
Lenders in Florida require homeowners to carry windstorm insurance in order to be approved for a mortgage. Insurers may not provide windstorm insurance to homes that are vulnerable to wind damage.
Checklist for Wind Mitigation Techniques:
These commonly fail during windstorms due to: inadequate door-track strength and mounting; and flimsy metal panels.
The following features can protect a garage door from wind damage:
- No windows
- The tracks for the door that have six to nine mounting brackets, or continuous mounting
- Track brackets that are securely attached to the wall
- Horizontal and/or vertical reinforcement areas of high and low pressure can cause roof failure on all panels
Glass doors and windows should be replaced with impact-resistant glass. They should be structurally attached to the building in order to prevent the entire window from popping out of its frame. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable to flying debris due to their large expanse. Once an opening is created during a windstorm, the pressure within the house can rise high enough to cause the roof to fail in areas of low pressure.
There are many kinds of roof covering materials, and some resist wind damage better than others. the most common roof covering materials in Florida are composition shingles and tiles. A key factor in roof covering performance is the method of attachment of the roof covering material to the roof deck. Nail, not staples, should be used to fasten those materials.
“Roof shape” refers to the geometry of the roof, rather than the type of roof covering. The end-walls of gable roofs extend vertically to the sloping roof line. These gable end-walls, if not properly built or braced, have been known to fail outward due to the negative suctions on the wall. Additionally, field testing has shown that hip roofs receive up to 40% less pressure from wind than gable roofs.
Roof Deck Attachment:
According to insurance claim data, a house becomes a major loss once the roof deck fails, even partially. The most common roof deck types are plywood and OSB. The most important feature of the roof deck, by far, is the attachment to the framing compared to the deck’s thickness. The following building techniques can help prevent wind damage:
- Roof coverings using shingles that meet the FBC requirements
- Roof Decks that have been installed with large nails and close spacing
- Hurricane clips/straps that hold the roof structure to the walls
- Protection of the windows and glass doors with impact-resistant glazing or other protection systems.
This connection is a critical safeguard that keeps the roof attached to the building and acts to transfer the uplift loads into the vertical walls. This connection is crucial to the performance of the building due to the large negative pressures acting on the roof. Proper installation is essential to the connector performance.
Secondary Water Resistance:
This is a layer of protection that shields the home in the event that the roof covering fails. It will reduce leakage if the shingles are blown off. A secondary water barrier is relatively rare in homes.
The two most common types are:
- Self-adhering modified bitumen underlayment, which is applied to the exterior of all joints.
- Foam seal, which is sprayed onto the underside of the decking.
If you suspect that your home has mold but are unable to confirm it or pinpoint it, then a mold assessment may very likely be required. A mold assessment can also be done for real estate transactions for protection of buyers and sellers, check the general air quality of the home’s environment if mold is present, as well as aid landlord/tenant disputes to determine if mold is a problem.
Not only will Blue Ocean Home Inspector’s Mold Assessment pinpoint where the mold is, it can help discover any other problems that may have caused the mold to form, such as the plumbing or and water intrusions from the roof.
With state of the art testing equipment, Blue Ocean Home Inspector’s infrared cameras and thermal imaging inspections can can quickly identify a wide range of building problems, including chronic leaks and moisture problems. Unnoticed leaks can cause mold, rotten beams and rafters, warped roof sheathing and other expensive damage, so getting a Mold Assessment may be very helpful in the long run if you believe there is mold hidden in your home.