How To Pass 4 Point Home Inspection

For free videos to help you prepare for a 4 Point Home Inspection click 4 POINT HOME INSPECTION VIDEOS

Always feel free to call me with questions. I will help you anyway I can even if you are not potential customer. Call Neil at (386) 795-1843.

The reason that the insurance company is requiring a 4 Point Home Inspection is usually due to the age of your home. Most insurance companies have announced that they now require a 4 Point Home Inspection on homes over 20-25 years old. This requirement can vary from one insurance company to another but there are now a few companies that require it regardless of the home’s age. The 4 Point Inspection looks at four of the systems in your home; Roofing, Electrical, Plumbing and Air Conditioning. They simply want to confirm that the sytems are operating properly, up to code and not so old that they will come apart in the next storm or present a hazard to your safety or your property.

  1. Roofing System – The inspection forms ask about the age and condition of the roof. There can be no missing, broken or lifting shingles.
  2. Air Conditioning – This system merely needs to be intact and operational. Most insurance companies are not terribly concerned about the age.
  3. Electrical System – First we look at the electrical panel. There can be no empty breaker spaces and no double taps. We verify if the wiring is copper or aluminum. Switches and receptacles must have their cover plats intact. GFCI receptacles need to be installed as required. Smoke detectors should be in each bedroom and hallways leading to bedrooms.
  4. Plumbing System – The types of plumbing covered by insurance companies vary from one insurance company to another. Most companies will not insure homes plumbed with polybutylene. Some companies will not insure homes plumbed with galvanized steel. If you have copper or CPVC plumbing you have nothing to worry about. Verify what plumbing types are covered with your insurance agent.

Roof Inspection-Lifting Shingles-Missing Aggregate-Alligatoring

On a recent Pre-Purchase Home inspection in Ormond Beach we came across a roof that had examples of most of the possible concerns during a home roof inspection. I thought I would take the opportunity to share this for the educational benefit of home buyers. While I have and use infrared cameras it has become a common practice among home inspectors to assume that the use of such equipment negates the need to actually crawl inside the attic. This article will show why it is still necessary to do the crawl no matter how hot and uncomfortable it is. In this one roof inspection-lifting shingles-missing aggregate-alligatoring and broken shingles were found. Along with severe wood rot that did not show up with the use of an infrared camera.


Infrared camera did not pick this up. I have on more than one occasion been called out to a home a month after the purchase to find and document damage of this nature that the previous home inspector did not find. “He had all kinds of infrared cameras and moisture detectors and the inspector said he did not need to go into the attic” is what the new home owner will typically say. If I can get into the attic safely then I need to crawl the attic. The reason the infrared did not “see” this is because it was dry. No moisture means no evaporative cooling thus no temperature differential for the camera to detect. Sometimes the infrared won’t even pick it up when it is still wet if there is no airflow to create evaporative cooling and a temperature drop. Luckily I did not walk across this roof prior to looking in the attic… it was bad enough that I might have fallen through.




Lifting shingles are one of the first things I look for when I get on the roof. A roof can look to be in perfect condition from the ground. The test for lifting shingles is very simple. Use your finger to see if you can lift up a tab as you see in the photo here. A tab like this will flap in the wind of even a moderate storm. It will break off and in the process leave the next shingle tab vulnerable. The tabs then start breaking off like dominos. If there are only a few lifting and the shingles are not yet dried out and brittle from age they can be adhered back down with the proper roofing cement. This will often allow the roof to last several more years.





Notice in this picture to the left how the aggregate is washed away. This could simply be because of the roof covering age. It is also possible that it was caused by pressure washing the roof. Do not pressure wash a roof under any circumstances. It will inevitably remove aggregate. Aggregate is the shingles only protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun. When the aggregate is missing the shingles become dry and brittle. Making them susceptible to breaking off in minor wind conditions. There is no fix for this. The roofing must be replaced.






Roll roofing used on low slope/flat roofs is subject to “alligatoring.” The two examples of alligatoring to the left are beginning and extreme stages found on the same roof. Cracks resembling alligator skin begin to form. This allows water down into the cracks causing more deterioration. As the process progresses the surface begins to shrivel up until it looks like little cheese curds. At this point the underlying material is exposed to the suns UV rays and leaking occurs. The roof covering needs to be replaced.



I do not know why the squirrels do it but they eat the lead flashings off the vent pipes. Quite often I will even find dead squirrels laying around. Apparently it is not good for them. Rain water will now run down the exposed pipe and enter the attic space causing water damage. These flashing need to be replaced. There is a product on the market to protect the flashings from this type of damage. It is a plastic sleeve/cover that slips over the lead flashing. While the squirrels love the flavor of lead they are not interested in the plastic.






International Association of Certified Home Inspectors


What does it take to be a part of International Association of Certified Home Inspectors? It takes more than just signing up for membership and getting a piece of paper in the mail. You have to show that you are up to the standards to be allowed entry into InterNACHI, (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors). You must follow both a standard of practice and a standard of ethics. This means being able to properly inspect a home, and do so with a sense of conscience not to mistreat or invade into a person’s personal life.

A Summary of Ethics: The InterNACHI has a long list of rules and regulations regarding to business ethics. We will touch on just a few. Under the code of ethics, the home inspector can not discriminate against any person on grounds of race, religion, sexuality, national origin, or handicap. They will not disclose any information about the client or their home to any unauthorized persons. Unless it violates the law or the code of ethics, the inspector should always work for the best interest of their clients. The inspector in question can not fabricate his qualifications or certifications.

A Summary of Standards: These dictate the purpose of an inspection, and the procedures that should be taken when performing the inspection. These help protect the inspector from harm, and helps to define his work for both their own work and the client’s understanding of the work done. These include things such as having no responsibility for aesthetic features of a home, or items that are merely design and not meant for a function of the home. They do not decide items such as property boundaries and are not required to operate or inspect anything seen malfunctioning or dangerous.

These are just a very few of the guidelines required to be a member of InternACHI. Along with these guidelines the inspector must remain current on the laws and requirements of insurance companies and the state itself. They must know how to inspect systems both old and new. They must be physically capable of carrying out inspections in any home to the best of the required work. So when you see the certificate saying that someone belongs to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, you know it is a real accomplishment that requires dedication to remain a part of.

Home Inspections New Smyrna Beach

Many insurance companies today will require what is called the 4-Point Insurance Inspection. What a 4-Point Insurance Inspection does is look at 4 main systems of a home. This typically has to be done before anyone can get insurance. Below is a basic summary of the work done, and why it is performed.

The four points touched in the inspection are:

Roof: When performing the roof portion of the inspection, it is not just it’s current condition that is taken into consideration. They also want to know, as approximate as possible, what year the roof would need to be replaced

Plumbing: While inspecting the plumbing, the insurance companies are looking for what condition the overall system is in, along with what kind of piping is being used. (Copper, plastic, etc). They look to see if the system has been upgraded in anyway. The hot water heater is also a part of the plumbing portion of the inspection.

Electrical System: Insurance companies want to know about the size of the main service for the electrical system, along with any dangerous wiring. If any upgrades had been made to it, they also try and find out when they took place.

Heating and Air Conditioning: For heating and cooling, the insurance company wants to know the date of it’s installation and the approximate life of the unit. They also require to know if the unit is functioning properly.

With this inspection an insurance company doesn’t only know the condition of the home, but the future of it as well. They can make predictions on it’s condition down the road and make more informed decisions. Make sure to hire a home inspector who understands the ins and outs of a proper 4-point insurance inspection and has the qualifications to get the job done right. Call Neil at Home Inspections by Neil to set up an appointment to have your home inspected.

For 4-Point Home Inspections New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, Ormond Beach and the surrounding area contact Surfside Home Inspections at (386) 795-1843.

Home Inspection Repair Negotiations after a Home Inspection

Most buyers and sellers believe the real estate “deal” is negotiated at the signing of the contract. By that point, the counteroffers have been made and the back and forth has happened, so it’s easy to assume that the deal will go on auto-pilot until closing.  Not so fast… Its time for home inspection repair negotiations!

The reality though is that in many cases the deal-making and negotiations only started at the contract signing. Even in more competitive real estate markets, negotiations still happen once in escrow.


For example, maybe the HVAC system has some issues – may prompt you to seek a credit. But where do you go from there?

Here are three tips for negotiating repairs after a home inspection.

Ask for a credit for the work to be done

1. The sellers are on their way out. If the property is moving toward closing, they’re likely packing and dreaming of their new home. The last thing they want to do is deal with repairs and work on their old home. As a result, they may not be as thorough as you, as the new owner would. They may not treat the work as a high priority. If you take a cash-back credit at close of escrow, you can use that money to complete the project yourself. Chances are you may do a better job than the seller. Finally, if you get the credit there will be less back and forth to confirm the work has been done.

2. If you know you want to renovate a bathroom within a few years, then you likely won’t care that a little bit of its floor id damaged, that there’s a leaky faucet or that the caulking needs to be redone. These things will get fixed during the future renovation. However, the repairs are still up for negotiation. Asking the seller for a credit to fix these issues will help offset some of your closing cost.

3. A good listing agent will walk the property inspection with you, your agent and the inspector. Revealing your comfort level with the home or your intentions, in the presence of the listing agent, could come back to haunt you in the further discussions or negotiations.

For example, if you mention you’re planning a gut renovation of the kitchen, the sellers will certainly hear about it. And they’re going to be less likely to offer you a credit back to repair some of the kitchen cabinets. Also, if the listing agent hears you tell the inspector that you love the home so much you don’t mind replacing the HVAC system the agent will surely let the sellers know about that.

Eyes wide open

A word of caution: You should never complete the original contract assuming that you can negotiate more as a result of the property inspections. It’s a competitive market and the property inspection comes back flawless, there’s nothing to negotiate. If you attempt to negotiate anyways to recoup what you lost in maybe an initial negotiation. You risk alienating the sellers and possibly giving them an incentive to move on to the next buyer.

A real estate transaction is never a done deal until all the money has been wired in and deed transferred. Prior to signing the real estate contract, your main concern is that you may be competing with other buyers.


When is a Home Inspection a Deal Breaker?

When you go to a physician for an annual physical exam, you get professional feedback on your health. Often, this is when you learn if you have any medical issues that need to be resolved. And just like you can’t fail a physical (no matter how poor your health may be), a house can’t fail an inspection.


A home inspection is simply a visual examination of a house’s overall condition. The home inspection report describes a house’s physical shape and identifies what might need crucial repair or replacement. Although what’s covered in a standard report can vary by inspector, typically the status of the following will be included: heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement and all structural components.

So, what are the deal breakers of a home inspection? That depends entirely on you. What is and is not a deal breaker depends on each person’s preferences and needs. For example, an inspection that identifies damaged floor joists might be a deciding factor for one person who feels the problem is too expensive or time-consuming to fix.

However, the same trouble with joists might be absolutely accepted for another client who has resources to fix the issue. A home inspector does not tell a customer whether or not to buy a house. Rather, it’s his or her job to provide all the available information so that home buyers (or sellers) can make the decision right for them.

The difference between Neil and most other home inspectors is not only is Neil a Licensed Inspector in Florida but also a Florida Certified General  Contractor with home building experience working for architectural engineering firms on the commercial and residential design side.

We are the best of chose if you want a highly experienced professional to give you an in-depth look at all the vital systems in your home. Please give Neil a call for all your home inspection needs… (386)795-1843

Florida’s Hurricane Season is Coming to a Close for This Year

Florida’s hurricane season is coming to a close for this year, but that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of the inclement weather. Damaging winds and rainfall continue to be possible long after the official season ends.

Constantly berated by the elements, a roof needs to be properly maintained and protected from winter weather, so it doesn’t get added to a list of repair projects.

As winter approaches, a licensed home inspection professional could figure out where the weak points are for a property, and offer proactive advice for preparing for any upcoming storms. In addition to spotting any damage, homeowners should take this step so their houses are in the best possible shape as the seasons shift.

No matter where your home is located, winter weather can take on a variety of forms, and the smartest homeowners take steps to get ready. Even if your home is right here in Florida, and snow is all but out of the question, rain, hail and winds can all wreak havoc on your roof, and the rest of your home for that matter, leaving you wishing you’d had some idea as to what could have been done to protect your property.

Any home that isn’t properly prepared when severe weather does strike could get badly damaged, and for owners, it might feel like they are never as ready as they could be – especially living in a relatively warm climate where  the problems are seemingly few and far between. This sense of false security could lead you down a primrose path, subject you and your family to injury and leave your wallet empty.

Just this week, gale force winds pummeled the coastline, caused by an unforeseen drop in the jet stream, and without warning, homes were damaged across the area. Some of these damaged properties could have been better protected with a simple roof inspection from Home Inspections by Neil.

The average homeowner has no idea how the geometry of your roof can affect its ability to withstand high winds. Flat roofs don’t create a lot of uplift. Gable roofs can be a week point if not properly braced. Hip roofs provide a shape with no gables that many find more visually pleasing.

Armed with this knowledge, homeowners can be primed when the storms come and danger is most likely to strike.

But, preparedness is only one of the benefits to having your home inspected before the storm season and cold weather arrives. The other major benefit to having your roof checked out is SAVING MONEY ON YOUR HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE.

In recent years the insurance companies have re-evaluated how they approach the process of determining the premiums they charge for your insurance. Basically they look at your homes location and assume the worst case scenario regarding the structural features of your home that protect it from being damaged by high winds, thus resulting in high premiums.

But you have the right to have a Wind Mitigation Inspection to determine if the structural features of your home will decrease the assumed risk of the insurance company. For each mitigation feature that makes your home stronger the insurance company must reduce your premium by certain percentages.

Just a few of the features Neil Olshefski and his crew of professionals inspect and document on your behalf are:

  • The Age and Building Code of Roof Covering Installation

  • An examination is done of available permits and material documentation. Proper permitting of the installation will help reduce your costs.

  • The Type and Size Fasteners Used to Attach Roof Decking

  • While in the attic we look to find samples of the nails or staples used to attach the roof decking to the trusses.

  • Roof to Wall Attachment

  • There are several types of hardware and methods typically used to attach the roof to the walls. The stronger the method, the better for you.

  • Roof Geometry (see above)

  • Secondary Water Resistance

  • The insurance companies give tremendous discounts for the SWR feature. It is well worth the investment.

  • Opening Protection

  • Storm panels or shutters help to protect against wind borne debris breaking through windows, skylights and doors. It is not as much the rain but the internal pressure created by a broken window that causes the greatest damage.

For more information about these and other inspection packages that can save you money and peace of mind, contact Home Inspections by Neil through the email form located here or call them directly at (386) 795-1843.

Home Inspections by Neil Can Prevent Surprises

The last things a potential buyer wants to experience when negotiating the purchase of a new home are surprises.

Surprise! The roof is damaged.

Surprise! There are some substantial leaks in the indoor plumbing.

Home Inspections by Neil can prevent surprises by doing a thorough examination of all the systems in the home. Your inspection will include the Exterior, Roof, Structural, Interior, HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing Systems. You need to be knowledgeable about the details before you fall in love with that dream property.

Your pre-purchase inspection will cover many areas and will most likely take a few hours.

  • We take a look at your siding or stucco, trim work and flashings, paint, porches, windows and exterior doors. These areas are examined for possible water intrusion points. The property is also checked for proper drainage.

  • We check the roof for signs of deterioration such as loose or missing tabs on shingles, curling tips on shingles, warped decking or signs of leaks. Chimneys, skylights, and vents are notorious for water intrusion.

  • Inside the home, appliances, interior doors, window operation, ceilings, flooring, railings and fixtures are all inspected for damage and proper function.

  • We examine the cooling equipment and controls for proper operations. We also look at the heating, piping, fuel supply, duct work, chimneys and flues, fireplace damper doors and safety controls.

  • Unlike many Home Inspection Services we actually open the electrical panel to look for defects. Quite often we find work done by amateurs with double taps, over-sized main breakers and undersized wiring. This also gives us the opportunity to check for aluminum branch wiring and electrical panels that your insurance company may not accept. (These areas are very dangerous. Please do not ever open a panel unless you are a trained professional.)

  • We check for properly operating shut off valves, water heaters, faucets, piping, water pumps, sprinkler systems and pool pumps.

Having these and many other areas checked by the professionals at Home Inspections by Neil can save you money in both the short term and the long run.

Perhaps you’ve been contacted by your homeowner’s insurance carrier and informed that they require an inspection to continue coverage of your home. The reason that the insurance company is requiring a 4 Point Inspection is due to the age of your home. Citizens Insurance has announced that they now require a 4 Point Inspection on all homes over 30 years old starting in September of 2012. The 4 Point Inspection looks at four of the systems in your home; Roofing, Electrical, Plumbing and Air Conditioning. They simply want to confirm that the systems are operating properly, are up to code and are not so old that they will come apart in the next storm or present a hazard to your safety or your property.

Don’t worry though, as generally speaking, most homes have no problem getting through the 4 Point Inspection.

These and many other services are what Neil Olshefski of Home Inspections by Neil specialize in. Neil is not only a Licensed Home Inspector in Florida but also a Florida Certified General Contractor with home building experience and years of experience working for architectural engineering firms on the commercial and residential design side. There are lots of “Licensed Inspectors” out there, but most of them have no building or design experience in their background.

Neil has specific knowledge and skills to make sure you can be confident and safe in your new home. He has been glowingly reviewed on Angie’s List ( and is trusted by real estate agents and home buyers alike.

Whether you reside there now, or are looking to buy, your home is your castle. Protect your investment and your interests by letting Neil Olshefski and Home Inspections by Neil identify potential areas of concern you need to know about.