No one wants to buy a home, and soon after, realize they purchased a money pit. Financial disasters and real estate don’t only make entertaining reality television. They pose a real-life dilemma and one you can avoid by getting a home inspection.

Home inspections, while not mandatory, can tell a detailed story about the home you’re buying. You’re not the only one who wants to read the story. Insurance companies use inspections to calculate risk.

Should you get a full home inspection, or will a 4 point inspection suffice?

Before you decide, you’ll want to know the difference between the two. In today’s post, we’ll share the finer points about these two types of home inspections. Take a minute and read our information before you decide which one works best for you.

Thinking about Skipping the Home Inspection?

Remember the movie where a young couple bought a home at a suspiciously low price and thought they’d bond over the renovation project? They soon discovered the reason for the low price when stairways tumbled down, and a bathtub fell through the floor.

Maybe they opted out of the home inspection, or perhaps the seller told them they didn’t need one.

Buying a home is one of the most critical financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. Not only will you invest a sizeable amount of money before you get the keys, but you’ll also never stop spending after you move into your new home.

A home inspection can save you from buying a money pit. It can also prepare you for the potential for future repairs.

Beware of the temptation to save a little money by opting out of a home inspection. There’s some truth to the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Next, we’ll take a look at the two different types of home inspections.

If These Walls Could Talk

Sometimes people romanticize the home they’re buying and imagine the previous owners and the lives they led while living there. You might wish home you’re buying could reveal its owner’s secrets, but we all know walls don’t talk. Or do they?

A full-home inspection is about as close as you can get to reading a home’s story.

The goal of this type of inspection is to uncover the home’s issues. It’s a picture book rather than a narrative. The inspector makes a visual assessment of the following:

  • Structure
  • Mechanicals
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Floor
  • Windows and Doors
  • Ceilings and Walls
  • Appliances

Don’t forget the roof! While all home inspectors do a brief roof assessment, including the age of the roofing materials, for a complete roof inspection, you’ll need to contact a professional roofing contractor.

After they complete the inspection, an inspector puts together a report of the findings. This report is for your eyes only, and the inspector will not forward a copy to the seller or the seller’s agent without your permission.

Now, let’s move on to 4 point inspections.

What Is a 4 Point Inspection?

Like the full-home inspection, a 4 point inspection tells the story of a home. Instead of a novel, you’ll get a short story.

In the short version of your home’s story, you’ll get a visual picture of the following components:

  • Electrical
  • Heat, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Plumbing
  • Roof

There’s a difference between the report you get from a full-home inspection and the one the inspector fills out for this one. Inspectors use a 4 point inspection form to answer questions about the current condition of the four inspection components.

What are they looking for exactly?

Focal Points of 4 Point Inspections

Before we dig much further, let’s clarify one thing. A 4 point home inspection serves one purpose—it serves the needs of your homeowner insurance provider. Before an insurance carrier underwrites a homeowner’s policy, they want information about the areas of the home that trigger the most insurance claims.

Here is what the inspector will look for in each area:


The inspector looks at the age, shape, and the type of roofing materials. They also note damaged and missing shingles. Finally, they look for signs of leaks, such as water spots on the interior of the home’s attic.


First, the inspector looks at the age and condition of the heating and cooling system and makes sure it’s size correctly for the home. The inspection should also note the type of heat source and the fuel used to operate the system.


Inspecting the electrical system includes documentation of the type of wiring used and information about the electrical panel. The inspector notes outdated materials, faulty wiring, and anything else that would create a safety hazard.


The plumbing system section of the report includes notes about the general condition of the plumbing fixtures and any water-using appliances. The 4 point form contains questions about the age and condition of the water heater as well. Of course, the inspector also notes signs of leaks or water damage.

You can (but shouldn’t) bypass the full-home inspection, but you can’t say “no” to your insurance provider. Without the 4 point inspection form filled out, you’re not likely to get insurance on the property.

What Does a 4 Point Inspection Cost?

Depending on the square footage, a full-home inspection generally costs between $350-$650. Since the 4 point inspection isn’t as extensive, most inspectors charge anywhere from $75-$150.

Some inspectors consider this an add-on, similar to radon or well water testing. If you bundle the 4 point with your full-home inspection, you could save money.

Ready to Schedule Your Inspection?

We hope this article helps unravel some of the mystery surrounding the differences between the full-home and 4 point home inspection.

One you can’t avoid, and the other you shouldn’t. The one that makes your homeowner’s insurance company happy can make your closing less stressful. The full-home inspection, designed for your benefit, helps you prepare for future repairs.

Whatever your inspection needs are, we’re here to help. Contact us today, and let’s get an inspection scheduled!