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A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector.  The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.

  • system: An assembly of various components that function as a whole.

  • component:  A permanently installed or attached fixture, element or part of a system.

  • general home inspection (also, home inspection and standard home inspection): The process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and operates those systems and components utilizing a Standards of Practice as a guideline.

  • inspect:  To examine readily accessible systems and components safely, using normal operating controls, and accessing readily accessible areas, in accordance with these Standards of Practice.


A non-invasive, visual examination relates to the fact that home inspectors are not required to dismantle or remove components.  

A residential property can include apartments, condos, single-family homes, and structures containing multiple units.  However, InterNACHI's Residential Standards of Practice applies to properties with four or fewer residential units and their attached garages and carports.  Many local authorities limit inspections to a building with a maximum of four units.  

An inspection must include an agreement between the inspector and the client as to which components and systems the inspector will be inspecting.

1.1.I.  The home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions. 

  • condition:  The visible and conspicuous state of being of an object.

  • evaluate:  To assess the systems, structures and/or components of a property.

  • inspected property:  The readily accessible areas of the buildings, site, items, components and systems included in the inspection.

  • unsafe:  In the inspector's opinion, a condition of an area, system, component or procedure that is judged to be a significant risk of injury during normal, day-to-day use. The risk may be due to damage, deterioration, improper installation, or a change in accepted residential construction standards.

  • report (verb form): To express, communicate or provide information in writing; give a written account of.

  • inspection report:  A written communication (possibly including images) of any material defects observed during the inspection.


1.1.II.  The home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.  A home inspection does not predict future events.  The inspector is not required to determine future conditions.  

For example, a roof may leak at any time, even right after a home inspection has been performed and no indications of a roof leak were observed.  

Material Defect

1.2.  A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people.  The fact that a system or component is near, at or beyond the end of its normal useful life is not, in itself, a material defect.

For example, a cracked-open and moving foundation, or a fatally dangerous electrical condition would constitute a material defect, but a roof covering that had exceeded its intended lifespan would not.  Anything or any condition that would result in hurting someone, in your opinion, should be considered a material defect.  Ultimately, these are going to be judgment calls for the inspector to make in his or her opinion.  


Inspection Report

1.3.  A home inspection shall identify, in written format, defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector.  Inspection reports may include additional comments and recommendations.  

  • deem:  regard or consider in a specified way.

An inspector may observe a defect, but not consider it to be a material defect as defined by the Standards of Practice.  An inspector may not observe a defect and, therefore, would not be required to include it in the inspection report.  For example, if there was a material defect located within the home but it was beyond the scope of a visual inspection and the inspector did not observe it, the inspector would not be required to report that defect.  The inspector must both observe the defect and deem it to be material.  A home inspector is not required to find all defects in a home, house, or building inspected, according to the InterNACHI® Home Inspection Standards of Practice.


A four point home inspection is typically required to obtain or maintain insurance coverage on a home. The inspection is limited to the visual examination of the components that pose the greatest risk of failure and repair in a home's operating systems. These systems include:

  1. Visible HVAC System

  2. Visible Roofing System

  3. Visible Plumbing System

  4. Visible Electrical System


An inspection form has been developed by Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation. Precision Inspections Tampa, LLC will use this particular checklist to verify the presence of windstorm mitigation features on a policyholder’s property so the insurer can calculate appropriate discounts. This verification form is valid for up to five years, provided that no material changes have been made to the structure.


In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit the United States and caused major damage, It was the third and last most powerful of three Category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States during the 20th century. Andrew hit the Bahamas, southern Florida (south of Miami), and Louisiana. It caused $26.5 billion in damage, with most of the damage located in south Florida. Andrew also caused 65 deaths and left thousands of people homeless. 

Andrew and other hurricanes of previous years taught us that a better strategy is needed to protect property and lives. Florida is a vulnerable state, with more than 18 million people, and with 80% of that population living along the state’s hurricane-prone coastal areas.

No matter how carefully houses are located, designed and built in Florida, there are still hundreds of thousands of existing homes that cannot survive intense hurricanes.

Residential buildings can be effectively classified according to their degree of wind vulnerability. That classification recognizes the fact that buildings with wind-resistant features are expected to experience significant reductions in hurricane damage and loss. The reduced risk and associated loss result from both basic house characteristics and features (roof shape, frame vs. masonry, garage, etc.), as well as structural features of the building envelope (roof, deck connection, hurricane straps, shutters, etc). While the existing house characteristics are what they are and cannot be easily modified, the key building envelope features can often be cost-effectively strengthened to provide notable reductions in vulnerability.

It makes a lot of sense for homeowners, by way of economic incentives, to retrofit their homes in a way that incorporates the latest storm damage and mitigation products and technologies. The incentives could take the form of financial grants or homeowner’s insurance policy premium discounts.

Significant financial incentives exist for homeowners to protect their homes by rating structures based on wind vulnerability risk. This fact can translate into a plan that offers the first real opportunity to “fix” the problem of vulnerable housing stock in Florida. If given accurate and objective information, homeowners may choose to invest in mitigation rather than higher insurance premiums. This will produce a “win-win-win” situation for the homeowner, the insurer, and the government

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