Discovering hidden problems in a property is crucial when considering buying a home. That’s where home inspections come in. They provide peace of mind and confidence for buyers who want to make sure they are investing in the right home.
Buying a home is a significant milestone and one of the biggest investments you can make. With the stakes being so high, most buyers choose to order a home inspection before the purchase agreement is signed.
Most homeowners and home buyers, at some point ask, “How long does a home inspection take?” In other words, what does the home inspection timeline look like?
In this article, we’ll delve into the duration, necessity, and procedure of home inspections. We’ll also touch upon factors that can influence the inspection’s length and give you an idea of what to expect during the inspection itself.
How long does a home inspection take?
Typically, a home inspection is expected to last between two to four hours. The duration is primarily influenced by the size of the home. Though other elements determine how long an inspector will spend on assessment, the size of the property gives an overall indication of the timeframe.
For single-family houses of less than 2,000 square feet, expect the inspector to take about two hours. Alternatively, a 1,000 square foot condo will require significantly less time. Properties exceeding 2,000 square feet can extend the inspection timeframe to up to four hours. As a general guideline, allocate an extra 30 minutes for every additional 500 square feet beyond 2,000 square feet.
Remember, homes are built differently and have varying components, which makes it challenging to give an exact timeframe for inspection.
Factors that affect a home inspection timeline
Inspections should be over before you know it, but it can stretch longer due to certain elements. Being aware of the factors that can extend the inspection duration will help you prepare your mind. Some of these influencing factors include:
The larger the home, the more time it will take to complete an inspection. As you’d expect, a large and complex home will take longer to inspect. Additional rooms and structures like spacious living rooms, detached garages, and guest bedrooms will require more time. In cases like this, the inspection needs additional time to examine the extra spaces and systems. This is to identify areas that require attention.
On the other hand, smaller homes are quicker to inspect. Their limited square footage may not accommodate additional structures like that of larger houses. An experienced home inspector will most likely take less than two hours for a comprehensive inspection.
Just as the size matters, the design and layout of the home may also contribute to the duration of the inspection. Some houses, though small, may have complex designs and unique architectural features. These may demand more time for a thorough inspection.
Age of house
Inspectors approach the assessment of old homes differently from new ones, and this significantly impacts the inspection timeframe. Though not a universal rule, new houses are often expected to adhere to the latest building standards. Old houses are subject to more rigorous inspection mainly because of the likely aging infrastructure and outdated housing components.
In older homes, inspectors are more likely to spend time inspecting vital systems and components. These would include the electrical system, foundation, plumbing system, and roof. Basically, every other component that is subject to wear and tear with time.
New homes may also harbor potential issues. Older houses will require a more meticulous inspection to ensure they meet modern safety standards and are habitable.
One way to know the experience level of a home inspector is how long they spend on inspection. Experienced home inspectors come with years of practice and the number of home inspections completed. Their expertise helps to navigate inspections and identify potential issues more rapidly and efficiently. Experienced inpsectors can streamline inspections by employing an organized inspection approach. This works by knowing which component should be inspected first. This process contributes to a timely inspection.
Experienced home inspectors tend to be more acquainted and proficient in the use of inspection equipment and tools. This can include home inspection software or other specialized hardware tools that allow for faster inspection.
Type of foundation
During an inspection, the foundation is a critical feature you want your home inspector to evaluate. This essential structural component holds the house together. Foundations come in different types, made of different materials, and each type demands varying degrees of scrutiny. The bottom line here is that foundation types influence inspection duration.
Homes with basements and crawl spaces often require a longer home inspection timeline. This is due to the need for the inspector to assess the confined areas beneath the home, like structural elements, foundation walls, and electrical and plumbing systems.
Slab foundations, on the other hand, take less time to inspect since there are no basements or crawl spaces. Rather, the home inspector focuses more on the visible components for potential issues.
While on the outside, a house may appear livable, a thorough inspection will reveal underlying issues. For the inspector, the condition of the house plays a crucial role in determining the thoroughness of the inspection as well as how long it will take. These home conditions vary from previously occupied or new, renovated or old, tidy or cluttered, and ease of access.
For previously occupied homes, the state of the home’s components are subject to evaluation to ensure they were properly maintained. Renovated homes will require special inspection to assess the quality of renovations. In contrast, older homes will be assessed to ensure the strength of structures.
There are also cases in which the inspector can’t or is not given access to certain parts of the home. In situations like this, the inspection may extend until access is granted.
If you have favorable weather on the day of the inspection, things may proceed smoothly, and the inspector can be done on time. But if it rains or snows on inspection day, you may need to exercise patience and give your inspector extra time to inspect areas affected by weather.
For instance, during a roof inspection, the inspector will need to climb up to the roof, but rain can make this unsafe. The inspector might either want to reschedule or employ alternative methods to examine the roof. Inspections on snowy days also take extra time, as snow can conceal potential issues.
For houses with moderate major systems, you can expect inspection to be completed within the specified time. On the contrary, an inspector may spend more time if the home has multiple major systems. The inspector has to dedicate time to inspect every major system in the house. This includes major systems like the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and furnace. The more major systems a home has, the more time that will be spent on inspection.
Some houses have extended electrical systems, multiple water heaters, additional plumbing systems, and specialized custom systems. All these will significantly increase the time required for a thorough inspection.
While the time for inspection may be different from the time to prepare an inspection report, these two impact each other and influence the overall time frame. The home inspection report contains the summary of findings during an inspection. It is delivered to the client, usually the homebuyer.
The time required to produce an inspection report will vary from inspector to inspector. How thoroughly an inspection was performed will determine how much time is needed to generate a report. The inspector will compile findings, organize relevant information, and create a detailed report.
Most clients prefer a comprehensive home inspection report. As a prospective buyer, you’re better off with too much information about a property than too little. Home inspection reports take time to generate and play a pivotal role in the overall timeline of the inspection process.
Many homebuyers prefer to be in regular communication with the home inspector during the inspection process. While this is a critical aspect, communication can also impact inspection duration.
Inspectors communicate with buyers in real-time to discuss findings, address immediate concerns, and ask relevant questions. Some home inspectors will provide information during the inspection. It’s important to note that all extended conversations and inquiries can impact the home inspection timeline.
What happens after a home inspection?
The essence of getting a home inspection done is to reassess the decisions and conditions of purchasing a home. These conditions can be to renegotiate the price, request repairs or renovations, or decide not to proceed with the purchase. All these are only possible after getting an inspection report. An inspection report will reveal the true condition of a house and its components. Use your inspection report as leverage during negotiations to get a better bargain with the home seller.
After the inspection, consult with the home seller based on the findings of the inspection. Request repairs or a reduction on the price of the home so that you can do the repairs yourself. In cases where the repairs prove extensive, home buyers can choose to withdraw from the purchase agreement altogether.
What’s included in a home inspection report?
Before proceeding with the home inspection, you should know what the home inspection report entails to know what to anticipate. Upon the completion of the home inspection, home inspectors prepare a report that contains all their findings during the assessment. Most inspectors will walk you through their observations. That said, be sure to hold on to your home inspection report. As mentioned previously, it serves as a comprehensive document that you can reference when negotiating with the home seller.
The report will likely contain pictures, safety concerns, recommendations, potential issues, and an estimate of the cost of repairs. You may find it helpful to review a sample home inspection report. This will give you a preview of what to expect in terms of format and content.
Wrapping Up Our Home Inspection Timeline Guide
If you have ever considered skipping a home inspection because of the duration, we hope this article has persuaded you to reconsider. Typically lasting between two to four hours, a home inspection may be all you need to make the best decision in your home-buying journey. You can negotiate property prices, get a repair credit, or even withdraw from buying a home. A detailed home inspection report will provide you with the information necessary to make an informed decision.
Compared to the benefits that home inspection offers, it is always worth the wait. If your home inspector uses the best home inspector software, you might get that report quicker than you think.
Be informed. Take charge of your home-buying experience. Visit EZ Home Inspection Software to explore the benefits and features that make for a seamless home inspection.
How much does a home inspection cost?
The average cost of a home inspection is $340, and it can be as high as $500 and as low as $200. The price is often dependent on factors like location, square footage of the property, inspector experience, and home condition
How long does it take to schedule a home inspection?
Scheduling home inspections can be done in a week and can extend beyond that based on varying circumstances. One of the best ways to expedite a home inspection appointment is to plan and schedule the inspection ahead of time.
Does the seller need to be present during a home inspection?
Since the seller owns the house, they can choose to be present during the inspection. It is, however, ideal that the inspector should be given the liberty to assess a property without the interference of the buyer so as to make an objective report.
How long does it take to receive a home inspection report?
After the inspection is done, preparing the report takes more than a day, and the size of the property determines this. If you are inspecting a condo, you should be able to get a report in 24 hours. Naturally, larger properties typically take a bit longer.