Purchasing a house is one of the biggest investments you can make, and because the stakes are high, most buyers choose to order a home inspection before the purchase agreement is signed.
One of the most common questions that homeowners and buyers ask is, “How long does a home inspection take?” By considering several factors, you can determine how long your home inspection will take to complete, and how long it’ll be before you receive the report.
Let’s take a look at the home inspection process and all the factors that impact the amount of time it takes to complete a home inspection.
How long does a home inspection take on average?
One common question sellers and prospective buyers usually ask is, “How long does it take to inspect a house?” Since every home is unique, the time spent on an inspection can vary greatly.
Home inspectors are trained to look for issues that could affect the home’s integrity so buyers go into a purchase agreement with eyes wide open. A qualified home inspector will carefully check a home’s:
- Electrical system
- Windows and doors
- Overall structure
- Potential safety hazards
So, when asked, “How long does a home inspection take on a house?” the answer isn’t always cut and dry. On average, a home inspection on a 2,000-square-foot house will take between two and three hours to complete.
Larger homes will require more time, since there’s more space to examine, and smaller homes can be inspected more quickly. Generally, every additional 500 square feet of space will require an extra 30 minutes to complete an inspection. Additionally, the size of a home will affect the home inspection cost.
Some home inspectors work in teams of two, making the process go much more quickly. Even with added help, a thorough home inspection won’t last less than an hour.
Major factors that determine the home inspection time
Sellers and buyers alike often ask “How long do house inspections take?” The answer to this question depends on the home and its unique makeup. There are several factors that will help to determine how long the inspection will actually take.
Inspectors are thorough, and they’ll want to examine every spot for cracks, leaks, and spots that need to be updated or replaced.
The size of the house
On average, homes have around 1,500 to 2,000 square feet of living space. Inspections on homes of this size should take three or four hours to complete. For every additional 500 square feet of living space, you can expect the inspection process to take an additional 30 minutes.
In some cases, inspectors work in teams of two, and this makes the process go much faster. In fact, two inspectors can get the job done in as little as 90 minutes on an average-size house.
When the house was built
The older the home, the more potential there is for structural issues and other problems. A good inspector knows this, and they’ll probably take more time checking the home for safety issues.
If you are wondering how long home inspections last, you can expect the process to take an additional hour if the house is old. That’s because more problems tend to pop up as homes age, and buyers need to be aware of any potential problems.
The home inspector’s past experience
The more experience your home inspector has at doing his or her job, the more quickly and efficiently they will be able to get it done. It also means they’re experienced at finding potential problems during the home inspection process.
Because of this, many buyers carefully select a home inspector with lots of experience. Buyers also consider the number of paid inspections that a home inspector has under his or her belt.
Type of foundation
Some foundation types require a more thorough inspection. If a home has a crawl space or basement, it needs to be thoroughly checked during the home inspection. Problems like cracks and water seepage can be red flags on an inspection report, so if you’re wondering, “how long does it take to inspect a house?” you should expect it to last an additional 30 minutes.
The condition of the home
Homes that have been well-maintained are easier to inspect, and they’ll take less time as well. Older homes and those with structural or safety issues will take longer to sort out since the home inspector will need to take his or her time documenting everything they find along the way.
A home inspection takes place inside and outside the home, so if the weather’s not cooperating, it could cause the home inspection process to take much longer. In fact, severe weather can impact the process so much that it may need to be rescheduled entirely.
Rain, alone, won’t deter a home inspection, but it can make things move more slowly since the home inspector will need to check the foundation, siding, and other structures outside.
If the home has more than one major system, the home inspection can take a little longer to complete. This is often seen in large homes with multiple water heaters and HVAC systems. On average, a water heater will only take an extra ten minutes to inspect, but an HVAC system can tack on 30 minutes or more.
If the buyer is present, he or she is encouraged to ask questions throughout the home inspection. This will add to the overall inspection time. A good home inspector will patiently answer every question, and they’ll take time to point out any issues that they find along the way. This ensures that the buyer is fully aware of the home’s condition when they sign the purchase agreement.
Once the home inspection is complete, the inspector will compile the results into a report. This report is usually delivered to the buyer, seller, and their agents within a few business days. In some cases, the report is available on the same day as the home inspection, but this is not common.
How the Covid-19 pandemic affected the average home inspection time
Covid-19 changed just about everything in the world as we knew it, and home inspections are no exception. As the virus quickly became a threat to public health, many high-quality home inspectors adapted their techniques to ensure that everyone was safe during the home inspection process.
So, when homeowners and potential buyers ask, “How long does a typical home inspection take?”, they’ll need to take the following post Covid-19 changes into consideration:
Added safety precautions
Now that Covid-19 has changed the way we look at germs, many home inspectors have added safety measures to their inspection process. This includes social distancing through the duration of the home inspection, wearing masks and gloves, and cleaning their equipment often.
Many home inspectors also take extra time to sanitize any spots that are more likely to be touched by the buyers or sellers. This includes doorknobs, light switches and other high-touch places in the home.
Before the pandemic hit, buyers were invited to participate in the inspection process. This gave the buyer some much-needed time to get a closer look at the home’s condition and get a feel for the home’s overall appearance. It also provided time for the buyer to ask questions throughout the home inspection about any issues that pop up throughout the process.
Today, many inspections are done solo, with virtual follow-ups afterward to discuss findings with the buyers. Although the inspection moves much more quickly, the follow-ups are much lengthier, allowing for buyers to ask questions and receive thorough answers.
Since buyers aren’t always invited to the inspection, communication with the inspector has become much more important. Inspectors utilize several different methods of communication so buyers can remain in the know about the home’s condition.
Previously, buyers would accompany the inspector for the duration of the process, and then they’d have an in-person follow-up meeting afterward. Since the buyers aren’t always present at inspections today, many inspectors choose to document the process by providing:
- video debriefs after the inspection is complete
Once the inspection is complete, home inspectors today make themselves more available for virtual follow-up meetings so they can answer questions thoroughly.
Although the average time it takes for a home inspection has not changed, there are several factors that may cause the entire process to take a little longer. An excellent inspector may take more time to ensure that he’s taking safety precautions by social distancing, wearing gloves and sanitizing equipment.
Since many buyers aren’t able to tag along, the inspector may also take extra time to document their findings along the way.
What happens after the inspection?
The inspector will compile his or her findings into a report that will be presented to the buyer and seller as well as their agents. Many people ask, “How long does it take to get a home inspection report?” and that answer can vary. Usually, you’ll get a report within three or four days.
At this point, the buyer can request that the homeowner makes repairs or hires contractors to do the work before closing. Some repairs are required to be made, especially if the inspection report finds code violations or problems with water seeping into the home.
Buyers can also request that the homeowner provides a credit, so they can make repairs on their own, once the sale is final. This can be advantageous for the buyer since they can select a trusted contractor to do the work exactly the way they’d like.
In some cases, the inspection report can lead to an offer withdrawal, especially if the buyer had a contingency in their agreement that mentioned the total cost of repairs. Luckily, real estate agents are trained to review inspection reports and use them to guide their clients through the home buying process.
Final points on how long home inspections take
One of the most common questions that buyers and sellers ask is “How long does it take to do a home inspection?” Since every home and property is unique, inspection times vary greatly.
On average, an inspection on a 2000 square foot home will take three or four hours to complete. If the home is larger, you can tack on an additional 30 minutes for every 500 square feet of additional space.
As a general rule, the larger the home, the more time you should expect the home inspection to last.
If a home inspector works with a partner, on the other hand, you can expect the process to go much faster. In fact, a typical home inspection that’s completed by a team of two inspectors may be completed in as few as 90 minutes.
Overall there are many factors that impact the total time it takes to complete a home inspection. This includes the size, age, and condition of the home, along with the home inspector’s experience level and the weather conditions on the day of your scheduled inspection.
Our experts at Home Gauge can answer questions like “What are home inspectors not allowed to do?” and we’re dedicated to helping you build your business.
For more information, contact us at HomeGauge today.
How long does it take to get a home inspection report?
Once the inspection is complete, it usually takes about three or four days for an inspector to produce a report. This may vary based on the market, and how busy the inspector is at the time.
How long does it take to schedule a home inspection?
Most home inspections can be scheduled within 10 days. In some cases, homeowners can schedule an inspection within the week.
Should a house seller be present at the home inspection?
Although the seller has the right to be present, they should not be home during the inspection. Most often, sellers just get in the way.
Even more, the inspector is paid by the buyer, and he or she should feel comfortable asking the inspector questions about the house throughout the process. Having a seller present often makes things uncomfortable.
How long does a home inspection report take?
You should receive your inspection report within three or four business days.
How long does a home inspection take for a condo?
A home inspection on a condo usually takes around 90 minutes. Since condos are usually smaller than single-family homes, they generally take less time to inspect. However, larger condos will likely take longer to inspect.