No one likes waiting, especially when it feels like time is wasting away. So you’re probably wondering: how long does a home inspection take? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Every assessment is different and depends on the size and condition of the property. Still, some general guidelines can help you understand what to expect. Keep reading for more information!
What Is a Home Inspection?
Although not a legal requirement in America, a home inspection is essential. It is the means by which a buyer is made aware of the problems with the property. It is also an opportunity for the seller to address significant defects to ensure smooth negotiations.
Home inspections aren’t reserved for just sellers and prospective buyers of properties–they also play an essential role in helping landlords maintain their assets. That’s why it’s advisable for homeowners to periodically call for the services of a professional inspector to conduct an inspection of their property.
Additional inspections can occur if a buyer wants one. Most times, home buyers are often satisfied with the reports from the sellers or their real estate agents.
Why Are Home Inspections Necessary?
As mentioned, home inspections are not a legal requirement. However, it is a healthy practice that homeowners can adopt. As a landlord looking to sell a property, it’s recommended to have a pre-listing inspection conducted before putting the home up for sale. Findings from such investigations inform you of the home’s condition and structural issues so that you can execute necessary repairs swiftly.
Home Inspection Process
We’ve already mentioned that a home inspection involves a thorough investigation of the house’s physical structure, followed by an inspection report that highlights the present state of the building and faults that need attention. It helps landlords know what areas of the residential property need repairs.
A home inspection process usually involves a thorough examination of the following:
- Plumbing systems
- Electrical systems
- Heating and cooling systems
- Windows and doors
To ensure a safe and comfortable living environment, the home inspector checks every mechanical system in your house. This includes plumbing fixtures. They ensure that everything works perfectly by checking for leaks or other problems with various appliances like HVAC units.
The roof isn’t left out either. They’ll take time on this crucial assessment, so you know what needs fixing before anything else goes wrong. This is usually at least once per year (and sometimes more often).
The home inspector drafts these findings into an inspection report document. They hand over the written report to the homeowner, who then goes through it to figure out specific areas that need attention.
How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?
As a homeowner, chances are you will encounter a buyer who expresses their need for a home inspection report before buying your property.
An inspection is usually not a process that takes up a great deal of time. Depending on a number of factors, it can occur in less than a day. So how long does an inspection take?
On average, a thorough home inspection usually takes between two and four hours. This estimate can change depending on the size of the building and other factors that can affect the inspection process. According to Home Inspector Insider, you can apportion a half hour to every 500 square feet of space. So, you should expect an inspection of a 2500 square foot building to take approximately two and a half to three hours.
Factors That Affect Home Inspections
When asking yourself how long does a home inspection take? It is important to note the factors that affect the time it takes to complete a home inspection.
The process of a home inspection usually depends on the following…
The Size of the House
The size of the residential building in question plays a huge role in how long the home inspection takes. The average house is usually between 1500 to 2000 feet. An assessment in a big apartment usually takes the average time of two to four hours, but there’s more ground to cover when dealing with a larger apartment. Therefore, it’ll require more than the average home inspection time.
The Condition of the House
A residential apartment in immaculate condition is likely to take less time to inspect. That’s because there are fewer faults to take note of compared to a home in a terrible condition with more defects.
Furthermore, documenting home problems that require fixing also involves classifying these faults according to their severity. A building with a faulty water heater or a leaky faucet, will require more documentation and take more time.
The Age of the House
A building’s age also affects inspection time. During aging, a house tends to depreciate over time, resulting in the development of mechanical, electrical, and even structural problems. This trend is common in older houses but seen less in newer homes.
The age of a house can affect the condition it’s in, and the state of a house also affects the home inspection time. Therefore it’s accurate to say the age of a residential apartment affects how long an inspection will take.
The Home Inspector’s Experience
When an experienced home inspector finishes their inspection, the process should move quickly and smoothly. As they become more familiar with their job, it becomes second nature for them to document everything in detail, so there are no discrepancies later down the road when buyers ask about certain aspects of a property’s condition or history.
The time spent completing tasks will decrease due not only to experience but also because skilled professionals, like those who perform inspections, often don’t need any guidance.
Weather Conditions During the Time of Inspection
Weather is another factor that affects the time taken to complete a home inspection. Harsh weather conditions can lead to a postponement.
Furthermore, if it’s raining or snowing, it becomes a difficult task for the home inspector to examine the outer parts of the house, thus leading to further delays.
Home Inspection Report Delivery
Home inspectors need to deliver reports after their assessments. In the past, it usually took a significant amount of time for the reports to reach the seller’s real estate agent or the seller directly.
These days, with advancements in technology, the time taken for the report delivery is significantly lower. However, some home buyers prefer the old-fashioned process and require a hard copy delivered directly.
The Presence of the Client, Real Estate Agent, or Home Owner
It’s not unusual for the buyer’s agent or the homeowner to be present during the inspection. Their presence could sometimes hinder the process, especially when they ask questions.
Most home inspectors advise clients to reserve their questions until after the task is complete.
The House’s Foundation Type
A home with a crawl space grants access to the foundation of the building, but this takes up more inspection time, as there is even more ground to cover during the inspection.
Also, the woodwork that holds up the building requires thorough examination. The same goes for the underground pipes and other areas visible in the home’s foundation area.
The Number of Working Systems Present
A huge house is bound to have many appliances, and multiple cooling and heating systems that require an inspection. Therefore, assessments take more time because inspectors must examine all systems and appliances.
No law makes home inspection compulsory, but there are often expected requirements during the inspection. An example is the type of information that goes into the inspection report. These requirements are often different in various states, affecting the average time for a home inspection in these locations.
Who Pays for a Home Inspection?
Where a home inspection is to be conducted, it is often paid for by the home buyer. However, during negotiations, some buyers insist the seller pays for it.
It is not uncommon for sellers to inspect a home before offering the home for sale, and this practice creates an opportunity to fix problems before selling. Also, it acts as reassurance for a prospective buyer to see an already inspected property before making a purchase. Most home buying clients are cautious of safety issues common with many marketed houses.
However, some buyers are likely to pay for the services of an inspector of their choice to conduct their inspection and won’t accept a home inspection report of their intended new home from the seller.
What Happens After a Home Inspection?
According to ibuyer.com, it usually takes around 1-2 days for the inspection report to be available after a concluded inspection. Nowadays, some inspection companies can prepare and deliver these documents on-site. It all boils down to company policy, the process used for drafting, and other factors.
After report delivery, the home’s agent, buyer, or seller checks to confirm authenticity, depending on who had the inspection conducted. After evaluation, the parties involved decide on the next step to take.
Is It Possible to Fail a Home Inspection?
There is no pass or fail grade when it comes to home inspections. After a home inspection attains completion and the report is delivered, it is possible to have clients walk away after seeing these reports. That’s not necessarily a result of a failed inspection. It is more relative to the customer’s expectations before the assessments.
It is often asked, “How long does a home inspection take?” The answer depends on multiple factors. However, the average time for a home inspection is two to four hours. This duration can change depending on certain factors, including the home’s size, weather conditions during the review, the present state or condition of the residential apartment, and more.
When an inspection is complete a report is delivered. This document helps determine the house’s defects to ensure all parties are aware of any problems that might impact on the value of the home. Also, it allows buyers to decide whether to continue to buy the home or pull out.
Kris Reid is the CEO of Ardor SEO, a company that helps real estate professionals get more leads and customers to predictably grow their business.
Over the years, Kris acquired extensive knowledge of SEO and its practical applications in various industries, with the main focus on real estate.
In 2021 Ardor launched the Icons of Real Estate Podcast to share proven strategies from the top producing icon agents with the real estate community.
After obtaining the real estate license in 2022, Kris joined eXp Realty and launched Homes by Ardor, the platform that was built to be the fastest way to buy or sell a house. Homes by Ardor also provides leads for its partner companies and realtors.