If you preparing for a home inspection, you may be wondering how long it’s going to take.
Home inspections usually take at least an hour for condos, but for normal sized houses — you can expect at least 3-hours. You may also be interested in reading my guide on the 7 things that fail a home inspection.
In this guide, I will go over the biggest factors for how long it takes…
- The home size
- If it is a new or old home
- The number of questions buyers ask
- If it is in good or poor condition
- And additional buildings or items
Table of contents
How Long Do Home Inspections Take?
How long a home inspection takes depends on the size of the home, its condition, the age, extra items, as well as buyer participation. A good rule of thumb is to expect about one hour of inspecting per 1,500 square feet of home size. You can also ballpark the home inspection to take 3-hours for an average sized single family house or townhome.
For more details on the different factors that can affect the home inspection length, keep reading…
1. The Size of The Home
Probably the number one factor that determines that length of the home inspection is the home size.
For one or two level condos, where only the interior is inspected — they usually just take an hour.
But for for 2,000-sf to 5,000-sf townhomes or single family homes, you can expect it to take 2-3 hours. For homes greater than 7,500-sf, it can take 4-5 hours or more, but this time can decrease if the home inspector has a second inspector with him.
As a rough guide, you can expect the home inspection to take about an hour for every 1500 square feet.
Read Also: 10 Home Inspection Tips For Sellers
2. Age Of The Home
After the size of the home, another important consideration is the age of the home. Even if the house is in excellent overall condition, but it is 75-years old, it will likely take at least 30-60 minutes longer than on a newer home.
With old homes, we will have to document a wide variety of systems, repairs, and materials that were used over the years. This means stopping to take more pictures, possibly talking more to our clients, and just investigating more things.
For old homes, even if in good condition, we will have to do more to verify that the home is working properly for our clients.
3. Additional Buildings And Items
Sometimes when I do a home inspection, the client neglects to tell me that the home has an outbuilding or some other structure that they want expected.
These extra buildings such as in-law suites can add significant time to the inspection. It is almost like inspecting a completely new structure, even if a much smaller one compared to the main house.
Pools can also add more time to a home inspection. We will have to inspect the pool coping, the lighting system, the pump equipment — a pool will add at least 30-min to a standard inspection.
4. Buyer Questions
Home inspectors (and real estate agents) always recommend that buyers attend the home inspection. And that’s great, but it can also add time to the home inspection.
If my client is keen on learning about the house, walking with me during the home inspection, and asking questions — it can lengthen the time required. I would say a very talkative buyer will likely add 20-30 min to the home inspection and possibly more. I invite you to also read my guide on 16 key questions to ask during a home inspection.
If the buyer really doesn’t want the home inspection to take a long time, it would be best to wait before talking to the home inspector until the very end of the inspection. But if you want to learn about the home, you really should walk around the house with the inspector — just keep your questions to a minimum.
5. Condition Of The Home
The overall condition of the house can play a big part on how long the home inspection takes. If the home is in poor condition, this means we will be taking a lot of pictures of defects… perhaps hundreds. And if you want to know which fixes are mandatory after a home inspection, check out my guide.
The home inspector will also likely become more paranoid about missing an important defect, and so we are going to investigate things more thoroughly. Missing serious flaws during a home inspection is a liability concern.
A home in really poor condition can literally take twice as a long as a home in good condition. That 5,000 square foot home that usually takes 3.5 hours may now take 5 hours.
In general, home inspections take at minimum 1-hour for condos where only the interior is inspected. Townhomes generally take 2 to 3 hours, while single family homes usually take 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
If you have an average sized townhome or house that will be expected, a good estimate to use is that it will take at least a few hours.
Things that can dramatically lengthen the home inspection time will be extras like outbuildings or pools.
The condition of the home can also have a big impact. A house in very poor condition is going to take much longer.
Read Also: How To Do A Home Inspection For Mold?