A home inspection is a process where a licensed home inspector inspects the property, structural components, and major systems, including the heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, and gas. After the inspection, the inspector puts together a detailed report of their findings and provides this report to the customer.
While home inspections can be requested by the seller, it is much more common for the buyer to hire a home inspector to inspect a property before finalizing a sale. The purpose of this inspection is to highlight any issues with the home, so that the buyer can make an informed decision about whether or not to go through with their purchase.
Length of Inspection
The duration of your home inspection will depend upon the size, age, and condition of your home, as well as the weather during the inspection. Houses between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet will generally take about two hours to inspect. Add an additional 30 minutes for every 500 square feet beyond that. Homes that are in better condition have fewer issues for the inspector to evaluate and record. Most times the poorer the condition of the house, the longer the inspection will take. There are more unique systems and components in homes more than 75 years old. You can expect that older homes will take about an hour longer to inspect than newer builds.
Weather During Inspection
If your home inspector is doing their job correctly, they are going to be climbing up on the roof at some point during the inspection. This becomes a lot more difficult—or even impossible—if it is raining, snowing, or especially windy. Adverse weather conditions may mean a delay in the inspection, or require the inspector to come back and finish the job at another time.
Type of Foundation and Number of Systems
Houses with crawl spaces or basements typically take 30 minutes to an hour longer to inspect because the inspector will need to evaluate these areas as well. Your home inspector will also review each and every system in the home, including all heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems. If there is an HVAC system, gas, or propane connected to the home, the inspection will take longer.
After the home inspection has been completed, the inspector will take the information they have gathered and they will put together a home inspection report that details their findings, including any fixes that should be made before purchasing the property. Receiving the report will typically take about 1 to 3 days after the inspection, though it may be a bit longer if the initial inspection was completed on the weekend or at the end of a work week.
Just So You Know
You are not required to be present at the inspection, but you should plan to be there to get the most value from the process. The inspection is the best opportunity you will have to speak with a knowledgeable, experienced, and unbiased professional about the condition of the home you intend to purchase. The inspector is not a contractor, their job is to give you an impartial, accurate, and detailed analysis of the home you are considering.