Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime. When you get a home inspection, you protect your investment and ensure the property is in good condition. Homebuyers can have an inspection done independently before they make an offer to confirm that everything is safe and in proper working order. As a seller of a home, you’re helping encourage buyers to close the sale faster and with confidence when you get a pre-purchase inspection. Whichever position you are in, you may wonder, how long does a home inspection take? This guide provides information about the process and how long you can expect to wait before you receive the report.
The benefits of home inspections
Before you put an offer on a home, it’s important to ensure that the major components are safe and operational. There are many reasons why a buyer and a seller should consider getting a home inspection as part of the process. Some of the most crucial reasons you’d need a home inspection include:
- Buyers may be able to negotiate the asking price of a home with a less-than-stellar inspection report. A report like this gives buyers more leeway and negotiating power when purchasing a home in case the issues are something they can fix themselves.
- Sellers can provide potential buyers with a pre-purchase inspection to show that the home is in good condition and that they have done their due diligence. While the buyer can still request their own separate home inspection, providing a report in advance can be enticing for those buyers who’d rather not pay for it themselves.
- A home inspection report gives insight into parts of the home that may need repair either now or in the near future to help you plan ahead before making an offer. The inspector will look at things like the home’s roof, HVAC system, plumbing, electrical, and major appliances, just to name a few.
- If the inspection report isn’t good or if the home needs too many repairs, as a buyer, you can walk away from the deal without penalty, saving you a lot of money and headaches in the future. As a seller, the report gives you a chance to make needed repairs to sell your home confidently.
- You can use your home inspection report to determine when major elements, such as the roof or furnace, might need to be repaired or replaced later.
- A professional home inspection gives buyers peace of mind and allows sellers to make repairs before the home goes under contract.
How long will the home inspection take?
The amount of time a home inspection takes can vary, but it can usually be based on the home’s size and if the inspector has any issues accessing certain areas, such as the basement or the attic. For example, smaller condos or townhomes with just one bedroom will probably take between one and a half hours to approximately two hours. Larger homes, such as a four or six-bedroom home with several bathrooms, an inground swimming pool, and a large deck, will take much longer, usually anywhere from five hours or longer.
If you want to join the inspection, you’re welcome to tag along. However, buyers don’t have to be there unless they want to while the inspector is working. If you decide to attend the inspection, bring a notepad with you and ask plenty of questions to get the answers you need before making an offer on the home. It’s not required to attend your home inspection, but most home inspectors are more than happy to accommodate you if you decide to attend.
How long does it take for an inspection to be complete?
Scheduling a home inspection and how long it takes depend on several factors. If you’re wondering how long it takes for a home inspection to be complete, there are a few important things to keep in mind. You are not required to get a home inspection, but if you do decide to get one, it’s entirely up to you who you choose to hire. It may take a bit longer to schedule your home inspection in busy markets where homes are in high demand. Ensure you find a reliable, trustworthy inspector who knows your local area. Your real estate agent can help you find an inspector they know and trust, or you can ask for referrals from family members and friends.
Here are a few things that will determine how long your home inspection should take.
Size of the home
Standard homes between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet typically take one and a half to two hours to inspect, while larger homes could take half a day or longer. A good rule of thumb is to add another 30 minutes for every 500 square feet over 2,000.
Age and condition of the home
Newer homes and properties in good condition with little to no issues will take much less time to inspect than older homes or properties in poor condition. Homes 75 years old or older typically have more unique systems requiring more intricate attention. Generally, older homes take about an hour or longer than newer homes to inspect thoroughly.
Your home inspector will need to climb onto the roof as part of the inspection process. When the weather is inclement, this becomes much more difficult. If your home inspection happens to take place on a snowy day, a day with severe storms, or a very windy day, the inspection may be delayed until a later date when conditions clear up.
Systems in the home
The inspector will look carefully at every major system in the home, including the HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical system. For example, the process could take longer if the home uses gas or propane to connect to the HVAC system.
Homes with a basement or crawl space
Prepare to add another 30 minutes to the time it takes for an inspection to be complete if the property has a basement or a crawl space. The home inspector will need to check these areas as part of the report, which means it will take a bit more time to complete the inspection report.
The home inspection report
After the home inspection, you’ll receive a detailed report of what the inspector found. In most cases, you should receive this report within 24 to 48 hours after the inspection is finished. Some home inspectors can provide you with the report immediately after the inspection using mobile software on a tablet, laptop, or smartphone. If they’re writing the report by hand, plan to wait another day or two to receive it. If you’re concerned about the turnaround time, ask the inspector beforehand how long they typically take to provide you with the report.
What to expect after a home inspection
As a homebuyer, you will want to schedule a home inspection to determine whether or not you wish to make an offer on the home. The inspection ensures that no hidden issues could cost you time and money, which may discourage you from buying the home altogether. Remember that even if the home inspector finds a problem with the property, it doesn’t always mean it’s a deal breaker. Minor issues give you the power to negotiate the asking price with the seller. You also have the opportunity to ask that the seller fix the problem before you buy the home or that they take a comparable amount off the sale price so you can make the repairs yourself later.
Getting a home inspection before making an offer on a property is a smart way to protect your investment. Not only does a professional home inspection provide you with insight into the home’s condition, but it also gives you peace of mind. Use your report as a guide to help you prepare for any issues that may occur with the home in the future. And, if something concerning comes up during the home inspection, you’ll be able to negotiate and decide whether or not to move forward with the purchase. Remember these tips about how long a home inspection takes so you can plan accordingly and prepare to move into your dream home.